LOS ANGELES — Ryan Roxie’s Glam roots are indisputable, starting all the way back to when he was a teenage guitar whiz on the Sunset Strip.
It was there Roxie ruled in the years before Poison with his utterly brilliant band called Candy, which headlined the Whisky and the Roxy in the early 1980s but never struck it rich.
But a mere taste of success is all that was needed to inspire the broad-shouldered, bespectacled Roxie to great things. He is mostly known for his successful years playing large halls with superstar Alice Cooper, and Roxie, 55, also has performed with Slash, Electric Angels, Gilby Clarke (they got their start together in Candy), Casablanca and others.
Roxie has released a series of stylish solo recordings in addition to being an inventor and hosting a successful podcast.
He splits time these days between living overseas and returning occasionally to Los Angeles, and Roxie was more than happy to deliver this revealing “10 Questions with Metal Sludge.”
1, Don’t think I’ve seen you since Keri Kelli’s wedding. How you been and do you miss Los Angeles?
RR: Damn!…has it been THAT long? Luckily, I’ve been able to play shows and hang in L.A. pretty consistently these past years, so I kind of get the ‘best’ of L.A. …Los Angeles is best (at least for me) in smaller doses (like Viagra)…
Do I miss the 405 Parking Lot and the daily grind of keeping up with the Kardasians? Hell no! BUT, do I miss Poquito Mas and the Rainbow Bar & Grills pizza, Fuck Yes!
2, Let’s start with this: Candy was one of the greatest bands ever, and I mean it.
RR: I appreciate that. I think it was one of those anomaly type of bands. Even though we never 100% fit in with the heavier bands that were playing the same scene, they sort of accepted us anyway because it would be guaranteed every time we played we’d have a predominantly female audience because we had the ultra handsome Gilby Clarke in the band. ha! …
Plus, we definitely shared the same black hair dye and aqua-net hairspray as all the other bands back in those days.
3, Candy never sold a million records but influenced a whole new wave musically AND lyrically — the post-Poison Glam resurgence in Hollywood.
RR: That’s cool of you to say, but I really think that it was a case of ALL of us bands listening to the same albums of the bands that inspired us. Cheap Trick (the In Color Album Cover), Hanoi Rocks (Back to Mystery City Album Cover), and pretty much ANY old Aerosmith records were all in our tape decks at that time…yes, I did say TAPE DECKS!
4, Dad’s Porno Mag was good, too, but forever an underground favorite. Thoughts?
RR: DPM was a little too LATE for the Grunge scene because we loved Nirvana, Posies, or anything with heavy guitars and hooky melodies, BUT at the same time we also were a little too EARLY for the upcoming pop punk and emo punk scene that would eventually include bands like Blink 182, My Chemical Romance etc. Just caught somewhere ‘in-between’ the scenes…just like a real Dad’s Porno Mag, found somewhere in between the mattresses.
5, Did you ever confront Slash after he bad-mouthed you in his book?
RR: We did have an ‘awkward’ reintroduction a few years later at a Velvet Revolver show while I was touring with Alice. More of just a ‘nod’ back and forth to each other (Think Spinal Tap: the scene when Nigel Tufnel goes to check out a show and sees David St. Hubbins for the first time since their ‘fight’…exactly same awkwardness!)
The thing I never understood about Slash and his book was…..Why? Why bad mouth not just me, but the ENTIRE Snakepit line-up for ‘Ain’t Life Grand’?…all in just a few sentences no less!?! Throwing every single member of that band under the bus for sensationalism’s sake? Trust me, there were plenty of other stories left out of the book that would have increased the ‘drama’ 10-fold.
Look, I’m so proud of the Snakepit ‘Ain’t Life Grand’ album and the guys I was able to record it with, including Slash, that I choose not to dwell on negative shit when there were SO many positive memories to reflect upon during that period of time. I will always say Slash is a great guitarist, and a great teacher. I learned more about the guitar playing with him daily for years, plus I learned to always read the extra ‘fine print’ when signing any sort of band agreement…ha!
Anyways, we spoke and hugged just a couple years ago when Alice did a show with GnR in Brazil. Water under the bridge is what I say…life’s too short to hold a grudge over a couple lines in a book. Those of us who were ‘in the circle’, or should I say ‘in the pit’ during that time know all the real stories and exactly what went down….that’s good enough for me.
6, You’ve played on and off with Alice Cooper for years. Ever put your neck in the guillotine?
RR: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you realise just how much ‘neck sweat’ has accumulated over the years on that guillotine!?! Honestly, I’ve never put my head in that guillotine because that’s my boss’s job…… and it’s ‘his’ thing…..plus, I hate neck sweat!
7, List three great memories with Alice Cooper including at least one that is embarrassing.
RR: Great memories with Alice Cooper come almost every tour. I would say that Alice has had a hand in giving me some HUGE Bucket List moments:
1. Being able to play onstage with one of my all-time Guitar Heroes, Brian May. We were playing Wembley arena no less…his stomping grounds! We started the show with Eric Singer kicking into ‘We Will Rock You’ and I’m telling you, EVERY hand in the audience went up in the air…just like friggin’ Live-Aid! ha! Then we broke into Schools Out and Brian killed the solo with the loudest guitar tone I’d ever heard. His ONE Vox AC-30 amp was louder than my entire rig!…Plus, I got to hold ‘THE’ guitar! (insert biblical music here)
2. The Motley Crue final tour. Even though it didn’t end up being the ‘actual’ final tour (did any of us ‘really’ believe the contract was written in blood?). Being able to tour the world with Motley provided me with SO many great bucket list memories. So many of the venues I had always wanted to play since I was a kid were fulfilled on that tour. First time playing Madison Square Garden, first time playing Hollywood Bowl…the list goes on and I’m thankful for EVERY venue on that tour.
3. You want embarrassing? How about having the opportunity to play in Rockford Illinois in front of one of your biggest influences you’ve had as a guitarist and songwriter since you were a kid. I’m talking about Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick. The evening started off great enough as Rick came into our dressing room and we had a chance to jam ‘California Man’ and Schools Out together, just me and him! Dream come true! THEN, during the show…as Rick is watching from the monitor board, I jump on top of the ego-riser to lay out my ‘spotlight solo’ that Alice gives each of us in the band. Well, I’m gonna go for it this time…I’ve got Cheap Trick’s guitarist watching us in HIS hometown, the crowd is great, and fuck…I’m just gonna lay down the best solo I’ve every played!….
Apparently my guitar had other ideas. As soon as I jump up on the riser, the guitar makes the ugliest BZZZZZ/feedback sound you’ve ever heard. I’m trying to play notes, and all that’s coming out of my rig is electronic sounding vomit!! I cower backwards and look over at Rick and he’s shrugging his shoulders and mouthing the words ‘It happens…’ Any other time I would have just chalked it up to ‘just another night in rock n’ roll’…but REALLY, did it have to be THAT NIGHT?!:
8, What’s in your pocket right now, and what is on your night table?
RR: Literally nothing except my hand looking around for something, but feeling nothing is there. The night table is another story…a pair of Headphones, an iPad, a Louis Vuitton bag (even though I don’t own a single LV product), and 6 (yes six!) sets of guitar strings….why?!?
9, Whom do girls like more, guitarists or singers?
RR: I think girls start off liking the singers more because THEY are the ones expressing the words that make you fall in love with a band in the first place…but as soon as they figure out most singers are 95% crazy, they take a tiny step down the ‘totem pole of rock’ and figure, ‘Hey, this guy plays in the same band and receives roughly the same amount of glory, PLUS he won’t burn my house down….I’ll choose him!’
10, Your podcasts are like a who’s who of Rock. Who gave you your best quote?
RR: The truth is, EVERY week on our In the Trenches podcast, we have a great quote from our guests. I have a segment of the show called ‘Speaking Words of Wisdom’ (sound familiar?!?)… ALL these guys and gals that come onto the podcast have incredible and inspiring stories about their own musical journeys that you just have to check ’em out (hint! hint!)
But I guess one of the most recent quotes that took me aback was from Wayne Kramer, the guitarist of the legendary band MC5. When we were wrapping up the interview, I asked him if he had any inspiring advice to give to others, being that he came from such an iconic and influential band. He thought about it for a second, nodded his head, and looked straight in camera and said…..’Always brush and floss your teeth’ All I could think was…’Thanks Wayne.. actually not bad advice!’
Ryan Roxie @ WebSite – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – YouTube – Tour Dates – Spotify – Linked – LinkTr.ee – Store – Cameo – Podcast –
Gerry Gittelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.