RHINO BUCKET FRONTMAN GEORG DOLIVO INTERVIEW
Date: June 16, 2018
RHINO BUCKET ARE ONE OF THE MOST UNDERRATED HARD ROCK BANDS OUT THERE HAVING CONSISTENTLY PUT OUT QUALITY MUSIC WHILE NOT TRYING TO REINVENT THE WHEEL FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS. EARLIER THIS MONTH, NEWS STARTED SPREADING ONLINE THAT RHINO BUCKET’S LONG-TIME FRONTMAN GEORG DOLIVO HAD DECIDED TO LEAVE THE BAND. I WAS SHOCKED BUT NOT THAT SURPRISED SEEING HOW MANY BANDS ARE STRUGGLING TO MAKE IT A GO FINANCIALLY IN THIS EVER DIFFICULT MUSICAL CLIMATE. I REACHED OUT TO GEORG TO HOPEFULLY FIND OUT MORE BEHIND HIS DECISION AND GO THROUGH THE BAND’S DISCOGRAPHY. I WAS SECRETLY HOPING THAT GEORG WOULD TELL ME THAT HE WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO CONTINUE WITH RHINO BUCKET BUT AS IT TURNED OUT, THAT WAS NOT THE CASE.
Sleaze Roxx: It was a real shock to find out that you were leaving Rhino Bucket. What prompted your decision and for how long had you contemplated leaving the band?
Georg Dolivo: I just felt and still do that my time in Rhino Bucket was done. We had a good run and I had fought tooth and nail to keep what little was left of our income streams flowing. And as those streams slowly but surely disintegrated to literally next to nothing, it was a pretty easy decision for me. And let me be clear, I’m not talking about not being able to upgrade the Bugatti [laughs]. I’m talking about having to pick up shit jobs to be able to continue a band that could no longer sustain itself. That went on for the last few years. The reality of it was that our earning power here in the States had bottomed out. And what was once our bread and butter, original song/music placement in movies and TV, had been decimated by greedy placement companies who insisted on co-publishing with no advance. We did well in Europe but we were never able to transition to larger festivals and/or tours. So, for me it was a gradual realization that if I wanted to continue Rhino Bucket, it would be solely as a hobby band for shits and giggles. And I refuse to let the band become that as long as it’s on my watch.
Sleaze Roxx: Rhino Bucket had just completed an extensive tour of Europe in January and February 2018. How did that tour go and did anything happen during that tour to push you to leave?
Georg Dolivo: The tour went well. The band sounded good. As with all of our European tours, it was probably a week or so too long. And after that, we did the Monsters of Rock Cruise which was fine. Nothing “happened”. The thing is that as people, we pretty much got along within the band. Sure there are always petty fights and arguments but those overnight van rides can get pretty boring if everyone is just sitting there with a goofy ass smile on their face.
Sleaze Roxx: Your departure from Rhino Bucket is largely seen as the end for the band. What are your thoughts in that regard? Do you think that Rhino Bucket could legitimately continue without you?
Georg Dolivo: I personally think that if [bassist] Reeve [Downes] wanted to restart Rhino Bucket, he has every right to do so. And I would support him. He was there for the full 30 years and, who knows, maybe the next singer will remember all the lyrics [laughs]. Yeah, no one is irreplaceable. Might even be better with some fresh legs in there.
Sleaze Roxx: It must have been difficult telling your Rhino Bucket band members and in particular original bassist Reeve Downes about your decision. How and when did you let them know you were leaving the band?
Georg Dolivo: I had told the band before the gig at the Rainbow Anniversary “Party in the Parking Lot” that it would be my last gig. It was a combination of phone calls, texts, and emails. I can’t speak for the other guys but from my perspective, no one seemed surprised. They knew the situation and my feelings about it. Reeve’s only request was not to announce it before that last gig. You know — not make a spectacle of it. And now in hindsight, I agree with him 100%.
Sleaze Roxx: You leaving Rhino Bucket at this time coincides with the 30th year anniversary of the formation of the band. A lot of groups have been capitalizing on these types of anniversaries as a money making venture and from a marketing point of view. Why didn’t you have one last “farewell” tour to say your goodbyes rather than “abruptly” — at least to the general public — leave the band?
Georg Dolivo: I don’t do pity well. The idea of doing a gig or a series of gigs as a farewell where everyone waxes nostalgic about how great it was would make me want to hit myself in the face with a two by four. We were around for 30 years and performed in 21 countries on three continents. You had your chance darlings.
Sleaze Roxx: Although you have kind of unofficially announced your departure from Rhino Bucket, the band’s social media outlets and website are silent in that regard. Why is that? Do you think your bandmates hope that you will reconsider [laughs]?
Georg Dolivo: Huh, are they still up? The website shouldn’t be. The Facebook and Twitter accounts would be gone as well but I can’t remember the damn password. And the login email address doesn’t exist anymore. First world problems, you know what I mean? I have no idea what the guys in the band hope for or not hope for but I do know that we had very clear and honest conversations about where I was at with it.
Sleaze Roxx: Rhino Bucket have had a long-standing relationship with Acetate Records. How was it breaking the news to your record label?
Georg Dolivo: The conversation was very similar to the one I had with the band. Honest, straightforward, and clear. Rick at Acetate is like family and he had seen the struggle so he understood. I still consider him to be a dear friend and I hope he feels the same.
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s go back in history if you don’t mind. Rhino Bucket’s stellar self-titled album was released in 1990 with Greg Fields on guitar, Downes and Liam Johnson on drums. What are your best memories from that time and how do you think the debut album holds up 28 years later?
Georg Dolivo: I feel like I’ve answered these questions before [laughs]. It was a great time. I enjoyed every minute of it, maybe too much at times. I think the debut still stands strong as honest hard rock album. I’m proud of it. And grateful everyday we didn’t put some lame ass obligatory power ballad on it.
Rhino Bucket‘s “One Night Stand” video from debut self-titled album:
One Night Stand video from Self tilted album released in 1990 form Warner Bros./Reprise records
Sleaze Roxx: ‘Get Used To It’ was released in 1992 just before the grunge frenzy hit. How was everything within the band at that time and what do you think of that album?
Georg Dolivo: I thought that the album was great. And it was amazing to work with Terry Manning. The band seemed together. I certainly could not have imagined that within three years from that release, two of the original members would have bailed.
Rhino Bucket‘s “Beat To Death Like A Dog” video from Get Used To It album:
As a huge and long-time fan of RHINO BUCKET since the very first album, I wanted to share this awesome song/video, as I never could find it anywhere in the w…
Sleaze Roxx: The ‘Pain’ album saw the debut of Simon Wright on drums. What was the state of the band at that point?
Georg Dolivo: Simon was in the band so that was great. We still talk. But I knew Greg was on his way out so that was not great. Still, a good album.
Sleaze Roxx: Yes. So Greg [Fields] ended up leaving Rhino Bucket in 1996 and the band went on a long hiatus. You have previously said in a Sleaze Roxx interview that you regret that the band took that hiatus. Do you still feel that way and have there ever been any talks of getting Greg back in the band since he left 22 years ago?
Georg Dolivo: Yeah, we should have just kept going but we didn’t. I’m still good friends with Greg. As a matter of fact, he joined us on stage at the last gig for the last two songs. After 22 years, it was great to share a stage again. He had his own very successful music career going and I would never have put him in the position of having to tell me “NO”. And besides, we had [guitarist] Brian [Forsythe].
Rhino Bucket with Greg Fields [Fidelman] performing at the Rainbow Bar & Grill‘s 46th anniversary Party in the Parking Lot on April 22, 2018:
Rhino Bucket @ The Rainbow Bar & Grill 46th anniversary Party in the Parking lot
Sleaze Roxx: True. So Rhino Bucket reformed in 2001 with Kix guitarist Brian Forsythe handling the lead guitar duties. How did Brian end up joining the band and how was it not having Greg [Fields] in the band anymore?
Georg Dolivo: Brian and Reeve had been playing in a number of bands together here in LA. We were offered a Cathouse gig and I said yes without having a band. Reeve and Jackie were into it and Brian said yes. Pretty simple actually. It was different with Brian but not that different. Both he and Greg bring their own form of thunder to the proceedings so it all worked out.
Sleaze Roxx: Rhino Bucket then released ‘And Then It Got Ugly‘ which fared very well on Sleaze Roxx and its readers’ top albums for that year [#3 for each year end list]. What do you think of that album and how it stands to the previous Rhino Bucket albums?
Georg Dolivo: Are we really going to go through every album [laughs]? I like the songs on that one. Some of them have really stood the test of time like “Welcome To Hell.”
Rhino Bucket performing “Welcome To Hell” at Blue Notez Club in Dortmund, Germany on January 26, 2018:
RHINO BUCKET from california, USA at BLUE NOTEZ CLUB(Dortmund/germany)
Sleaze Roxx: We are going to go through each album if you’ll indulge me in that regard [laughs]! Rhino Bucket ended up releasing a compilation album ‘No Song Left Behind’ in 2007. Why did you end up doing that?
Georg Dolivo: Greg found a bunch of old demos and live recordings and after listening to them, we all thought that there was some good stuff in there. Acetate [Records] was game, so why not? Let’s not overthink this.
Sleaze Roxx: The songs on ‘Pain’ were also re-released in 2007 as ‘Pain & Suffering” along with some bonus tracks. What was the rationale behind that?
Georg Dolivo: Uh, pretty much the same as it was for ‘No Song Left Behind.’ Honestly, part [of it] was to keep some kind of inertia going for the band and keep the attention of the people who supported us.
Sleaze Roxx: ‘The Hardest Town‘ was released in 2009. How was the state of the band at that point and what do you think of that record?
Georg Dolivo: I’m going to answer this question and your likely next one together. Between the two albums [2009′ ‘The Hardest Town’ and 2011’s ‘Who’s Got Mine?‘] is one really strong one if you were to combine the best songs from each. Probably should have done that.
Sleaze Roxx: I really like the live album ‘Sunset On Sunrise Blvd.’ What prompted Rhino Bucket to release that album and why not just a live album from the band at that time instead of digging one up from the vaults?
Georg Dolivo: With all the YouTube stuff featuring the current line-up, we felt it would be cool to document the original line-up. After the release, we did a tour of Europe where we played the entire first album live every night. We should have recorded that. But, uh, we didn’t.
Sleaze Roxx: ‘The Last Real Rock N’ Roll‘ was released last year. How do you think it fares compared to the other Rhino Bucket albums?
Georg Dolivo: I love it. I’m really proud that after all the years we were still a viable songwriting and recording unit. We even co-wrote three songs with Greg. And working with Eddie Spaghetti was fantastic. A special shout out and thanks to Bob Parè who enabled us to create that album. I think it ranks right up there with the very best that we have done.
Rhino Bucket‘s “Hello Citizens” song from The Last Real Rock N Roll:
Sleaze Roxx: What is your favorite Rhino Bucket album and why?
Georg Dolivo: I don’t have any favorites. Every one was a milestone on the journey I had with Rhino Bucket.
Sleaze Roxx: Any regrets over Rhino Bucket’s 30 year run?
Georg Dolivo: Nope. It was a great big fantastic chunk of my life and I loved and will cherish every minute of it. Well, maybe not every minute. But no, no regrets.
Sleaze Roxx: You seemed to be one of the logical choices as a replacement for Brian Johnson in AC/DC a couple of years ago. Would that have been something that you would have been interested in doing? Did you ever make any contact with the AC/DC camp or get contacted by them about that possibility?
Georg Dolivo: Okay, let’s set the record straight on this. I was never contacted by anyone in the AC/DC camp nor did I ever attempt to contact anyone. And honestly, I had zero interest. I agree with Eddie Trunk when he stated that they needed someone like Axl, a superstar, to finish that tour and keep people from demanding a refund. But that’s not why I had zero interest. If you listen to Brian or Bon sing and then listen to me, you’ll notice that they sing a hell of a lot higher in range than I do. The last thing I would want to do is to highlight a career by going out and sounding like an asthmatic duck on speed trying to hit those notes. I stole that duck line from Kerrang! So, no.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s next for Georg Dolivo? Anything music related?
Georg Dolivo: Not really sure you know? I’m certainly not starting a new band. I had a band. A very good one at that. I like songwriting. But I’m in no hurry to decide on anything. It’s all good.