Interview: Poison’s Rikki Rockett discusses band’s Nothin' But A Good Time summer tour with Cheap Trick
Photo by: Mark Weiss and used with permission

In one of the most highly-anticipated tours of the summer, Poison, along with Cheap Trick and Pop Evil will embark on a string of dates across the U.S. that’s appropriately called “Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018”.

For Poison – which consists of all-original members Bret Michaels (lead vocals/guitar), Bobby Dall (bass), Rikki Rockett (drums) and CC Deville (guitars) the new tour promises to bring the hits, high energy as well as a few surprises. The band will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its sophomore release, Open Up and Say... Ahh.  An album that featured not only the hit “Nothin’ But A Good Time” but also the #1 song, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.

AXS recently spoke with Rikki Rockett about Poison’s new tour and more in this exclusive interview.

AXS: What can fans expect from Poison’s upcoming tour with Cheap Trick?

Rikki Rockett: In the past, we’ve always gone old school with pyro and no video screens. This year, we've updated and are doing a bunch of video stuff and it really looks great. We also have a new front of house engineer. I’ve heard some recordings and it sounds awesome. We’ve also got a few other surprises in store as well. We're on fire and ready to go.

AXS: What do you think makes the music of Poison and Cheap Trick so timeless and special? What keeps fans coming back?

RR: When people go to a Poison show, or any other "classic rock" show, they can expect to hear several hours of hit songs that they know. For the money, people don't want to go to a show and hear just one or two songs they’re familiar with. They want to hear twenty. And that's what you get with Poison and Cheap Trick. They’re songs that people grew up with and songs that have sustained.

AXS: Poison is one of few bands that continues to tour with its original lineup. To what do you attribute the band’s sustained longevity?

RR: We've managed to keep it together by learning how to be team players. To trust the other guy to pick up the slack and for them to expect the same from you. At the end of the day, when we get on stage and play, we understand what it's all about and why we're there. Bret and I started our first band when we were eighteen and we’re still doing to today. I've literally grown up as an adult with this band.

AXS: This year marks the 30th anniversary of the band’s second album, Open Up and Say... Ahh. What do you remember most about that time?

RR: They always say that it takes your whole life to write your first album, and three months to write your second, but that wasn’t true with us. We were just starting to get a feel for how to write and had all of these ideas that we wanted to get out. We never ran out of ideas. I think that was key.

AXS: Was there any pressure of having to repeat the success of the first album and to avoid the so-called “sophomore jinx”?

RR: Absolutely. People were actually ready to put a gravestone on us right after “Talk Dirty To Me”.  But we just kept putting out a song and then another one. Then we did Open Up and Say... Ahh and started headlining right after the second single. We just kept the pressure on.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from that album, beginning with “Nothin’ But A Good Time”. What can you tell me about it?

RR: We wrote that song around the time we were living in a warehouse in downtown L.A.. We didn’t have any money of our own at the time, but we would convince girls into getting fast food and taking us to the beach on the weekends. We realized that song spoke to people who were just like us. People doing their best to grind it out. It was just like us when we were a band back in Pennsylvania. We all had second jobs so that we could buy PA equipment or drum heads. That’s what the song is for. It's for the working class and the wish that you can have a good time among all that. Music is the way to escape. At the end of the day, that's the payoff.

AXS: How about the song, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, which was a big departure from what the band was known for.

RR: One thing that Poison has been blessed with is having a pop sensibility, and I don’t mean that in a bad sense. We all know a good song when we hear it. That song leaned in the saddle, and even the record company said, “Are you sure you want to do this? This isn’t the band that we’ve been building up.” But we had played it live a few times and it had already connected with people. So, we told them it’s a ballad. We wrote it. It’s us and it’s a great song. We wound up getting our way.

AXS: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

RR: Absolutely. I still have Devil City Angels. We took a rest for a minute, but now we're back and we're going to be releasing a new single and music video later this year for the song, “Testify”. We released a record with Tracii Guns, who’s now back with L.A. Guns (and is like being back home for him). Joel Kosche from Collective Soul has now joined the ranks.

AXS: What satisfies you the most about your life and career?

RR: You know what? I feel comfortable whenever we go out. I've made so many friends over the years that I literally feel like a global citizen. If I had stayed in one spot and didn’t travel, there would be so many things that I wouldn’t know about. No matter what State or country we go to, I know someone there. It’s a cool thing to be able to catch up with them. It becomes something more than just playing music. You start to care about their lives and family. It gives it a whole other meaning. That will be the thing I’m going to miss the most when I finally do hang up the touring life. But who knows? Maybe I'll just tour until the day I day. That a pretty cool thing too.