Metal Sludge

Metal Sludge

TUFF DIARIES #16 … Lita Ford, Jason Flom, 75+ Shows, Cocaine, a Lawsuit, Sweet F.A. & the Big Freeway Fight

Live Wire fall issue 1991, feature article with Tuff and Stevie Rachelle centerfold.

— It’s the 4th quarter of 1991 and we had just got back from a long U.S. tour.

We also went to England for the American Dream concert series in London.

After flying back into Florida from our overseas trip we met back up with our roadies.

Our budget didn’t allow for us to bring our full road-crew so we put them up in a cheap motel in Orlando for a week.

You see our U.K. trip was sandwiched in-between our U.S. tour dates which started in the summer and stretched well into the fall months.

So we return home to the U.S. and start right back up on our run of shows heading back west towards California.

We had about another week to go, just a few shows were left.

Two to be exact.

Memphis Tennessee and Houston Texas.

On the off-day after Memphis we planned a trip to Graceland.

None of us had ever been there, so we were excited to see Elvis’ pad.

That date was October 14th and Houston was our last show on October 15th.

Then after Texas we were heading straight back to L.A. but only for a short 2 week break.

As we already had another tour lined up to support Lita Ford.

That tour was starting November 1st and went into December.

It’s now mid-late October and we’re back in Los Angeles, well in reality – the San Fernando Valley to be precise.

We’ve been gone most of the last 3 months.

Since our Ryder truck was stolen in Memphis, we had a lot to do, in very little time.

We had to get all new gear.

And I mean, all new.

We lost 99% of our gear in the theft and fire.

All Jorge’s ESP guitars and Todd’s ESP basses, were all gone.

Along with their amp heads and most of their custom painted Tuff logo cabinets.

Michael lost his purple SONOR drum kit, the road-cases and all of our boxes of merchandise.

The absolute worst nightmare for a band, and we were living it.

But, thanks to all of the group’s endorsements, we got most of it replaced.

Regardless of getting all new (free) equipment – it really sucked for the guys.

I say the guys… as Michael, Jorge and Todd lost much more than I did.

The biggest casualties for me were a couple of wireless microphones and my 2 acoustic guitars.

Along with most of my clothes, and everything I had left town with – did not make it back.

However, the same applied for the others as well in the way of personal posessions, it was a huge loss for all.

A message to all bands, be safe, be smart and most of all – be insured.

If you haven’t already read Tuff Diaries #15 about our truck being stolen, it’s HERE.

“No Gear, But We’re Here” was the slogan on our Nov/Dec 1991 tour book.
For each tour leg we would have a different cover, slogan, etc..

Most of these were designed by Johnny Dee, who at the time was playing drums for Britny Fox. Johnny has always been a great friend of the band going way back to late 1989, early 1990.
Check out our tour aliases.

Lita & a Lawsuit

The Lita Ford/Tuff tour starts off on the West Coast, and it’s highlighted during week 1 with a big two-night stand at the “Whisky-A-Go-Go” on Sunset Strip.

As if we hadn’t had enough bad stuff happen, more was on the way.

This time, in the form of a lawsuit.

During our live set at “The Whisky-A-Go-Go” some random guy walks up to the stage and hands me some papers.

This happens all the time, notes, written requests like; “It’s my girlfriend’s birthday tonight” and so on.

But this wasn’t a birthday request at all.

Between songs the guy reaches towards me with some papers.

As I bend down to grab it, he says: “You’ve been served” and walks away.

There was a bit of an awkward and uncomfortable moment, then it finally became clear.

We had just been served a lawsuit while on stage.

Turns out it was from one of our previous managers, a guy named Johnny Dallas.

He worked with Tuff in late 1987 and early 1988, until we fired him.

If you missed it, you can read about Johnny Dallas and our falling out in Tuff Diaries #5

Moving along…

It was some years earlier, and so much had happened, we had all kind of forgotten.

But he hadn’t and yeah, we owed him some money, probably around $10,000.00 or so.

So now that we were signed to a big record label and on MTV, it was the right time to file a lawsuit – and he did just that.

More on this later…but the show went on, so did the tour and the lawsuit the same.

Los Angeles area strip ad promoting select shows for the first week of November 1991. Lita Ford and Tuff at “Whisky-A-Go-Go”

We’re about a week into the tour, maybe it was San Diego, hard to recall but one night we were all at dinner.

A lot of these clubs also have food, or a restaurant attached.

So it’s after sound-check and they have a few tables set up for the bands.

One for Tuff, and another for Lita Ford and her band.

Her band were all guys, and everyone was pretty cool.

That night Lita walked in and as she passes by our table says: “Hi girls” and laughs out-loud.

I took offense to that, and felt she, like many others just jumped on our image.

I guess we were being bullied by Lita Ford.

How dare she? Lol.

We had little to no interaction with her on most of these dates, but every few days we’d bump into each other.

I don’t remember much about her band, but I do recall Jimmy D’Grasso was the drummer.

The guitarist was a guy named Joe, early-mid 20’s, in our age range.

So now we’re about 2 weeks into the tour and playing shows in Texas.

Lita got mad that Joe was hanging around with Tuff.

Clearly we were the band pulling the pussy, so he wanted to mix it up with all the girls.

I am not entirely sure, but my guess is, Lita wasn’t allowing any of her band to bring random females onto her tour-bus.

So one night after a gig Joe was partying with Todd and Jorge.

They had disappeared and went to some girl’s apartment.

The next morning when there was a bus call for Lita’s band in the hotel lobby, well Joe wasn’t around, and they left without him.

After a long night of who knows what, Todd, Jorge and Joe finally showed up but definitely a little wrecked.

Joe was stressed when we informed him the bus had left a few hours earlier.

Oops. Lol.

We ended up bringing him with us in our van to the next city.

Needless to say, he was now officially on Lita’s shit-list thanks to Tuff.

Over the next few days we learned that Joe was banned from hanging out with us for the rest of the tour.

How ridiculous is that?

Some fan art…if I am recalling this correctly…the guy showed up and asked if he could draw us, during the show. Then he gave us this afterward.
It’s dated Nov. 16th 1991, which was “Cadillac’s” in Hickory, N.C. and the artist’s name noted is Travis Cook.

The next time I crossed paths with Lita was in Atlanta, when we played at the “Masquerade”.

We had finished our set, and Lita was walking towards the stage as her intro was playing.

She and I ended up behind the stage curtains, and she was sipping on a drink.

We were so close in each other’s faces I could smell the alcohol on her breath while she talked.

There wasn’t anyone else around for her to act like a hard-ass in front of, so she was very sweet.

She even made a few suggestive comments to me, something about the way I looked and gave me a smile and a wink.

Not much to make of it, other than she was definitely being flirty.

Honestly, I was never a huge fan of hers, and no I never had her picture on my wall either.

I always thought the images of her with her ass hanging out were gross.

Besides, at this point, she was 33, which to me was ancient – she might as well had been 63.

My taste were girls younger than I was, so a women in her 30’s at this point was a big turn-off.

Overall Lita wasn’t very friendly to us, and acted arrogant throughout the tour.

But we could have cared less, we were here for our fans not her.


New York City & Jason Flom

We’re back in the Big Apple and it’s late November 1991.

I recall we played at a club called “The Marquee”.

Jason Flom from Atlantic Records was at the show that night and came into our dressing room afterwards.

Flom was a big shot at Atlantic and at the time was well on his way to becoming a key executive at the label.

We played our short set, probably 30 or 40 minutes as we were the opener.

Everyone is back-stage, the place is packed and things were good.

Flom and I are talking and he’s being a professional, and I am basically acting like Sebastian Bach Junior.

Talking a mile a minute, life of the room, blah, blah, blah.

At some point I turn to Jason: “How did you like the show?”

He kind of hesitated a bit and then said: “You talk too much.”

Before he could finish his sentence I start my Bach-like drivel.

“No. You see, I am just making use of the time in-between songs man, and telling a story. And we still played 8 songs, and 8 songs at, like 3 or 4 minutes each bro, is what, 30 minutes. It’s like David Lee Roth when he’s on stage and…”

Flom cuts me off: “You’re nothing like David Lee Roth.”

And he just stood there looking at me.

I felt like an idiot and he was right.

I feel even dumber now, looking back.

It’s also safe to say that within a few seconds of that exchange, Flom was talking to someone else and I was doing the same.

I will admit that my behavior at times, was definitely not the best.

But truth is, Jason Flom was a mature 30 year old businessman.

A label representative at Atlantic Records who was groomed by his Father, Joseph Flom, a prominent lawyer.

I was a (immature) 25 year old kid who grew up in Oshkosh.

I was trying to cram everything I (thought I) knew, liked, or learned into every meeting, every show or every meet n’ greet I had on a daily basis.

Flom was also a New Yorker, I was the mid-west kid who had been living in California.

Obviously, we’re 2 different types of people, and I am guessing there was a little clash there.

Over the year or so we had been dealing with Flom, he was always very cool to us.

But, also seemed a little reserved, as to not let his guard down too much.

The night went and the Big Apple became a blur.


Lita Ford Tour 1991 w/ Special Guest Tuff

November 1, 1991 “The Stone” San Francisco, CA
November 2, 1991 “One Step Beyond” Santa Clara, CA
November 4, 1991 “Coach House” San Juan Capistrano, CA
November 5, 1991 “The Whisky-A-Go-Go” West Hollywood, CA
November 6, 1991 “The Whisky-A-Go-Go” West Hollywood, CA
November 7, 1991 “Sound FX“ San Diego, CA
November 9, 1991 “Ventura Theatre” Ventura, CA.
November 10, 1991 “After The Goldrush” Tempe, AZ.
November 12, 1991 “The Basement” Dallas, TX
November 13, 1991 “The Backroom” Austin, TX
November 15, 1991 “Masquerade” Atlanta, GA
November 16, 1991 “Cadillacs” Hickory, NC
November 17, 1991 “The Flaming Mug” Fayetteville, NC
November 19, 1991 “Zaxx“ Springfield, VA
November 20, 1991 “The Marquee” New York City, NY
November 21, 1991 “The Channel” Boston, MA
November 22, 1991 “Chestnut Cabaret” Philadelphia, PA
November 23, 1991 “Hammerjacks” Baltimore, MD
November 25, 1991 “Graffiti” Pittsburgh, PA
November 26, 1991 “Fantasy Theater” Cleveland, OH

*Lita Ford quits the tour and goes home sick.

November 27, 1991 “Newport Music Hall” Columbus, OH *w/ Sweet F.A.
November 28, 1991 “Thanksgiving” Harsen’s Island, MI *Day off
November 29, 1991 “The Ritz” Roseville, MI.
November 30, 1991 “Cubby Bear Lounge” Chicago, IL
December 1, 1991 “Bogarts” Cincinnati, OH
December 2, 1991 “Mississippi Nights” St. Louis, MO *Canceled
December 3, 1991 “Ranch Bowl” Omaha, NB
December 5, 1991 “Bangles” Denver, CO
December 6, 1991 “Rafters” Salt Lake City, UT
December 8, 1991 “Rock Candy” Seattle, WA *Canceled
December 9, 1991 “Roseland Ballroom” Portland, OR *Canceled


Sick & Tired

The tour trounced along the East Coast, and this was our 2nd time into this part of the country in the last few months.

After a day in New York, we head north to Boston, then its Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and into Ohio we go.
By this point we had played roughly 60 shows just since late summer alone.

We’re still getting some radio play and we’re regularly in all the magazines too.

You name it, they covered us… Metal Edge, Faces, Live Wire, Powerline, Hit Parader, Metalix, Metal Forces, Rock Beat and Kerrang!

During this time frame, 3 things could make or break a band.

Number 1 was Mtv. And we got our shot a few months earlier and “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” had hit #3 in September.

Number 2 was Radio. We had a select group of stations who were playing us, but not the same number of stations or spins that Motley Crue, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Skid Row or Warrant were getting.

Number 3 was Press. We had continued to get press, and it was solid. But again, not the continuous cover stories or mega coverage that the top of the era were getting.

So we just kept driving our brand, Tuff live, in the rags, on the radio and still working hard and waiting for the next big break.

It’s close to Thanksgiving now and we really haven’t been home but a few days since July.

We are in Cleveland and there is a rumor going around that Lita is sick.

Some of the crew are saying they’re not sure if she’s going to play tonight.

This kind of blindsided us, and suddenly I had a flash-back of our Britny Fox East Coast tour in 1990.

I wrote about the Britny Fox debacle in Tuff Diaries #11.

So the Cleveland show happens, but we’re now being told the tour might be over.



More Britny Fox flash-backs, ugh.

We’ve done 20 shows and Lita Ford is sick.

Now the news is out, Lita is going home.

Phone calls to our manager and agency, and we’re all in a holding pattern.

After the dust settles the tour will go on with Tuff only.

However, a few of the remaining promoters are considering canceling their date altogether.

Oh well, what else is new, we’re ready to move forward and rock n’ roll.

Live Wire – Stevie Rachelle gets a inset block on the cover fall 1991!
Tuff full-page pinup Live Wire fall 1991
Jorge DeSaint with a fan at “The Ritz” in Roseville, (Detroit) Michigan November 29th 1991

The next day we drove to Columbus Ohio, to play the “Newport Music Hall”.

The show was advertised as Lita Ford, Tuff and Sweet F.A., who were local to the area.

We pull into town, and arrive at the venue to see all of Sweet F.A.’s gear on stage.

They’ve already started sound-checking and we’re being told we’re the opening band now.


Needless to say, we were not happy as that’s not what was on the poster.

After some general arguing between us, the stage crew and local promoters, it’s clear the hometown boys are getting their way.

Typical politics play out, and at this point in our career we could care-less.

Show time comes and we hit the stage.

We were a well-oiled machine by this point and killed it nightly.

Whether we’d go on first, or last, 30 minutes or a full set – we were ready.

Pretty much every band we ever played with, wasn’t always stoked on the fact that we delivered the way we did.

It’s also why I believe, Tuff never got any great tours.

We played with pretty much every cool band of the era, once.

But after kicking ass, and doing what we do, it seemed no one wanted to play with us again.

Maybe it’s because we stole all the pussy after the show.

Call it bragging or whatever, but the truth is, we were an intimidating band to share the stage with.

I am guessing that was also the case in the early years for bands like Motley Crue, Poison, Bon Jovi and Warrant.

After those opening bands got their chance, and started mopping the floor with the headliners they got tossed.

I can’t say we were the reason why Britny Fox imploded after 1 show with Tuff (as detailed in Tuff Diaries #11), but that is exactly what happened.

I recall learning that we out-sold them in merchandise at “The Living Room” in Providence Rhode Island the first night of that tour.

Which ultimately also became the last night of that tour.

This all seems petty looking back, but all this mattered to a degree back in the day.

Sweet F.A. “Temptation” release from 1991

So the show at “Newport Music Hall” was a mess for sure.

When we took the stage we had little to no monitors, the lights were barely on and the P.A. system was at a super low volume.

These are the kind of things you read about when a bigger band, takes the newbie band on tour and treats them like garbage.

Well, in short, this is what Sweet F.A. and their crew did to Tuff that night.

The show is half-ass and after about 5-6 songs I tell the crowd we’re done.

I told the fans to meet us at the t-shirt booth and we walked off stage.

Of course I also went full Axl and slammed my microphone into the floor.

75% of the crowd left the stage area, and waited to meet Tuff at the merchandise stand.

Sweet F.A. got to play big rock stars to their local crowd, or what was left of it.

Of course this is my version of what happened, and likely their version would be different.

Honestly I don’t recall ever meeting any of these guys, and I am guessing they were all probably good people.

But truth is, every band was thinking “kill or be killed” at some point, and if you weren’t – you got left in the dust.

Other than a guy over-dosing and dying on the tour, we had seen it all and nothing coiuld shock us at this point.

We’ve made a ton of friends with bands we shared the stage with over the years, bigger bands, smaller bands and those who we felt were on the same level with us.

I felt like we learned early on about being respectful of each other’s space and gave back – what we got in return.

However every once in a while you run into a situation that gets ugly fast.

This was a shit show for sure, and Sweet F.A. left a bad taste in our mouth.

Oh well, onward we go and drive north into Michigan.

The next show was at “The Ritz” in the Detroit area.

If my memory serves me correct, a fan named Shawn Card handed me a VHS tape that night.

That tape started a great friendship that would eventually turn into Metal Sludge 7 years down the road.

But that’s a story for the Metal Sludge Diaries.

The tour continues without Lita Ford and we’re unfazed.

Our thought by this time was pretty simple – fuck Lita Ford and fuck Sweet F.A. too.


Tuff live at “The Ritz” in Roseville Michigan (Detroit) on November 29th 1991.

So Many Seasons video draft

During the late fall while on tour there was a point when Atlantic Records was considering another single.

I don’t recall how it happened, or who decided, but it became clear the label’s idea for the next single / video was going to be for the song “So Many Seasons”.

Right out of the gate, this did NOT sit well with Todd.

I feel he reacted this way for a few reasons.

First off it was another acoustic pop song and he wanted to show our heavier side.

Afterall, Atlantic kind of half-assed the original plan to release “All New Generation” first, but jumped on the ballad after it was getting some radio play.

So going right into another acoustic styled single had all of us a little annoyed.

The second reason, was because it was one of my songs.

I for the most part, wrote most of the lyrics and general melody ideas for Tuff, but in the way of music, I only contributed on 2 songs.

“I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” and “So Many Seasons”, which Todd seemed to be having the; “This is NOT the Stevie Rachelle band!” opinion again.

Truth be told, Todd was always the band’s musical leader more than anyone.

And even if Jorge brought in the riffs or basic idea for “Good Guys Wear Black”, “All New Generation” or “Ruck A Pit Bridge”, it was Todd who pretty much arranged all of our songs.

Including the 2 tunes I brought to the table.

Todd was the more sophisticated player for sure, and that is what you hear in songs like “Lonely Lucy”, “Spit Like This” and “Ain’t Worth A Dime”.


Atlantic had also communicated to Cindy Keefer who had directed the “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” video.

At some point we were forwarded a rough story-board of what the video may look like.

It went something like this…

Scene: Stevie singing in an area with trees, and leaves falling down.

Scene: Jorge playing guitar in a field, with snow on the ground.

Scene. Band plays with Stevie in the rain.

Scene: Jorge plays acoustic while Stevie walks down country road.

Scene: Stevie walks by a lake, band shot with sun setting in the distance.

And so on….

Todd saw this and was furious.

“Why is it Stevie does this and Stevie doing that, we’re a band. This isn’t the Stevie Rachelle project” was the just of Todd’s argument.

This had happened previously with Todd on numerous occasions.

After we were sent the first edits of “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” everyone was elated.

Except for Todd.

Todd was mad as hell, and went to great lengths to argue his point.

He took his VCR, and every time someone was in a scene in the video, Todd would tally a mark.

After freeze-framing the entire video, his final counts were in.

These were not the exact numbers, but it was something like…

Stevie is in 53 scenes, Jorge is in 36 scenes, Michael is in 22 scenes, the actor with long hair was in 19 scenes, and Todd was in 16 scenes.

Todd was especially pissed that some guy who was playing the girl’s love interest, had more shots in our video than he did.

This was a big deal, and Todd argued to everyone including our manager.

Over the course of 1991 Todd also brought it up to management, to contact magazines, like Metal Edge and Hit Parader about sharing pin-up coverage.

Todd’s argument was: “Stevie is always the pin-up, give someone else a chance.”

Of course everyone thought this was stupid, and even Jorge and Michael were like: “Dude, he’s our fucking singer, representing our band for Christ’s sake!”

But Todd was beyond stubborn and would call our manager and demand something be done.

We even gave him examples: “Do you think Michael Anthony made this complaint in Van Halen? Or Rob Affuso does this in Skid Row?”

However it all fell on deaf ears…he wasn’t having it.

Even with the professional photographers like Hames, Zlozower, LaFerman and Weiss, they would shoot 10 rolls of the band.

Then they’d say: “Okay guys, let’s do some solo shots.”

Usually they would shoot a roll of each of the guys, and then when it came to me, (and my guess is most singers) they would take 3-4 or 5 rolls.

Todd would ask why, and complain.

Now we’re onto a possible 3rd video for Atlantic, and the rough draft has him pissed once again.

Of course we never got to do this video with an Atlantic Records budget, but this was the general temperature of Todd versus Stevie in the band.

It was becoming very noticeable to all, that Todd had an issue with Stevie.

Stevie Rachelle with Tuff Mom at a tour stop winter 1991.


It’s now December 1st and little did we know, that the band was about to implode.

Never mind the stolen truck, or the tens of thousands of dollars we lost.

The road was starting to get to us, all of us, but maybe more to some than others.

And it’s safe to say that we all didn’t realize it either.

We really needed a break from each other, and for more than a week or two.

There were only 7 shows left on the tour schedule, as a few dates canceled.

No Lita Ford, no show is what a few of the promoters said.

So, now that Lita left, it did affect some of the shows but most went forward as planned.

The remaining promoters agreed to pay us our guarantee, and have it be a Tuff show with local support.

We played “The Ranch Bowl” in Omaha on December 3rd 1991 and if you think that name sounds like it should be a Bowling Alley, you are correct.

Embeded below from YouTube is the full show from “The Ranch Bowl”.

Oddly, we had played there before and it was actually a pretty cool club.

On our day off (December 4th) we drove to Denver which is 541 miles. Ugh.

Playing this part of the country can be brutal, as every major city is like 8 hours apart.

When you are touring the East Coast, you can play a show every 2-3 hours.

But going west of the Mississippi, it can get really ugly.

541 miles, with gas stops, food, stretch your leg breaks, that’s easily a 10-12 hour day.

We get into Denver and we’re set to play “Bangles” on Dec. 5th, which is a Thursday night.

Hmmm, I seem to recall that Rikki Rockett (Poison) and Miljenko Matejevic (Steelheart) came to our show that night.

Other than a few celebrity guests at the show it’s like every other gig, and at this point we only have 1 more show to go.

Just like the last tour, remember, Memphis, and the stolen truck?

There was only 1 show to go on that tour as well.

Kerrang! Magazine, Stevie Rachelle featured pinup Kontentz page October 1991
Tuff feature interview, Kerrang! Magazine October 1991

Okay, so we play Denver, and it’s now Friday (day-time) December 6th and we’re in the van.

We’re meaning… me, Michael, Todd, Jorge and our tour manager Richie.

Richie is driving and we’re headed to Salt Lake City Utah.

Tonight we are going to play at a club called “Rafter’s”.

Today is another long drive, 521 miles…and give or take…that’s another 10 hours.

But two days ago, we drove 541 miles (Omaha to Denver) on an off-day.

Today, is not an off-day, as we have a gig tonight.

Matter of fact, we have sound-check at 5:00PM.

Which thinking back, that means we were up, and in the van, by like 7:00AM.

After playing last night (Denver) and going to bed, at what, 3:00AM?

So, everyone, band and crew, are going on fumes.

In the last 3 days we have driven over 1,000 miles.

Our road-crew (Dennis, Todd, Jamie & George) are in the Ryder Truck and would usually leave a few hours ahead of us, to ensure arriving on time to load-in and set up.

The band, and our road manager are in our van.

So, we’re driving on Interstate 80 West and I decide to confront Jorge.

You see our merchandise guy (also named George) had a birthday the other day, and Jorge offered him some cocaine to celebrate.

George was a good Canadian kid, who didn’t party at all.

But Jorge and some of the guys were teasing him, and made the lines of coke into a G.

You are reading that correctly, they literally made the letter G, out of cocaine on a mirror.

Tuff tour manager Richie “POM” Wuestenberg, who also worked with Britny Fox for many years.

Then they held up the plate, with the G made of cocaine and were like: “C’mon dude, try it.”

And truth is, I know Jorge was mostly kidding.

Even if George wanted to, Jorge would have likely backed off the offer, especially after realizing another nose would be snorting his coke.

Either way, they taunted him and it embarrassed him.

I asked Jorge why he did this, and told him it was lame, and to not do it again.

Jorge was always very irritated, more so, or as equally as Todd was.

Remember, Todd’s alias in the tour book is “Ira Tated”

So I am busting Jorge’s balls on this cocaine incident and the discussion gets heated.

It pretty much turned into an argument.

Richie our tour manger is driving, Michael is riding shotgun.

I am in the 1st row behind the front driver/passenger seats.

Jorge is directly behind me, and Todd is in the next row behind Jorge.

I am essentially berating Jorge, and he was half-asleep as was Todd.

The last thing either of them wanted to hear, for hours on end, was me bitching.

But, I was relentless and didn’t let up.

This was both a good and a horrible trait of mine.

If I put my mind to something, it’s on… that goes for most anything.

So in a quick review, we’re in the middle of a 500+ mile drive, after 2 days earlier we did the same.

No one has had more than 3 hours of sleep and nerves are frayed.

Adding, we’ve done 25 shows in a little over a month, with a 2 week break after losing all of gear and doing almost 50 shows the previous 2 months.

We had been in each other’s faces for over 4 years, and in the last 18 months it was literally daily.

Remember, pretty much everyone moved out of the band apartment in the previous few years, as we were all needing a break from each other anyway.

Or maybe, they just needed a break from me.

Oh well, leave it up to me, to pick this exact time to have a band meeting / argument.

I am riding Jorge about his actions, and at some point Jorge made some snide remark that I didn’t like.

I snapped, and whipped around, grabbed his leather jacket collar and pulled him towards me.

Before I could finish my vicious verbal spew into Jorge’s smoke-breath face, Todd grabbed my arm.

Chase was basically grabbing my arm to keep me away from Jorge.

Now I turn my anger and attention towards Todd, “Take your hand off my arm or I will ….”

As my teeth are gritting tighter and my death stare is looking right through him.

By this point, all in a matter of 5 seconds, it’s me, Jorge and Todd all in a scuffle.

Richie behind the wheel going 70 mph, turns around: “Rachelle, knock it off!”

Now the van is swerving and there are 3 of us in a half-assed fight, Richie is driving but trying to intervene.

Who knows what Michael was thinking, but no doubt he wasn’t happy.

As quick as it started, it ended.

No punches thrown, but some intense grabbing, shoving and threatening.

It was only words.

But harsh words, and I will admit some very angry words.

Threats of bodily harm that poured out of my mouth like a well-rehearsed stage rap.

Mind you, this was going into our 5th year together as a band.

And, we had never really fought.

There was never a real punch, or kick, or choke hold or on top of the other scenario.

At least not between us 4.

I did man-handle a few shit-talkers in the clubs over the years, and even a roadie caught my wrath.

But with the band, that didn’t happen.

We finished the full day’s drive and arrived at “Rafter’s” in Salt Lake City.

Sound-check as usual, and then the club fed us.

Michael, Todd and Jorge sat at a table together.

I sat by myself.

Everyone was mad at me, and I knew it.

I was absolutely in the wrong.

Not for bitching about the cocaine incident, but the way I handled it.

Bringing it up on a 500+ mile drive between gigs, was not needed.

Pushing Jorge to breaking point, which then made me break as well, was not necessary.

And regardless of no real violence, I was intimidating.

I had been in fights before, with other guys in clubs, and hurt them pretty bad.

So, Todd had a genuine concern that my rage might lead to doing this to the band.

Which I never did, but it was my words, I assume, that put a fear into his mind.

Going back some years, I did have a pretty gnarly physical fight with Todd’s brother, Kenny Chaisson of Keel.

That didn’t end well for Kenny, as he ended up going to the hospital, not me.

Either way, the band was pissed at me and we played the final show of the tour.

The following day, Saturday December 7th 1991, we drove the 700 miles home to Los Angeles.

It had been a long year, a good year, and a great year but sadly, it ended pretty badly.

Do I take all the blame for the way this tour, or year ended – no I don’t.

But I will take some of it.

The way 1991 ended, was a buildup of everything that came before it.

We all played a part in what happened, the good, the bad and the ugly.

We had so many highs in 1991, and some really bad lows too.

Similarly, we had the same in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990.

It was mid-December and Michael suggested everyone just relax.

Spend time with our girlfriends, our family and friends for the Holidays.

Exactly 1 year earlier, on December 27th 1990, we loaded into the studio to begin recording our debut album for Atlantic Records.

Since that day, we released “What Comes Around Goes Around”, had a #3 video on MTV and had been played on the radio all over the nation.

We also appeared in hundreds of magazines, played upwards of 100 shows and had our way with more girls than we all could remember.

Now that year has passed us by, and our future is questionable.

The plan was to get together after the New Year.

A polaroid test shot from one of the last photo shoots we ever did as a band with all 4 of us.


Todd vs: Stevie, final round

Over the next few weeks Jorge and I talked on the phone, and all was well.

Michael and I had talked and he was okay with everything too.

Todd however, well I didn’t talk to Todd, but the word was – he wasn’t budging.

He was still pissed and it didn’t matter how anyone else felt.

The funny thing is, the argument/fight was between Jorge and I.

Todd wasn’t really part of it, until he grabbed my arm to try and defuse the situation.

At which point I explained in detail what his demise would be if he didn’t let go.

Who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s a bully or a jerk, well… that’s all subjective.

Jorge, Michael and I were all moving forward like any other day.

Whatever had presented itself good or bad from 1991 – we put it in the rear-view mirror.

But Todd wasn’t buying in this time.

Todd then started a little in-house campaign to fire me from the band.

He offered up ideas as to who could replace me, and suggested Shawn Crosby from Jones Street should sing for Tuff.

Todd told our manager Brian Kushner, to tell Atlantic Records, “We’re replacing Stevie.”

Pretty much everyone involved told Todd in a nice way, “You’re fucking crazy. That’s not going to happen.”

When it became clear that Todd’s idea to kick me out wasn’t going anywhere, he gave Michael and Jorge an ultimatum: “Either we fire Stevie or I will quit.”

Both Michael and Jorge said: “We’re not firing Stevie, but we don’t want you to quit either.”

They (Michael, Jorge and Brian) had spent several weeks talking to Todd and trying to explain why this wasn’t going to work.

In the end, there was no changing Todd’s mind, and he quit the band.

Todd started this band with Jorge by most accounts, on New Year’s Eve of 1984.

From some random garage in Phoenix to this point, Todd had given 7 years to Tuff.

But he was done, and wanted no part of it going forward.

Todd was also the one in the band who had taken to heavier music in a big way.

As the last few years unfolded, Todd’s favorite band became Pantera and he listened to mostly heavier stuff.

He also was the first to think our look, hair style, or most of the related was gay or lame.

There is no doubt we looked a bit goofy in the beginning, but we like most bands, had graduated past the full-on glam look, sound and presentation.

We weren’t Metallica but we were not the same band in late 1991 that we were in 1987 or 1988 either.

I think most bands went through a phase in the late 80’s or early 90’s, where they got harder, darker, dirtier and dropped the glossy stuff.

The days of spandex, bleach, glitter and bedazzled jackets were long gone.

But Tuff for the most part, was not ready to shave our heads, wear dreadlocks or dress like the road crew.

While Tuff was mostly on the same path as a lot of bands, it didn’t matter, Todd officially left the group.

Stay tuned as we turn the calendar to 1992.

What happens with Atlantic Records?

Who will be the replacement bassist?

Are you ready for TUFF DIARIES #17?

Read the rest of my TUFF DIARIES, all listed below.

Entry #1  How I Made My Way To California, 31 Years Ago Today  (June 25th 2018) 
Entry #2  My First Meeting With Tuff, “Is That All Your Real Hair?”   (June 29th 2018)
Entry #3  Tuff audition, Jim Gillette screams, a near fist fight & our debut show  (July 5th 2018)
Entry #4  The Metal Years, Famous People, Cocaine, Kiss & Sex with a Miss Gazzarri’s Dancer  (July 14th 2018)
Entry #5  Guns N’ Roses, Del James, 1988, Sound City, Strippers, Crabs & You’re Fired!  (July 30th 2018)
Entry #6  Summer on Sunset, Vinnie’s Invasion, Tracii’s Glue Gun, Vain & Sex by a Dumpster (August 11th 2018)
Entry #7  MTV’s NYE Big Bash, Riki & Taime’s Cathouse & My Girlfriend was a Poster at Spencer’s (August 20th 2018)
Entry #8  Jon Bon Jovi, Sebastian Bach, Rick Rubin, Howie Hubberman, BulletBoys & Gazzarri’s (Sept. 16th 2018)
Entry #9  Summer Tour ’89, Andy McCoy, Def Leftovers, Max the Model, Z-Rock, Tommi Gunn & Lit (Oct. 10th 2018)
Entry #10 Goodbye 1989, Jessica Hahn, Skid Row, Martha Quinn, Young Gunns, Flyer War & Cock-Rings (Nov. 9th 2018)
Entry #11 Hello 1990, Texas, Britny Fox Tour, Strippers, Hells Angels and Atlantic Records signs Tuff (March 24th 2019)
Entry #12 Ready to Record, Howard Benson, FM Station, Jani Lane, Court hearing & my 1st Playmate  (June 2nd 2019)
Entry #13 Recording our Atlantic debut, Bret Michaels, Kane Roberts & Sex is fine, but no sleepovers (Aug. 27th 2019)
Entry #14 New York City, Mixing our Record, Publishing Deal, Video Shoot , Cherry St. & Tigertailz (March 25th 2020)
Entry #15 Hello MTV, The Nelsons, Jason Newsted, U.S. Summer Tour, London & our Stolen Ryder Truck (May 2020)

Entry #16 Lita Ford, Jason Flom, 75+ Shows, Cocaine, a Lawsuit, Sweet F.A. & the Freeway Fight (July 29th 2020)
Entry #17 Hello 1992, Gene Simmons, More Money, Mike Starr, a New Bassist & Jason Flom II (March 20th 2021)
Entry #18 WildSide, Dee Snider, Tour Drama, Baywatch, New Label Search and Living in Reseda (Aug. 21 2021)
Entry #19 Michael Resigns, River Phoenix, Thirsty Whale, He’s Got a Gun, Stolen Van & Danny Quits (Jan. 16th 2022)
Entry #20 1994, Northridge Earthquake, Kurt Cobain, RLS Records, releasing “Fist First” (May 2022)

Message from the author.

People have said to me for years, “You should write a book, I’ll buy it.”

That’s not likely going to happen… not anytime soon at least. But if you are down with my blogs, my band or my various projects – I say thank you. 

I have self-released roughly 50 projects on CD. Cassette, VHS, DVD and Vinyl since 1994. All on my own. Without any label support. None. 

I have also kept Metal Sludge alive, afloat and online since 1998. For Free. You cannot imagine the workload a website of this magnitude can be.

No Kickstarters, no Go-Fund Me, and no Pay Me now and I’ll make a CD in a year and send it to you later. 

I am also self-managed, self-booked (most of the time) and 100% self reliant. A 1-man gang. 

If you want to support in anyway, buy a CD or Vinyl record from me, or a T-shirt. Or send me something direct via Pay Pal.

I am not begging. I am not sick and no hospital bill. Nope, just continuing my service to the fans that support my Rock N’ Roll. 

My direct Pay Pal email is – send a dollar, send ten or send fifty. Send whatever you like, or nothing at all. 

Many independent websites have Donate buttons, Metal Sludge has NOW added one, Top Right of this page.

No pressure, but hey, it’s an option if you care to do so. 

Thank you for all your loyal support of my projects.

There is more to come, more blogs and more music too. I have something in the can now it just hasn’t been packaged just yet. 

Thank you again and all of your support is greatly appreciated. 

Stevie Rachelle

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