TRIUMPH's RIK EMMETT Recalls Managing A Heckler During Acoustic Concert

April 1, 2024

In a new interview with George Dionne of KNAC.COM, TRIUMPH frontman Rik Emmett spoke about the practice of offering VIP concert packages where fans shell out a bit more than the price of the ticket in exchange for a hopefully indelible experience that often includes a chance to meet your heroes. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The last phase of my career, when I was out touring, and the people that would book me, they would say, 'Rik, you've gotta do a meet-and-greet after the show.' And I went, 'I don't like meet-and-greets.' [They went], 'Yeah, but you have to do it. If you want this kind of a paycheck for playing the gig, this is now part and parcel of the contract you must make and you'll have to do a meet-and-greet after.' And I go, 'I don't wanna do a meet-and-greet.' 'Well, I'm sorry. You [have to do it].' And so you'd play a whole gig and I'd be tired and I would wanna sit down and have a cup of tea, relax. Nope. You've gotta towel off and go on out to the table and sign, pose for a picture and be friendly, be nice, smile, act like this is something you love. And I do love the people. Well, I love most of the people. Some people I don't love."

Reflecting on an amusing encounter with a non-fan, Emmett said: "One time I played a place called the Tupelo Music Hall in New Hampshire. And I'd fly into Boston, drive, go to the place. And it was just me and a duo thing — me and another guitar player, Dave Dunlop. And so I get about three songs in, and you can probably tell I'm a chatty guy. I like to tell stories, and when you're doing a kind of a duo or acoustic [gig], it's a storyteller kind of a thing. So I get about three songs in, and I've been telling these stories. And I'm about to do another song, and I launch into the story. And a voice from out of the darkness yells at me and goes, 'Why don't you shut the fuck up, man? Just play music.' And the crowd kind of goes, 'Ooooh.' Because most of these folks, they like me. This guy apparently didn't really know who I was and didn't know what he was getting himself into. And so I had to say to the guy, 'Look, buddy, if you want to leave, go and get your money back, feel free. But I tell stories. It's who I am. It's what I do. Like it or lump it. You're gonna have to lump it.' And he did — he got up and he stormed out [and was mouthing off as he was] leaving the venue. I go, 'Okay.'"

Rik added: "You know, it takes all kinds. The world is wide. It takes all kinds."

Emmett recently completed radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

Rik, who quit TRIUMPH — acrimoniously, in 1988 — over music and business disputes, went on to pursue a solo career, while TRIUMPH carried on with future BON JOVI guitarist Phil X for one more album, 1992's "Edge Of Excess", before calling it a day the following year.

Emmett was estranged, both personally and professionally, from the two other members of the legendary Canadian classic rock power trio for 18 years before they repaired their relationship.

Rik's memoir, "Lay It On The Line - A Backstage Pass To Rock Star Adventure, Conflict And Triumph", came out last October via ECW Press.

After 20 years apart, Emmett, Gil Moore (drums) and Mike Levine (bass) played at the 2008 editions of the Sweden Rock Festival and Rocklahoma. A DVD of the historic Sweden performance was made available four years later.

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