CHRIS HOLMES – Solo artist, ex-W.A.S.P. – Part 1

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INTERVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJALA

Born in 1958 in Glendale, California, Chris Holmes is a heavy metal guitarist who started his musician career in the Pasadena, California, area in the late 1970s. Holmes is best known as the lead guitarist and one of the founding members of the heavy-metal band W.A.S.P. Holmes was a member of W.A.S.P. from 1982 to 1990. During that period, the band released their most successful albums: W.A.S.P, THE LAST COMMAND, INSIDE THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS, and HEADLESS CHILDREN.  Holmes left the band in 1990 but was asked to rejoin in 1996. The band released its cult-classic album KILL FUCK DIE, followed by a live album and HELLDORADO (1999). Holmes and W.A.S.P. disbanded again in 2001, and since then, Holmes has been a part of many different projects, including his former bandmate Randy Piper’s Animal and Where Angels Suffer. In 2012, Holmes released his first solo album, NOTHIN TO LOSE, produced, managed, and distributed by Chris and his wife, Sarah. At the beginning of 2014, Holmes left behind his life in California and moved to Europe with his wife Sarah. Currently, they are living in France, and Holmes is putting the final touches on his upcoming sophomore album titled SHITTING BRICKS. I met “the Mean Man” in May in Finland, and then we went through Holmes’s life, career, and opinions about a variety of topics, such as his former bandmates. Read on!

MOVING TO EUROPE

Metal-Rules.com: When did you first start to think about moving to Europe?

Chris Holmes: In the last 10 years, I’ve tried to put a band together – find people in LA and on the budget I’ve got – since I don’t make any money from W.A.S.P., it’s really hard to find people…… to play with because even to pay for a practice… it’s five hundred bucks. Since I never got paid for all the work I did in W.A.S.P. – or some asshole stole it or whatever the fuck went on – I’ll find out. I don’t make any money, and it’s really hard to put a whole band together. I play with the people called the Big Ball Allstars, who is – it’s a revolving door of famous musicians, and they all treat me great. I love playing in those situations. They treat me on a straight level. In W.A.S.P., I was always treated like a lower level than Blackie Lawless, and I got sick and tired of that. You’re treated like a roadie, and I got tired of that and just quit.

Metal-Rules.com: Before moving over, you played a handful of shows in LA with various bands, including Stonebreed. Tell me something more about that?

Chris Holmes: Well, they’re friends of mine. Carlos – He had some mishaps with his guitar players. They got in a fight, and they split and said, “See if you can do it.” And he asked me to come in and help him for a few months until he could find some people, and I did. I like Stonebreed – I like Carlos. He’s a good guy and a singer. Even the guitar players I know, they’re friends. The first night I played with them, one of the guy’s wife was throwing ice at him and hit me right in the face in the eyeball. I was going to wait until she was sitting with her husband and sit down and go, “Now don’t get mad and throw a piece of ice in his face.” Then go, “Do you like that? Do you really like that?” But I didn’t do it. On my budget, it’s hard to find groups, people to play with. About eight years ago, I noticed in the magazines – in like Seven11, those convenient stores – there are no rock magazines anymore…They’ve all dwindled down to Hit Parader. Isn’t that Gerry Miller, Hit Parader? Circus went, Hit Parader, and in all the convenience stores is all – excuse me – “Nigger” magazines like Vibe or some tattoo magazines with all niggers getting the tattoos. Beyoncé and shit. All the magazines are all niggers now in there. Black magazines. Or whatever, I use the word “Nigger” if you don’t like it – Hey! That’s too bad. There’s white niggers too – there’s black nigger magazines, whatever the fuck. Then, they sold the Key Club. I was just like, “Man, the music scene for what I do is just declining.” Unless you’re really famous like Metallica or something, it’s been harder and harder finding musicians. I’ve played with the Big Ball guys and asked if they knew people. I’d say the biggest drawback for me is my height. I’m sure you’ve run into tons of people. It’s your height, being tall. You’re kind of fucked. God, I wish I was that tall. They don’t understand that there’s a lot of prejudice – being tall towards you.

Metal-Rules.com: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Holmes: Tons of it. I auditioned for Ozzy in ’79. Do you think Ozzy is going to take me on stage? Why in the fuck did I even go down there? I had a dream, but what an idiot I must’ve been. Think about that, huh! Of course, he took who? The guy that’s not overshadowing on stage. That’s the way it is. I’d have kicked Ozzy’s ass anyway on tour. Oh yeah. I’d have knocked his fucking block off. Not really. I don’t hate him. I got along with the guy, and I wouldn’t have fucked with him. He probably would’ve been fine. I hung around with him, and he’d come up to my house all the time because of Lita. I respect the hell out of the guy; he’s cool. Fuck he’s funny as shit. He’s great. He’s funny to be around. Man, I like the guy. Why would I knock his block off just because he’s a singer? I just keep seeing Blackie Lawless or Gene Simmons or… You know that the guy hates my guts.

Metal-Rules.com: Why do you think that Gene Simmons hates you?

Chris Holmes: Well, he hates me for one, because I’m taller than him, with his fucking shoes on. Okay? People like that don’t like anybody taller than them. Believe me. I know. I’ve been around tons of people like that. Second of all, he just doesn’t like W.A.S.P. because of affiliations.

Metal-Rules.com: But you toured with KISS a few times during the ’80s.

Chris Holmes: Yeah, we toured with them, and I got a guy to hit him in the face with a loaf of bread – it was cool – right on stage. I knew it wouldn’t hurt him. I wouldn’t throw a rock at somebody – or something to hurt them; I just threw it at him because I knew it would just bounce off him. It’s the last show, you know? But I don’t think that made him mad. I’d probably be dead. Who knows?

Chris Holmes
Chris Holmes in Finland 2014

CHANGES IN LIFE AND MORE

Metal-Rules.com: How did you end up in Finland?

Chris Holmes: Because I know Domino from Baton Rogue Morgue. But I have to ask, what’s the deal with the Finnish bands like Santa Cruz, Baton Rouge Morgue?

Metal-Rules.com: What do you mean?

Chris Holmes: Well, Baton Rouge is a place in America, Santa Cruz is a place in America. Santa Cruz is in California, by where I lived. Baton Rouge is down by Louisiana.

Metal-Rules.com: Right. I guess Finnish bands just like American names?

Chris Holmes: Yeah. So I guess I should name my band Porvoo “Laughs.” I don’t know – it just kind of tripped me out.

Metal-Rules.com: I remember the time when all young musicians from all over the world moved over to L.A. to become famous rock stars. That was the thing in the ’80s, but things have changed a lot from those days.

Chris Holmes: Well, just moving to LA is not going to make you a rock star. You may find a band, but why people think that moving to L.A. would make somebody a rock star? Because of the way you live there? Let me tell you; there are too many fucking assholes in LA. I forget the name of the guy – there was some guy killed just walking out of rehearsal, just because he was a musician down in LA. I forget his name — from some band. He might have back-talked the wrong people. I’m from LA, so I know when to open my mouth and when not to there. I know where’s safe and where’s not safe to go. I’ve been there my whole life. A few times, I’ve opened my mouth a few too many. I was on the freeway, and this guy cut me off, and I go, “Fuck you, man!” He came to a complete stop and got out, and it was this huge black guy – his car was right in front of me. I just didn’t feel like getting hassled, but he didn’t walk back to my car. He goes, “What’s that for?” I go, “You cut me off!” He goes, “I had my fucking blinker on!” I go, “You still cut me off!” The guy got back in his car, and I was like, “Whoa, fuck.” I couldn’t back up. I was fucked, man. I’d have to get out of the car. What happens if the guy had a gun? I’ve never flipped anybody off since then. I was happy he didn’t come back – I just didn’t want to get into a confrontation – But LA’s like that, you know? I was born and raised – my whole life – I’m probably the only one you’ll ever talk to that was born there.

Metal-Rules.com: Let me think…

Chris Holmes: Who else? No. Anybody. It’s hard to think of anybody – Van Halen – I grew up with them, but Ed was born in Holland, and he was brought over when he was seven. But he’s more or less born there. I mean, at seven years old. Dave Lee Roth was born in Pasadena or around there.

Metal-Rules.com: Nikki Sixx was born somewhere else as well?

Chris Holmes: His dad always worked there – since I’ve known him. He went to John Muir High School. Tony Richards wasn’t born there. I don’t know anybody, except for my close friends who haven’t made it famous in the business.

Metal-Rules.com: You’re probably right about the native LA rockers. There’s plenty of more bands and musicians originally coming from New York, for example?

Chris Holmes: Oh, the shithole. That’s where Blackie is from. That’s why they treat people like shit. Because if you’re born in a shithole, you treat people like shit. Have you ever met Gene?

Metal-Rules.com: A few times.

Chris Holmes: Do you like how he is to people?

Metal-Rules.com: It depends. Of course, he’s nice when needed. “Laughs”

Chris Holmes: When it’s one-on-one – yeah because you’re doing something for him to make him money, but if it’s just him – I’ll put it this way, sitting in a room and not talking to him about an interview or shit – Could you really talk to the guy? Would there be something you could talk to him about? Like a car or a guitar or clouds, fishing, surfing, skiing? No! He’s like Blackie; he doesn’t do – like fuck all! He’s like Blackie Lawless. I’ve got motorcycles from when I was a kid, I used to love skateboarding, and I’ve had a sailboat all my life. I’ll tell you about sailing. Those fuckers can’t tell you – believe me – about one fucking thing that you do other than try to make money at music. You know? That is no way of life—these people. You can only make so much money. He’s a fucking asshole. He and Paul Stanley can fuck off and Blackie Lawless. They’re the same type of people. You can be having a good time in a room with some friends, and one of those guys walks in and just ruin the whole vibe. I don’t know if they read books on how to do that. I know, Gene, he has this poise like, “Thou shalt bow to me.” He won’t do it to me. Those fuckers will not do it to me, even if I’m in the same room – they will not do it to me. I don’t give a fuck. People shine when some people are around like Johnny Rod, colorful people. Those people try to come in and cut them out of it. I hate people like that. My parents brought me up to fucking get rid of those people from around you – like that. You know? That’s not the way I go through life. I like to have some friends and people who enjoy your company or whatever.

Metal-Rules.com: Do you have any common history with Ace Frehley?

Chris Holmes: I don’t know Ace. I’ve been around him a few times. That’s Blackie’s bag – him knowing Ace Frehley when they were kids. You can print this or whatever – if you want to believe Blackie’s bullshit, believe it. Ask Ace. He’ll tell you. You’ll see. He’ll tell you the truth. Ask David Johansen if Blackie ever was in the New York Dolls? “Laughs”

Metal-Rules.com: That sounds like what Gene has said about Eddie Van Halen. He was saying that Eddie was about to join KISS, but Eddie always denies that it was true.

Chris Holmes: Eddie joining KISS? No way! I’ve known Ed since before Van Halen when he was in Mammoth. I know everything about Ed. No. They just split to record. I remember when Van Halen split to record because

Metal-Rules.com: In ’77 about?

Chris Holmes: Hmmmm … ’76, I think.

Metal-Rules.com: But he and Alex ended up playing on some KISS demos back then.

Chris Holmes: They were back the next day, from New York. Gene handed him a contract, and Ed said, “Fuck you.” Ed wouldn’t play for that band. He’s – you know – about three or four years ago, Metallica played, no it wasn’t four years ago. At the beginning of every Van Halen tour, the last night of the rehearsal – it’s been like this since day one, they have a party for anybody who wants to come down to rehearsal – from the first tour on – they’ve always had a party for everybody in Pasadena and their friends that have always supported them – come down for free – last time it was at The Forum. I walked up to The Forum, and they have free booze, and I don’t drink. Fuck. I went to The Forum, and I never realized – it wasn’t with Dave Roth. It was with Hagar, and they’re rehearsing – this was a while ago back because Michael Anthony was playing bass and Alex and everybody and Metallica was playing. Van Halen had just come off from Metallica two nights there – two days later, and I went and saw Metallica, and it blew my mind the musicianship of – just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe it. The musicianship of – like Metallica’s up there like this, they’re up there playing, and Van Halen was up there playing like a party – joke. It was just unbelievable. I’ve never noticed that they were that good – Van Halen – the musicianship – they were just flawlessly playing music, and it’s not the most important thing in their life to have – it’s weird, man. I just noticed it when I saw Metallica – I go, “This is a fucking joke – these guys.” Van Halen blew my mind. Just the musicianship – the guitar playing and shit – bass – whatever, you know. It’s…

Metal-Rules.com: Van Halen, their playing was close to perfection if you ask me.

Chris Holmes: I don’t know if it’s perfection because they’re not perfect, Van Halen’s just – I grew up with Ed. I always wanted to play like that, but I know I can’t. I’d like to say I’m jealous of the guy, but I’m not. I’m happy. The guy is great. He’s a real cool guy, and he’s got a – I don’t know if you ever met him. He’s got a great personality; he’s a nice guy. He’s not Gene Simmons. He’s not a dick like Blackie Lawless.

Metal-Rules.com: It seems that Eddie’s life is in order now, and he’s clean of drugs, etc.

Chris Holmes: Clean of drugs? No. Ed. Clean? Clean? What do you mean? The guy got cancer, and he still smokes. So what do you mean clean? Ed’s going to do what Ed wants. You know? He’s going to do what he wants, fuck man. He says he’s clean. Everybody says I’m clean… because you don’t drink – you’re clean? Are you clean if you don’t drink? You know?

Chris Holmes
Chris Holmes promo 2014

PERSONAL LIFE AND THE EARLY DAYS

Metal-Rules.com: You have been married to Sarah for two years. How is your marriage doing now?

Chris Holmes: Well, we’re not getting a divorce. That means we’re doing okay. Yeah.

Metal-Rules.com: I think this is quite different from the previous one you had with Lita Ford?

Chris Holmes: Oh yeah… I – you know what’s funny – once we got separated, Lita and I were at a bar one night, and some guy told me I beat the shit out of her. I’m like, “You’re out of your mind, man.” This guy was like a biker, and we almost started throwing punches in this bar about it. He said I beat her up. I said, “No, I fucking didn’t beat her up.” You know? Then, Sarah got to talking – I won’t talk with her – once somebody fucks me over one time – I don’t want ever to see them again, that’s the way I am. I don’t want them in my life; I don’t want them around. Sarah is way nicer. She worries about me more than her – you know, Lita. She’s had some downfalls. She doesn’t have any kids – I don’t have kids. You can print this, you know like I don’t have kids because kids should not have kids “Laughs.” Kids should not have kids. I’m still probably about 15 or 14 “Laughs.” With Lita, it was great, and then all of a sudden, one day, she just wanted to get rid of me. I said, “That’s fine.” “Are you sure?” “Okay.” “Bye.” “Hit the road.” You know?

Metal-Rules.com: And next she went to marry Jim Gillette, and that marriage didn’t go too great either…

Chris Holmes: Oh, Mr. Nitro? Beautiful guy. The hairdo? Have you seen him recently? Ah man, people fucking change when they get older. I can’t wait to see the guy. It’s said that he promised to kick my ass. Well fuck, let’s get going. So he’s going to be up to who, man?

Metal-Rules.com: You already mentioned something about the early days of your life in Pasadena, but what was actually the first band you never had?

Chris Holmes: The name – Slave and I was 16, 15 then. It was called Slave because someone had seen on an amplifier, seen Slave, and that’s where we got the idea. Slave, and we put a ball and chain on it. It was a little different at that point. You know?

Metal-Rules.com: And then you had a band called Highmen?

Chris Holmes: It was Buster Highmen.

Metal-Rules.com: Yes, and then there was a band called LAX?

Chris Holmes: Oh, LAX. Yeah, but then we quit that because everybody would put EX in front of it. It would read EXLAX, you know. LAX – it was like LA Guns, I think. A thing like that. Buster Highmen, Buster Savage. One called the Anchorman, I think. Then, two years I was in Sister when I was 17. I hated that band. That band was a fucking joke. Man, it was all… They were a fucking joke.

Metal-Rules.com: What do you mean? Why did you think it was a joke?

Chris Holmes: Because of Blackie Lawless, eating worms. Come on! He’d eat worm’s man. I don’t know?

Metal-Rules.com: You did your first actual recordings with Sister, right?

Chris Holmes: It would’ve been Sister, yeah. We recorded a song called “Mr. Cool,” which became “Cries in the Night.” “Sex Drive.” “Don’t Know What I Am.” We had a song called “Tear out the Walls” and “Smash out the Glass,” which became one of Blackie’s STIL NOT BLACK ENOUGH tracks. Did you know that Lita played on the HEADLESS CHILDREN album?

Metal-Rules.com: Really? I didn’t know about that.

Chris Holmes: Yep. That song didn’t make it on the album so, Blackie put it on a later album, STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH, and thanked her for playing on it, and they hated each other. She hated him badly.

Metal-Rules.com: Did he use that original version where Lita was playing?

Chris Holmes: Well, he used her name so they’d sound like they were buddies. He had my name on UNHOLY TERROR, and I never played on that album. If I’m on it, he can make more money. Do you have that Where Angels Suffer record?

Metal-Rules.com: Yes. 

Chris Holmes: My name is on there but did I ever say I played on it?

Metal-Rules.com: No, you never did.

Chris Holmes: No. What does it say? It says fuck you Blackie.

wasp1 wasp2 wasp3

WHERE ANGELS SUFFER

Metal-Rules.com: The last time I met you was a few years ago in Sweden, and you were on tour with Where Angels Suffer. Do you have any memories from that tour?

Chris Holmes: Was that at that little dinky bar that we played?

Metal-Rules.com: Yes. It was really tiny place in a town called Trollhattan.

Chris Holmes: I remember that’s when I went, “Hey, where’s the Hotel?” And the bass player Steve told me to fuck off and laughed at me, and I got really pissed off.

Metal-Rules.com: Are you still involved with Where Angels Suffer?

Chris Holmes: No. They never called me. What happened was Rich’s kid died – the singer. His son died. His son was real cool. He used to be my roadie in Animal. Okay. He was only 27. He died. Had cancer. It really put Rich for a loop. I mean, I – first of all, Randy got thrown out of the band. It was a good band. It was great – if they’d kept it together. Randy gets thrown out, and they bring in this guy named Ira Black, and Ira only cared about Ira. He didn’t care about anybody else. You know? It’s okay to work with people like that in a situation, but when you get on stage as a guitar player – he only cares about himself and not the whole thing as a unit. The unit then falls apart. You know? I mean, as a show – That’s what people go to see. It just looks like it doesn’t work unless they’re all a team player. Randy was a team player because of W.A.S.P. He knows what to do. Rich, he’s a good singer. It’s just once Randy brought on Ira; it went blank. And then the egos.

Metal-Rules.com: So, in real life – there is no – the band doesn’t exist anymore?

Chris Holmes: If there is, I haven’t heard about it. Nobody called me. If there is, I’m out, and they’ve gotten somebody else. I’m doing my own thing. That’s why I did my solo album. You know, I was waiting for them, and I was sitting in LA, and I was like, “Fuck this.” “Why should I sit and wait for these guys to finish?” Why not play with Filthy from Motorhead – but he never really wanted to go on tour anymore.

Metal-Rules.com: What’s the deal with all the albums you put out with Where Angels Suffer? Everybody knows that the songs are Randy Piper’s Animal’s song, and those are all written by…

Chris Holmes: They’re from Chris Laney.

Metal-Rules.comYeah, I know. What was that thing anyway? You basically just released the same songs, a new cover, and logo. Why don’t you re-record any songs before releasing them??

Chris Holmes: We wanted to re-record it in Florida, but it just turned into a cluster-fuck with Ira to record it. Ira’s too much into his guitar, Ira. Blah, blah, blah – guitar player. He went down and was working on the tracks in the studio, then just cluster-fucked everything. He was – when you make music; usually, it’s not all guitar, so – instead, he just pulled the plug on it. You know. He was wasting time. In fact, we were halfway through it – at one to ten, we were probably about a two into it – two and a half into it. The drums were almost done on all the tracks. We were about four to halfway through it, and then Ira fucking came in and did the “Ira thing” and… Well, I’ll put it this way, we’re in the States, right? We’re playing this song, “Don’t Wanna Die,” it’s got this stupid keyboard in the beginning – I don’t know who wrote it… Laney wrote it. It’s got this real shitty-gay part that – it’s gay, so with Randy, he wanted me to play that, and I go, “I am not playing that, fuck you.” It’s your album, you wrote it, so you play it Randy, and then Ira comes in, and we’re playing the chorus of the song, and he’s playing that little keyboard part which is taking away from the two guitar players, the thing of a bank – that’s why there are two guitar players in a band, for the sound. He was playing the dick part; I saw it on video, but everybody had gone home, and I made a note to tell him not to do that – I don’t see him until we get to Sweden for rehearsal, I haven’t seen Ira, we’ve got about two hours to go and then we’ve got to split – so this song comes up. We start playing that song, and I stop, Hey Ira. Listen. Don’t play that part in the chorus because you’re taking away from the guitar. Well, I think it sounds good. Well, first of all, I didn’t ask you if you think it sounded good. I don’t want you to play that part, and I got seniority if you want to pull the seniority thing on it. Stet would suck. I go stepping on the vocals. Are you that stupid that Stet jumps in and goes? We’re not playing this song. I go better yet. You’re right. So we walk outside. I lit a cigarette up, and Ira comes out, and I go, you know Ira, this is something that should have been brought up between you and I before it ever got to this part. Okay. So Ira… I should have – I’m the one that’s wrong here. Wait until the last minute. I should have said something or else let it go. Right there, that’s not being a team player, and it’s kind of sad. It was a good band, you know? I don’t know what Rich is going to do. He lives in the same town. I told him to get the fuck out of there. His brother’s got cancer. His wife had cancer. His son died of cancer. About four other people close to him have. Something’s in the water there. Something’s not right.

Metal-Rules.com: Sounds like that.

Chris Holmes: Something is not right. I’m telling you to get the fuck out of that area.

Metal-Rules.com: Sounds horrible.

Chris Holmes: Yeah. Yeah. Something’s weird. Well, it’s in Cincinnati somewhere, you know. In America, some big corporations have ruined a lot of dirt and shit. Pouring shit in streams. I don’t know. His wife had it. She beat it. She got herself – she used to be drop-dead gorgeous, and I have seen her after cancer treatment, and fuck that shit turned me off. It was still his wife, you know, but she went from drop-dead gorgeous to kind of ugly. I mean, not ugly, but you know, really tore up, man. If I can get Rich, I’d shit – if I could get him overseeing this group, I can take him as a singer, but I’m going to see what’s going to happen. In fact, I’m going to find out tomorrow. I’ll find out if it works, yes or no.

Where Angels Suffer
Where Angels Suffer

RANDY PIPER TALK

Metal-Rules.com: How is your current relationship with Randy Piper? Randy was fired from Where Angels Suffer, but it seems that you two are still getting along?

Chris Holmes: It wasn’t really a breakup. Randy is Randy. I know him. When he got thrown out of Where Angels Suffer, that wasn’t me. I had nothing to do with that. That was his girlfriend. Randy went with his girlfriend. I played a show in Vegas last year and the Sin City Sinners – they have all the famous people who play. “Hey, you want to play with Randy?” Yeah. I’ll play with him. And he comes in. I don’t think we even talked. I said, hey, what’s up, man—sound checks. I came back and played, and there were some things on the internet with Sarah, and then she had an idea to play Five Pills with him, and I kept telling him I didn’t want to do it. I got – I don’t know, so I said yeah, and then all of a sudden, all of these people jumped on the bandwagon trying to do this kind of W.A.S.P. thing with Randy and me. It just – next thing you know, there as a corporation and this show and that show, well over five shows. She, Randy’s girlfriend Ann Catherine, just turned it into a big clusterfuck of people, and you know I don’t know how Randy feels today. I told him I was leaving in February. They’re booking this and booking that, and I’m going, hey, I’m leaving. I don’t know why you’re fucking doing this. Nobody believed I’d split. I got up and split because I didn’t want to be there anymore. I don’t want to be there around all the bullshit, you know.

Metal-Rules.com: I have seen that he’s trying to find new guys for his band all the time…

Chris Holmes: Yeah, it’s called Randy’s Piper’s Battalion. You know I’m not knocking Randy for what he is, which contributes to the situation. Some people shine on stage, and some people don’t, you know. I was lucky. Since I was a little kid playing air guitar in front of the mirror and I shined. Its people’s personalities come out on the instrument, you know. Randy’s is kind of like Randy. I don’t – he was a major factor in the voice of W.A.S.P., Randy, a big one, on the first two records. He was a major factor in that, you know, and we were still what I consider – same friends as I was with him 20 years ago. And I don’t hate him. I kept telling him I was going to leave, and nobody believed me. I asked, “Randy, why are you even booking this?” I’m leaving, and the last week before I left and everybody freaked out, I was telling them that. I’m leaving, guys. I’m leaving this day, you know, and I told them that before and nobody believed me. But I don’t want to be – I’m tired of this place. I’m tired of LA, you know. The only thing I miss is the drugs. Oh, because I could get some good shit when I was there. I can’t find something here. This is the most sober I think I’ve been in all my life. I keep thinking that. Don’t pretend “Laughs.”

W.A.S.P
W.A.S.P in 1984: Chris, Blackie, Tony Richards, and Randy Piper

Metal-Rules.com: A little bit more about Randy, you know the truth about the Animal albums. Randy hardly plays anything on those records.

Chris Holmes: Yeah. I’ve known that since the W.A.S.P. days. It was on the first two W.A.S.P. albums he didn’t get paid. I did. I’m not going to hurt Randy’s ego, whatever. Randy, I will say he did play a few cool solos. He played on “Blind in Texas.” I don’t play that style with all the trips, and he played “Sleeping in the Fire” at the beginning. The very first part. The screaming notes. He played that. Randy played that. I’m not going to take that from him and lie about that. He played a few good solo things on the records, but he never played rhythm. I did the rhythms because I could juggle my shit real fast and get it over with. I could if the record was done and turn into a double album, I’d do it in a day, let’s say. So efficiency for W.A.S.P. Randy, he also used a Strat; no, he used a Les Paul scale. Strato scale is a little bit longer, and when you use both guitars, they don’t match up. You always get cross frequencies. Harmonics don’t work when you use two different when one guy uses a Strat scale, and the other guy uses a Les Paul scale; they’re truly hard to get them to match. So I was the one who did that. I don’t know. Randy is Randy. He’s not creative. I used to come to rehearsals, and I’d bring my yellow guitar with me. You can’t tell where the chords I’m hitting because there are no reference points on the neck. And I bring that guitar in at rehearsal, you know, and he’d fuck up real bad because I don’t know if it’s because he couldn’t remember what we worked on the day before. If there was something, okay, let’s say we’re doing an album, and we’re working out parts. I’d go to a party at night and whatever the fuck, but I would make sure when I come in the next day that what we worked on the day before was done. Remember, if you don’t, you’re kind of stupid for even being there. Randy couldn’t. I don’t know if it’s because he’d go out partying. I don’t know if he went home and made sure, but I’d bring that guitar, and he’d be fucking up. Hey, why don’t you play that guitar, Chris? Yeah, I brought it purposely because he’d be watching me play.

Metal-Rules.com: Do you know the story of what happened when he tried out for Alice Cooper’s band after W.A.S.P.?

Chris Holmes: Yeah. Yeah. I talked with — I know Kane, Kane Roberts. I used to do a show with him. He just told me Randy couldn’t play the music. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. I told Kane, I said dude “You’re lucky I wasn’t there because they’d have thrown you out in the cold.” His guys were joking with him. “Laughs.” Kane, he’s a cool guy, man.

Metal-Rules.com: Yeah, and he’s back in the music scene now.

Chris Holmes: Is he playing with Alice again?

Metal-Rules.com: No, but he’s doing his own stuff.

Chris Holmes: Oh, what about… what’s his name that plays with KISS? Eric Singer. He played with Cooper for a while, right?

Metal-Rules.com: Yeah, many years.

Chris Holmes: Then Gene probably stopped him from doing that. I’ve seen Eric a while back. He had dyed black hair. He’s cool blonde hair because I know him from Sabbath too. I go, “Dude, I bet you Gene made you do that right?” and he goes to me “Man, if you got paid the money I do, you’d do it too,” and I grabbed him real close and I go “Eric, there’s not enough money on this planet to have me ever play with Gene Simmons. Do you know that?” and he looked at me, and he went. “Yeah! I saw something funny on YouTube. Blackie Lawless is doing press in Sweden. He’s doing an interview, and he goes, “Me and Alice Cooper were talking the other day.” What Keri Kelli told me about Alice Cooper and Alice Cooper hates his fucking guts, man.”  “Laughs.”

Chris Holmes
Chris Holmes

HISTORY AND MEMBER TALK

Metal-Rules.com: Do you mind if I next briefly ask something about guys who you have been working with in the past?

Chris Holmes: Like Blackie or?

Metal-Rules.com: No, not Blackie but many others, and let’s start with  Rik Fox.

Chris Holmes: Oh, I didn’t play with him in W.A.S.P. You know, he was there before me.

Metal-Rules.com: Yeah. I know, but did you ever cross paths before or after then?

Chris Holmes: No, no, no, I didn’t know who Rik Fox was until I joined in W.A.S.P. I heard nothing bad things about him but I really – I remember the first show we played. He called up the – it’s called the Woodstock or Woodsound, one or the other. He’s going to sue us for using the name, but in that instance, first come, first served. So then I was kind of pissed about that. Other than that, I’m not pissed at him. I got nothing wrong with Rik, you know. He just wants to shine. Everybody’s – a lot of people say some mean things about him, but that’s…

Metal-Rules.com: But it’s true is he hasn’t done anything significant since then.

Chris Holmes: It’s hard in LA to survive, you know. We got to do certain jobs or whatever. Some people got enough money to do what they want. He does Medieval Times now. He’s riding horses and everything, yeah. I would have taken – I don’t know. Maybe to that with rock and roll. I don’t know. Blackie loved saying shitty things about him.

Metal-Rules.com: If I remember right, Rik was trying to put Steeler back together with Ron Keel last year or something, the original band.

Chris Holmes: Ron Keel should do a Malmsteen or just forget it.

Metal-Rules.com: Malmsteen will never do it again for sure.

Chris Holmes: Well yeah.

Metal-Rules.com: The next name on my list is Don Costa.

Chris Holmes: Don’s a cool guy. I like Don a lot.

Metal-Rules.com: Did you play with him either?

Chris Holmes: Yeah. I rehearsed with him, and I’m the reason he left W.A.S.P. Well, not really. He had already auditioned for the Ozzy gig. He didn’t want to tell anybody, and then we played a show, and he was playing out of tune. If you’re out of tune, you shut your amp off. You don’t keep playing out of tune. You don’t keep doing it. It looks really bad. Suppose you’re a professional, no. You tune your instrument or shut it off but don’t keep playing, and he kept playing out of tune, and I chewed his ass out for the next rehearsal, and then he left, so I got blamed for him leaving, and Don was a good player. He could play. He knew what he was playing. He’d play with his fingers. That’s how you judge bass players. Good ones don’t use picks. Well, cellos, bass, you do this, and the old guys, you can’t use a pick with a big stance.

Metal-Rules.com: That’s true.

Chris Holmes: John Entwistle used his fingers. What about John Paul Jones. What did he do? Fingers? Geezer Butler, fingers. Steve Harris, fingers. But then… Gene Simmons, pick. Blackie Lawless, pick. Cliff Burton, fingers. Need I say more?

Metal-Rules.com: No, you don’t. “Laughs”

Chris Holmes: Mike Duda, pick. “Laughs”

Metal-Rules.com: Let’s take the next name on the list, Tony Richards?

Chris Holmes: Tony’s cool.

Metal-Rules.com: I heard that he’s still playing but not that much anymore.

Chris Holmes: Yeah, but Tony, he kind of fucked up. He had four kids and a wife. He had two kids with one and two kids with the other, and they both collected child welfare, so his life’s over. He’s going to have to – he’s in debt to the government now like what happened. When they get – he might as well split America because what he does here they’re going to chase him down. My brother fucked some chick, and he was 16. Never saw her, and they waited for the government. She had collected welfare, and the kid had open-heart surgery. So well, my brother – this is how our government is. This chick, I guess, had – the kid had surgery when he was one year old. She’s collecting unemployment, or she’s collecting welfare. The government always pays for the kids because that’s for the government men. It’s the kids, and they grow up. That’s the population. All of a sudden, they waited. Fuck. He was married, got married, and waited until he owned a house. So he owned a house worth money. Then they came in. Boom. One day half his check was taken. He checked into it. They say he’s paying for an old kid. He ‘DNA’d it. They DNA’d it back, and you’re the father. So now he has to pay for the rest of his life—payback like half a million dollars.

Metal-Rules.com: Right.

Chris Holmes: They just kind of fucked him because he needs a lot of people in stat situation… Michael Schenker. That’s why Michael doesn’t play in the States very much. He has five kids. With me, I’m the only kid I got to worry about. I think. “Laughs.” If somebody was to come after me, don’t you think they’d done it already? No, there is not another kid for me. I guarantee that. I guarantee you that.

nothintolose

CONTINUE TO CHRIS HOLMES INTERVIEW PART 2

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