Riki Rachtman, Interview – MTV ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ Stories on Tour


Riki Rachtman photo by Lea Vendetta

Riki Rachtman – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Lea Vendetta

Riki Rachtman joins Anne Erickson to talk about his “One Foot in the Gutter” tour, “Headbanger’s Ball,” “Daisy of Love,” the Pantera reunion and more in this in-depth interview

If you’re a fan of rock and metal music, then you know the name Riki Rachtman. He’s one of the biggest personalities in the genre, from hosting MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball to running the legendary Cathouse Hollywood to hosting TV shows such as VH1’s “Daisy of Love,” “Rock of Love” and “Charm School.”

Now, Rachtman is touring the globe, talking about his experiences in the rock world. His one-man show, dubbed the “One Foot In The Gutter” tour, features Rachtman doing what he does best: tell stories. The trek kicks off March 29 at Rams Head Onstage in Annapolis, Maryland, and closes out at Vinyl in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 20. After the North American run, he’ll also hit Australia.

“Everybody’s always been asking me, ‘Hey, why don’t you write a book?’ Or, ‘Why don’t you do all this stuff?’ And it is something that I do want to do one day, but I wasn’t sure if people really wanted to read the stories that I’m going to tell,” Rachtman told Audio Ink Radio. “Of course, it’s going to be a lot of stuff about ‘Headbanger’s Ball,’ a lot of stuff about the Cathouse and a lot of stuff about growing up in the scene. But, there’s so much more to the story, some really good stuff and a lot of bad stuff.”

Rachtman says he is loving these shows. “The opportunity came up for me to to try the show once in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I did it, and the show sold out, and I had so much fun,” he explained.

Listen: Riki Rachtman joins Anne Erickson on the Audio Ink Radio Podcast

Switching gears to the Pantera reunion, Rachtman has some views on it that make sense. He was there when Pantera were a force in metal, so Rachtman’s opinion is means something.

“The truth is, the biggest shame for metal fans today is they never got to see Pantera, because Pantera was really what American metal is,” he said. “The beauty about Pantera is – and there’s a lot of Pantera stuff in my show, including some footage that I found that wasn’t in the previous show of me and Dime and Vinnie and Rex – so, there are some Pantera stores in my show, for sure. Pantera was so good. When we lost Dime, I had hoped that they would have done something with Vin, and everybody always said, well if it was someone other than Dime, the only person it could be is Zakk. Nobody can ever fill in for Dimebag, but Zakk was so close to Dime, and Zakk is such a great guitarist, and Charlie Benante is a great drummer.”

He continued, “So, I definitely want to see the show. I love the show. I know people say, ‘It’s not Pantera.’ Okay. You know that. You all know that. But there are a lot of kids that are going to see this band for the first time, and not one of these kids is not going to be thinking about Dimebag or Vinnie. They’re all going to be thinking about them. And, you know what? There are a lot of kids who might hear ‘Primal Concrete’ for the first time and say wow. and especially because they’re playing festivals, I’m going to go out and buy Pantera music, and if they go out and they buy Pantera music, they’re buying music with Vinnie and Dime on it. So, is it Pantera? It’s a version of Pantera. I cannot wait to see the show. I think the show is great. And I think the people who are complaining about it probably saw Pantera, and there are a lot of people that never saw Pantera. Everybody knows that Dime and Vinnie are not in the band. But, they’re hearing music that Dime and Vinnie were a huge part of, and I’m all for it.”

As for whether the guys are doing this for the right reasons, Rachtman thinks the answer is yes.

“It is what it is. Do I think it’s a money grab? Well, it isn’t for Zakk and Charlie, because they’re doing quite fine. If helps Rex get some money, okay.” he said. “No- I think they want to play the music. I think it’s fine. I know that it’s not Dime and Vinnie up there, but as soon as I hear Zakk do certain solos, even though it’s still going to sound a little bit different, I’m going to be thinking, Vinnie. I’m going to be thinking Dime. So, I think it’s good, and all we wanted is more exposure for the brand Pantera, which was Dime and Vinnie.”

One of the shows Rachtman hosted in the late 2000s was VH1’s “Daisy of Love.” The program featured Daisy de la Hoya, the runner-up of “Rock of Love 2,” looking for love on a fun and saucy reality dating show.

“The truth is, after I did ‘Charm School,’ I said, ‘I’m not doing any more of those shows, because I didn’t like what my role was on ‘Charm School,'” Rachtman said. “It just felt silly. Then, they said they wanted to do this show ‘Daisy of Love,’ and they told me what my role was, and I had known Daisy, and I’m like okay, let’s do it.”

He continued, “The truth is, I loved doing that show. I had so much fun, because for one, I really did care about Daisy. Some of the guys were great, some of theme were morons, but I got to be me, and I got to have a personality, and I got to tell my honest option.”

Listen to Audio Ink Radio’s full interview with Riki Rachtman on the podcast above, via Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Metal, Music