FG: Where are you from?
Riggs: Arkansas! Born and raised in the Ozarks.
FG: Still live there?
FG: Planning on movin' to L.A.?
Riggs: Nope. Never.
FG: Do you do any hunting or fishing?
Riggs: Yeah, squirrel huntin'. I go fishin', but I got burnt out on it. I'm too impatient.
FG: How did you learn how to play guitar?
Riggs: I taught myself. My Uncle had a guitar in his closet, an old Kay guitar. It looked like an SG that Tony Iommi played. It had like a million swithches & buttons on it, and this humongous Tremolo; a spring loaded motherfucker. I just played that, and it took me about 2 years before I even knew I had to like, tune it. I didn't know anything about guitar, I played for like, years just...
FG: Listening to the radio and stuff?
Riggs: Yeah, I listened to records, like Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog", and old Alice Cooper records, Frank Zappa, like 20 years ago. Mainly those three.
FG: Who would you consider your influences?
Riggs: I didn't have any! Listening to music didn't want to make me play guitar...I wanted to play guitar before I knew what music was, because I was so little; I started when I was like 5 years old. My Uncle had that guitar in his closet, and I just loved playin' it, and I just learned how to play. I didn't know of any bands. I didn't have a record player, and 8-track player..nothin'! My Grandma bought me a little amp, and I just learned how to play. So, I learned how to play guitar before I knew who any bands were.
FG: Whats a typical day like for you?
Riggs: Sleep all day, get up at 4 PM go to sound check then go back to sleep then get up again and play the show. After the show I get on the buss and go to sleep and wake up at 4PM for the next show.
FG: What did you do before you were playing with Rob Zombie?
Riggs: Nothin! I worked at a boat factory in Arkansas!
FG: How did you meet Rob Zombie?
Riggs: I was as a WWF match, we started talking, and just hooked up like that!
FG: How long have you been playing Fernandes Guitars?
Riggs: Since 1994. 8 years!
FG: What originally drew you to Vertigo guitars?
Riggs: I liked it because I had never seen anyone play the Vertigo before and it was unique.
FG: What is special about your new Fernandes Vertigo Signature model?
Riggs: No knobs, turn it on and its fuckin on, turn it off and its off. No volume knobs, one pickup! The simplest guitar ever made. Its bad ass, the tone is bone crushing and it looks fuckin tough! Its solid as a rock I can take it home and use it as a splitting wedge when I am getting my fire wood. It has Eye-Bolts to hold your strap on! Normal strap buttons suck and your guitars fall off then you have to buy strap locks, and those suck and they break and fall off! These dont break and fall off!
FG: Why do you have Scumbag inlaid at the 12th fret?
Riggs: Because I couldn't put "Fuck You" on it!
FG: Why do you consider yourself "The Scum of the Earth?
Riggs: I've been a Scumbag ever since I was a little kid in school, and I think I've made it work to my advantage!!
FG: Tell me about the "Blood Vertigo" that you play live...what's unique about it, and how does it sound?
Riggs: It's got blood in it. It's the best sounding guitar in the whole world. That's how they're gonna make all guitars one day! Plexiglass and liquid is the best conductor for sound. I need about 5 more of them motherfuckers!
FG: Does the level of liquid affect the tone?
Riggs: Yessssss, it does....but I'm not tellin' anybody how much I put in there to get the right tone. I figured it out by trial and error. The more blood I drink out of it, the more low end goes out of it, but no one notices it because I play so loud.
FG: You've actually got 2 of those then, right? The other one has a strobe light in it?
Riggs: It's the "Re-Animator" guitar! You know, like in the move "Re-Animator", it has all the green liquid shit in it, that's my little homage to the movie.
FG: Have you had any mishaps?
Riggs: Yeah, I got electrocuted during the Ozzfest. I thought I was gonna fuckin' die! I told guitar tech "Don't plug my strobe light guitar into awall outlet. Use a protected power strip instead" Well, he didn't listen, so during "Dragula" This strobe light was going off in time with the music &electrocuting me every time AND making these really loud Pops through the P.A. system and monitors. It hurt really bad, and it was the final song in the set, the big finale, so I couldn't stop playing. So, I decided to "suck it up" and deal with the pain. Then I walk up to the mic to sing backup vocals and this huge blue arc of electricity comes out of the mic and just hits me right in the face and knocks me back. Man, my muscles were all tensed up & I looked deformed! For about 2 weeks I could hardly move. After the show, I fell down in the shower after the show with all my stages clothes on, spazzin' like Wile E. Coyote! That's a true story!
FG: Has it only happened once?
FG: What songs do you play the clear blood Vertigo on?
Riggs: "Living Dead Girl", "Dragula", and "Meet the Creeper". Those are my only guitars in "C" tuning. It works great for "Dragula" cuz I drink the blood from it, and there's not a whole lot of Guitar in the song. I drink blood, pour it on myself, and spit it on people.
FG: How do the fans like you spitting blood on them?
Riggs: They love it, the girls especially!
FG: Why do you use the Fernandes Sustainer?
Riggs: Cuz I don't need stompboxes anymore! I just use the Sustainer and a Wah pedal. I use for all kinds of stuff, like making weird sounds.
FG: You have a pretty basic amp setup.
Riggs: Yep. Just a head, some speakers, a wireless, a noise gate, and a Wah pedal. No effects. No nothin'.
FG: What amps do you use?
Riggs: Marshall G100R CD. I bugged 'em for 2 years to get them to make me an amp like Tommy Victor from Prong used.
FG: What about strings? Do you have any particular gauge?
Riggs: Dean Markley!!! I have like 3 different gauges: 10-52, 12-56, and 13-60.
FG: It seems like you have a lot of different tunings.
Riggs: When Rob & Scott Humphrey (Rob Zombies producer) start writin' songs, like with a sample or a loop, they're buildin' the song around that. Sometimes I'll need one tuning for the chorus and another for the verses, so I have to combine 2 tunings. I'll use drop tuned, double dropped tuned, standard mixed with drop tuning. It's pretty nuts.
FG: Do you have to do a lot of guitar changes during the show?
Riggs: Every song. And for some reason, not every song is tuned different, but the way they're always placed in the set, there's a different tuning. I use like 5 or 6 different tunings. One day I might need 2 guitar techs!
FG: How many guitars do you have?
Riggs: Thirteen, including that American Flag guitar that I use on "Feels so Numb".
FG: Do you play any other instruments?
Riggs: I like to play Bass. On the records I play Bass. Not all of it, but some of it. On Hellbilly Deluxe I played most of the Bass because Blasko wasn't in the band yet. He joined the band when there was one song left to record. I think it was "Dragula". But I love playin' Bass!
FG: Do you have a studio at home?
Riggs: Yeah. I have a home version of ProTools. I record stuff at home, burn it onto an audio CD and send it to Rob & Scott Humphrey and see if they like any of it or want to throw it in the trash. That's what happened with "Ironhead".
FG: What songs on Hellbilly Deluxe
did you use the Sustainer on?
Riggs: Almost all of 'em! The slide parts on "Living Dead Girl", "Superbeast" I used it in the feedback mode, the intro that sounds like a keyboard, real sci-fi soundin' thing. You don't have to pick, just slide your hand around. I used it on "Demonoid Phenomenon" at the end, and the little harmonic parts right before the lead, I use the feedback mode for that.
FG: Where did you use it on the new album ?
Riggs: "Ironhead", I used it on that... all the high guitar parts in feedback mode. The Sustainer is all over the new record. I use it even more live than I do on the record. It lets me get away with even nuttier stuff live. I use it on "More Human than Human": doing the slides, I use it in feedback mode and dive bomb it. You know, do all kinds of weird stuff! Channel X, ThunderKiss, on the end of that song. When we were touring with Slayer, me and Kerry King used to have Sustainer battles at the end of "Thunder Kiss" and drive Rob fuckin' crazy! At the end of the song, we're both just dive-bombin' and tweakin' the tremolo bars!