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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Former Headbangers Ball Host Riki Rachtman Launches One-Man Present

Riki Rachtman stays greatest often known as the host of MTV’s common Headbangers Ball. For 3 hours every Saturday evening from 1990-1995, Rachtman was the present’s grasp of ceremonies – interviewing bands within the studio, generally holding particular episodes off-site, enjoying movies, providing giveaways, and reporting information.

However earlier than touchdown the Headbangers Ball gig, Rachtman was the co-owner of the LA rock membership the Cathouse with Quicker Pussycat frontman Taime Downe (a few of rock’s then-top names might be noticed sporting Cathouse shirts in photographs inside rock mags on the time). And now, Rachtman is launching a one-man present, titled One Foot within the Gutter (which was a part of a phrase he would say on the conclusion of every Headbangers Ball episode).

Rachtman spoke to AllMusic shortly earlier than hitting the highway for a string of ‘OFITG’ dates in December 2022, and was up for sharing some recollections and tales from the times when he served because the face of Headbangers Ball.

AllMusic: What can followers count on out of your one-man present?

Rachtman: “I feel they will get what they count on in the best way of listening to some first-hand experiences with a few of these unimaginable moments in rock n’ roll – whether or not or not it’s what was it like on Headbangers Ball on the water park with Alice in Chains, or with Nirvana. And so they’re additionally going to listen to the tales from the Cathouse.”

“However I feel there’s going to be a variety of stuff that they are not going to count on – as a result of there’s a variety of tales that I’ve by no means instructed, and there is additionally a variety of private issues that I speak about. So, as a lot as you are going to get all of the loopy raunch n’ roll and sleaze and debauchery of that period, there’s additionally a variety of tales that folks had no thought – from getting arrested for beating up a DJ to medicine to…it is slightly little bit of all the things.”

“Any person that noticed the primary present stated that they have been shocked it was so inspiring – which I did not give it some thought like that, however it was very, very flattering. I feel the entire present is surprising. However, in case you’re anticipating to listen to some nice rock n’ roll tales, you may hear that as effectively.”

“I promise anyone that goes, the primary three minutes of the present, they will say, ‘OK. I by no means anticipated that to occur in any respect.’ I can promise that. In one million years, nobody’s gonna guess what’s going to occur within the first three minutes.”

AllMusic: Are there plans to do additional reveals into 2023?

Rachtman: “Completely. I’d like to say that I did 30 reveals in 2023 or extra. I do know that Halloween subsequent yr I am on the Headbangers Boat, and I am doing my present there, and persons are asking when am I going to do present in LA, what about New York Metropolis. I would really like greater than something to have the ability to make this ‘my gig’ – to have the ability to exit on an even bigger tour and do 100 reveals.”

AllMusic: Is it true {that a} sure well-known singer helped you land the Headbangers Ball gig?

Rachtman: “Completely. To say would I’ve gotten the job if it wasn’t for Axl Rose? Most likely not. As a result of he was the one which prompt I do it, and Axl stated, ‘Would you like me to go to New York with you if you audition?’ And I am like ‘OK!’ He acquired the resort room and we stayed in a very nice resort. He determined to ‘slum it’ and fly enterprise class and we went to New York.”

“And I simply keep in mind again then, if you journey with an enormous rock star and also you get off the airplane, someone escorts you to a distinct space the airport, and also you get right into a automobile. It was like type of cool.”

“Axl was a really large a part of each a part of my profession, and to at the present time Slash is continually carrying Cathouse shirts, and anytime Slash is on stage and he is carrying a Cathouse shirt, I promote extra Cathouse shirts! So, Weapons N’ Roses has all the time been an important a part of my profession and has all the time been extraordinarily useful.”

AllMusic: Who have been your favourite visitors on Headbangers Ball?

Rachtman: “I feel the reveals that folks keep in mind essentially the most are the reveals that have been the very best. Clearly, any time I acquired to spend time with Lemmy was a pleasure. And Lemmy was someone that I spent a variety of time with once we weren’t on MTV.”

“However the reveals that folks keep in mind essentially the most are the Alice in Chains reveals, Pantera…despite the fact that folks need to consider there was this actual large feud between me and Dave Mustaine, Dave Mustaine was all the time nice as a result of he all the time saved me on my toes, as a result of I knew he was going to present me a tough time however it was all the time enjoyable.”

“I will always remember interviewing Brian Johnson from AC/DC. I am sitting there speaking to Brian Johnson and him saying to me, ‘Nicely, now if I see you as a result of we’re pals…’ and I used to be similar to, ‘Did Brian Johnson simply referred to as me ‘a buddy’?!'”

“I’m not a journalist, I am not a reporter – by no means actually been accused of being one. I am nothing however a glorified rock fan that had the best job on the earth. So, when someone says, ‘You bought to go to England to interview Aerosmith,’ there’s not an opportunity I am not going to be like, ‘Oh my God. Are you kidding me? I will interview Aerosmith?!’ It was all the time nice.”

“And to be able the place these bands…the ‘Cathouse period ‘ was totally different, as a result of on the Cathouse, I grew to become pals with most of those bands earlier than they even had document offers. However to fulfill legendary masters, to rapidly be in Brazil hanging out with Rob Halford, I am like, ‘That is type of like the good factor on the earth.’ And I used to be ‘that man.’ If I got here off like this goofy man on a regular basis it is as a result of I am excited. This was wonderful.”

AllMusic: What do you recall about Nirvana’s notorious look?

Rachtman: “I speak about that so much in my present. However the factor was only a whole apathy that Kurt confirmed – that he didn’t need to be there. He didn’t need to be there. And would have Nirvana been enormous with out Headbangers Ball? Completely they’d have. However Headbangers Ball did expose lots of people to Nirvana. And I do not take credit score for that and I do not assume Headbangers Ball ought to take credit score for that. Nevertheless it was an enormous factor for them.”

“And he was simply wasted, and the entire thing was similar to…I used to be bummed out, as a result of I used to be an enormous fan of the album Bleach. I assumed Bleach was only a nice document. And when there is a band that I’ve by no means met that did not go to the Cathouse that I am a fan of, I’m excited to fulfill them. And other people stated, ‘Oh, you seemed so uncomfortable.’ I wasn’t uncomfortable. I used to be similar to, ‘He would not even need to be right here.’ I used to be similar to, ‘Yeah, no matter. He appears so excited.’ As a result of that was what he gave out – he did not actually care about being there.”

AllMusic: There’s a common perception that grunge killed metallic, or moderately, hair metallic. However in case you watch a few of the Headbangers Ball reveals from ’92/’93 on YouTube, you see that it was nonetheless a reasonably broad number of movies that have been being proven.

Rachtman: “I am simply gonna make this up and let’s simply see if this analogy even works. If heavy metallic within the ’90s was an individual, you want to assume that that particular person was a foul ass. That particular person was powerful. And that particular person is large and robust. And rapidly, this new sort of music comes on and pushes you apart. Nicely, that signifies that your music shouldn’t be that sturdy.”

“Do I consider that grunge killed metallic? Completely not. I do not consider that for slightly bit. As a result of I do not assume metallic ever died. As a result of there have been bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains coming and Pearl Jam, and MTV was enjoying them. In the event you’re saying that this kind of music killed your sort of music, meaning your sort of music was weak.”

“Who cares if it is being performed in regular airplay? The bands that I hearken to don’t get radio play, weren’t performed throughout prime time MTV. And if you are going to say, ‘Nicely, Soundgarden’s this…and now take a look at grunge.’ No. First, I do not say ‘grunge.’ Identical to I do not say ‘hair metallic.’ After I hearken to Soundgarden, I do not hear this ‘Seattle sound.’ I hear a band to me that’s closely influenced by Black Sabbath. After I hearken to previous Sabbath, I hear Soundgarden and vice versa. Alice in Chains is a superb rock band.”

“In the event you assume that folks would nonetheless be trying and dressing like Warrant and Poison if there wasn’t grunge – no. That was one thing that was an period and it was a vogue and it was a sort. And a variety of the bands of that period – and I get a variety of crap for this – have been very weak, and did not have any substance. And generally, bands like Cinderella – that have been so extremely wonderful – acquired pigeonholed into being a few of these ‘fluffy bands’ that did not have any substance.”

“Bands like Cinderella and Skid Row are simply killer, kickass rock bands. And since each these bands broke up…issues change. It’s like saying if rapidly everyone’s ingesting a sure sort of beverage as a substitute of one other, hey it is a new taste and other people prefer it. However nothing killed heavy metallic.”

“I went and I noticed WASP a pair nights in the past, and it was packed. So, clearly metallic shouldn’t be useless. And if I’d go see Alice in Chains, it is packed and so they’re promoting out arenas. So, I do not consider that something killed something. I feel this kind of music would have died out by itself if it wasn’t substantial and had sufficient meat to it.”

“Why do not folks say that Weapons N’ Roses was hair metallic? As a result of Weapons N’ Roses by no means stopped enjoying – they grew to become one of many largest rock’n’roll bands on the earth. And to show that it was by no means useless, if it died, then how did the Stadium Tour [with Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Joan Jett] do in addition to it did? This music has by no means died. To say that grunge killed it’s to insinuate that it is useless. And in case you used to hearken to Mötley Crüe and you then began listening to Stone Temple Pilots, effectively that is that particular person’s selection – they carry on going with the flavour. They are not going to hearken to the identical factor. Individuals like no matter’s sizzling.”

“Issues are available in waves, and the people who like metallic are nonetheless going to metallic reveals. And I do not assume that that scene was killed. I feel it may not have gotten the identical publicity, however a real fan by no means stopped going to see Iron Maiden. A real fan nonetheless helps that sort of music – it doesn’t matter what occurred. And sure, does it generally not have the luster and the shiny newness that it as soon as did? Yeah, that occurred. Nevertheless it did not occur due to sure sort of sound out of Seattle.”

AllMusic: Did you might have any say by which movies could be performed on Headbangers Ball?

Rachtman: “None. Ever. In my whole time on the Headbangers Ball, I acquired one video picked to play – and it is in all probability as a result of they have been going to play it anyway. I used to be like, ‘It is my birthday. Can I choose the movies?’ And so they’re like, ‘You’ll be able to choose one video, that we already play.’ And I am like, ‘Motörhead. Simply play a Motörhead video for my birthday.'”

“As a result of there’s a variety of bands that I do not consider ought to have been performed on Headbangers Ball. I consider in case you’re a band that is performed through the prime time of MTV, you then shouldn’t be on the Headbangers Ball. I’ve all the time believed that Headbangers Ball ought to have been the music that we do not get anyplace else. And lots of people thought that I picked all of the movies. That I sat right here like, ‘I will play this video right here and that video there.’ There have been tons of movies that I grit my enamel having to play – as a result of I did not like them.”

“Persons are like, ‘Nicely, it is best to have instructed them ‘Do not play that video’.’ It is like, ‘That is my job! I am getting paid a crap load of cash to speak about rock n’ roll!’ It is like, ‘Oh, I am gonna go to Burger King and say, ‘Hey, screw these burgers…we’re making tacos now’.’ This was my job. I by no means acquired on Headbangers Ball and stated I like a band that I did not like, however there have been movies that I performed that I did not like. However that was my job.”

“And since there the music fanbase was so broad, since you had simply as many individuals that wished to listen to, y’know…Warrant, that wished to listen to Nuclear Assault. I imply, you had all these folks wanting to listen to the totally different genres, and a variety of these bands must be performed, as a result of that is the one place to play them. That was why I consider we by no means ought to have performed any movies that have been being performed through the daytime.”

AllMusic: What have been a few of your favourite movies that have been performed on the time?

Rachtman: “My favourite band all the time has been Motörhead. I like Motörhead. I’ve acquired Motörhead tattoos. I can not say sufficient concerning the band Motörhead. However throughout my period on Headbangers Ball, I liked Danzig, I liked Suicidal Tendencies, I liked Megadeth. I imply, these are all bands I nonetheless hearken to, however movies that I keep in mind going to love, ‘Hey, now we have one thing from Suicidal or Danzig,’ and I additionally favored bands just like the London Quireboys – which have been a really Rod Stewart/Faces sort band. And I nonetheless acquired love for my brothers Quicker Pussycat, and a few of the LA bands.”

“Some folks become old and so they hearken to the lighter stuff. After I become old, I hearken to even heavier music – as a result of it makes me smile. Typically, the stuff that is so ‘ARGHHH!’ makes me smile. However I hearken to all the things. Spotify simply put out the checklist of the songs that I listened to essentially the most in 2022, and I used to be like, ‘Actually? THAT was what I listened to essentially the most?!’ It is type of stunning.”

AllMusic: How necessary was Headbangers Ball in breaking bands, and likewise, might a present like which have the identical affect right now?

Rachtman: “It was important in breaking bands. I hear it on a regular basis, folks saying, ‘Riki, you turned me on to Pantera.’ Which, I respect it, however I do not consider I ought to take credit score – as a result of I used to be only a host. But when folks heard me say how a lot I like Pantera and ‘Pantera is nice, Pantera is without doubt one of the best reside bands,’ they could assume, ‘Oh. I ponder what this Pantera seems like.'”

“See, the factor is we did not have YouTube then. Now, we’re on this ‘TikTok technology,’ that if there’s one thing that we do not like within the first 10 seconds – scroll, scroll, scroll. In the event you wished to see a video from Pantera on Headbangers Ball, you may need to sit down by means of six movies that you have by no means heard earlier than, and three of them you would possibly hate, however three of them you would possibly like.”

“Now, we will choose up our cellphone and say, ‘Present me a video from Megadeth,’ and we’re gonna see them immediately. Which due to that and that on the spot success of what we would like, we’re not going to get turned on to new stuff as a lot. Which is type of a disgrace. In the event you wished to see a video from Pantera on Headbangers Ball, you watched Headbangers Ball, and you are going to see different bands throughout that point that you just would not have identified about. And now, if there’s one thing that you do not know about – scroll, go, delete. Go proper by some great things. So it would be powerful.”

“However I consider – particularly the best way that I hosted Headbangers Ball, for higher or for worse – I did not thoughts being a butt-end of a joke. I did not thoughts doing goofy stuff. I did not thoughts bowling with Chris Cornell, skydiving with Megadeth, or strolling by means of the streets of San Francisco with Metallica. These are issues that that have been enjoyable, and what I hoped is I confirmed folks extra of the character of those artists. That is why I by no means minded if an artist gave me a tough time on digital camera – as a result of I consider the people who have been watching actually loved that.”

AllMusic: Who’re a few of your favourite modern-day metallic or rock artists?

Rachtman: “I simply noticed Amon Amarth reside, and holy crap – that was one of the enjoyable reveals I’ve seen. I actually like Amon Amarth. So far as bands that I like right now, I imply yeah, I will a Lamb of God present – I like Lamb of God – however even that is not new anymore. Lamb of God have been round 20 years.”

“I am an enormous fan of Shooter Jennings and Yelawolf. That is not metallic in any respect, and I feel that [Sometimes Y] is without doubt one of the best albums of the yr. I additionally like Municipal Waste. Individuals give me a tough time, however I actually like My Chemical Romance. I like that band. I like Turnstile. I additionally rediscover previous catalogs. Again after I was on Headbangers Ball, consider it or not I used to be not that into Venom. And now, I discover myself listening to extra Venom.”

“However to me, going to see Amon Amarth was enjoyable – like going to see Maiden for the primary time was. It was only a enjoyable present. I like seeing bands that that do goofy, enjoyable stuff. Y’know, they’re Vikings, come on! It would not matter what number of occasions I’ve heard a Motörhead album, there’s so many albums of their discography. And I hearken to my Misfits, I hearken to a variety of previous punk rock so much. However I like all the things.”

AllMusic: It looks as if now greater than ever, folks hearken to a little bit of all the things.

Rachtman: “I hope so. There’s lots of people which have a tough time listening to new music, and there is so many bands that I hearken to that to me really feel like previous bands. I prefer it when there is a new band enjoying that has that ‘previous really feel’ to it, as a result of I like thrash, I like Exodus, I like Slayer – I like that stuff. So, after I hear newer thrash bands, I am like, ‘Oh, proper on.’ As a result of they pay homage to that sort of music, and I feel the explanation I like thrash a lot is as a result of it type of has a punk rock really feel to it.”

AllMusic: It was enjoyable talking with you, Riki – as I used to be a loyal Headbangers Ball viewer again within the day, tuning in each Saturday evening.

Rachtman: “That was bizarre that we have been on Saturday nights, as a result of Saturday nights…that is why there have been a variety of youngsters that watched it, as a result of youngsters didn’t exit on Saturday evening. To be trustworthy, I didn’t watch Headbangers Ball – as a result of I shot it on Fridays, however I’d exit on Saturday evening!”

To view Riki’s upcoming spoken phrase dates and Headbangers Ball and Cathouse merch, click on right here.

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