Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
MW: Please introduce yourself?
RR: Rachael Rine drummer for Femme Fatale. Formerly of Cockpit.
MW: When did you become the bad ass drummer you are today?
RR: I have no idea when I drank the potion. Life takes you on a wild ride and you either fight it and live unhappily ever after… or throw your hands up and enjoy the roller coaster. My fists are always in the air!
MW: Was Cockpit your first band?
RR: I played in little bar bands back home in NM. Nothing serious. Just getting my feet wet when I started playing. There’s not much potential for my brand of rock musicians in Santa Fe. I paid my dues playing songs I didn’t like just so I could have the opportunity to play out.
MW: Tell me about Cockpit?
RR: After I moved to LA, I spent a fair amount of time looking for a band to join. Everything that came my way just wasn’t quite right. I was digging high and low but I just couldn’t see something with a bigger potential. Finally I decided to build from the ground up. I started Cockpit as a cover band. It was the perfect way to try out members to see if they fit without investing in writing with them. You can learn a lot about someone by how they handle playing shows etc. After a lot member changes we finally started writing and playing a bunch of shows.
MW: Was there ever a CD done with Cockpit?
RR: We started our own label and released one EP “Mission To Rock” in 2008.
MW: How did Anthony Focx help Cockpit out?
RR: We’ve been friends for a long time. Anthony, this bass player Melissa & I used to jam once in a while pre-Cockpit. We joked about starting a band but it never really happened. Around that time, I helped Joe LeSte put Beautiful Creatures together and referred Anthony for his spot in that project. (Funny side note, Joe LeSte even sang an entire show for Cockpit when we were a cover band and our singer was sick once.)
Cockpit always seemed to hit a brick wall with producers/studios/etc when it came to recording. There was always some road block or another. This is why we only released one EP in the ten years Cockpit was active. After a failed attempt to record with yet another producer and the loss of yet another guitarist, we decided to just cut some rough demos on our own. We thought it would be helpful in finding the elusive new female lead player.
My day jobs back then were working for the presidents of major record labels, Grammy-winning producers, A-list recording studios etc. It was all music industry stuff, but all at the very top of the industry. After we finished tracking the demos, I just didn’t like the sound. I was so used to making albums that were chart topping high quality. I just wasn’t satisfied hearing our stuff as a demo. I always saw bigger and better. The sky was never a limit. Anthony is a genius with recording and mixing. He’s really talented and I knew we needed his help. We hired him to work with us mixing the album. He was super busy with Aerosmith at the time and I was so grateful he made the time. The songs sounded so amazing with his mixes, we pressed them up.
MW: Do you remember Rocklahoma 2008?
RR: How could I forget!!! That was a crazy month for me. Unfortunately my father had just lost a brutal battle with cancer. I left the funeral, flew to LA, and had 4 hours to pack and pick up a U-haul with my SUV. We did something like 14 shows and one in-store in 12 days on that run… no crew… in my Pathfinder. It was absolutely insane. I remember my dad saying, “Don’t you dare cancel a show because I’m sick. THAT would break my heart. Get out there and play”. So we did. It was a really tough run for me but he would have been proud.
MW: Cockpit played on my stage and rocked the hell out of it. How did you get involved with Rocklahoma?
RR: I was determined to get us on the bill that second year of the festival. A good friend from a big management company knew I wanted Cockpit on the show real bad. So he had me help him entertain the Rocklahoma people the night before the big LA press conference. We wined and dined them at the Rainbow… I got their whole entourage VIP at the sold out Steel Panther show next door… made sure they were taken care of and had fun. LA is my town and I basically ambushed them with hospitality. They loved it and asked us to come to the press conference the next day. It was a done deal. We had a great time playing your stage by the way. I loved that we got the girls to start a mud wrestling pit during our performance!
MW: What ever happen to Cockpit?
RR: We all started wanting different things. With a group of women that’s when things can get real interesting. Alicia Blue (lead gtr) left the band for personal reasons. We all agreed to do a summer tour and were going to have a guy fill in on lead. After I had confirmed a lot of the dates, some other members changed their minds and wanted me to cancel. In that very moment, it was over for me. I worked on Cockpit for over ten years with about fifteen different members. I had never cancelled a show. The moment I got the feeling the last line up didn’t really want to tour, it was like someone pulled the plug. A switch flipped and it was over for me. Everything I do is to get out there on the road. Personally, I just couldn’t sit in a rehearsal room in the valley for another two years searching for girl guitarist (they’re hard to find). We cancelled the tour and finished a few shows. That’s all she wrote. All in all we had a good run. It was fun. After ten years though, it was really just time for something else.
MW: What did you do after Cockpit?
RR: After being tied to other peoples schedules for many years, I took a break from being in a band. However I didn’t take a break from drumming. I started playing drums a lot but for myself. When I was in Cockpit we were always so busy, I didn’t really have time to work on anything but Cockpit. I started working with amazing drummers like Thomas Lang & Sammy Watson. Aside from playing drums in a number of music videos, I took some time to enjoy just be a drum nerd again. I wanted to expand my vocabulary as a player. I really enjoyed it. Then I took off to Europe for 6 months to indulge in architecture, renaissance artwork, and culture. Sometimes you find inspiration in different modalities but I can’t stay away from playing for long though. After two months there… I was back in the saddle doing a crazy drummer boot camp in Austria with Thomas Lang again. It was so much fun. If you’ve never seen him play, look him up. The guy is an animal!
MW: Does Cockpit still ever do shows?
RR: No. I talk to Alicia all the time. I just spent a lot of time with her in England. We always have so much fun together. I see Terrii every once in a while too. We’re actually trying to get together this week. However I don’t see a Cockpit future at all.
MW: How did you get involved with Lorraine Lewis and the reformation of Femme Fatale?
RR: I’ve known Lorraine for a long time. We’re both from New Mexico. At one point years ago there was even talk of her coming in to do some writing/singing with Cockpit. She called me when I was in London and told me about re-igniting Femme and the Monsters of Rock Cruise. She asked me to be a part of the band. I was honored but at first I hesitated. It meant that I’d have to come back to the states early. Then it got really cold a few days later… and I called her saying “What am I thinking?! Please, please, please tell me I can still have the gig!!!” I was really excited to do something with her. Lorraine is awesome. She’s a great singer and amazing front woman. This is a girl with a killer voice who really knows how to put on a show. It’s a pleasure back her up.
MW: How was the first rehearsal with Femme Fatale?
RR: They started rehearsing for a couple months without me because I was still in the UK. So I had to learn everything without the band while I was traveling. I was nervous that I would forget stuff for the first rehearsal but it worked out well. All the girls can really play and they are so much fun to work with. We have a good time.
MW: Who is in Femme Fatale now?
RR: There are two drummers!! Can you believe that? It’s so much fun, I love it! I am the official Femme drummer and Athena comes up at some point as a special guest and plays a couple songs. Double the trouble for sure!
Here’s the rest:
Lorraine Lewis – Vox & ringleader
Janis Tanaka – Bass
Katt Scarlett – Keys
Nita Strauss – Gtr
Courtney Cox – Gtr
MW: How was the first Femme Fatale show?
RR: Our first show was main support for KIX at the Key Club. The show was beyond sold out. We KILLED IT!!! It felt really good to be back on stage. Our second & third shows were on the cruise! We totally hit the ground running.
MW: Tell me about the Femme Fatale show during the Monster Of Rock Cruise?
RR: We played two sets. The first was on big stage outside on the deck. It was really amazing to be bashing away to a packed crowd that’s going nuts all the while staring at the crystal blue Caribbean in the background! That’s something I’ll never forget. I think Lorraine even crowd surfed at that show. The second show was on a slightly more intimate stage in one of the lounges but it was insanely packed and just as much fun. The place went nuts! The fans were really amazing. It was nice to re-connect with some of the Rocklahoma crowd that was there too.
MW: How was the response to the new version of Femme Fatale?
RR: People absolutely loved it! There are SEVEN hot women who undeniably rock & are ready for trouble, all in one band. What’s not to love? We kind of took over the ship on MORC. It was a cruise ship… until the Femme-Bots boarded and we totally turned it PIRATE! Nobody complained.
MW: What is in the future for Femme Fatale?
RR: Hopefully a lot more shows! Everything else is Top Secret right now though… I could tell you but then this interview would self-destruct.
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
RR: I want to share my love an appreciation for all of you crazy rock & rollers out there. Can’t wait to raise hell with you all!!