Californian hard rock’n’rollers RHINO BUCKET are back on the European roads with a new live album “Sunrise On Sunset Blvd.” (Acetate records) under their arm. The album was recorded in 1990 at the band’s home club in L.A., the Coconut Teaszer and it shows that time doesn’t have much power on RHINO BUCKET’s music. They are proving it every night on this winter tour, whether it’s in a sold-out club in Austria or at a last minute show in a hotel in Guebwiller, France.
Georg Dolivo (guitars & lead vocals) and Brian Forsythe (guitars) tell us about the tour, their past, KIX (Brian’s other band) and their future!
(Pics by Rémy Le Cap Capdevilla)
So, how is the tour goin’ so far?
Georg: The tour is goin’ really great, we’re doing 27 shows in a row, tomorrow is 27th! And then we have a day off, drive 13 hours to Spain for 11 more! Then we have 2 days off, drive 1,000 kilometers back to France, do 4 shows and then we go back to America, sleep for 2 days… and then we’ll start giggin’ again and we’ll do the Monsters Of Rock cruise.
We love playing here in Europe, the food, the culture, people seem to really embrace rock’n’roll still here, and it’s a pleasure to be able to play in front of people every night, have them appreciate the music. It’s empowering to us!
I was wondering, did you ever come to Europe at the time of the first album (1990)?
Georg: We did one gig in London at the Marquee Club. You know, it’s one of the few regrets I have in my life, we told the management that we should spend more time in Europe and play at that time and we only did one gig in London, and instead, they had us touring relentlessly, like endlessly in America, which is good too, but you know… Thankfully, finally we’re able to come here now thanks to Teenage Head music. This is our 4th tour, We’re enjoying it!
It’s obvious that RHINO BUCKET didn’t get the promotion they deserved in Europe in those days. You know, I found out about the band ’cause I saw a video in this cool Swiss TV show where they used to play bands like JUNKYARD, CIRCUS OF POWER, etc. but it wasn’t that easy to find your album in stores.
Georg: You’re right. If I knew then what I know now… I’d be a lawyer! (Laughs.) Right now, we’ve been arguing with Warner Bros for a long time about them releasing our two albums, ’cause they want this astronomical amount of money for us to just license it, not even to get the albums back!… You know, we’re not a cover band of RHINO BUCKET, we are RHINO BUCKET, we keep on making brand new music, Brian has been in the band for 13 years, we will make new music, new albums, we’re moving forward, but every night we get one or two people come up and ask ‘I really want to get the first or second album, but I can’t get it!”… Or you have to buy it on Ebay and it’s like 40 euros, which is ridiculous! But we have a couple of new lawyers and we’re trying to work it out… I just don’t understand the mentality of these old dinosaur record labels. I mean, just put it out, we’re working, we’ll sell records for you, but if you don’t want to put it out and don’t want anybody else to do it for you, then what are you doing? I mean… How much did I offend you!? (Laughs)
So, I guess you’re happier with your record label now, Acetate records?
Georg: Absolutely! We have a great relationship with Acetate. I have a direct phone line to the President of the company, he cares about the band a lot, he understands where we’re at and he supports us, unlike many others bands who have to pay to make their own records, he still pays for our records, and he’s very aggressive in getting us in movies, in TV shows. he’s great! It’s a whole different world with him because the communication is high. He loves the band, and over the years I think we’ve done 3 releases, 2 compilations and a live album with him. He’s truly become a dear friend of mine.
And you’re in good company on this record label!
Georg: Yeah! The HANGMEN, PRIMA DONNA and a bunch of others!…
By the way, didn’t you change the name of the band at one point in your career?
Georg: No, that was a different band actually… But it had everyone in in! (Laughs) At one point I think Brian, Reeve and I did gigs as BUZZARD KILLS 7…
Brian: Wasn’t it DEEP SIX HOLIDAY?
Georg: Oh, maybe! (Laughs) If RHINO BUCKET is remembered for nothing else in a hundred years, then we’ll be known collectively as the band coming up with the worst band name in the history of rock’n’roll! (Laughs)
What’s the story behind it?
Georg: The real story is that a promoter called us and we had just formed the band, we didn’t have a name and he goes like “Listen, I want you guys to play next Thursday…”, but I have to put the advertisement in, so you have to give me a band name! I go “I’ll call back in 20 minutes!” The whole band was together drinking beers and our original drummer Rick Kubach wanted to call the band RHINO CHASER, which is a type of surf board, a long board. The original guitar player wanted to call it BUCKET OF LARD ’cause he’s a pessimist! (Laughs) So as a joke we said “RHINO BUCKET”, then I called the promoter back and I said “Ok, we’re going to call ourselves RHINO BUCKET” and he goes “Are you sure? It’s a ridiculous name!” and I go like “Yeah, we’ll just use it for one gig!”…
25 years later, my kids have RHINO BUCKET t-shirts and my own kids still look at me goin’ like “What the hell dad? What does it even mean?”, but I don’t know, what is a cool name anyway?
Brian: “RHINO BUCKET”! It’s memorable!
Coming back to the band’s music, I was impressed with your SISTERS OF MERCY cover. I love this band! It was quite an original choice for a band like RHINO BUCKET, how did you get the idea of covering “Vision Thing”?
Georg: Oh, that was for the Kickstarter thing. We wanted to do a special thing for the people who helped us out with Kickstarter, and I’m a big fan of The SISTERS OF MERCY, I love them! We experimented a number of different songs but that’s the one that turned out the closest to RHINO BUCKET being able to be RHINO BUCKET and still play one of their songs, I think it turned out very well. We did a pretty good job, I’m pretty pleased with it. I’m a huge fan of the band, they’re fucking fantastic!
Brian: I also think that, the reason it worked is… I mean, I’ve never heard the song, we only listened to it one time, and then 2 weeks later we put it together. I only heard it two weeks before, once!
Georg: Yeah! Brian came in fresh, and so did the rest of the band ’cause I think I’m the only one who ever listened to The SISTERS OF MERCY. I just showed them the song/chord progression and said “Hey! What would you play on this?”
Yeah, I think you managed to make it sound as one of your songs. If somebody who doesn’t know The SISTERS OF MERCY hear it, they can definitely think it’s one of your songs!
Georg: Absolutely, I hope that will work! (Laughs!)
Brian, let’s talk a bit about KIX, did you guys play in Europe in the 80s?
Brian: No, same as RHINO BUCKET, we went to the UK, but we did 3 shows and that was it. We tried to get the record company to send us over here and they just wouldn’t, they wouldn’t pay for it. At one point, we saved some money to come over here, but right when our manager was trying to book some shows, one of our road crews wrecked our equipment truck, so we had to buy a new truck. It was like “Damn, going to Europe or buying a new truck…” We bought a new truck. So, that was the end of the Europe thing. We couldn’t get any tour support from the record company.
Georg: KIX would have killed here! I saw KIX in L.A. before I met Brian and thought “What a great fuckin’ band!’ Steve has got a great voice, and he’s really entertaining on stage! They’re all great!
RHNO BUCKET’s tours in Europe are very long. Can you afford to do this in the U.S.?
Georg: It’s a little bit harder than here in Europe where the distances aren’t that big.
Brian: Plus here, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, people show up.
Georg: Absolutely, in the United States, you can’t play on a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, people are lazy, and they don’t have the culture for it. It’s different here, like tonight, here we are playing on a Monday night and people showed up and enjoyed it. It takes a little extra effort to come and see a band on a Monday night, and that’s fantastic, we appreciate it. In America, just the distances, getting out of California will take a day and a half before you can get anywhere. It’s ridiculous. There’s rock’n’roll in America too and I love it but it’s definitely more difficult, and I don’t think it’s a question of economics. I think it’s mostly a question of culture. There, people tend not to go out until the week-end, so you can do great everywhere on Friday and Saturday nights, but what are you gonna do the rest of the week? In Europe, people have a little bit more open-mindness about going out and see a show any day of the week.
Yeah, but it’s also easier because you’re an American band touring in Europe, and people know you from the previous tours.
Georg: Absolutely! It’s easier since we’ve been here before. Like tonight, there’s a guy from Manchester, England! He waited 20 years to see us, flew to Basel and came over here. That kind of stuff! I mean, you play for everybody, but we play for that guy too! We’re not full of ego. You make that kind of effort to come and see us play live, then I don’t care if there’s one person in front of me, a thousand people or ten thousand people, it’s gonna be the same show!… And the guy who taught me that was Brian! When I was younger, I would get upset when there wasn’t a lot of people, but Brian told me a long time ago “I don’t care, that one guy is here to see us play, that’s the guy I’m playing for!”
Brian: Yeah we’re playing for the people that are here, not the people who didn’t show up…
Didn’t you get the opportunity to open for bigger bands in the U.S lately?
Georg: A couple here and there, but not so much… I think they’re afraid of us! I say that with a wink, no one is afraid of us, back in the day there was some rumours that they were afraid of us, but I don’t believe that. I just believe that at the end of the day, on the American market you almost have to pay to play. We don’t pay anyone for anything. We’ll play for almost nothing but we’re not going to pay to be able to play because that’s ridiculous. We don’t respect that and I don’t want any young band to do that. When I talk to younger bands I tell them “please don’t do that” ’cause if you do that, then you’re just fitting in the market… But you know, I don’t care, every day when I’m on stage, I’m singing and I’m playing, I look to my right there’s Brian, Dave is behind me, Reeves to my left, that’s a good day, the band sounds good, it’s life performing!
Have you ever opened for KIX?
Georg: Yeah! That’s tough on Brian! (Laughs)
Brian: I think in the old days too, back in the 80s.
Georg: Oh yeah, even before Brian was in the band, we opened for KIX a couple of times.
Brian: In KIX, we’re all big fans of RHINO BUCKET too.
Georg: It was like a mutual admiration. All the guys in KIX are such great guys, we get along and we respect them. You know, you meet a lot of people in this life, and a lot of bands, and some people are a little ridiculous, not nice people… And then you meet good people, everyone in KIX, band and crew: Great people! AIRBOURNE: Great people! JUNKYARD: Good people (Laughs), no great people! DANGEROUS TOYS: Great people! AMERICAN DOG: Great people! And we built this relationship with these people, when they are good people, you know, you have a connection. We all just want to play music and be able to play music tomorrow too ’cause digging ditches sucks! (Laughs.)
Do you only play music or do you have to work day jobs?
Georg: I occasionally do some side jobs here and there, but technically we’re all 24/7 musicians. But every now and then you run out of beer and you go like “Hey I need some beer, can I work for you tomorrow?” (Laughs)
Brian, I read once that you were a veterinary assistant?
Brian: Yeah! I did that up until like 2 or 3 years ago. When I first moved to L.A., I needed to get a job so I started working for my brother and then stuff happened and I just switched. I got that job in 98, it was right before I joined RHINO BUCKET, and I just needed a job and thought it was gonna be temporary, and I ended up working there for 12 years! Then we had to come here for 2 months and they were really cool about letting me go. But then, on the year we did Sweden Rock, we got 2 months over here and then we had another month tour here again in June, then Sweden Rock, so the day I got back to work after the 2 month tour, I had to tell them “Oh I have to leave for the month of June again” (Laughs), and they were so cool, they tried to work it out, but it just didn’t work anymore…
Georg: Also, in the meantime, KIX had a handful of shows at the end of the year, so we had to work on our schedules so that Brian could do the KIX shows. In my heart, I want everyone to just play music, ’cause it’s hard enough you know, you do 26 gigs in a row, you’re travelling, and when you’re home it’s not like you sit around with Pamela Anderson and a big bag of cocaine! Even though none of us do drugs and nobody wants to meet Pam anymore! (Laughs.) It’s always constant work, working on new songs. There’s always something to do!
I was at the Monsters Of Rock cruise last year, are you looking forward to it this year after these cold months here in Europe?
Georg: Yeah, I love the Monsters Of Rock cruise, the guy who puts it up is a good friend of mine, great guy! I love the bands that play there and it’s a great thing for the fans… It’s a little weird because it’s like being in this hotel, playing downstairs. It’s like the same thing for 5 days, like you’re having breakfast or dinner and some guy comes up to you, smells like beer and puke and goes “You guys are great!”… and you’re like “yeah thanks, but try not to vomit on my wife again!” (Laughs)
… And it gives the opportunity for people like me or my friends to finally be able to see KIX!
Brian: Yeah! Two shows for each band on the boat this year! It all goes fast to me, running around, changing clothes! My RHINO BUCKET clothes and my KIX clothes! (Laughs)
Georg: Brian has to dress down for RHINO BUCKET, we look a little bit more like doc workers! (Laughs)
Georg, any other band/project for you?
Georg: No, just did a few things when RHINO BUCKET took a break, but this is my life! I identify myself with this band and the songs of this band, and people identify me with it, so I ‘m not gonna… Or I might release a Christian folk album! No I’m kidding! (Laughs)
Are you having fun with your new tour manager/driver, Max?
Georg: I think Max is fantastic! I love Manny and Carmen from Teenage Head Music dearly, with all my heart, and when they told me that they couldn’t do it and that we had to meet and use Max, I had a little bit of hesitation ’cause I didn’t know him, never met him, but we love Max, he’s phenomenal! He’s really good and really smart, and that’s an important thing. I told Max that next time we’re doing it, I’ll tell Manny, there’s no exception, it has to be him! He’s positive, we’re positive, we all get along! The team spirit is very high!
Brian: Yeah he’s great! And I think also, with the new addition of Dave on drums, his personality. It all works well together.
Georg: Yeah, he fits in fantastic also! We’re all on the same page. It’s important on the longer stretch, you have to try and maintain the postitivity… And I also don’t drink Jack Daniel’s anymore, and it hepled a fucking lot! (Laughs) Only beer! It’s hard to get aggressive on beer ’cause the minute you want to fight, you first got to go piss! (Laughs)
RHINO BUCKET European Tour – Winter 2013
10/01/2013 Verviers – Belgium @ Spirit of 66
11/01/2013 Eindhoven – Holland @ The Rambler
12/01/2013 Coevorden – Holland @ MFC
13/01/2013 Uelsen – Germany @ UJT
14/01/2013 Hamburg – Germany @ Hafenklang
15/01/2013 Bremen – Germany @ Meisenfrei
16/01/2013 Regensburg – Germany @ Alte Malzerei
17/01/2013 Koln – Germany @ Sonic Ballroom
18/01/2013 Isernhagen – Germany @ Blues Garage
19/01/2013 Berlin – Germany @ Wild at Heart
20/01/2013 Prague – Czech Republic @ Modra Vopice
21/01/2013 Frankfurt – Germany @ Nachtleben
22/01/2013 Obermachtal – Germany @ Kreuz
23/01/2013 Thalheim – Germany @ Reuterstüble
24/01/2013 Ingolstadt – Germany @ Eventhalle-Westpark
25/01/2013 Leipzig – Germany @ Hellraiser
26/01/2013 München – Germany @ Garage Deluxe
27/01/2013 Ravensburg – Germany @ Balthes Pub
28/01/2013 Milano (Bresso) – Italy @ Blue Rose Saloon
29/01/2013 Torino – Italy @ United Club
30/01/2013 Velden am Worthersee – Austria @ Bleusiana
31/01/2013 Kufstein – Austria @ Qwest
1/02/2013 Weiden – Germany @ Salute
2/02/2013 Uster – Switzerland @ Rock City
3/02/2013 Solothurn – Switzerland @ Kofmehl
4/02/2013 Bartenheim – France @ Palace Loisirs
5/02/2013 Bartenheim – France @ Palace Loisirs (second show)
7/02/2013 Castellon – Spain @ Pub D’Leyend
8/02/2013 Barcelona – Spain @ Rocksound
9/02/2013 Murcia – Spain @ Sala Gamma
10/02/2013 Estepona – Spain @ Louie Louie
11/02/2013 Cadiz – Spain @ Supersonic
12/02/2013 Madrid – Spain @ La Boite
13/02/2013 Cangas – Spain @ Salason
14/02/2013 Plasencia – Spain @ Sala Impacto
15/02/2013 Vitoria – Spain @ Helldorado
16/02/2013 Bilbao – Spain @ Azkena
17/02/2013 Zaragoza – Spain @ La Ley Seca
19/02/2013 France tba
20/02/2013 Rennes – France @ Mondo Bizarro
21/02/2013 Paris (Vauréal) – France @ Forum
22/02/2013 Kerkrade – Holland @ Rock Temple
23/02/2013 Zweibrücken – Germany @ Festhalle