Poison: A New Coat Of Neon Page 5
by Martin Popoff

A simple question on performances Poison members might have ghosted on other rockers' albums or vice versa dredges the memory that this was one of many accusations thrown at the band back in the green-with-envy old days. "We've listed everybody who has ever performed on our stuff. There's no secret there. In fact that's something we've always said with this band, that there is no way anybody gets replaced in this band. It's that simple. We did that for our own integrity. Everybody wanted to believe that that was the case. When we started to have success everybody was looking for a reason why we really shouldn't have had it. They were put together by a record company. Not true. Everybody wanted to believe that we were manufactured and this just couldn't be. So we took extreme measures to say that nobody ever comes in and plays on a Poison record except Bobby, Bret, C.C. and me, except for a harmonica thing or a piano thing or something like that. It's just because we would have gotten killed for that. We didn't need it. Why over-complicate matters? It was working and works today. We're not based on having these musical movements and things like that. We're not recreating 2112."

"People compare us to Kiss a lot and obviously I'm influenced by Kiss, the theatrics. But where it ends is that they wear costumes, and I think that's great, but we don't. And there is no room for any spontaneity in a Kiss show. It is a show from second one until the end. And that's great too. Because that's like a Broadway production. But we leave a lot of room for spontaneity. We're not using sequencers or any of that kind of stuff. At any time Bret can say 'stop the song, something is wrong here', and he does all the time, or 'stop let's bring somebody up', or 'this song isn't working, let's go into a different song tonight'. That spontaneity is extremely important. That's the punk aspect of Poison. The theatrical part is extremely obvious. There are a lot of night we haven't been able to use certain pyro because we changed our minds halfway through the set. And the pyro guy is going 'what the hell are you guys doing (laughs)?!' And it's like 'Hammer, don't worry about it, we'll give you...' and he would go 'I spent all day putting this shit together!' So we're like a Broadway production on a Sex Pistols level or something. It's a mess. That's the appeal. That's what keeps me interested. That's what makes me go 'damn, what's going to happen tonight!? ' And maybe that's why we have people coming to four and five of the shows, traveling, because they are going, 'I don't know what's going to happen tonight'."

"You know what? I hope everybody does well," says Rikki, reflecting on this rising tide of metal values and volumes. "I don't want to see distraught musicians out there. But you know, I've got to put all this in perspective. Let's face it, toilet paper is more important than I am. It's entertainment and it should be enjoyed as that. And the only time I get really agitated is when people just take themselves way too seriously for what they are. Look, we're not saving lives. Yes, we may inspire somebody to wake up in the morning here or there. You hear about that and that's important too. And I'm not saying we're not important, but we're not so important that you can't just take a breath once and while and go, 'OK relax here'."