Epiphone's Don Mitchell recently spoke with Rikki about his musical upbringing, life in Rev Theory and his love of the Epiphone Prophecy line.
EPI: Tell me about your early musical life. Did you grow up in musical family?
Rikki Lixx: My great grandfather was an opera singer but I come from a sports-minded family for the most part. They all do play some sort of instrument... just not professionally. My dad always had a drum kit set up in the basement that he played and my grandmother talks about her grandmother who would sit down and play songs on the piano by ear.
EPI: So was it your family that influenced your earliest interest in music?
Rikki Lixx: Yes, and then when I was in the second grade a friend gave me Guns n Roses' Appetite For Destruction. I could not stop listening to it and to this day Guns n Roses is my favorite band and Slash is my favorite guitar player... along with Dimebag Darrell and Zakk Wylde.
EPI: That was going to be my next question actually... what guitarists inspire you?
Rikki Lixx: Slash is by far my favorite guitar player because of the way he mixes sick blues playing with melodic shredding.
Dimebag Darrell... is there anything else I need to say? Dime's a legend! I got to meet him when I was 12 at a meet and greet near Philly. He was super nice to me and I'll never forget it. Now, I am actually friends with Rita, Dime's girl. She is really sweet and always very supportive of my band.
Zakk Wylde is a sick guitar player as well and also an amazing piano player. I got to meet Zakk just for a second backstage at Ozzfest. He was walking around with his guitar as usual. He never puts that thing down. I think he practices more then any guitar player in the world... all shredding all the time!
EPI: I read that you attended the Creative and Performance Arts High School in Philadelphia. What was that experience like?
Rikki Lixx: Yes, I did go to C.A.P.A. in Philly. It was a good place to practice and think about what I wanted to do with my music career. I played the upright bass in orchestra, took music theory classes, played guitar a lot and actually played piano but it's been a while since I've practiced piano so I'm pretty rusty. I've focused on guitar, singing, and writing songs since then.
EPI: While Rev Theory has been together for a few years, you have joined more recently. What was it like to step in as the "new guy" to a somewhat already established lineup?
Rikki Lixx: Well, I had been friends with the Rev guys for a couple years so when I moved on from my last band it was a no brainer that I would go to New York to jam and hang out with Rev Theory. They had been thinking about adding a lead guitar player for a long while so it was good timing. I'm very happy to be a part of the Rev family.
EPI: This band has the reputation of a band that not only kicks a** on stage but also on the business side. As a whole you seem to take your careers more seriously than a lot of rock-and-roll acts. How has this helped you get where you are and where do you hope it will take you?
Rikki Lixx: The business side of this big music machine has always been something I've been very conscious of. Things have gotten much more cutthroat and these days you can't just be a wasted retard that is good at playing guitar. You have to be good at everything and have your s*** together or you're gonna get left behind.
EPI: The new project "Light It Up" was released on June 10th. How has suddenly having a major label release changed things for you?
Rikki Lixx: Being on a major label is awesome. Rev Theory is on Interscope Records as well as the Maloof's label and Interscope in my opinion is the best label out there. They really take care of s*** in the right way and make things happen. Since the release of Rev's debut major label record, Interscope has given us a lot of amazing exposure.
EPI: You have been spotted a lot lately playing your Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul EX. How did you hear about the Prophecy?
Rikki Lixx: We played Rockfest in Kansas City and that's where I met a couple of Epiphone reps who introduced me to the new Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul Custom EX.
EPI: What was your impression?
Rikki Lixx: When I played the Prophecy for the first time I was shocked at how well it played. My favorite guitar, that I've played for years, is a 1979 Gibson Black Beauty Custom Les Paul. I swore I would never play anything else, but after playing the Prophecy EX, I changed my mind. About a week after we were in Kansas City Epiphone sent a Prophecy to me and I love it. They recently, were nice enough to let me try out the Prophecy Futura as well... I love both of them!
EPI: Your touring schedule has become pretty hectic with Rev Theory. Since you are playing shows constantly do you still feel the need to sit down and practice?
Rikki Lixx: Touring is always crazy but since I started playing guitar, practicing has always been number one for me. I play every chance I get. When I was in high school I would practice 4 hours or more a day, just locking myself in my room and going at it. As busy as I am now I still find time to sit down and shred a lot. It's like being a pro athlete. You never stop perfecting and doing your best to master what you do. It's no different for me and playing the guitar. I f***ing love it! It's what I do.
EPI: You recently played on CBS's Slamball 2008 show. Describe that experience.
Rikki Lixx: Playing CBS Slamball was awesome. It was like shooting the "Hell Yeah" video for the second time, but with sick ball players doing crazy slam dunks while we were doing our thing. It was crazy because I get in my zone when I play and I almost got knocked out a couple times by the guys running in and dunking over the top of me. It was INSANE!
EPI: You have certainly attained a level of success that seems to be skyrocketing. What advice would you give a young guitarist who is trying take his playing to the next level and move out of the garage and onto the stage?
Rikki Lixx: I would say practice, practice, practice. If you truly love it and you know it's what you want to do for the rest of your life, then give everything up for it. You can make anything happen if you want to.