SCUM OF THE EARTH Guitarist On His Days Of SLAYER And METALLICA Worship

January 17, 2008

Starpulse.com 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:

Starpulse.com: 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.

Starpulse.com: 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.

Starpulse.com: 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.

Starpulse.com: 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.

Starpulse.com: Did you ever get the chance to meet them again?

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

Read the entire interview at Starpulse.com.

Find more on
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email