Metal Sludge

Metal Sludge

TUFF DIARIES #17 … Hello 1992, Gene Simmons, We Need Money, Mike Starr, New Bass Player & Jason Flom part II

Tuff: Danny Wilder, Jorge DeSaint, Stevie Rachelle & Michael Lean
Photo By: William Hames 1992 -c- RLS Entertainment 1992/2021

LOS ANGELES, CA. — Well by now most of you understand how these work.

It’s early 1992, our bass player Todd ‘Chase’ Chaisson has just quit the band, and grunge was starting to hammer the industry.

Of course we all saw it happening, but truth is – in looking back, nobody was fully aware to what level it would impact the 80’s style of music.

And might I add, not just the music… but our relationships with all aspects of the music business.

With the labels, the radio stations, press, obviously MTV and even the local promoters and clubs.

In this diary I will share what happened from January into the spring of 1992 and I hope once again, to give you a peak inside the world of Tuff as I saw it.

As I have mentioned previously, the TUFF DIARIES is a 25 part series.

This is part number 17 and it starts out the year 1992.

I have already outlined all 25, and all have been worked on, while some are well on their way to completion.

I always want to double check my homework, the dates, fact check, etc.. before pulling the trigger.

The next 7 diaries will takes us through 1992, 1993, 1994 and up to the end of 1995 when the band finally calls it quits.

Regardless of what the grunge movement was doing to us and the other bands, we made the most of the first half of the 90’s.

I am sorry I have lagged on getting more of these to you sooner, but what’s that old saying about fine wine? Lol.

Thanks for reading and supporting Tuff and anything related over the many years.

Here is entry #17 of the TUFF DIARIES!



Bassist Wanted / Money Needed

It’s January 1992 and we’re a bunch of broke losers.

Okay, we’re not totally broke, and not complete losers, but it does apply.

We’re also down a member and need a new bass player since Chase quit.

First thing we do is tell management to pressure Atlantic Records into getting behind the band a bit more.

A few calls are made by our manager Brian Kushner (nickname Kush), and just like that, Atlantic agrees to give us $5,000.00 to cut some demos for the 2nd record.

Wow… that was fairly easy.

At the same time, Kush also told the label that his band (who just had a #3 video on MTV) should have some money to live off of as well.

A little pressure, and just like that, Atlantic agrees to put us on salary.

The deal was, Tuff will get paid $6,000.00 per month, for the next 6 months.

Chase had just quit, so splitting money in 3, is always more fun than splitting it by 4.

We agree to take $1,200.00 each per month, give our manager his commission (20%) and leave the rest in the band account.

This way we can have rehearsals paid for, and a little extra for related band expenses.

These aren’t huge numbers, but according to an online Inflation Calculator, this is like $10,000.00 for demos and $12,000.00 a month salary in 2021.

We had also put the word out that Tuff was looking for a bassist, and we got an insane amount of interest.

If memory serves me, I believe Gerri Miller mentioned this in the Metal Edge news-wire section which helped spread the news.

We received upwards of 100 packages over a few months’ time and we had narrowed it down to about 5-6 guys.

First off, Danny Wilder from Paradise wanted the gig bad.

He was all over it, and also a local guy in Hollywood, but like the band, was originally from Arizona.

Danny use to play in a local Phoenix band called Klass that had supported Tuff in the late 80’s when we’d come to town.

Then he ended up coming to Hollywood and joined Paradise.

Just for the record, he was in Paradise, with Adam Gifford not Pair-A-Dice with Paul Lancia.

Someone else local we reached out to right away to fill the bass spot was Robbie Crane.

We had known Robbie forever, and he had even worked as a roadie for us on a few tours as well.

Fun Fact: Robbie was also Bobby Dall’s bass tech back in the Poison heyday.

We didn’t want to make a decision right away, but we asked Robbie to rehearse with us, work up the new songs and record the new Atlantic Records demos.

Aside from the aforementioned local guys (Crane and Wilder) we had a few guys come into town to audition as well.

One of those was Jimmy O’Shea the bassist from Cacophony.

I knew who this band was, and thought there is no way this guy would want to be in our group.

Paradise in 1988 with Danny Wilder far right.

However, we were on a major label and just had a Top 10 video on Dial MTV.

Clearly I felt our band could hold our own, but our musicianship was not on the level of Marty Friedman and Jason Becker.

Jimmy played great, looked cool and was super professional all around but he was just not the right fit, and I think he knew it.

We also jammed with Danny Wilder and it felt more than natural as we’d known him for years (like Crane) and he hung around the same scene on the Sunset Strip.

Another guy came out from New Jersey and his name was Jack Frost.

He was referred by Beth Nausbaum from Rock Scene magazine.

He too was a good guy but I remember he was a little busy (doing some slap techniques) on the bass and tried a little too hard at his audition.

The next day after jamming with him, Jack called and asked me: “So, what’s up?”

I told him we had a few different guys we were still going to jam with and we’d let him know if we wanted to go forward with him.

He basically lost his mind and started yelling on the phone. “What! I flew all the way here….” Blah, blah, blah…. just ranting like a nutcase.

He definitely wasn’t getting the job just from his audition alone, but after the phone meltdown, there wasn’t a chance in hell.

The guy suddenly turned into a huge douche bag.

He acted like one of those 14 year old girls who sings out of key on American Idol and gets the “Sorry honey” then flips her shit.

I don’t recall the rest of that exchange, but it wasn’t a good look for him.

Note: I have to add this, as the irony is crazy… in recent weeks, Jack Frost contacted me out of the blue on social media. We exchanged a few messages and I even brought up his audition, and the day-after phone drama. Crazy how time flies, this was 30 years ago, and here we are full circle. Jack was very cool and apologized for his actions, which he didn’t fully recollect, but I sure did. Lol. Anyway, kudos to Jack Frost.


A guy by the name of Jonni Lightfoot also auditioned, and was referred by Drew Hannah of WildSide.

I vaguely remember him and at some point we communicated in recent years through social media as well.

Jonni wasn’t the right guy for Tuff in 1992, but it appears he’s made a career with his abilities and for a period was playing bass with Air Supply.

One last guy I gotta mention was a dude named Bobby Lucero.

His package stood out, so I called him and offered him a chance to audition.

I told him, “We’re doing auditions at Studio D rehearsal in Burbank, on this date and time” and so on.

Even though he was in Texas, he agreed and said: “I will be there.”

The week of the auditions happens and guys are calling and checking in and confirming their time slot.

The Cacophony guy was from the Bay Area, so he had a solid drive to get down here unless he flew, I am not sure.

Bobby did check in as well, and then when he got there I sensed he was pretty naïve to all that was going on.

He played okay, looked okay, but now it was clear, he was several years younger than us and way too green.

Then come to find out, the guy took a Greyhound Bus all the way from El Paso to Los Angeles, just to audition.

That took balls, especially since we played with each guy for about 20 minutes tops.

I don’t even know where he stayed, or what happened that week, but I thought, “Man, this kid has balls.”

Bobby eventually ended up working as a roadie for Cherry St. a few years later when we toured with them through Texas and we shared some laughs.

Flashback Photo: Jorge DeSaint with our crew guys Dennis “Rat” Dudek and Robbie Crane – on a tour bus somewhere circa 1989

So basically after a few months of rehearsing and recording with Robbie Crane we were literally about to make the decision and we were all thinking it was a no-brainer.

Crane was the guy but lucky for him, he got a much better offer to play with the newly formed Vince Neil solo band.

Crazy how that works huh?

Robbie did play the bass on the new batch of songs we recorded for Atlantic but it was onto the next guy.

Once Crane was out of the picture, we opted to grab Danny Wilder and asked him to join.

Danny was super confident, played great, looked great and was no stranger to the scene.

He and Crane knew each other well, and there was also a little bit of a rivalry there for years.

Nothing bad, but oddly, Robbie was also the bassist in Paradise previous to Danny.

So Danny would make jokes, and vice versa, how he was always Crane’s scab or clean up guy.

In the end, Danny was the right guy and it was a near flawless transition.

Time to do some photos with the new lineup with William Hames.

Tuff lineup in 1992: Danny Wilder, Michael Lean, Stevie Rachelle and Jorge DeSaint
Photo By: William Hames -c- RLS Entertainment 1992/2021
Paradise in 1987 with Robbie Crane on bass


So Many Seasons

There came a point last fall (1991) where Atlantic Records was considering a second video.

So much so, that there was even a few rough drafts forwarded from Cindy Keefer, who had directed our “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” clip.

I talked about this in TUFF DIARIES #16.

Well as things have unfolded, Chase quitting the group and now Atlantic Records is giving us “demo money” for record #2, it’s pretty clear we’re not doing another video.

So, we opted to shoot some footage on our own.

My friend Shawn from Detroit came to California and helped edit some of our high-8 footage we had shot over the previous year for a yet to be title Home Video.

At the same time, we decided to shoot some additional content for “So Many Seasons” and make our own video.

Shooting scenes for “So Many Seasons” at Stoney Point Park in Chatsworth, March 10th 1992 with my Wisconsin buddy Jackie Suicide helping me with a wardrobe change up in the rocks

There was mostly stuff from the “What Comes Around Goes Around” tour but also some newer solo scenes with me.

We drove out to Chatsworth and filmed near the Stoney Point Park.

This is a very popular hiking area with lots of history.

Some of it, a bit creepy with the fact that Charles Manson and his crew use to hang out here back in the 60’s.

Stoney Point has also seen it’s fair share of silver screen time including episodes of Seinfeld and CSI among others.

Below is what became of that (1991) tour footage and the early 1992 scenes with me out at Stoney Point Park.

Lots of cool raw behind the scenes footage from the last year touring with the classic lineup and the reality was, this was the end of that era.

And yes, I still have that hat.


The Demon.

Somewhere along the line in early 1992 we were given the opportunity to write with Gene Simmons of Kiss.

We had met Gene multiple times over the years and he was always very cool to us.

I talked about Gene in a few of the previous TUFF DIARIES and again, he was always good to us.

While we were rehearsing at Studio D in Burbank, Kiss was ironically in the big room there as well around this same time.

So we had run into and chatted to both Gene and Paul more than once.

Eric Carr had just died in late 1991 and the band was rehearsing the “Revenge” album with Bruce Kulick and their new drummer Eric Singer of Badlands.

At some point Michael makes a few calls and arranges us our co-writing session with The Demon.

We are invited to his house up on Mulholland Drive.

Its mid-afternoon and we arrive at the gate and buzz the intercom, “Hello?” says a deep voice.

“Hi, it’s the guys from Tuff for Gene.”

The reply: “Come up the driveway, I am in the guest house, it’s on the left. Please park next to the black Ranger Rover” as the big steel gate begins to open.

As we’re parking the guest house door opens and Gene is waving us in.

We walk in and it appears this is Gene’s office.

A big desk, and the room is full of Kiss stuff. I mean, everywhere, everything is Kiss.

Behind his desk, on the wall is a massive multi-platinum mega plaque.

There are magazine stands, like you see in a store, but every magazine had Kiss on the cover.

After we gaze around the room a bit he asks if we want something to drink.

We say “sure” and he gives us a typical Gene look, “Well, go help yourself” as he points to the kitchenette area.

The fridge is full of cheap soda, like a West Coast style Jolly Good or Faygo brand, all flavors.

I grab the only beer I drink, Root Beer.

Jorge grabs a Grape Soda.

Gene is now sitting in a big comfy oversized chair wearing sweat pants, eating cold Dominoe’s Pizza while MTV plays in the background.

I vividly remember Pantera being on and Gene watching intently.

We settle in and Jorge starts throwing around some riffs, and Michael is shaking a shaker.

Gene has an acoustic guitar as well or maybe an acoustic bass, I don’t recall.

We’re dicking around a while and soon we see another SUV style truck pull up.

Gene pauses and is now staring out the window with a huge smile on his face.

It appears it’s a young woman – perhaps a Nanny – and a little boy.

The little kid is dressed in some glittery costume looking thing.

I see it, and immediately say: “Who is that, and what the hell is he wearing?”

Gene is shocked, and looks at me: “Why that’s my son, in his costume.”

Of course I had kind of figured this, but the second part of my joke hadn’t been delivered yet.

I just shake my head and tell Gene; “Oh for Christ’s sake, I thought he was wearing something from the Destroyer Tour.”

Gene’s shocked face immediately gives me the “You got me look” and he shoots me a half smirk.

As most know, Gene is always the one giving people the business, advice, and being the king of the room.

But I had to make a stand, and try and one-up The Demon with something fun.

And I think it worked, Gene looked at me and smiled while shaking his head.

So we’re back to jamming this song, and we called it “One Way Hell Ride.”

I am pretty sure that was Michael’s title, and who knows, maybe he was referring to that last van trip with us last December when I attacked Jorge on the way to Salt Lake City.

Apparently I can be a handful at times, and this is why our old manager Howie Hubberman nicknamed me, Rachelle From Hell.

I can be your best friend, and I guess at times, your worst nightmare.


So, Gene is strumming, Michael is keeping the beat and Jorge is riffing over the rhythm.

Jorge was also tapping his foot and keeping time.

Tapping his foot right into his can of grape soda, which he proceeded to knock over.

Now the 3 of them are in full swing.

I look down and watch a small lagoon of purple soda forming on Gene’s light colored carpeting.

My face starts contorting and I am waving my hands and gesturing for them to stop playing, Gene looks at me like “Huh?”

I look to the floor and he calmly rolls his eyes, then points towards the kitchenette again:

I race to get towels, and Gene counts them back in: “1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4.”

I then clean up the grape soda as the guys run through “One Way Hell Ride” some more.

Our afternoon at Gene’s place was awesome.

He could not have been more accommodating, very down to earth and he was basically 1 of the guys.

Well, except we were in Tuff and he was in Kiss.

If that wasn’t awesome and cool, imagine this next bit.

So a few weeks later we’re back to Studio D, where Tuff rehearses and Kiss was rehearsing as well.

One day we’re in our small lockout room and Gene arrives before the Kiss session.

We see him in the hall and he peaks his head in our room.

We’re set up and Gene asks; “Did you work on that song anymore?”

Before we know it, Gene comes in, picks up the bass, and summons the guys to jam.

Now I sit and watch Michael and Jorge rehearing with Gene Simmons of Kiss.

Gene took command of the room, “Jorge, turn that amp up, and face the cabinet towards me.”

“Michael, shorten that fill, real steady, 4 on the floor” barks Gene as the guys begin.

Too bad the iPhone wasn’t around in early 1992.

There is more about Gene, but I’ll save that for later.

No matter what anyone has said or thinks, The Demon has always been amazing to our band.

However for the record, he did not offer us any of the left-over cold pizza.

Shooting or Falling Starr?

So one night I am hanging at F.M. Station and this guy comes up to me and asks if I am in Tuff.

I guess he saw the back of my jacket, so I said, “Yeah, I am Stevie, the singer.”

“Awesome man, nice to meet you. I’ve been following you guys forever.”

He then he tells me: “My name is Mike Starr, I play in Alice in Chains.”

“Dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” was my first word.

We both laughed and hugged and he immediately started telling me about this girl from Seattle who was a friend of his, and she came to California years earlier.

Turns out, I had hung out with this same girl.

Then he reminded me, “Remember that night we called you?”

It all started to come back to me, “Oh yeah, that’s right, holy fuck, dude, what a trip!”

I had heard of Alice In Chains since like 1987 through word of mouth and various people.

Then Mike digs into my memory about this girl, I wanna say her name was Rose.

Funny that we had known of each other for years, had some common (female) friends and even chatted on the phone but it was years before either of us were even signed.

Note: The photo of Mike Starr at right, was taken around the same time we had met at F.M. Station. Rip Mike!

Photo by Jeff Kravitz on Getty Images · · · Mike Starr at the Tijuana Hard Rock Cafe opening: May 2, 1992 Jeff Kravitz

We had a great hang, Mike was super cool and we traded phone numbers.

He told me the band was in town recording their follow-up album “Dirt.”

I remember him telling me, “You gotta come down” (to their studio) but I never went.

Some time passes and Mike calls to chat one night, then says :“Hey, so I just met your old bass player – his name is Todd right?”

“Yeah, he actually just quit a few months ago” was my reply.

Mike then says: “I was hanging out with him the other night, and someone mentioned he was in Tuff – and I told him that I just met you and how cool you were.”  

That made me feel good for a few reasons.

First off that he thought that enough to say it, and secondly I felt like it probably shocked Todd.

Todd became very distant to his past, and for years seemed to try and be ridding himself of any semblance to his glam rock past.

This was at a time when Grunge was becoming king and sure, we all felt that wrath.

But no one felt it more than any of us blond pretty boy glam band rocker guys.

In other words, me.

But seriously, it made me feel good that a guy in this mega-platinum selling Grunge band didn’t care that our band was often coined Poison wannabes.

Truth is, Alice in Chains, Layne, Jerry and the others were also big hair poseurs at some point just the same.

The thing with Todd was over and done with, and he was onto his new thing.

However, it did make me smile that he was hanging with Alice in Chains, forming his new power metal band and next thing he hears from Mike Starr is how fucking cool Stevie Rachelle is.

That had to sting a little.

RIP Mike Starr.


Cornerstone Studios

It was now April and we enter the studios to cut demos for our next record.

Lucky for us Atlantic was cool enough to give us that money to demo new material.

We had worked up 7 ideas and went to record the following:

‘New Ideas’ dated March ‘1992’
This was unearthed from 1 of my 6 boxes of random Tuff cassettes.

“Rattle My Bones”
“God Bless This Mess”
“Better of Dead”
“In Dogs We Trust”
“Simon Says”
“Electric Church”
“Chemical Man”

The band recording was Jorge DeSaint (Guitars), Michael Lean (Drums) and Robbie Crane (Bass).

We had Scott Campbell engineer the sessions as he knew us pretty well.

Scott was Howard Benson’s engineer on our “What Comes Around Goes Around” album.

We spent about 5 days doing these and ended up finishing 6 of the songs.

Fun Fact: Cornerstone Studios is where Motley Crue did some of their demos for “Dr. Feelgood.” And Vince Neil recorded some of his “Carved In Stone” record there as well.

The sessions were fun and we were pretty stoked on these new tunes.

Not so Fun Fact: The week we recorded was the week of the L.A. Riots. It was scary and crazy to drive home as the sun set and see countless plumes of smoke rising over the horizon.

Michael Raphael of Jailhouse co-wrote “Rattle My Bones” and “Electric Church”, which were ideas spawned by our drummer Michael.

Other than those 2 tunes, the brunt of these songs were written by me.

I am not a very good guitarist, but enough to get by and was kind of forced to write.

Todd was a dominant force in the band in the way of our music, and even though Jorge could play and riff well, he wasn’t (in my eyes) a good song-writer.

“Better off Dead” is a simple acoustic ballad, but it’s so much darker than any of our previous stuff.

As was “God Bless This Mess” and the rest of these songs.

Being influenced by our surroundings, and what we heard on the radio or saw on MTV, likely helped shape some of our new direction for sure.

The radio stations and MTV were just filled with Metallica’s “Black” album, Skid Row “Slave To The Grind”, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Ugly Kid Joe.

All of this obviously started to seep into our music the same, as everything was much darker.

We recorded and mixed down the tunes in about a week.

And the best part was that Atlantic Records paid for it.

There are great perks of being signed.

Jason Flom talks about rock acts from Atlantic Records in the 80’s


Meeting with Atlantic Records

Now that these songs were recorded, we wanted Atlantic to hear them.

But our manager advised us: “Hey guys, there is no rush.”

He mentioned at some point that he would organize it with the label.

But also added that he wanted to be there with us at the meeting.

We wanted to meet with the head guy at Atlantic, who was Jason Flom.

Flom was based in New York City, and we heard he was coming to Los Angeles and we pressed our manager (Brian Kushner) for us to meet up with him.

Again, Kushner wanted to be there with us but couldn’t be in L.A. at the same time as Flom.

So, he was adamant not to do it without him.

However, if Flom was going to be in L.A., we wanted to meet with him.

Kushner also reminded us that Tuff was on salary from the label into the summer.

Atlantic had agreed at the start of 1992 to give us that $6,000.00 a month for the band to live on.

In short he told us, “Atlantic is paying you. They paid for your demo. There is no reason to rush a meeting, wait for the right time and I should be present as well.”

But like idiots, we didn’t listen.

Against our manager’s advice a meeting was arranged with Jason Flom and a younger (West Coast) A&R guy named Kevin Williamson.

This was on Wednesday May 13th 1992.

We should have known better than to have a meeting on the 13th.

I recall Jorge, Michael and I all going to the Sunset Boulevard offices and waiting in the lobby.

We had been there before, numerous times but today we were there to play the head honcho our new songs.

We walked in and I could immediately sense it was a bit, hmmm, shall I say cold.

A secretary came and retrieved us from the waiting area and took us to Kevin’s office.

Kevin was behind his desk, and Jason was sitting in a chair off to the side.

The guys both greeted us with a hand-shake and a brief hello.

After a little chit-chat Jason says: “I hear you have some new music?”

We were happy to inform him that we did, and Michael handed over a tape.

In the Spring of 1992, these were the 6 mixed songs we presented to Atlantic Records shot caller Jason Flom

For anyone under 35 reading this, back in the day it was all on cassette tapes as there were no digital files at this point.

Jason motions to Kevin and gives him a signal to cue up the tape.

The song starts to play, and I am not sure what was first, but my guess it was probably “Rattle My Bones”.

The song played through the verse and first chorus and Flom nodded to Williamson.

Kevin reaches over and pauses the tape.

“Sounds like you guys have gotten heavier.” says Flom

With-out any hesitation: “Yeah, we wanted to go heavier. More metal, like Skid Row did with “Slave to the Grind.”

Flom immediately says something like: “You know their debut has sold past triple platinum with those ballads, the follow-up sold a million and change.”

He didn’t seem thrilled with our heavier sound.

He motioned to Kevin to go to the next song.

The next track to play was “Better off Dead.”

For anyone who doesn’t know, this song was a darker ballad, think Alice Cooper meets Alice in Chains.

The song plays through a verse and chorus and Flom nods again and Williamson stops the tape once more.

Flom: “Better off Dead?”

Adding: “What is that?”

We’re kind of looking at each other realizing we’ve just received a second strike.

Flom continues: “Are we going to be looking at lawsuits from kid’s parents, after their kids kill themselves hearing the song and thinking it was better, being Better off Dead?”

Of course again, I speak up to explain; “It’s like an Ozzy ballad, kind of dark” blah, blah, blah.

We talk a few moments about the songs, and he doesn’t exactly seem happy with what he’s heard.

At some point Jason tells us about a new band they are going to push, called Stone Temple Pilots.

Kevin puts on a tape and plays us some of the STP songs.

Flom then suggests, “I think you should work with David Prater.”

“Who is that?” I ask.

“He produced the FireHouse record” Flom tells us.

“Nah, we don’t want to be a pop band, we want to be heavier” says Mr. Wonderful.

That was more of me, stupid me talking out of my ass.

I could have openly agreed with whatever Jason suggested or even replied with something like: “That would be great. We’d love to meet David, and see what we can come up with”

Instead, I say something stupid.

I mean, really… was I being honest, or just plain stupid?

I will go with stupid.

I had never met David Prater, and regardless of how much I liked FireHouse or not… it’s just stupid the way I replied to his suggestion.

My thought looking back, and very soon after this meeting is that we (I) did not do, or say the correct things.

Not to throw Jorge under the bus, but he was useless in most of these meetings anyway.

Jorge was a burn out.

It was like having one half of Cheech & Chong with us.

I mean, on stage, with his guitar on… he was great and in reality, an underrated player in my opinion.

But he lacked any business sense and was probably high during the meeting.

However it wasn’t Jorge who spoke out, or said stupid shit at this meeting.

That was all on me.

Classic Atlantic Records label logo.

Michael was clearly more mature, and the smarter guy.

Michael usually led the way in almost everything we did, and almost always handled it well.

I would like to think I added to his delivery, but at times – admittedly, I did not handle it well.

I was very likely comparable to Sebastian Bach.

Too much “dude” or “bro” in my delivery.

I was a loud mouth, who looked the part but often, I am sure I said the wrong things.

High RPM low IQ stuff (as Doc McGhee once said about Bach).

I am sure I annoyed (the more important) people over time.

Remember, I wasn’t being interviewed by a dizzy 21 year old blond from a radio station.

Nope, this was the guy who signed checks for bands to make half-million dollar records, shoot 6-figure videos, and bought the priority artists onto radio airwaves and tour stages across the nation.

So me saying, “No bro, we wanna rock” pretty much confirmed I was a douche and he was likely over it.

I recall Flom being at a show of ours in New York City on the “What Comes Around Goes Around” tour, and I shit the bed that night too.

He was backstage post show and was in our dressing room.

At some point I asked him, “How’d you like the show?”

“It was great, but you talk too much” was his reply.

I then told him, that what I did was like what David Lee Roth did.

He didn’t flinch, “You’re nothing like David Lee Roth” with a stone face.

Now it’s 6 months later and I am sitting in an executive office in Hollywood telling him why we should be heavy when he suggested otherwise.

Flom is giving Williamson the look (which in thinking back was his, “F#ck these guys” look) as we all continued chatting.

After what was likely about 15-20 minutes time, the meeting was over.

Jason and Kevin both shook our hands and we left the Atlantic Records offices.

As we are waiting for the elevator, I remember the band Testament was getting out of an elevator next to ours

We nodded at them, as they headed in to the Atlantic offices next.

Guessing they were there for a meeting with the boss from NYC as well.

I also remember standing in the elevator with Michael and Jorge, and I mocked the band that Jason and Kevin had just played us.

“What is Stone Pimple Pigeons?” as I joked about their name.


I have no idea… but I did think their name was stupid.

Atlantic released their debut later that fall in 1992 and as history shows, they sold a lot.

How many sold you may ask?

Stone Temple Pilots debut would go on to sell 8x platinum.

We took the elevator down to the parking structure and drove home to the San Fernando Valley.


The Very Next Day

It’s May 14th, 1992, and 1 year ago today, Atlantic Records released our debut.

Michael gets a call from our manager, who was based out in the Tri-State area.

That call informed Michael, some news none of us expected – and that was that Atlantic Records had dropped Tuff.

One and done.



Yup… game over.

We should have listened to our manager. But we didn’t.

Kushner informed Michael that he had talked to Flom, and the label is letting us go.


There was no reason that I recall, but clearly it didn’t matter anyway.

Was it our heavy sound?

Was it our songs, or lack thereof, or their quality?

Was it the way I acted, or implied working with David Prater wasn’t of interest?

Or a combination of all the above and adding the “But I am like David Lee Roth…” drivel.

This is why a band has a manager, especially in select situations.

Our manager told us, “You guys are on salary. Atlantic is paying you, monthly. They just paid for the 1st round of demos. There is no rush.”

But none of us, not I, not Michael or Jorge listened.

Happy Anniversary guys, your debut is 1 year old today and you’ve just been dropped.

What a present huh?

I don’t blame Jason Flom or Kevin Williamson.

They saw the writing on the wall and Stone Temple Pilots was their future, not Tuff.

Now what, we’re back to handing out flyers?


Stay tuned for the next installment of the TUFF DIAIRIES!


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

TUFF Diaries #1 – #16 are all linked 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 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)

Tuff @ Facebook –  eBay – Amazon– iTunes – Instagram – Twitter – Store– Discogs –YouTube

Stevie Rachelle @ Twitter – Facebook – Facebook 2 – Intsagram –  Reverbnation – Metal Sludge – Donate – Store



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