POISON Drummer: 'We Get Judged On What We Looked Like And Sounded Like On An Album That Happened 32 Years Ago'

July 18, 2018

POISON drummer Rikki Rockett was interviewed on a recent episode of the "Nothing Shocking" podcast. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.

Asked if he ever felt pigeonholed into a particular sound once POISON became a huge commercial success, Rikki said: "Definitely. Listen, we get judged on what we looked like and sounded like on an album that happened 32 years ago [referring to POISON's debut LP, 1986's 'Look What The Cat Dragged In']. How does everybody else like to be judged on what they did and looked like 32 years ago? Now, I'm proud of what we did — don't get me wrong — but even by [1988's] 'Open Up And Say... Ahh!', which was the next record, our look and our sound had evolved. And by [1990's] 'Flesh & Blood', our look had evolved and our sound had evolved. And on and on. So it myopically gets overlooked, all those things. And people go, 'Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That hair band' — that kind of thing. And usually when people say those things, it's usually because they wanna say something bad. But I always tell new artists, 'Be very careful about what you put out there at the very beginning, because people are gonna judge you forever, what you did that very first record.'"

Rockett also talked about feeling frustrated by the fact that the bluesier overtones in POISON's music were sometimes ignored due the fact that everyone was so focused on the band's image.

"I think all rock is based in the blues, for one thing," he said. "And with us, glitter rock of the '70s was only a part of what influenced this band. That was more or less what… We took pieces of what that looked like, because that was more exciting to look at than just jeans and a t-shirt at the time. And then sound-wise, man, we pooled from everywhere. I mentioned FOGHAT [earlier in the interview], but we pooled from LYNYRD SKYNYRD, we pooled from KISS, VAN HALEN — everything. And even punk rock bands. I mean, C.C. [DeVille, guitar] grew up in Brooklyn; there was a huge punk rock and new wave movement in that city. So that influence comes out on the guitar. You definitely hear it in songs like 'Talk Dirty To Me' and stuff like that. And Bobby [Dall, bass] was such a [LED] ZEPPELIN fan. Our influences definitely are clear all over the songs that we wrote, but sometimes the baby does get thrown out with the bathwater."

Rikki went on to say that he "stopped really worrying about impressing" other people because the only people that matter, at the end of the day, at the POISON fans. "I mean, here it is, 32 years later, and we're still doing this," he said. "That's cool. I'm not impressed by us — I'm impressed by our fans, supporting us. That's what I'm impressed by. Of course, we're gonna keep doing this as long as we can do this and as long as it makes sense. I mean, why wouldn't we?"

POISON kicked off the "Nothin' But A Good Time 2018" tour with CHEAP TRICK and POP EVIL on May 18 at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, California.

POISON's last album of new material was 2002's "Hollyweird". Back in 2007, they released "Poison'd", an album of covers.

Rockett recently celebrated two years cancer free after undergoing an experimental treatment. He was diagnosed with oral cancer back in 2015.

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