Rik Fox accusing Dana Strum of stealing his song “On The Run” which became “Let Freedom Rock”
Steeler and former W.A.S.P. bassist Rik Fox was recently interviewed by Greece’s Rock Pages and was asked about Dana Strum “stealing” one of his songs “On The Run” which eventually became “Let Freedom Rock” with some slight changes and appeared on Vinnie Vincent Invasion‘s album All Systems Go, which was released back in May 1988.
Fox replied (with slight edits): “Well…. SIN was doing pretty well in 1984. We were riding high on the Los Angeles heavy metal scene, and doing a lot of high profile headlining shows and apparently getting some industry attention. This was my second, and much heavier line-up of SIN, containing several members of the NY band Alien. We were approached after one of our shows by a guy from Jerry Weintraub’s heavy-hitter Management 3 Company located in Beverly Hills. He wanted to get us in the studio and record us and shop us to the major labels. I had briefly met Dana Strum a few years previously through a manager friend of mine, Bob Aiss, who managed Capitol Records act Face Dancer who I did concert lighting for in NYC. Dana was playing bass in a new wave band, and I wasn’t very impressed. So, ironically, this is the same guy that our manager Todd Cooper brings into the fold.
Dana had just placed guitarist Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s band and was some kind of mover and shaker, networking guy in the business now. So a ‘Spec’ (Speculation) deal was arranged and SIN went into the recording studio and we did a four song master album demo. One of the songs was a song I wrote in my previous line-up of SIN called “On The Run.” It was essentially a very heavy biker song, like my answer to “Born To Be Wild.” Dana brought in, this then-unknown singer from Las Vegas, Nevada, some kid named Mark Slaughter, and Mark sang all the tracking vocals on our demo until we got another guy who sang over them. We actually wanted Mark to be our singer but Dana was keeping him for the Vinnie Vincent Invasion to replace singer Robert Fleishman. One night during our mix-downs, I walked in and surprised Dana and Vinnie Vincent sitting there listening to my song. Vinnie says he really liked the song and was interested in possibly re-recording it some time and ‘having me involved’ which was never defined what that meant exactly. Dana was producing and co-engineering our demo and after our demo was done and being shopped it was causing a lot of interest among the labels.
Not long after that Dana was also doing the same concurrently with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion as well as the bass player for that band, and an advance demo of their album containing the song “Let Freedom Rock” was handed to me by the person who was doing publicity for both bands. I was told to listen to it and my jaw dropped. Essentially, in a breach-of-trust, our producer, Dana Strum literally handed over my song “On the Run” to Vincent, and with a few minor changes here and there, and changed the lyrics, literally ripped off my song note-for-note, with Strum claiming that “you can’t copyright a hook” which was utter bullshit, because that exactly how George Harrison got sued and lost over his song “My Sweet Lord” which was literally the same hook and song as the Chiffons’ “He’s so Fine.”
I personally confronted both Mark Slaughter and drummer Bobby Rock at the NAMM Show music convention and wanted to know how and why this was allowed to happen. They essentially both told me that “Dana made us do it and we had no say in it.” I said to Mark “But you KNEW that it was my song, you sang the tracking vocals on it on our SIN demo.” I had them both dead-bang, and they knew it. Mark just was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say. I threatened to sue Strum and Vincent and their label Chrysalis Records. Chrysalis panicked and Strum threatened to “bleed me dry and then counter-sue me for being an asshole.” His level of arrogance had no limits. Eventually that Vinnie Vincent album tanked, and Vincent whacked-out and was kicked out of his own contract which automatically went right to Strum and singer Mark Slaughter which then became the band Slaughter. That’s the beginning of the downward spiral that continues to this day to Vincent. So I guess it was great karma.
In-between all this time, I took a LOT of negative heat over the issue and nobody believed me. Everyone though I was lying about it. Then, around I think it was either 2016 or 2017, there were several pod cast interviews with both Mark Slaughter and drummer Bobby Rock and they were both asked directly, in those pod casts: “Is it true that Vinnie Vincent ripped off the song “On the Run” from Rik Fox?” They both hesitated for a moment and replied “Yes, he did.” At that moment, I was vindicated and validated. The truth came out in public for the whole world to know. Today, Strum plays bass in the Vince Neil band and acts like some kind of manager for Neil.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Rik Fox at Rock Pages‘ website.
SIN‘s “On The Run” song:
1983 7″ track!! m/
Vinnie Vincent Invasion‘s “Let Freedom Rock” song:
All Systems Go is the second and last studio album by Vinnie Vincent Invasion, released on May 17, 1988. All Systems Go featured new vocalist Mark Slaughter, who replaced Robert Fleischman. The band toured in support for the album, headlining small clubs, but broke up after the completion of the tour at the end of August 1988.