The Memorial Special about the legendary skate-core band RICH KIDS ON LSD (rkl.com, http://www.myspace.com/richkidsonl) was first published as a two Parts special inside Trust Fanzine issue # 127 (2007) and issue # 128 (2008).
The fine magazine RAZORCAKE from Los Angeles published a shorter reprint with a different layout inside their issue # 45 (2008). With permission from Razorcake Magazine (razorcake.org), you will find here the english version from them.
So: Trust did a special about RKL, Razorcake did a reprint of that special and now you find on the trust homepage the reprint of the special inside Razorcake. Huh?! Skate free or die. Thanks to Todd Taylor!
As Razorcake`s own founder, Todd Taylor, once said in an email when I asked him about his personal experience with Rich Kids On LSD (RKL): „I met them once. We bowled next to them. On the last frame, one of those guys blew his knee out and the paramedics had to use a pizza box for a splint to carry him out of there. Simultaneously funny and sad.
I think that story is very typical concerning this band from Santa Barbara. They existed from the beginning of the eighties until 2005 and played brilliant skateboard hardcore punk rock. In 1987 they released the album Rock`n`Roll Nightmare on Alchemy Records It`s the California version of the Bad Brains` Rock for Light.
Three band members died between 2005 and 2006, and this RKL memorial special is for them. Derrick Plourde (drummer) committed suicide on March 30, 2005. Richard Anthony Manzulla, known to most as „Bomer (drummer and part-time singer) died on December 12, 2005 from heart failure attributed to long-time drug addiction. Jason Sears (singer) died on January 31, 2006, in Tijuana, Mexico while receiving ibogaine treatment in the hopes of overcoming his drug addiction.
This article is in homage of remembering one of punk rock`s best live bands. Dan Sites, close friend to the band and responsible for all the artwork and the Beanie Man logo, said, „Sometimes RKL were really magic. It all clicked and they tore the roof off the place. All over the world. Jason was a real frontman… even when he was puking into the audience. Peace, my friends. Hope you`re in a better space.
This feature was first published as a longer two-part special called „They Had Music in Their Blood in the German Trust Fanzine, issue #127, December 2007/January 2008, and issue #128, February/March 2008.
Have a good read with the stories and memories from those who knew them: Fat Mike of NOFX; Bomer`s mother Sharron Rose; Doug Moody of Mystic Records; Lil`Joe Raposo, bass player for RKL; Mark Deutrom of Alchemy Records, RKL`s second label; Barry D`Alive, guitar player for RKL who quit after their 1996 Japan Tour; Archie Alert or Destiny Tour Booking, Berlin, RKL`s tour manager on the band`s Europe Tour 1994; and Helge Schreiber, writer for the great German zine Plastic Bomb Fanzine.
Introduction and interviews conducted by Jan Röhlk, Trust Fanzine
Remembrances by people who knew (or were in) the band, collected by Jan.
Photos are as credited
Fat Mike, NOFX
Once Upon a Time in 1984
Without RKL, there wouldn`t be a NOFX. Well, there might be a totally shitty NOFX. Let`s start over. Once upon a time in 1984 there was a totally shitty band called NOFX. We saw RKL play at the Sun Valley Sportsmens Lodge and were blown away. When their record Keep Laughing came out, we were just leaving on our first tour.
We listened to it every fucking day for three months. This record changed everything for us. This was the band that we wanted to be, but couldn`t pull it off. We recorded two 7 EPs for Mystic records. They sucked and couldn`t even be played on the same turntable as RKL.
A year goes by. Rock`n`Roll Nightmare comes out. Now we`re totally fucked. Suddenly, the best hardcore band of our time just got one hundred times better. This record is a landmark. No band has ever written anything like it and it was recorded and mixed in just five days. Once again, we were leaving on tour when it came out. This time we listened to it at least twice a day… everyday. I took acid for the first time and listened to it all night.
The next year, NOFX goes to Europe for the first time. We are known as „Friends of RKL. That was the polite way of saying „a shitty RKL clone band. Almost every live review and record review compared us to our mentors, but usually in a negative light. Hey, at least we were being compared.
A year or so later, the wheels started falling off the RKL train. The drug abuse and constant partying was taking its toll. Just when they were making history, they were history. I gotta say it was a good thing for NOFX. RKL was the band that we would always be in the shadow of. When they broke up, we kinda took their spot. It was a good spot and no one else was using it, so we took it.
When they got back together years later, we did some shows together, but it was always weird. They knew we took their spot, and we knew that they knew we took their spot. Nonetheless, RKL and NOFX had always stayed close friends. Twenty years later, I pull out Rock`n`Roll Nightmare and put it on.
I realize that after all these years of touring and recording my band still can`t pull off any of this. I can`t play these bass riffs, Melvin can`t touch the guitar, and Smelly who is a great drummer can`t even come close to what Bomer can do. Now Bomer, Jason, and Derrick are gone, but at least the magic they left behind can never be replaced.
Interview with Sharron Rose, Bomer`s Mother
Though They Lived Well, the Relationship Eroded Tragically
Jan: I don`t think most parents would be very happy if their loved kid informed Mom and Dad that he was going to make a punk band at age fourteen. Was it difficult for you to support Bomer or was it more like, „If he wants to do that, go for it.
Sharron: I always supported him completely in his art and music, and observed immediately that he was „different, special, and extremely talented in so many areas. However, I did make him finish school when he wanted to drop out. His math teacher predicted Bomer would become a great mathematician. Math is related to music. Bomer became a musician instead. He was put ahead two years in school because he was extremely intelligent.
Jan: Did you ever see his band live? Did you like them?
Sharron: I always went to his shows in San Francisco or wherever he played near home. His sister Lori and I danced in the pits at The Whiskey in Los Angeles when RKL played there. That was the only show his father ever attended.
Jan: I read on the internet that Bomer or his friend won the California state lottery? Is that true?
Sharron: Yes, Bomer asked his friend to come to Santa Barbara to join him. Then Bomer prayed. He told me that his friend would win the lottery. A few days later, his friend won sixty-seven million dollars. Bomers prayers were powerful! He was a magical human. Very spiritual.
Jan: What did they do with the money?
Sharron: He was generous with his part of the money, and though they lived well, the relationship eroded tragically.
Jan: Although I never knew him personally, I will remember a great musician. Thanks for your time, dear Rose! Do you have any greetings to the readers?
Sharron: Bomer loves you all and his last and possibly best music that I found will be released as soon as possible! Bless you all!
Archie Alert, Destiny Booking
How to Divide a Club Crowd into Four Different Fighting Parties and Getting out of This Mess Without Having One Fight
In September 1993, I was supposed to accompany Rich Kids On LSD (RKL) as a tour manager on the Scandinavian tour, which was planned following a four-week break after the first leg of their European tour, in which the band replaced their singer and former drummer Bomer with their original singer, Jason Sears, who flew in for the occasion. I was keen to meet this weird guy again.
Our first gig led us to Arhus, where the band transformed the small club into a madhouse like in the old days. Not only on stage, but also before and after the gig, RKL managed to keep the crowd and all people involved moving; a band turned into a powerhouse.
The next day, we had to get up early to catch the car ferry from Denmark to Oslo, where the next gig was to take place. We expected a long, boring eight-hour cruise. While some members of the band were sleeping on benches and seats, Jason followed two old ladies gambling at the poker machines. I watched him for a while and he smiled knowingly when I asked if he planned to rob the two after their gambling session.
A bit later, he moved to one of the machines the old ladies had worked on for over an hour. Jason took over the freshly filled machine, inserted two or three coins and jackpot! With about 10,000 Kronen in his hands, Jason came back and ordered long drinks and food for the crew and provided some of the gang with money for gambling on the different tables. The rest went for additional drinks, which saved the journey, as the band and crew were completely wasted when the ship reached Oslo harbor. The money was gone.
The venue in Oslo was the independent, non-commercial youth centre, Blitz, a very politically correct vegan place, and we were horrified by the idea of dull veggies, rice, tofu and the like. It was soon decided to go for some greasy fast food instead. I advised the guys that marching into the club with big McDonalds bags might lead to misunderstandings with the kitchen crew of the club, but Jason said, „Exactly. This is punk rock, and I shouldn`t worry anyway. It soon turned out exactly the way I expected and I was busy calming down the kitchen crew people and keeping them away from the band.
The support band was pretty dull; one of those many Norwegian straightedge hardcore bands and they drew a strong local following, which were stereotypical straightedge kids. The crowd, as a whole, consisted of about one hundred old school punks and crusties, a group of radical lesbians, and a large group of skate kids wearing Lagwagon and NOFX shirts. The owner, a big RKL fan, who also ran a studio in the basement, had the place geared up for recording the gig as a present for himself and the band. The place was finally packed and I watched the main act from the sound board next to our mixer, Adam Schwarz.
The band started to warm up with the crowd dancing and Adam was tightening the sound. Soon, Jason dropped negative comments on the support act and their followers, as well as the whole straightedge attitude as a whole. The crowd began to divide into two opposing camps: the straightedge kids and the lesbians one the one hand, the old school punks and the skaters on the other. Minor quarrels started. Jason commented on that, in disbelief, and offended the old punks and crusties, who didn`t understand Jason`s reaction. Everyone became more aggressive as the concert went on.
After Jason puked on a skate kid, dissing NOFX as a RKL clone, he had offended almost the whole crowd, with only some diehard fans still partying. The rest of the audience just hung around looking a bit depressed. Adam and I were laughing about the whole scene, but the guy in the studio stopped the recording and signaled to us via intercom that he was fucked up by the band`s attitude. So, the gig came to an early end with no encores. Jason sat down at a table in the bar of the Blitz to relax, but the staff refused to serve the ordered beers.
The group of lesbians, which had gathered around him, accused him of sexism. He silenced them with the comment: „What the hell do you want from me? I`m queer, a gay, an assfucker, a fag. What`s your problem? On that reaction, the lesbians left the club musing. I found a friendly staff member to serve us some beers, and the club owner, who initially refused to pay our money, finally gave in and paid after we threatened to start trouble. We left and stayed with an old friend, Steve from Disorder. So, a long, eventful, and unforgotten day with RKL and especially Jason Sears ended. That man, for sure, will go to heaven.
Helge Schreiber, Plastic Bomb Fanzine
An Evening in Bielefeld
I do remember those lads of RKL pretty precisely. How should I forget something which had been so outstandingly impressive for my entire life? Even if it`s almost been twenty years since I saw RKL for the last time, I`ll never forget RKL.
The night I`m talking about had been at the end of the „80s at the AJZ (Autonomous Youth Center) in Bielefed, where RKL played together with my friends band Unwanted Youth (U.Y.) from Gelsenkirchen. Unwanted Youth had been one of the hottest German hardcore bands, hailing from the „Ruhrpott (River Ruhr area). The schedule said that U.Y. would be on tour in Europe for two weeks along with RKL. That show in Bielefeld happened in the deepest wintertime, where it`s been about minus 10 degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit).
The AJZ had been massively packed, as RKL had been a band where you would say today they have a large, loyal fan base as in 1987, the awesome Rock`n`Roll Nightmare LP had been released, which had been a sort of musical revolution within the hardcore scene. Such technically complex, hectic, but super-cool played hardcore hadn`t been heard before. The AJZ filled up pretty good, even though everyone knew that the shows there wouldn`t start before 11 PM. Around that time, Unwanted Youth came on stage, preparing themselves for the show.
Just when they were ready to start their show, the RKL vocalist Jason also climbed up the stage, yelled a short command like an army drill master, made the U.Y. guys come closer toward him, and had every one of the U.Y.guys show him their tongues. This strange scene disbanded pretty fast, as Jason acted like a teacher and laid one LSD-paper each on their tongues.
Boy, that had been one of the greatest shows of Unwanted Youth ever. I`ve never before seen them play so well. It was already long after midnight when RKL started playing.
RKL`s bass player, Joe Raposo, who`s a pretty small sized guy, stood in front of about five hundred people and started the show with one of this incomparable bass solos, which made the audience go wild, like a hundred buffalos on a stampede. Within seconds, bodies were flying and it seemed like there was always an enormous human pile on stage, sometimes up to twenty people piled up over each other. „Blocked Out, „Break the Camel`s Back, „Think Positive, and many more songs had been played. I had the feeling that I was throwing my mind against the wall!
After about an hour, vocalist Jason had to stop the show by force. We, the mob, had been pogoing and slam dancing so much that we had been sweating like pigs and the humidity had been rising to about 100%. It had been so wet that the water was dripping off the walls and ceiling. Electricity short-circuited. Sparks igniting on stage, and the entire audience got thrown out of the hall for about fifteen minutes.
The drop in temperature to 17 degrees Fahrenheit was followed up by a forty-minute „second half of the show brought another rise of the temperature, which had a great affect on the audience. I remember this show very precisely because of the pneumonia which I and various other folks who attended this RKL show got afterwards. This had been one of the very rare moments that I`ve been proud of an „acquired disease.
I`ve seen RKL about a dozen times on tour here in Europe. All I can say is that RKL lived their lives like they played their shows: high speeding on the overtake-lane! And they truly lived their LSD-inebriations. Except that they had never been rich kids.
I think it`s no secret anymore that the guys of RKL produced their own LSD and they smuggled their LSD on tour to Europe. They used the large-sized stickers on their guitar and drum bags to hide strips (One hundred papers per strip) of self-produced LSD. And they did spread tons of LSD papers at their shows. Crazy shit!
Interview with Mark Deutrom, Alchemy Records
I Think It`s Best for Victor Hayden to Remain Out of Circulation for His Own Health
Jan: Do you remember how RKL came in your life?
Mark: They were a local band in San Francisco and my band, Clown Alley, would play with them sometimes. I also knew Barry socially and would see him around at parties or clubs. I was aware of all the bands in SF that were any good, and RKL was one of the better ones.
Jan: Back in the „80s, you had your label Alchemy Records with tons of interesting bands. You did the first Neurosis record, the Rock`n`Roll Nightmare record. Why didn`t Alchemy survive even if they had a good roster of bands?
Mark: Like any business that fails, it usually does because of the people involved or more specifically the relationships between the people involved. Alchemy was no exception. My partner at the label, Victor Hayden, was essentially an extremely paranoid individual whose paranoia led him to believe that I was trying to steal the company from him. I set up international distribution, produced all the records, managed the label, and never received one penny in profit for my efforts.
When I was away on a business trip, I returned to find that he had gone to every band on the label and offered them a new contract with a new company of which he was the only owner. I decided to not have anything more to do with him at that point, and he agreed to a settlement with me, which has still not been honored twenty years later. I believe he still owes every band that was on the label money, as well as me. He made a lot of people angry.
Jan: Rock`n`Roll Nightmare. How did you like that record back then and today?
Mark: I was happy with it at the time, although there were a lot of technical compromises that affected the result. I honestly can`t say I listen to it a whole lot these days.
Jan: Did Epitaph Records give you some money for the re-release of the record?
Mark: I have never received any money for that, and I don`t believe I received a producer credit either.
Jan: How did the producing of that album go?
Mark: The studio was a bunch of equipment hooked up in a room, and not really a professional studio. I believe it belonged to a friend of the band in Santa Barbara, California. Bomer had very specific ideas about the recording being as „real as possible with no reverb or processing of any kind. I found this to be somewhat of a paradox, since virtually everything had to be overdubbed due to the limitations of the studio, and also the band situation.
The mics were not very good, so everything sounds a little dull to me. The monitors were inaccurate, and every time you walked in, things sounded completely different due to unregulated power supplies. The band had no bass player, so Bomber recorded all the drum tracks alone first, and then he played all the bass parts over that. Then all the guitar parts and vocals were done individually after that.
The result is less organic than I had hoped for, and lacks that great chemistry that they had as a live band. It`s a subtle thing, but definitely noticeable to me. Bomer tracking all the drum parts in a row without a scratch track (an unfinished and unedited sound track used to give a rough idea of the sound of the completed recording that most musicians use to record to) is one of the more impressive things I`ve seen in a studio. He`s a good bass player also.
Jan: Would it come out totally different if RKL version 1988 could today record the album with you with all these new techniques?
Mark: I would do it as live as possible to 2 tape and make sure the band had a bass player. I don`t think it would be better because of digital technology. That record captured a moment in the history of that band. It`s an accurate document. It would have been better if they could have recorded as a unit, or just done a live recording at a show. They were a great live band. There wouldn`t have been any cut and paste crap going on with them.
Jan: Was there any point in time where the contact between the band and you was less and less?
Mark: After I left Alchemy in 1987 I had no contact with them or anything else to do with the label.
Jan: How do you remember Jason and Bomer as people?
Mark: Jason and Bomer were great guys: sincere, honest, and genuinely hard working and dedicated to their band. We had a good time making the record, and had a lot of hope for its success. RKL were the kind of band that would do a national tour in a van for 75 dollars a night. They practiced a lot and sounded like they did. The thing that appealed to me about them was that they sounded more like a progressive band that was constantly evolving a personal sound, instead of being influenced by currents trends. I thought they had elements of Rush and Jethro Tull at work in their sound, and that interested me.
Jan: You saw the band several times live. How were they back then?
Mark: They were a very good live band, and were serious about doing what they did as well as they could possibly do it.
Jan: I personally think that the job as a record label owner it doesn`t matter how D.I.Y. it is run it seems that you are always the asshole. Just seeing at the whole thing in a very superficial way: I mean, about every punk label that exists there are stories about how much they ripped off their bands: ssT with their bands, Alternative Tentacles and the Dead Kennedys, Lookout and Screeching Weasel, Touch And Go with Butthole Surfers. Probably Dischord is the only label people say nothing bad about. How do you see that as an (ex-) label owner?
Mark: The label is only as good as the person you deal with personally, and only if that person is willing to take direct responsibility for their own behavior. I have a clear conscious about every band I worked with during those days. I personally did the best job I could do, and being a musician myself, treated everyone how I would want to be treated. Everyone is capable of making mistakes, but hidden agendas are something else. People are responsible for their own actions no matter what they do, and that`s where it ends. I don`t think people at record labels are any worse than people working in cafés. What kind of person is in front of you? That is all that matters.
Jan: Do you know about the whereabouts of Victor?
Mark: I think it`s best for Victor Hayden to remain out of circulation for his own health.
Interview with Doug Moody, Mystic Records
This Is My Totem Pole, My Story, My Wall of Names, Your Freedom
Jan: Do you remember how RKL and Mystic Records got together in the „80s?
Doug: RKL was Bomer. He was the guiding hand and the most upright of the group. The group was brought to Mystic by Hillary Pute, who came along with Ill Repute. Ill Repute was introduced to me while I was on a radio show in Simi Valley where I had recorded Week Er Ten Daze, the Simi Valley band who claim to have drunk so much Coors beer that they paid for Adolph Coors son through college.
Anyway, they had stopped touring and their bus was buried under a pile of beer cans. I liked the sound of Ill Repute who called themselves „The Nardcore Sound: Oxnard Hardcore. I put them into every compilation I put out and made several records with them.
Hilary came with them and she introduced me to the various bands including Agression and RKL. I personally recorded RKL on their first SuperSeven record (six minutes a side on a 33 RPM 7). Bomer was outside the studio (Mystic Sound, 6277 Selma in Hollywood) doing skateboard tricks keeping our attention. His group was an hour late for the recording. Suddenly he did a flip and broke his wrist. I thought the session was not going to happen and the engineers went home. I took Bomer upstairs and we taped his wrist with duct tape. While doing this, the group arrived.
Bomer pleaded with me to do the session. He said he was good for one take of each song. I was so impressed with this young man. I personally did the session. I taped the drumstick to his hand and we made the 7. He gave me the drumstick and the front skin of his bass drum with RKL on it as a keepsake. I keep these mementoes of a very courageous young man.
Jan: What was your impression of the band? Did you see them live very often?
Doug: Yes, I saw the band live in Nardcoreland and San Francisco. I thought they were a great band with the same views I had after World War II when I became a PUNK: „People UNited Kickass. PUNKs after WWII were called „angry young men. We all read Jean Paul Sartre and vowed to change the world. Still trying. Mystic is my comment wall to the world. It is full of angry young people telling the world how they want to live and how they want their world.
Jan: How did the relationship end? I remember interviewing Jason Sears in Santa Barbara 2004 and he seemed to be very unhappy with the relationship between RKL and Mystic. No payment from Mystic. Was there any conflict?
Doug: It is involved with many people who influenced RKL and, to my opinion, badly. I financed a trip to New York with Dr. Know and RKL. Following the success of Jeff Dahl (Powertrip), we intended to record them live at CBGBs (we did Agression). Brandon Cruz had abandoned the original Dr. Know group, leaving Kyle to do vocals.
The great guitar work was done by Fred Mattaquin of False Confession (another Nardcore band). Dr. Know now did not wish to associate with the then three hundred bands on Mystic, so I started a separate label called Ghetto Way Records and put them in with the „Slimey Valley groups Simi Valley Mystic Land is made up of areas where groups come from. On the tour, Kyle convinced RKL that they should both leave Mystic and find a label in New York.
They did. Both groups went with our distributor, Important Records. For your own distributor to steal groups from you, you know they are lowlifes. RKL also went to Germany and sold the Mystic LP to Dynasty Records for, we understand, an advance of $15,000. I have never sued any one for stealing from me. I understand that Dynasty was a front for Importand/Pinnacle distributing. RKL could not return to Germany because there was a warrant on them for piracy. This was put out by the German Government, not Mystic Records.
I have not changed my opinion of Bomer. He was courageous and he stood up for his misguided friends. I never owed any group royalties on Mystic. They all had a clause of 10% to be paid in merchandise. They all had much more and I financed the tours. I would have nothing to do with the other members of RKL. They are shitheads. Bomer I respected and he did apologize to me for the guilt of the group.
Jan: Do you still live in California, Oxnard?
Doug: I live in Oceanside, California near San Diego. I was based in Hollywood. I owned two recording studios: Mystic West was 24 track and Mystic Sound was 16 track. I have been producing since the late „40s and I came to USA in 1950s and did eighteen oldies but goodies groups. In the „60s, pop rock moved to California in the „70s. I started recording punk in the late „70s. One of the rare 7s is Hey Taxi from 1978. They became Minutemen. I recorded 500 punk skateboard bands. With them I am making a statement of free thinking.
Jan: What kind of memories remain for the individual members of RKL?
Doug: Hard to answer. I did not live with them. They were transient in my life and the only one I would talk to after the problems was Bomer. We had respect for each other`s duties and choices and I never spoke badly behind his back. He was too good for that group, in my opinion. Too many people got to that group, profited by it, sucked off them.
Jan: When is the website for Mystic coming with content? It looks very cool, but there is nothing on it.
Doug: The website`s had several well-meaning helpers. It has just been taken over by David of Independant Records. I think we will see a website. Ask him. I thank you for allowing me to air some views and some hidden truths about Mystic. I have spent over half a million dollars in six and a half years to build it, over $80,000 a year for six and a half years. I have not yet got the return income. No matter. This is my totem pole, my story, my wall of names, your freedom.
Interview with Barry D`Alive, RKL`s guitar player
Doug Moody Is Like the G. W. Bush of Record Labels
Jan: When looking back on the excellent RKL DVD you made, are you still satisfied with it? I can imagine it took a lot of work. I like it very much.
Barry: Yeah, it took a lot of work. Looking back, I don`t know how or why I did it. Boredom, I guess. I was pissed that the band blew our last chance to make it with a good label and bookers behind us. That was before the computers we have now were available. I`ve always been the guy who saved everything, for whatever reason.
So I logged all the VHS tapes and did the online editing with a friend on an Avid system. He gave me an excellent deal, but it was still expensive. I took a chance that Epitaph would put it out on video tape and pay for it. Brett wasn`t so interested but Fat Mike said he`d put it out. Then Scooter at Malt Soda later wanted to put it out the long version DVD. Looking at it now, I`m not satisfied with it. I was annoyed at the band so I took little humorous stabs here and there. Although most of the music portions are rad, it`d be nice to re-edit it without some of the goofy shit.
But who has time for everything? I spent a lot of time EQ-ing the music, transferring the footage, scanning art, contacting people involved, getting the rights to some stuff, editing, harassing stubborn video people who somehow think that their footage of us is their sole property and would rather it never be seen than let us use it, even when I offered some cash but couldn`t pay their ridiculous demands.
Jan: Inside the DVD there are some songs by Testicle G And The Feel My Nuts Posse. Was that a hip hop side project from RKL?
Barry: That was just a joke. We had a few days off in Berlin in the middle of a tour. Jason liked to pull his nut sack out and rap tunes while we were just fucking around. We came up with three tunes and Destiny put us in the studio. Archie Alert produced it. I did the samples and guitars. Chris helped us mix it. We would play the „Feel My Nut song when someone broke a string on stage.
Jan: There is like a minute at the end of the DVD with Jason puking. Was that a trademark of the new RKL?
Barry: I guess Jason always had the ability to puke at will. It wasn`t until later that he did it on stage. He would puke on Lil` Joe all the time. I thought it was hilarious. He puked on stage in San Jose where a girl we know was stripping and she was topless, falling down it. She thought it was beer. I told her otherwise.
Jan: The Band broke up after Riches to Rags and reformed at the end of the „90s. I saw RKL live in California in 2004 but you did not play with them anymore. Was there a conflict or why did Chris Flipping play for you?
Barry: I, as well as others around us, saw no reason to do RKL again. I didn`t care if they did. Besides the fact I wasn`t getting along with Jason very well, I assume they knew I wasn`t interested. Tired of all the drama. And, oh boy, did the drama continue. It`s hard to watch someone slowly kill themselves. And it finally happened. Very sad.
Jan: How was a RKL concert in 1988 and how was it in 1996?
Barry: 1988 was probably the most energetic, wild, crazy, bad ass era of the band; when we found Lil` Joe and gigged a lot. Bomer was one of the greatest drummers around. In 1996, we were older, fatter, lost Bomer, and didn`t care as much. I think Riches to Rags is a great record and I`m glad we showed we still had it when some people thought we were done. Jason wanted to call that record All Washed up But Still Stinking.
Jan: How did you get in contact with Malt Soda back then?
Barry: I needed cash to pay the bills and take care of my six-month-old son. So I sold a bunch of old shit I had kicking around on Ebay, including RKL shit. Scooter bought some T-shirts. Then we became friends and, when I can, I`ve helped him with his label.
Jan: I read your memorial article on Jason and Bomer where you wrote that Bomer won the lottery for $75 million. Is that true?
Barry: It was Bomer`s lover who won the lottery. I think it was $85 million. From what I understand, he bought Bomer a beautiful house, grand piano, Protools system and gave him $10,000 a month. Nice living those last few years.
Jan: How should people remember RKL?
Barry: Besides or including the obvious drug references, I think the band was overall a positive influence on many.
Jan: How do you remember the band: Jason, Derrick, Bomer?
Barry: I barely remember the band, but Jason, Derrick and Bomer were talented, tortured souls.
Jan: Any good joke you know and wanna tell us?
Barry: RKL Kidding.
Jan: Barry, I think it`s fair to get some point of views from RKL across, concerning the relationship with RKL and Mystic Records. You played with RKL in the „80s. Did you join the band when they were still on Mystic?
Barry: Yes, I joined the band right after they did the Beautiful Feeling EP and went to Mystic during the mixes. I had the prank call and Mr. Spock samples that got included. Then they moved back to Santa Barbara and I stayed in San Francisco until they came back after Keep Laughing was recorded.
Jan: Even in far away Germany, we know about the bad reputation of the label: not paying their bands, the conflict Youth Brigade had with Mystic in the early „80s, the joke calling Mystic „Mystake. Then again, I read an interview with Mystic in an old Flipside from like 1984 where he claimed nearly the same as now in the interview I did with him: no bands were ripped off, no contract violations, bands were paid with merchandise. What do you say about some points Doug Moody said?
Barry: I think Doug Moody is like the G. W. Bush of record labels: so completely full of shit he starts to believe his own lies. We were gigging a lot when I joined the band and there sure wasn`t any merch to sell.
I think he`s talking about a pitiful amount of merchandise from the RKL/Dr. Know tour in „85. Besides that, they gave us zero, zilch, nothing at all! A lot of promises. And the Mystic Records sold a lot, or so my friends that worked at distributors at the time told me. It`s not really my fight since I wasn`t on those recordings, but I starved on the road with the band too, helping to promote those records.
We went on tour „Disastour „86 and had no Mystic merchandise at all. Mystic gave us a lot of empty promises, we wasted money on phone calls to them, and they never sent us any merchandise on the road. We bootlegged our own tapes and screened our own shirts. We were fucking broke, starving, dumpster diving for food, barely making gas money, and we kept going because that`s what we did.
Doug Moody can say he financed the tours and paid us in merch but that`s completely untrue. I was bugging Chris for years to sue them but it hasn`t happened. Now all the Mystic stuff is on Itunes. Now`s their chance to pay up for twenty-five years of „merchandise RKL was supposed to receive. I`m sure Chris and Vince could sell it. I also don`t know why Doug Moody is all high and mighty, saying he`s paying the bands in merchandise.
Seems like a pretty bum deal to me. What`s wrong with sending statements and being level with the bands? Doug Moody isn`t Satan incarnate; he`s just an old man who made a living ripping off naïve young, green talented punks who just wanted to make a record. I`m so sick of musicians always getting ripped off that I have a little fight left, even when it`s not my fight. Let me explain further:
1. Doug said we went to Germany and sold the Mystic LP to Dynasty Records for $15,000. It was Destiny records not „Dynasty what a laugh and they knew we didn`t get paid shit for any of the Mystic records so we decided to bootleg it, not just because we didn`t get paid but because it wasn`t available in Europe. We didn`t get a $15,000 advance either. I think we got maybe $2,000 or something like that before Mystic threatened to put a cease and desist and the distributor didn`t want a lawsuit.
2. Moody never sued anyone for stealing from him because he couldn`t. He stole from everyone else. We were just too broke to get a good lawyer.
3. Destiny (Dynasty) was not a front for their distributors. What a joke. It was a label and booker. Still is.
4. RKL was not prevented to go to Germany because of a warrant for piracy. What a laugh. Like the German government even gives a shit.
5. Regarding, „Bomer stood up for his misguided friends. Bomer was a creative genius but horrible at business decisions, like signing to Mystic. His „misguided friends were us, wondering why we didn`t get a dime from those records that were selling great and we were broke. Valid issue, I believe.
6. And his last quote: „I never owed any group royalties on Mystic. They all had a clause of 10 percent to be paid in merchandise. They all had much more and I financed the tours. I forget, but perhaps the not owing royalties was due to all the young bands signing a really, really bad contract. Getting paid 10 percent in merchandise is a pretty bad deal. But I remember that he never even did that. To this day! Years later, with all the Mystic shit on Itunes where is this merchandise? A measly 10 percent of years of royalties in merchandise? Give me a break. He never financed our tours.
Ultimately, it was the frustration with deals like that and Alchemy later that broke up the band the first time. Had our business sense been there in the beginning and things gone right, I think Bomer wouldn`t have wanted to bag it back in „89. I really don`t care anymore. But we got burned so many times I can`t let a thieving old lop like Doug Moody tell lies and call us the ones who kept the ball rolling for so many years Bomer`s „misguided friends just because we spoke up about getting ripped off.
To end it, and reiterate what we`ve always said in person or in print: Don`t buy Mystic! On Itunes or not. Download it for free from Bittorrent. Or I`ll burn it for you. And here`s another great Bomer quote: „Mystic Records can peel back the foreskin and eat the cheese after they suck the corn out of my shit. Hey, it`s punk rock. Who gives a fuck?
Interview with Joe Raposo (Lil` Joe), RKL`s Bass Player
I Remember Hearing Them for the First Time When I Was Fifteen. Two Years Later, I Was in the Band.
Jan: What are you doing these days?
Joe: These days I`m keeping myself busy with music and work. I`m currently in several bands and projects. I`m still playing, recording, and touring with The Real McKenzies. We toured Europe earlier this year, did a Fat tour in Canada with the Mad Caddies and Saint Catherines, and also did the last leg of the Warped Tour on the West Coast of the U.S. As far as work goes, I am currently working at Electronic Arts.
I am testing online video games for their website. Also, I`m getting a lot of art done, too. It`s really cool, because I never had enough time to devote to that, due to music. In „07, I drew Lagwagon`s T-shirt design for their last tour and I`m almost done with my first oil painting.
Jan: Do you still play for the Real McKenzies?
Joe: I heard about the McKenzies was by Sean Sellers (Good Riddance). I had seen him at one of our friend`s wedding and he told me that they were looking for a bass player. I was interested, but didn`t give it much thought. Then I got a call one day at work and Bone asked me if I was interested in recording a couple of tracks for the McKenzies. When I went down to the studio and hung out with those guys. It was such a great time and we had a blast! I`ve been in the band ever since.
Jan: Do you remember the RKL tours to Europe and Germany?
Joe: I remember the early tours. 1988 and 1989 were the earliest ones. RKL was also there in 1993 and 1996. The first time we went to Europe, my mom and dad signed full guardianship to our guitar player Barry D` Live. We had the note signed by everyone and notarized by a notary public. I was seventeen years old at the time and wasn`t considered an adult (by U.S.A. standards). My parents weren`t going to let me go, but I talked to my high school principal. He talked to them and convinced them to let me go.
Pretty funny, because my „guardian got me wasted every night and shoved L.S.D. down my throat! But, in reality, I didn`t put up much of a fight at all! Those were great times. It was a time when European doors were opening up to great American hardcore bands. I think that RKL was definitely one of the pioneers of bringing Europe closer to American hardcore punk, especially California hardcore. Those were the days.
Jan: A lot of people, including myself, think that you are one of the greatest bass players around. I am also a big fan of Phil Rudd of AD/DC. What were your influences when you started playing? Have you any kind of bass „heroes? I recently interviewed Kira Roessler. I also like her style.
Joe: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I love Black Flag and Kira Roessler is a great bass player. I also like Phil Rudd. He is definitely one of the most underrated bass players in rock history. So is Michael Anthony of Van Halen. As far as influences go, I think my earliest influences were John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Geddy Lee (Rush), and Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath). I was definitely a little rocker growing up.
Then when I got older, I started listening to different styles of music and was really influenced by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Simon Gallup from The Cure, Jaco Pastorius, Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke, Tony Levin, and Jeff Berlin. As far as punk bass players are concerned, my greatest influence was Rob Wright from Nomeansno. And last but not least, Bomer. He taught me so much about playing bass. If it wasn`t for him, I wouldn`t be the player I am today.
Jan: I saw RKL one time in Santa Barbara in 2004 and also interviewed Jason then. That was a cool concert and Jason seemed in good shape. I did not quite understand the circumstances of his death. He was in a drug rehab clinic in Tijuana and died there?
Joe: Well, even though Jason „seemed like he was in good shape, he wasn`t. Drug addiction was deteriorating his body and he was suffering both physically and psychologically. He always had a talent for disguising the way he felt and you would never know how he was feeling because he was always funny and would make you laugh no matter what was going on.
He died in a Tijuana, Mexico medical clinic where he was being treated with ibogaine. Ibogaine is a drug derived from a West African plant that can help overcome addiction and withdrawal from hard drugs. He died from a brain aneurism that occurred when a piece of bone got caught in his blood stream from the administration of the ibogaine. Sad story. Totally sucks.
Jan: What comes directly to your mind when you think of Jason and Bomer?
Joe: The first thing that comes to my head is: „what a waste of life. Sadness also comes to my head. But when I`m done thinking about all the loss and sadness, I think about all the good times we had, what great people they both were, and how much fun we had together.
Jan: How old were you when RKL started?
Joe: I was thirteen when RKL started. I remember hearing them for the first time when I was fifteen. I had bought the Nardcore compilation and first heard RKL on that record. Then I went out and bought Keep Laughing. Two years later, I was in the band. [laughs] Crazy!
Jan: What songs do you like from RKL and are there some you hate?
Joe: There is one song that got on my nerves a little. It`s „Pothead. I do like the song, but playing it every night was a drag. It was a song that we had to play because everyone loved it! It`s funny how that works.
Jan: Hey, I never understood the rap part of „Find a Way, even when I got the lyrics.
Joe: I think that the rap tries to teach you how to cope with life. Then it goes into a situation that happens at Taco Bell and after that. It`s just a bunch of nonsense. So if it doesn`t make sense to you, then you understand it!
Jan: Were RKL concerts different in USA and in Europe?
Joe: Yes, very different. There were a few places in the U.S. where we did great, like Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Seattle, West Coast shows and throughout the States here and there. But in Europe, we did well almost everywhere. European fans really appreciated us a little more than our U.S. fans. That made the shows a lot more fun and a lot better because the energy and enthusiasm was there every night.
Jan: RKL influenced a lot of bands. The whole melodiccore thing with Lagwagon and NOFX would never happened without RKL, but it seems that RKL remains kind of unknown to the youth of today and people only know the influenced bands and not the original. Why is that?
Joe: I think the reason why the kids don`t know of RKL is because we didn`t tour as much as the other bands and we always made the wrong career decisions. It`s putting yourself out there that makes people notice. We just couldn`t keep it together to consistently tour and put out records. Eventually, you get mowed over by other bands, regardless if they are heavily influenced by you or not. If they are playing your sound, and you`re not there to show the kids that you did it first, then they will never know.
And another thing is that the kids don`t really want to dig deep enough to find the origin of the music that they`re listening to. Not all of them, but most of them. The ones that do know, really appreciate it, and that`s what counts. At one time, I was very bitter towards bands who were making a living off of the style of music that we played and helped pioneer, but as I grew up, I took it as more of a compliment.
Jan: Looking back, would you change something concerning RKL?
Joe: If I could change one thing, I would have never let RKL break up the first time in 1989. I would have fought that to the death and would have never let it happen.
Jan: I always loved RKL because of the music, but also because of the lyrics. Did Jason write all the song lyrics?
Joe: In the beginning, before I was in the band, it was a group effort, but mostly Bomer and Jason writing the lyrics. Same thing with Rock`n`Roll Nightmare. Then on Riches to Rags, it was Jason writing the lyrics with a little help from us.
Jan: Are you still in contact with the old band members like Chris Rest and Dave Raun?
Joe: I talk to Chris everyday and see him all the time. I see Dave from time to time and we call each other occasionally to talk and catch up on what`s going on. I always try to see Lagwagon when they play. Last year, the McKenzies played with them. That was fun. I still talk to Barry as well. His band The Crosstops toured with the McKenzies just recently. I love those guys. I`ll know them for the rest of my life.
Jan: How should people remember the band?
Joe: They should remember the band as a bunch of fucked-up losers who played some pretty good music.
Jan: Was Bomer the driving force behind RKL in the early days?
Joe: Well, Bomer was always the driving force of anything, even a conversation. You couldn`t be in a room without him dominating something or another. So that aspect of him really pushed the band. But it was everybody who helped. Everyone did their part to make the band work.
Jan: Do you know if Riches to Rags sold well? I like very much that album.
Joe: I don`t know the exact numbers, but I think it was around 60,000 copies or so. I`m proud of that album. It`s been a long time since I listened to it. I remember listening to it a couple of years ago and it was a blast to hear those songs again. It`s a shame that Epitaph stopped making that album. Now it`s really hard to find. I don`t even have a copy of it myself. X gave them all away. Even Greatest Hits, I don`t even have a copy of that either.
Jan: What made you laugh in recent times? What made you sad?
Joe: At our last King City show, Chris Rest thought it would be funny to kick his Martin acoustic across the pavement and he ended up kicking a huge hole in the side of his guitar! We were all drunk and laughed. But then when we sobered up and looked at the damage, we were pretty sad.
Jan: Were drugs a heavy part of RKL in the past?
Joe: Yes, drugs were a heavy part of RKL. I mean, you can`t be in a band called Rich Kids On LSD without living up to the name a little bit. In Jason and Bomer`s case, the drug use got out of hand. When you start messing around with heroin, then it`s a different story. The rest of us didn`t go that route. And thank god we didn`t. If we did, then there would have been more deaths. Right now, we are all casual drug users. No one has a problem with anything and we all know how to handle our partying. We are, of course, seasoned professionals!
Jan: Is any version of RKL going to happen?
Joe: Personally, I would like RKL to rest in peace. I don`t think doing a reunion or a tribute is a good idea. If other people do it, that`s fine, but if any of the existing members do it, it would not be the same. So don`t do it at all. That`s what I think.
Jan: Do you have any greetings to the readers?
Joe: Have a drink for our dear departed friends and musicians Jason, Bomer, and Derek.