January 17, 2008 recently conducted an interview with former ROB ZOMBIE and current SCUM OF THE EARTH guitarist Mike Riggs. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow: In one interview of yours, you said "I've been a scumbag ever since I was a little kid in school. I think I've made it work to my advantage." I was wondering, what does a little kid have to do to be a scumbag?

Riggs: Live in a little town and be poor. That's it. Like, go to school wearing the same shirt two days in a row. And all the other kids make fun of you because you're a scumbag. Having long, shaggy hair, y'know? Being a kid in a small town, there are kids' parents that own stuff in town: the shoe store, the McDonalds, the furniture store. Very well-to-do, types. So they have all their fancy little Abercrombie and Gap clothes and what not, and I come to school wearing the same shirt with a spider on it all week, which doesn't go over very well in a small town. And that's what they'd call me — "scumbag." It pissed me off. Like, I'm a scumbag because I don't have 50 Panama Jack t-shirts? f-ck off. So, when I got hooked up with Fernandes Guitars, and they were making a special signature series guitar for me, I had to put that on there. 12th fret, chrome inlay — "Scumbag." Now the scumbag's got his own guitar, motherf-cker!

That's where you learn to grow up and be an asshole: in school. Or to grow up and be cool. They'd give me shit about the kind of socks I'd wear in the summertime, when I'd be wearing cut-off shorts, y'know. And they got their little cargo shorts and their little sandals. (sigh) Whatever. Seriously, I'd say I got in a fight at least once a day the entire time I was in school. It was just a nightmare. Was it when you moved to Austin that you developed an interest in industrial music?

Riggs: I'd never heard it before. And then when I moved down there and heard it, it was like "This is more like the guitar riffs that I play." The more rhythmic, dancier guitar stuff. I think MINISTRY was the first band I heard like that. Really simple guitar riffs, but it's cool. Then the band SKREW was starting up, and I heard some of the songs that they were working on, and I'm like "This is my thing, right here." So I got in the band, and I played more like a robot than a person, I guess. Just more simple, repetitive, groovy shit. If you were having a party, what would you play?

Riggs: METALLICA and SLAYER. (laughs) I still love those bands. They stuck with me all this time. Those bands can do no wrong by me. When I was a kid, those were my heroes. And they were so underground back then — you couldn't even find them in a magazine, or on a t-shirt, nothin'. And nobody ever played a show in Arkansas. So when I turned 16 I drove 700 miles to do see SLAYER in Austin. The "Seasons of the Abyss Tour", I think it was. Before that, I had to drive about that far to see METALLICA at Monsters of Rock. I went there and was shocked that METALLICA was the second band. To me, METALLICA was the biggest band in the universe. They had their two t-shirts, a blue one and a green one. They played for 30 minutes and got offstage. I bought both their shirts and drove all the way back home. I wasn't sticking around to watch any of those other bands. Did you ever try to meet anyone from the bands?

Riggs: Once I did. METALLICA played in Little Rock. I got backstage and this dickhead from QUEENSRŸCHE — the bass player — called security on me and had me thrown out. I'm still pissed and it was a million years ago. I made it all the way back there, and I had a ticket, and I'm pleading with this guy from QUEENSRŸCHE — "I gotta meet METALLICA." I saw METALLICA's tour bus on MTV News, and it said "Guess Who?" on the front of it. One of those Old Eagle tour buses. When I got behind the venue, I saw that bus there. I was pounding on the door. If they would've answered it, I probably would have had a heart attack and died. So I went backstage, and the f*%&ing bass player from QUEENSRŸCHE threw me out! I'm like "One day. You wait. I'm gonna let everybody backstage." And I always do, to this day, because of that prick. Did you ever get the chance to meet them again?

Riggs: No. That'd be pretty funny, though.

Read the entire interview at

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