Flipside - Oct./Nov. 1994 - Number 92
Bad Trips With RKL

Stay away from the stinky brown acid
by Gary X. Indiana

Think of bands, back in the '80s, who could 1. play very excellently; 2. write killer songs; 3. leave you a steamrollered mess every time. How many, hmmmm? You can count them on your toes. On the west coast mebbe four, five piggies. For all-out fervor and intensity, few if anyone could match Rich Kids On LSD. But, as we all know, in the 80s you could be excellent and still eating Top Ramen with your PBR for years on end. RKL tuffed it out, meandered a bit in transition to the '90s and and now they're back in big, beefy glory. They've signed with Epitaph (which just re-released "Rock N Roll Nightmare") and have new (and bona-fide) RKL album in the can, coming out soon. Lead singer Jason has hooked back up with bassist Little Joe, new drummer Dave, and original guitarist Chris. Chris and fellow guitarist Barry D'Live joined me at the swank Mission Rock resort, over looking the scenic drydocks, over beers and chit-chat about their new campaign to fry the brains of today.

You were last in Flipside...

Barry: '89, maybe '90

So Jason's back, he's mad as hell.

Barry: He's pissed!

And Dave Raun is on drums.

Barry: We call him Bug; Dave "Bug" Raun, because in Spain he got a haircut and had dreads sticking out like antennas, and he had these funky glasses that looked like bug eyes, so he looked like a bug. He looked cross between a bug and Buckwheat, now he's Bugwheat.

So where'd he come from?

Chris: He used to play with Joe when they were kids. Actually Dave hit Joe over the head with a shovel in the sandbox in kindergarden and that's why Joe's so fucked up.

So what's new?

Barry: We've recorded a new album ("Riches to Rags") at the Music Annex in Monte? Park. This guy Pat Coughlin produced it. He's cool. That'll be out soon. Jeff Rassier, the killer tattoo artist (Primal Urge Studios, SF) did awesome artwork on the cover.
Chris: He also did animation in our video. Comparable to Hanna-Barbara.

Cell animation? A tattoo guy doing cell animation?

Chris: Yeah, gel animation. Like, a minute and a half. Total Ren & Stimpy.

What song is it?

Chris: A song called "Betrayed". It's a song about people that'll fuck you over. When you go to the beach and the cops show up because you're drinking beer...

This was on a computer? Any special effects?

Barry: Yeah, we're saturated in like a hundred gallons of slime.

So you're gonna submit this to MTV?

Barry: Fuck yeah!
Chris: We're sellouts
Barry: No, we're not, Epitaph's fuckin' infiltrating and destroying from within! Rancid got on MTV. The Offspring of course did, Bad Religion has, Pennywise got on MTV... So Epitaph has a lot of push in the industry these days, I think it's pretty cool that they can get bands of out caliber on MTV.

So it's not showing a lot of you guys, so people won't get grossed out?

Barry: No, it has Jason showing the "EAT SHIT" tattoo on his butt. But MTV will play that, 'coz they'll do anything now. We have topless women, we have women eatin' clam!

No way!

Barry: We do, Full rug munchers. We're gonna have, like, the unexpurgated version, and then the triple X version. Not really, this video's straight up, but we're doing another video that I think I'm gonna direct all on super 8. It's gonna have a lot of gratuitous, groovy things in it.

And you're gonna star.

Barry: We're all gonna star in it! Hopefully there's gonna be some clam munchin' in there, too! We'll see, depends on who we meet on the road.

Munchin' down Fisherman's Wharf... that'll be great Barry: Exactly. Yeah, were taking a bunch of film on the road with us so we can get weird footage. I dunno about other bands, but we always seem to wind up in the weirdest situations where having a movie camera is just perfect!

How come you're going on tour before the album comes out?

Barry: 'coz we're antsy. I think if we go, and we rock each town, It'll help sell our new album. It's a no-money tour, but we're used to it. This is gonna be another RKL tour.
Chris: It may be the last no-money tour.
Barry: Yeah, ya know every band that's big has toured a lot before they started making money. NOFX did about ten US tours before they started getting big.

I think you guys have paid your dues. What about after the record is out?

Barry: We're going to Europe in november probably. The record has to saturate pretty good. And then we're going to Japan and Australia and New Zealand, probably. It's looking that way. I talked to this guy today from SRH, this clothing company wants to sponsor us.
Chris: And SRH, what is it? Snowboarders/Skateboarders/Surfer Reaping Havoc? Skydivers. Social workers. Scumbags! That's how ? in with SRH, we're Scumbags Reaping Havoc. But it's that confirmed. We may take over Pennywise's slot because they're recording a new album.

So did Epitaph have a hand in that?

Barry: Let me say this right now, EPITAPH RULES! This is the first time we've had a label that's so gung ho and actually talks to us. You can actually call them and they'll answer the phone and talk to you and help you out. It's a good label. And man, now that The Offspring went platinum, they have a lot of pull in the industry.
Chris: They don't like Epitaph at Gilman Street though.
Barry: No one likes anyone at Gilman Street. Gilman Street doesn't like Gilman Street. Fuck Gilman Street! RKL will never play Gilman Street again, and we're embarrased that we ever did.

Is that official?

Barry: Totally. Gilman Street can suck the fucking shit outta our asses. Write that down! Put that in the issue.
Chris: Now we're all gonna get our legs broken like Jello.
Barry: That was sad, because Jello was actually supporting them and they kicked him up. I think the people at Gilman Street didn't even jump in, the let the thugs take care of him, which is lame. That's the difference between America and Europe. Like in Europe, if something like that happened, then people would get in the middle of it. That was lame, it's like beating up your own grandfather.

OK, let's talk about some dirt here.

Barry: Well, we don't wanna talk about why the last record was so unpopular.

And that was...

Barry: "Reactivate".
Chris: Rectumbate. That wasn't actually us. The mixed up the names, there was this other band that recorded for Epitaph, and they got the tapes mixed up. Their record got put out as RKL and it was a big mistake. So we had to re-record it.

A likely story!

Barry: The deal was, we had, well Bomber had this other band called Slang, he was the leader of the band. You remember Slang, we used to play at the Chatterbox.

The RKL fusion band.

Barry: Exactly. And then Slang got signed to Epitaph and we made a record. And at the very last minute before we were supposed to release the record, Bomber decided to call it RKL, which I thought was a bad mistake, because it wasn't a very punk rock record. It was kinda...
Chris: Funk-rock-a-doodle-doo.
Barry: So it got released as RKL and it had a Danny Sites cover and this and that and our European market didn't like it too much. Somebody'd be like "I don't like ze way that you try to zing now, this is boolshit!" The songs were slower, and some songs that I didn't play on, were old RKL songs recorded slower and just... it was kind of, I dunno, I don't why we fell for that trip..

Bomber talked you into it at some speedball fervor, right?

Barry: Exactly. He broke up the band before cause he thought punk rock was going nowhere, and then suddenly in the early '90s things skyrocketed and bands like us suddenly acceptable and desirable among the masses. And we shitcanned our career and did this other thing and ruined it even worse. That Reactivate record hurt RKL more than anything, more than Mystic Records.
Chris: More than heroin.
Barry: Yeah, and that's saying a lot, I think Mystic Records did us better than Reactivate.
Chris: Mystic sure paid a lot, too.
Barry: Yeah, Mystic is the best paying label if there's a young band out there that needs a label I'd suggest going to Mystic.

I think we said this in the last interview if they don't know by now...

Barry: But we gotta clear the air with this. That record got released in the middle of ?our? European tour last year. Which suprisingly we did pretty good, we did better than some other bands because we had the reputation, we had the name. And Bomber quit in the middle of the tour, he wanted to quit after the first three days so we flew Jason to Barcelona. Jason showed up two hours before we had to be on stage, hadn't been with us for 4 years. He couldn't remember any of the songs, but it was a ragin' show.
Chris: The couldn't tell the difference anyway they don't understand English.
Barry: What it all boils down to, is basically we're a live band and probably always will be. I've never been 100% happy with any record I've made, probably. We've got a good budget with Epitaph but its not like some bands where you've got an unlimited budget, just take your time. You're under schedule where you've gotta just do it, and sometimes your not in the mood or it just doesn't come out right.

What makes Jason puke on stage?

Chris: It's a gimmick.
Barry: The thing is sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But when it works it's totally worth it, because I've seen him vomit over the first ten people...
Chris: And people bathe themselves in the vomit.
Barry: I've seen like punk rockers in Sweden that took the vomit and they rub it in their hair and rub it on their faces and stuff.


Chris: These are punk rockers that never bathe, too.
Barry: There was like. whezit, in Bakersfield or somewhere there was some guy that got puked on and he was so stoked! He was, like, walking around, telling everybody that, hey, he'd gotten Jason's puke on his shirt, going, Yeah, he was stoked!

You got some weird fans.

Barry: I think Jason's gonna start hangin' out with the singer of the Insaints.

Yeah! They could go on tour! He'd like, puke on her snatch or something.

Barry: Right! Puke on her snatch and she'd have strippers eat her out.

Or one of those guys in the audience could do it. Have you ever had strippers onstage with you during a show?

Barry: Yeah, a friend of ours' girlfriend and our friend doesn't even know about it yet. We're not gonna mention names, but it was in San Jose and her name was... nah.
Chris: But she rolled around in Jason's puke.


Barry: She didn't know what it was.
Chris: After the show she said, "There sure was a lotta beer on the stage."

When we told her it was puke she got all bummed out.
Barry: Some asshole in San Jose has a video of that and promised to send it, and never did.

(Whoever you are, please send in a copy c/o Flipside, Thanks GXI)