Fox in 1989
|Birth name||Richard Suligowski|
28 December 1955 |
Amityville, New York
|Genres||Hard rock, rock, heavy metal, traditional heavy metal, progressive rock|
|Associated acts||Sister, Circus Circus, W.A.S.P, Steeler, SIN, Thunderball, Surgical Steel, Burn, Hellion,|
Richard Suligowski (born December 28, 1955), better known today as Rik Fox, is an American heavy metal bassist. He was active mainly during the 1970s and 1980s, both in the New York City and Hollywood area rock and metal scenes.
- 1 Early life
- 2 W.A.S.P.
- 3 STEELER
- 4 Going Solo With SIN
- 5 New Band Life -- Moving On; BURN and SURGICAL STEEL
- 6 1990’s
- 7 New Interests
- 8 Renaissance and Living History/Re-enactment pioneer
- 9 More Recently - Back to Music and the Winged Hussars
- 10 Discography
- 11 Equipment
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Fox was born in Amityville, New York, on Long Island, and raised in the Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. While in high school, Fox was interested in rock music and photography, choosing as his subjects the flashy personalities of the New York glam scene of the early 1970s. He photographed the New York Dolls and KISS among many others, performing on the N.Y. city club scene at such famous locales as Max's Kansas City and CBGB, clubs he was later to perform in also with a group he joined during the height of the N.Y. club scene, The Martian Rock Band. During this period, he dated a younger sister of original KISS drummer Peter Criss. Fox and Criss became friends and Fox witnessed the formation of legendary rock band KISS from the very beginning, including the addition of lead guitarist Ace Frehley. During his formative club band years, after establishing himself on the 'scene', with The Martian Rock Band and performing at the famed NYC club Max's Kansas City, in 1976, Fox found himself joining a well-established New Jersey glam cover band making the rounds named VIRGIN. VIRGIN eventually became known as SIN. From the bands' Bio; "SIN was originally formed in New York/New Jersey in 1976 -77, coming out of the ashes of New Jersey club circuit bands VIRGIN and LUST, with the name SIN first being coined by bassist Rik Fox, bringing with him, drummer Basil Stanley (Stan Bassel from Long island), joining Ian Criss and Keith (Vinny Matthews) Starz. In this line-up the band performed until 1978-79, when Criss left to join cover band Angelface. Fox retained the rights to the name SIN and after moving to L.A. in 1982 to join and name the heavy metal band W.A.S.P.. After departing W.A.S.P., Fox rehearsed for a short time with both Hellion and Warlord, eventually joining Steeler for one album and after leaving Steeler, with now-proven club-drawing power, reformed two Los Angeles versions of SIN once again."
After moving to Los Angeles, California in March 1982, Fox played bass-guitar in several bands, including Steeler, SIN and W.A.S.P.. Although he was only briefly associated with W.A.S.P. for several months, and recorded a'live' three-track cassette demo, he clams to have came up with the name "W.A.S.P.". The idea is said to have occurred to him after he stepped on a wasp in the courtyard of the house where he lived with band leader Blackie Lawless. The story of W.A.S.P. is retold in the book Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal by David Konow, where this is confirmed by W.A.S.P. guitarist Randy Piper as well as in several online interviews with him. On the other hand, some who witnessed the formation of W.A.S.P. explain that Rik Fox participated in the band after drummer Tony Richards showed up in the scene; according to Richards, the name was not Circus Circus when he joined the band. Fox contends that to his recollection, the band was named Sister when he joined. In an attempt to save face and fuel the controversy, Lawless has since confirmed that Rik Fox had indeed played with the band but, 'only for a couple of rehearsals', which may not be the truth, since Fox spent some 4 months rehearsing and writing with the band. Fox is also shown in early band photographs taken by Don Adkins Jr. during the band's first photo session.
Both Lawless and Richards allege that 'Rik Fox couldn't do it in the band, his playing was just not right', so they 'let him go in a very short period of time.' Which comes off as plausible, because Lawless is in a better position to be believed. Fox's bass tracks found on the now hard to find item, the 'original' W.A.S.P. 3-track demo recorded at Pipers' studio shows how much Lawless was actually incorrect.
After being fired from W.A.S.P., Fox joined the Ron Keel fronted band Steeler in 1983. He'd put an ad in an L.A. Magazine looking for a gig and got a call from Keel himself. Fox auditioned for Steeler and was offered the job, but before he'd accepted it, he was offered the bassist duties in the band Angel by keyboardist Greg Giuffria. Fox had a bit of a dilemma, being tempted by Giuffria's offer since Angel was his 'dream band'. Ultimately, after considering both offers, Fox decided to join the hot, up and coming Steeler. Fox spent roughly 8 months in Steeler, long enough to record the self-titled album and play some amazing gigs before being unceremoniously let go from the band. The decision to fire Fox was apparently made by Keel and drummer Mark Edwards (who was responsible for informing Fox) for 'unspecified reasons', and caught Fox completely by surprise. He didn't understand the decision, considering that the band was gaining momentum and doing well. According to Fox, Edwards has since spoken with him in 2009 and stated that he regretted the way the dissolution of the album line-up occurred, further stating that had that line-up been able to stay together, that a major label signing would definitely have been forthcoming, and the band would have moved to the next plateau of national and international success. Fox actually received more mileage from his time with Steeler after his tenure with W.A.S.P., and contends that Steeler was one of the seminal cornerstones of the Hollywood rock scene in the early 1980s. This laid the groundwork that was integral for many of the bands yet to follow, such as Poison and Guns N' Roses, just as the MTV era was being introduced to rock music fans. Steeler acquired the services of a young, up-an-coming Swedish guitar-whiz virtuoso named Yngwie J. Malmsteen, which gave the band some much-garnered attention, selling out venues and opening for the likes of Quiet Riot at a high point in their respective careers. Unfortunately, Steeler changed their line-up several more times before calling it quits, with Ron Keel eventually forming another band under his surname Keel.
Going Solo With SIN
Meanwhile, after leaving Steeler, Fox was now 'on the map' and had a bankable reputation and sizable following, enough to now attempt to sell out clubs on his name alone. And so, Fox re-founded the band SIN. This happened when he formed a band and referred back to the band name he used back in his New Jersey club days going back to 1977-SIN. Fox's first L.A. line-up began to sell out clubs rapidly drawing attention, following on the heels of his popular notoriety from Steeler. However, within one year, the band members began to entertain ideas of kicking Fox out of his own band and replace him. Things came to a head during recording what would have been their first album when Fox stormed out of the session after apologizing to the producer of these sessions, Bill Metoyer. Fox quickly re-formed another line up using 3 members of the New York band, Mongol Horde recording artists Alien, and outstandingly outdid his previous band's accomplishments, finding themselves being voted in a Los Angeles Music magazine's poll for 'The top drawing rock/metal band cumulative for 1984.' This band enjoyed some well-noticed success, and found them being voted 'Top drawing heavy metal/rock band of Los Angeles' according to an L.A. Music Magazine. They headlined in dozens of packed-house concerts and shows, including the annual 'Los Angeles Street Scene' before some 5,000 people.
Doors were now opening for Fox and SIN, and they entered Encore Studios in 1985 to record album demos, which got the attention of the record companies. However, bad luck struck again and the line-up fell apart despite Fox trying desperately to keep it together. The band recorded a master album demo in 1985, just before the band's internal chemistry issues caused Fox to disband SIN.
New Band Life -- Moving On; BURN and SURGICAL STEEL
Fox was quickly approached by Niji Management's band BURN (formerly Hellion), who shared the same producer, and was accepted into the band, spending several months rehearsing with them in 1986. Not long after, the band eventually dismissed their singer, Richard Parico, Fox approached former friend and fellow New Yorker, former Anthrax lead singer Neil Turbin to offer him the gig, which Turbin turned down in favor of his own project. During a break in rehearsals with BURN, Fox flew to Arizona to scout potential gigs for BURN when, at a LOUDNESS concert, he was approached to join Arizona heavy metal band Surgical Steel, (a band formerly fronted by Jeff Martin later in Badlands and Racer X, and featuring Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford on one of their demos), which led to spending several months performing and recording an album with them and supporting the Lita Ford band. Unfortunately, the financial backing fell through for Surgical Steel to finish the album and the recording deal fell through leaving the album unfinished. Fox eventually left the band, returning to Hollywood, with apparently no 'playing issues' at fault claimed there, either. Fox had successfully recorded with Dokken drummer Mick Brown for the Surgical Steel sessions. Fox stated in his interviews that this pattern of bad luck began to take on the appearance of his developing a penchant for joining promising poplar name bands that were, in effect, already sinking ships.
However in the waning years of the 1980s, Rik Fox has had the good fortune to have shared the stage and performed with some of Rock’s Legends the late Ronnie James Dio and rock comedian Sam Kinison, Little Steven, Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo, as well as KISS guitarist Mark St. John, Bruce Springsteen’s drummer, ‘Mighty’ Max Weinberg, (in the late 1970s), Roseanne’s John Goodman, producer Jean Beauvoir, as well as the band Warrant and Guns N' Roses, among others at various all-star jams, or, jamming with the likes of Steppenwolf's legendary guitarist Michael Monarch.
Not one to stand still, Fox's music career took a turn, but never entirely ended. After he abandoned his last popular band, Thunderball, and then Flyboyz, in the early 1990s. He changed his 'pretty-boy look' and played in a local, low-key Hollywood band Wiseguys, (not 'The Wiseguys'), radically camouflaging himself into a rather incognito image that better fit the band Ministry, than the more Glam-looking bands he created or performed with. Seeing the writing on the wall, with the arena styled rock music of the 1980s being phased out in the 1990s, many musicians began to look elsewhere for employment to survive, and so, Fox began to broaden his horizons and take a personal break from music for a while, and try some new ventures.
After having served five years in the California State Military Reserve as a radio operator/communications NCO, his interest moved on in all things military, which brought him to working in the film industry as an assistant property master, and weapons handler, working on some direct-to-video lower budget films and on the Network syndicated television series Air America, featuring Lorenzo Lamas, and the late Scott Plank, with whom Fox became close friends. Fox also dabbled in acting and took several film roles. He worked on the film 'Surface to Air' with Chad McQueen, Melanie Shatner, and Michael Madsen. Fox acted briefly on the television soap opera General Hospital, acting directly with series anchor 'Luke'-Anthony Geary. Rik was also one of the featured interview subjects for the VH-1 Cable series 'Driven' for the episode "The Rise of Mötley Crüe" being a close friend of Nikki Sixx and the band, and recommended to VH-1 producers by former Hollywood booking agent Vicky Hamilton (music executive). Rik is also remembered as one of the featured interview subjects for the legendary Rock film parody, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years by friend and director Penelope Spheeris.
Renaissance and Living History/Re-enactment pioneer
Through acting, he eventually became involved with the Renaissance Faire scene, and Military Timeline events such as The Old Fort MacArthur Days where he actively sought and succeeded to bring the noticeably absent Polish 17th century military history into the forefront. Fox has been referred to by many Polish media correspondents and others as a 'recognized pioneer' in this venture, of creating the first representation in the U.S., of the Polish winged hussar cavalry of central Europe which, apparently, is a part of his ancestry. Polish 17th century military author Bartosz Musialowicz had interviewed him and written an article about Rik, dubbing him with the honorary title of 'The First Saber of the U.S.' for founding and creating the first officially recognized representation of the Polish winged hussar cavalry in American History. Apart from being a 'rock star' musician, it is of interest to note that Rik is the first Polish-American of Polish noble ancestry, to 'formally', represent the Polish Winged Hussar cavalry in U.S. history. Rock On Press/Polish Origin Among other accomplishments, Fox had been nominated as the vice-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Polish American Congress, in which he served a 4-year term and stepped aside for family-related reasons.
More Recently - Back to Music and the Winged Hussars
Fox is also involved in co-promotion of the European and Japanese market release of The STEELER Anthology with former band mate Ron Keel. A discussion of a possible STEELER reunion performance has been left open-ended so far. Although he has not left the music field entirely, in recent years, Fox has taken a new interest in learning the field of natural horsemanship through his wife Tarrah, (married on October 1, 2009 in a small private ceremony), and they train their (rescued) horses, while he continues to work on his pursuit of raising Polish historical awareness and culture and military history with their winged hussar group. Fox is today making a comeback in music. Through Shrapnel Records producer Mike Varney, Fox has recently re-connected with fellow Steeler band-mate and drummer Mark Edwards.
Renewed interest is being shown to Steeler, by renown DJ SHADOW who expressed interest in using some of Steeler's music for a new project, which will possibly revive an interest in Steeler once again for the next 'Metal Generation' to come as well as previous fans who still listen to their classic album. Rik Fox was interviewed in the 2011 book release 'W.A.S.P.; A Sting in the Tale' by author Darren P. Upton, and asked to share his input on the early days of the band's creation of which he is now known to have been a founding member of.
Fox is also slated to be featured in two more book releases. The first next book which will feature Fox, is by NPR personality Charlie Schroeder, titled Man of War, regarding Schroeder's Walter Mitty-like experiences of participating with various re-enactments of warriors of military history to see and experience what it was like to be those historical warriors. Among the many historical impressions in the book, Schroeder spent a day with Fox's Polish Winged Hussar living history group fully suited up in the winged armor. In the meantime, The second book, in 2013[dated info]; by KISS author Ken Sharp for the highly anticipated Nothing to Lose regarding the band KISS in their formative years, of which Fox was an active part. The book is scheduled to feature various historical anecdotes and exclusive early live photos contributed by Fox.
In promoting his ancestral noble Polish heritage, Rik was featured as a 17th-century Polish winged hussar cavalry-knight figure in the Documentary film "Path to Glory; The Rise and Rise of the Polish Arabian Horse", as well as having been the featured subject in 2013, for the (Canadian) History Channel cable television series Museum Secrets (Kensington Productions), which selects various curious topics of history and expounds upon them. In Rik's case, for the episode dealing with the Moscow State Museum in Russia, and a suit of Polish winged armor on display there, the director and producer sought him out because of all his active research on the subject and what he has brought to the table with regard to his being the most highly-visible contributions of promoting the winged hussars and Polish history in the United States. The episode dedicated to the winged hussars for Season Three is considered ground-breaking for finally producing valuable information being made available to the mainstream public in the English-language on the winged hussars, which was a major accomplishment and a dream come true for Fox.
In addition to attempting to return to music and / or reform another line-up of his rock band SIN, and, already being a published writer, based on the entertainment value seen in his many online interviews and adventures, public demand has motivated Fox to pen his own biography, currently in the works, which promises to be a real catharsis of sorts. Fox is also writing a book on his creation and introduction of the winged hussars' representation in America. Rik Fox is re-entering the music scene making a comeback and, continues to give interviews and currently, is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and in contact with his friends and international fans in Facebook where many facets of his background can be seen there.
Rik Fox Discography / Credits
With The Martian Rock Band
- 1975: New York City, N.Y. No recorded releases. Band photos by Leee Black Childers/Mainman. Several live performances (including the legendary Max’s Kansas City and C.B.G.B.’s) Band photos, no demo, no known video.
- 1977, First Sin Demo- Rock ‘n Reel Studios, L.I., N.Y. September
- 1977 “Lady Killer” (Rik Fox), “Dance Momma, Dance” (Ian Criss/Rik Fox/Vinnie Matthews), “Slasher” (Ian Criss), “Little Girl” (Ian Criss. Rik Fox). Band photos and demo only. No known video.
With The E. Walker Band
- 1980-81: Cover band - New Jersey/N.Y. Demo session/original songs. Bass credits only. Live Performances six nights per week, 1980-1981. Band photos and demo only. No known video.
- 1982: Cover band - New Jersey/N.Y. Live performances / band photos only. Shrapnel Records recording artist, Guitarist Dave Ferrara was band member. No known video or recorded material with Fox.
- 1982, W.A.S.P. Demo (mistakenly referred to as ‘Face the Attack’), Magnum Opus rehearsal Studios, Buena Park, CA. April, 1982 Six songs. Wrote and played bass on;
- School Daze
- On Your Knees
- Sleeping in the Fire
- (One song not properly credited) “Master of Disaster”
(Blackie Lawless/Rik Fox-Bass & lyrics). No live performances – band photos by Don Adkins Jr.
- 1982: No Recorded releases/ no known band photos – taped rehearsals only.
- 1982: No recorded releases/ no known band photos – rehearsals only.
- 1982-83, Steeler Debut album, Prairie Sun Recording Studios, Cotati, CA. Shrapnel Records release. Recorded bass –entire album/all tracks. One cut credited: “Abduction” (Theme). Live performances March 1983—May 1983. No known video of this line-up.
- 1983 - Steeler
With Chris Impeliteri – 1983: Rehearsals only /produced no known product/photos.
- 1983, Sin (L.A. Mach I), Picture disc single released: “On the Run” (Rik Fox/H. Drossin), b/w “Captured in Time”. Now considered a rare collector’s item. Several live performances, band photos, no known video available.
- 1984, Sin (L.A. Mach II), Demo, Sunburst Studios, Culver City, CA. September 2, 1984.
Producer: Rik Fox. Eight songs. Writing credits: “On the Run” (Fox/Drossin), “Ladies man” (Fox/Martel/Starr), “I’m No Angel” (Fox), “Vendetta” (Fox/Martel/Kristi). Dozens of live performances, band photos, no known video available.
- 1985, Sin (Album Master Demos), Kendun/Encore Recording Studios, Burbank, CA. Producer: Dana Strum. Four songs. “On the Run” (Rik Fox), “Don’t Say Goodbye” (Kristi/Starr), “We Got Your Rock” (M. Coopersmith), “Break Down the Walls (That Stop the Rock) (Fox, Kristi/Martel).
- 1986/87: No Recorded releases/no known band photos – rehearsals only.
With Surgical Steel
- 1986-87: Debut album, El Chaton Studios, Phoenix, AZ. Producer: Dan Wexler.
Eight-nine songs (?) Unspecified. Song credits two (?), recorded entire album.
Recorded with Dokken drummer Mick Brown on one track. Album Project unfinished/shelved; lack of budget to complete project. Several live performances including support for Lita Ford. Band photos, no known video available.
- 1987-88: Demo, Pro Rock Studios , North Hollywood, CA. Producer: Rik Fox
Three songs. “Gypsy Brandy” (Rik Fox), “Love Trap” (C. Freeman/J. Aguar), “Cry of Love” (Fox/Mazzola). Other songs: “Back in Action” (Fox/Mazzola), “Bitchin’ Bewitchin’ “(Fox), “The Fire Still Burnz” (Fox/Mazzola). Several live performances recorded on video, band photos.
With Dr. Starr & the Medics
- 1989: One Live Guest Performance, Phoenix, AZ. No known video.
With Saints Ghosts & Thieves
- 1990: (w/ Carlo Bartolini from Dramarama) One Live Guest performance, Madam Wong’s West. No known video.
With Johnny Crash
- 1990 Johnny Crash debut album “Neighborhood Threat”. Song: “Freedom Road” - Background vocals - no known promotional photos or video documentation available.
With Kings Horses (with Randy Piper of W.A.S.P.)
- 1991: One live performance, The Waters Club, San Pedro, CA. Live photos, no known video available.
- 1992: Demo, Five songs. Two songs credited: “Fascination” (Rik Fox), “Bad Reputation” (Fox/D. James). Several live shows - no video.
With Spiders & Snakes
- 1993: One live performance, North Hollywood. Several live band photos, no known video.
Live Guest Performances With: Mark St. John (KISS) 4/1/1987
- “Rock ‘n Roll”—Joshua’s Parlor, Orange Co. CA.
Sam Kinison, 1988
- “Wild Thing”-The China Club, Hollywood, CA. (including John Goodman, Steven Van Zant, Randy Castillo, Jean Beauvoir, Randy Hansen).
Ronnie James Dio (Dio) 7/26/1986
- “We’re Stars” - Irvine Meadows, (Sacred Heart Tour show), and the following weekend with Rough Cutt at the Country Club, Reseda, CA.
Rik has or is currently endorsing the following musical equipment gear:
- Randall Bass Amplifiers (1983 to present)
- Ampeg Bass Amplifiers (1970's thru 1983)
- B.C. Rich Custom Basses (1985 to present)
- Ibanez Explorer Bass (1970's to 1983)
- Aria Pro II Custom Blood Bass (1983 to present)
- Gibson EB-3 Bass (1985 to present)
- Epiphone Thunderbird Basses (2010 to present)
- GHS Bass Strings
- DiMarzio Bass Pickups
- EMG Bass Pickups
- NADY Wireless Systems
- Dunlop Custom Picks
- Belden (and other) Cables
- M. Honer Blues Harp Harmonicas
- DiMarzio Guitar straps
- Steeler (American album)[dead link]
- Randy Piper Interview
- Tony Richards Interview
- 'Full in Bloom Music' interview with Tony Richards
- US (2008-09-21). "Alien | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- [dead link]
- "Niji Entertainment Group". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- California State Military Reserve
- "Old Fort MacArthur Days". Fortmacarthur.tripod.com. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "Rock Music Magazine | – Polish Origin". Rock On! press. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "Suligowski's Regiment Polish Winged Hussars". Husaria.us. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- Parks, John. "Legendary Rock Interview with Rik Fox (ex- W.A.S.P., STEELER and SIN)". Legendary Rock Interviews. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "PodOmatic | Best Free Podcasts". Lovelylaurahardrockradiolive.podomatic.com. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- [dead link]
- "Path to Glory The Rise and Rise of the Polish Arabian Horse". Pathtogloryfilm.com. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "Museum Secrets". Museumsecrets.tv. Retrieved 2013-06-04.