Whether you’re talking about So Cal Punk Rock, HB Punk, OC Punk, or even Death Rock, there is only one name that has influenced all those genres: Rikk Agnew.
If you only know Rikk from his groundbreaking music on the Adolescents debut album, well, it’s a damn good place to start. Rikk has played with, damn near, every important L.A. punk band around, and after 30 plus years, he’s not slowing down. After, almost, a year of going back and forth, Rikk and I got this thing knocked-out:
1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I’ve been a huge fan for years. First off I wanted to ask you about your involvement in Social Distortion. All your little bio’s on the web list you with them in 1979. Did you record with them, write any songs?
I played bass with ‘em in late 78 till late 79. Besides a couple ghetto blast rehearsal tapes, nothing recorded ov any real significance.
2. I remember the big rumor in the early part of the ‘80’s was that Social Distortion took the music you wrote for Amoeba, and used it for their single 1945, any truth to this?
The truth is the original Amoeba was written by Casey (text) and Ness (music). When Casey and I went one direction (Detours/Adolescents) and Ness kept the SD machine running, Mike kept his music, and put his own text (1945), and I wrote new music for Casey’s text.
3. Who were, and are your influences, musically and personally?
Everything, and everybody influences me, that’s always a hard one to answer without writing a novel…hmmm.
4. Back in a time where most of the music being produced was extremely amateurish, you were very polished, and professional, what was your training?
Really, You think? I always considered myself, and still do, to be a musikk fan that enjoys playing, and making up shit. No training whatsoever, just a really great, and clear connection to the universe. I can’t read, and have no clue ov “theory”; I just translate and perform it.
5. I remember reading, in Flipside, that your original break from the Adolescents (when Pat Smear stepped in for 5 minutes) was over creative differences, is this true? What were the differences at the time?
The whole fiasco was destroying me, I had a meltdown. My band mates, being friends first, saw this, and felt the right thing was to get me out ov there. A part ov said meltdown however was conflicting interests: I always wanted to be successful, and famous as possible, and it seemed they were out to sabotage it at any, and all lengths, thinking it was the “punk” thing to do.
6. Another story circulating at the time was that you first solo project, All By Myself was supposed to be the next Adolescents album, is this accurate?
Pretty much. At least my part – input. Allot ov the songs were either already written from the Detours days, or rough ideas, others were made up in the studio on the spot, which became more, and more my solo method.
7. I hope this isn’t too far out, here’s a bit of self-analysis. Many of the bands you played with or recorded with never had the same success or fan-base as they did when you were with them. Dozens of Christian Death releases are floating around online, but the only one people are consistently buying is the Theatre of Pain album, so the question is what does Rikk Agnew bring to a band?
8. Of all the many bands you played with (The Adolescents; Christian Death; Social Distortion, 45 Grave, Voodoo Church, The Detours, D.I., who did you most enjoy playing with?
All ov them.
9. Of all the recording you’ve done in your career what slab of vinyl (or CD for the younger fans) are you most proud of, or best represents your skills?
Once again, I would have to say all ov them. No more “most” questions please!
10. Twenty-nine years have past and the bulk of your early work is still in print. Does your influence on this younger generation of “punks” surprise you?
It is most elating and flattering, the passion and adoration I give to My influences, to be on the other end is as good as it gets. I embrace it with joy and handle it with responsibility and accountability.
LAST ONE TO DIE is out. For the complete Rikk Agnew interview order at: https://www.createspace.com/3669330