Rik Fox clarifies misconceptions surrounding W.A.S.P. demo dubbed ‘Face The Attack’
Former W.A.S.P. and Steeler bassist Rik Fox was recently interviewed by Andrew DiCecco for Vinyl Writer Music.
For unknown reasons over the years, Fox has had to continuously defend and prove that he was a part of W.A.S.P.‘s legacy and early days even though there exists early era photos of the band consisting of himself, frontman Blackie Lawless, guitarist Randy Piper and drummer Tony Richards. DiCecco suggested that perhaps he could help Fox clarify any misconceptions regarding his tenure in the band via the Vinyl Writer Music interview.
With respect to how long that he was in W.A.S.P. and what were his contributions, Fox indicated: “I still have my plane ticket — my original plane ticket — and it was an airline that no longer exists called Capital Airlines. I arrived on February 4th, 1982, in the early evening, and then in March, we did the demo tape, in April we did the photo session, and then I was out of the band by the end of May. So, about four months.
And of course, my contributions being I played on the first demo, and then the photos that exist. And the photographer, Don Atkins, has gone on record in public saying, “Blackie called me up and said he was really happy with the band, and he wanted me to come and do a photo session. So, we brought everybody to my parents’, and we did a photo session at my parents’ house. Rik was definitely in the band. I can’t speak for Blackie’s politics, why he won’t acknowledge Rik was in the band, but Rik was definitely in the band. Rik was starting to become a regular hanging out on the scene.”
In terms of the aforementioned W.A.S.P. demo tape, Fox clarified: “That all took place at Randy Piper’s rehearsal studio, “Magnum Opus,” in Buena Park. Blackie had gotten hold of a reel-to-reel tape recorder, with the big reels on them. He said this was gonna be a live three-track, which means we were not gonna do any overdubs. It was just, turn it on, hit record, run back to the amp, plugin, and play. And that’s what we did. We did six songs because, by that point, I had already co-written “Master of Disaster” with Blackie with the band.
So, we did “On Your Knees,” “Hellion,” “B.A.D.,” “Sleeping in the Fire,” “School Daze,” and “Master of Disaster.” And we recorded them live, just like that; it was an old, in-the-room, ambient setting like that. We ran through a couple times just to get the settings, and we’d roll it back, and you could start over and hit record. Eventually, those songs wound up on cassette copies. Randy had one; I had one; Tony had one; Blackie had one. Blackie was pretty happy, that’s what he told me, he said he was pretty happy with the outcome.
Sometime after that, about a year or so after I was out of the band, I had like four milk crates filled with record albums that got shipped to California from New York. My dad shipped them out. So, my cassette copy of the master of the W.A.S.P. demo, what I did was, I envisioned what a potential album cover would look like. So, I xeroxed a copy of the band shot, and I drew my own type of font lettering of the W.A.S.P. logo and it said, “Face the Attack.” I made it look like an album cover; I put our names, who we are, what we play, and the song list. I took it to a xerox place, and I reduced it down, and I made my own customized cassette flap for the tape. It looks like something an artsy fan would do.
That cassette tape was in a car at a place I was staying at in North Hollywood. They didn’t have secure parking, we just drove in and parked under the building, and the car was right near the entrance of the parking structure. Well, I was out for a couple of hours, and when I came back, the car was gone. And the girl I was going out with, that was her car. We didn’t find out until later that somebody set it up to have somebody break in and steal the car. Some of the milk crates with my albums, and some of them were bands that I worked for that signed the albums for me when I was doing lighting in New York, those were in the backseat. Anything that was in the trunk, was still in the trunk when we wound up picking up the car from the police impound. But whatever was inside the car itself, like the backseat, was stolen. So, some of my best collector albums were gone, and along with it, that W.A.S.P. demo.
Now, somebody must have known the value of that W.A.S.P. demo because it was from that point on, that W.A.S.P. demo wound up going around the world. And all the W.A.S.P. fans falsely believe that it is an actual, sanctioned W.A.S.P. demo. They refer to it as the “Face the Attack” W.A.S.P. demo. It’s not; “Face the Attack” was something I made up for my own personal self; a fantasized idea of what it would look like for my cassette collection. Subsequently, that W.A.S.P. demo wound up going around the world. And of course, with each generation of it being copied, and copied, and copied, it got progressively worse. Over the years, I wound up getting another cassette copy that somebody gave me, and the quality was like half or less than half of the original. The original was almost album quality. I’ve spent all these years, especially when the internet came in, telling W.A.S.P. fans — and in my interviews — that tape is not official. It does not represent any official W.A.S.P. demo release. It was my own personal copy that got stolen. And I wanted the fans to know that.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Rik Fox at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.
W.A.S.P.‘s “Master of Disaster” demo (from Leather Rebel‘s YouTube page):