Tom Becka: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Tombecka.com, where everyone’s extraordinary, and everyone has a story to tell. Rita Rae has a story to tell. Yeah, Rita Rae is a wife, she’s a mother, she’s a waitress. She’s the all-American girl next door. This of course is the all-American girl next door, who slept with dozens and dozens of rock stars.
Yeah, if there were hair band in the ’80’s, a good chance Rita Rae knew at least one of the members of the band. She talks openly about it in her book, “Once upon a Rock Star,” and also on her web page, onceuponarockstarbook.com. Rita Rae came back from the brink.
She got heavily involved in drugs; she got heavily involved with the LA party scene, only to be able to turn her life around and become like I said, a wife, a mother and the girl next door. Some people might call her a groupie. Rita Rae wouldn’t call herself that, though.
Rita Rae Roxx: I always saw myself, Tom, as I would like to say, a ultra fan or a professional guest are the words I would like to use.
Tom: A professional guest. What does that mean?
Rita Rae: Well, professional guest to me was somebody that just wasn’t going to the concert. I actually researched a lot about the rock stars that were performing in the band that night. I would read up on them, and just really find out as much as I could about them. I would locally try to track them down before the concert. I would put a little effort into trying to meet them before they even got to the concert hall, if I could.
Tom: This was not a thing necessarily where you just all dressed up, and then tried to get to the front of the stage and have them notice you. You would do work on it. This was like, you were hunting your prey?
Rita Rae: Well, in the beginning of my book, it started out like that. I used to get up to the front of every concert. We used to go down to the Civic Auditorium at 6:00, 5:30 and the gates would open up at 6:30. We’d get in that madness of the fight to the front of the turnstiles. Then you would run like crazy to the front of the stage.
Tom: No, no, wait. We’re talking about this here. How old were you? When you first started doing this, how old were you?
Rita Rae: The first concert I ever went to was Aerosmith in 1979, and I paid $8.50 for a ticket. Me and my best girlfriend Lisa at the time, we literally rode the city bus down there. We both ran tracks, we got right up front.
Tom: How old were you?
Rita Rae: I was 14.
Tom: You were 14 and you were going to Aerosmith? You weren’t a groupie then, or were you a professional guest at that point?
Rita Rae: I would just say I was a big fan then, but I used to work at Wendy’s, and I would save all money. I’d buy my concert tickets in advance, and literally I would buy a new outfit pretty much every time I was going to a show, too.
Tom: OK. Now, where were your parents in all of this? Did they know what was going on here?
Rita Rae: Well, in the very beginning I got really good grades in school, my Mom was cool. As long as I got good grades and I was home by midnight, or really on a school night like 11:00, she didn’t really have a beef with it. Because she didn’t know that I enjoyed going to see shows and how much I really liked music, but the point was, as long as I was home and I was getting good grades, it didn’t really seem to interfere with anything.
She didn’t put any restrictions on me. She never told me, “No.” If there was something that I really wanted to do and showed interest in, and I saved the money to go to the show, she was good with it.
Tom: As long as…yeah. Would you dress one way when you left the house, and then change on the way to the concert?
Rita Rae: As I got older, I did. But when I was younger in the ’70’s, we pretty much wore painters’ pants and a transfer t-shirt, like those iron on t-shirts with the transfers were pretty bit at the time. That’s really what we wore was just jeans and t-shirts.
Tom: You’re 14, going to Aerosmith and that, and not much is happening. When did you lose your virginity to a rock star?
Rita Rae: When I was 15, which was a year later.
Tom: You were every parent’s worst nightmare.
Rita Rae: Well, I didn’t know that it was going to happen like that. That particular day, we didn’t go to the front of the stage. We actually got in the first row in the first balcony, right up by the stage.
We were pretty close to the band members and as the opening act, it was Billy Squire who was opening up for Alice Cooper. As they were exiting the stage, we ran over to the side more, and I leaned over and we started yelling at them, Billy Squire and his band.
He looked up and just kind of smiled at us, and then went up to that. I was yelling about how we wanted to go backstage. Then probably about two, three minutes later, they sent out a roadie and he came over and brought us backstage.
Tom: OK. You’re backstage, and you were with Billy Squire at 15.
Rita Rae: Right, well we were just kind of hanging out in the hospitality area and got a free soda. I didn’t really know what to expect. We were just super thrilled that we were actually getting to meet a rock star.
I think the only other time I’d ever seen anybody like a rock star up close in person was through the window, they used to have a record store at the Westroads, and I remember Foreigner was there one Saturday when me and my girlfriend were shopping at the Westroads.
We just thought that was so cool, that they were at the record store. But the line was so long that we never went in. We were pretty excited to be backstage, and I believe we said we were 16 because they did ask us how old we were. But at that age, we were always lying about how old we were, anyway. We were always trying to be a year or two older, we thought it was cool, then.
Tom: Did you lose your virginity back stage?
Rita Rae: I did, on a tour bus with Billy Squire. Basically, they asked me if I’d ever been on a bus tour before, and I did not really know what that really meant. But I thought, “Oh, OK. Cool.” I was game to go on the bus, and then just one thing kind of led to another. The next, I’m getting my boots knocked.
Tom: OK. Now you have gone into this realm, here. Instead of just saying it was a fond memory, now all of a sudden you’re getting on a quest, aren’t you? You are really into the bands, you’re really into this, and realize this backstage thing is a lot of fun.
Rita Rae: Well, yeah. Pretty much at that point, Scott Bailey was out, and Billy Squire was in.
Tom: What do you mean, Scott Bailey was…oh, I see, OK, yeah. We’re chachi all of a sudden with them.
Rita Rae: Right. Chachi was out, and Billy Squire’s out.
Tom: You weren’t doing it any more, all right, OK. All of a sudden you’re going for the bad boys now.
Rita Rae: Yes, yes, yes. I didn’t really tell anybody. I told my best girlfriend who was there, and I didn’t really tell anybody about it. Because I think at that age, you would hear about some girls losing their virginity here and there at that age. The ones that did, they were considered sluts around the school, or whatever, as a stereotype, or anything. But I just didn’t tell anybody. It was my personal secret.
Tom: Oh, you were going to a Catholic school this time, aren’t you?
Rita Rae: No, I just had gotten out of middle school, actually. I was going to be going into Central High School.
Tom: Oh, OK. For some reason, I thought you went a Catholic school for some reason.
Rita Rae: Oh, no.
Rita Rae: Not that that would have done me any better.
Tom: On the one hand, you’re loving this life. On the other hand, you don’t want to tell your friends, because you didn’t want to be thought of a slut.
Rita Rae: Well, not only that, but I didn’t think anybody would believe me either. But I just didn’t go around telling. Because once it got out, when somebody lost their virginity or some girl slept with somebody, everybody in the school knew about it, you know what I mean? Everybody knew about it, so it would be like, “Oh, my God. Somebody else lost their virginity to so-and-so.”
It was cool to me, because I got to experience sex, lose my virginity without anybody knowing, and nobody in the school ever knew. It wasn’t like it got around.
Tom: It wasn’t like the high school boys telling all their buddies.
Rita Rae: Right.
Tom: Now, you went to the concert with a friend.
Rita Rae: Right. I went to the concert with my friend and her little sister.
Tom: What happened to them while you were having sex with Billy Squire? What happened to them?
Rita Rae: Well, when I went out to the tour bus, they went back into the auditorium into the arena, because Alice Cooper was coming on stage at that time. I didn’t think I was going to miss the whole show. I missed most of it.
Rita Rae: But I didn’t know what was happening. I was having a good time, and I was just really ecstatic because he was paying attention to me. Here was this rock star that I had just seen come off the stage, and was interested in me. At that time, we were all boy crazy, I was just going with the flow and just having a good time.
Tom: There it was, OK. From thereon then, the 80’s hair bands were becoming popular.
Rita Rae: Right.
Tom: You went hair band crazy for lack of a better term, right?
Rita Rae: I would say so. I would say I was a little boy crazy. After Billy Squire, literally after that happened, I would have to say that just like any girl at that age, I had the biggest crush on him. I really probably believed at one point in my life that I was hoping to marry him, or something ridiculous like that.
But that lasted, I don’t know how long…a little over a year. I still went to some other shows, but I was still really enamored by him. It wasn’t really until I saw David Lee Roth, front row, up close and personal, that I just looked at him and I thought, “Oh, my gosh. I’ve got to do that guy.”
Rita Rae: Yes.
Tom: What was it about? In your other life, your school life and everything like that. What kind of boys were you attracted to? Were you attracted to the bad boys? Were you attracted to the guys with the long hair and an attitude? Or was it just something when you were at the rock shows, just something trigged in you?
Rita Rae: It’s just that at that time in school, I had my crush about Scott Bailey was so crazy that if they didn’t look like Scott Bailey, I wasn’t going after them.
Rita Rae: But it wasn’t until really when I saw, after sleeping with Billy Squire and then seeing David Lee Roth, I think the high school boys weren’t really my style any more. I was looking for somebody that was more experienced. I was just fantasizing more about them, a singer of a rock band, or just a superstar, really.
Tom: Now, do you think your parents or your family was noticing any change in you during this time, from a sweet little innocent girl that had a crush on Scott Bailey, to Rita Rae Roxx, who’s now hanging out at the concerts and sleeping with rock stars?
Rita Rae: Right, well my parents didn’t know who I was sleeping with. I never told them any of that.
Tom: Right; or just if there was another change.
Rita Rae: Yeah, well I think when they saw the Scott Bailey posters come down and the David Lee Roth posters go up, and all of a sudden all the rock magazines that I could get. I had all posters of David Lee Roth everywhere after that. My whole room was pretty much covered.
I pretty much got really good grades in school, my parents didn’t really say much about it. It wasn’t until the year that my Mom passed away in high school that I think that I just didn’t really care.
I graduated and all, but I really didn’t focus on anything else. I just went down…I wouldn’t say the “wrong road,” But my life just kind of spiraled out of control, just partying. I was just really involved with music and I think that was my therapy. I lived and breathed music.
At that point, right after graduating from high school, the day after I graduated I flew on a plane to the US Festival in 1983. It was a three day party out in San Bernadino, California.
Then after getting back after that, it was like I still worked and I went to school part time at Metro, but I still would look for other concerts; the Omaha area that I could travel to, and see who was coming to town. But it’s what I lived to do.
Tom: Now, let me ask you. You mentioned before that you did all the research on the bands.
Rita Rae: As I got older, I didn’t pursue it.
Tom: OK, now let’s go through this. Billy Squire was the first and then did you end up backstage with David Lee Roth? Wanting him and getting him are two different things.
Rita Rae: Right. I didn’t get backstage at that concert. My girlfriend at the time after the show was over, she didn’t see the vision that I saw, wanting to hang out and meet him. To her, the show was over and we had school in the morning and we were ready to go home.
But it wasn’t until later that I met a couple of guys that were from LA that were staying in Omaha for a while, trying to do a band here, that would talk so much about LA. They were telling me, “Oh my God, David Lee Roth. He hangs out in the clubs in Hollywood all the time. He’s always there, and dah-dah-dah-dah-dah.” Basically what I did is, I saved my money up and that summer of my junior year, I took off and I went to LA for three weeks.
I didn’t consider it running away. I left a note, but I just wrote, “PS. I’ll be back in three weeks.” But I knew my parents were going to let me go, and I took off and went to LA. A day before I was coming back to Omaha, I went to the Troubadour on a weekend night. I was sitting there having a drink and next thing I know, I turn around and I saw this guy with long blond hair just flowing, and chest open, hair everywhere.
I thought, “Oh my God. That’s David Lee Roth.” I thought, “Oh my God. Everyone looks like David Lee Roth here.” Maybe it’s just a look alike, because poser was really the big word back then. If you weren’t truly a rock star and you tried to look like one, they would call you a poser. I remember then I did a double take, and then there were five women practically on top of him. I went, “Oh, my God. That’s David Lee Roth.”
Two seconds later, I look away and the next thing I know, he’s standing right next to me. I looked over at him, because I had met him before here, in Omaha. I didn’t get backstage, but I went to the hotel that they were staying at. I got thrown out of the bar by a police officer, undercover police officer, that remembered me for pulling me over for a traffic violation, and knew that I was under age.
I was this close to getting him, a year previously. Then, next thing I know, I just looked over and I said, “Hey. What’s up?” He’s like, “Hey,” and I said, “How about that drink you owe me?” He says, “Well, what are you talking about?” I said, “Well, you were inviting me in for a drink last time I met you, but your bodyguard kicked me out.” Then he asked me how old I was, and then I lied again and said I was 18, even though I was only 16.
Tom: You were 16, you were at the Troubadour in LA, drinking.
Rita Rae: Right. Well, I had a fake ID.
Rita Rae: Right, yeah. Well, I went through a few of them.
Tom: By the way, where were you staying in LA when you were down there? You were with a friend or anything, or just a motel? Or were you just sleeping around with one of the trash?
Rita Rae: Well, I met a girl. The first time I went out there I was staying with a friend, and then he ended up ditching me, and I was staying at his friend’s house. Then I met this girl and she was 14 and I was 16, and I told her what happened to me. She went home and talked to her Mom, and they let me stay with her family.
Her mother was divorced and she had a little brother, and I stayed with them up until I left California. Me and her remained pen pals, the next time I went out there I stayed with her and her family.
Tom: OK, then you were with David Lee Roth. “You owe me a drink, blah-blah, blah.” You like about your age. You say you were 18, but it was still 21 to drink, wasn’t it?
Rita Rae: Yeah.
Tom: OK, you’re still there. He buys you the drink?
Rita Rae: Well, he asked me what I wanted to drink and I said, “Well, instead of getting me a drink, how about if you give me some tickets and passes to your concert in Omaha, Nebraska?” because it was coming up in a couple of months. He said, “Sure, just tell this guy right here,” which ended up being his bodyguard who assisted in throwing me out of the bar with the police officer.
I said, “Well, why don’t you tell him?” and he said to me, “Well, why don’t we just go for a ride on my Harley?” Then, right then, my jaw just dropped and I was just like, “No way.” He said to me, “OK. Well, let’s start heading for the door.” He says, “Grab my hand and whatever you do, don’t let go of my hand.”
As we were exiting the bar, he was mobbed by girls. I couldn’t believe it. There were literally girls coming up to him, pulling their tops off, flashing themselves. I was just amazed that he was even giving me the time of day, let alone taking me for a ride on his Harley.
Tom: Was there anything during this time when you were looking at all this and said, “Oh, my God. I’m one of them.” Do you know what I mean? In other words, was there anything that said that you were just one of a million, and made you feel bad or cheap, or anything like that?
Rita Rae: Oh, I don’t think I really felt cheap. I was feeling pretty damn good, because the thing was, my mission when I went out to California was to get to try to meet David Lee Roth. Here was my time, and literally two days before I was leaving town is when I met him.
To me, I was just blown away that he would be interested in me, because at that time I had never seen fake boobs before, or really a lot of bleached blond hair until I went to Hollywood.
When I’d seen all these girls with bleached blond hair and just the hugest boobs that you could possibly imagine; me with my little 34 B cup, I was kind of blown away that he was taking interest in me.
But it was great, because once we got on our Harley, I had originally went there with somebody else I knew, to the bar. Once I paid his cover charge, he ditched me, right? It was kind of funny, because the next time he saw me, I was getting on the back of David Lee Roth’s Harley.
Rita Rae: I looked at him and I waved, and I went, “Bye bye,” just like that, right? He was just standing there with his arms crossed, all pissed off at me.
Tom: Did you end up sleeping with David Lee Roth that night?
Rita Rae: Yes. I went back to his house. He had a condo, not a house. It was a condo in West Hollywood, right off of Holloway, in a high rise. It was pretty cool.
Rita Rae: Yeah. It was high rise. I’d never been in anything like that before, and it didn’t have a whole lot of furniture. He had told me that he had just bought the place, and he was in the midst of remodeling.
Tom: Remodeling and everything.
Rita Rae: Yeah.
Tom: OK, now you’ve got the rock and roll lifestyle. By the way, when he came to Omaha, did you end up seeing him again?
Rita Rae: Yes, I did actually. It was crazy, because I didn’t know how I was going to get in contact with him. He had given me a phone number of his secretary that they had for the Van Halen offices that they had.
I got to see him right before he did sound check. I went down to the Red Lion and I’d gotten on the guest list. It was pretty cool because when I first got back to California I told everybody that I met David Lee Roth and went home to him, went back to his house and slept with him, nobody believed me.
Tom: Why would they believe you?
Rita Rae: Well it was pretty interesting. Then what happened was when I went to the show I had one of my girlfriends who was with me. She didn’t really believe me, and then when we saw him right before he went to sound check and he’s like “Hey Babe. Whatever. I’ll see you at the show tonight.” She was just blown away. She couldn’t even talk.
We went to the show that night and I was all dressed up. I had, I think, Norma Kamali is who I was wearing that night because she was hot in the 80’s. After the show we went back to the Red Lion Inn, which is now the Double Tree and went in the bar and had drinks with him and a guy named Ted Templeton, who was with Warner Brothers.
Tom: Yeah, Ted Templeton was like a very famous producer.
Rita Rae: Yes, he was.
Tom: He produced Doobie Brothers and he produced Van Halen and a bunch of other stuff.
Rita Rae: It was pretty cool because nobody could come around us in the bar, because he had a body guard that kept…
Tom: OK, you’re there with David Lee Roth and Ted Templeton and that. Did you ever have Eddie or any of the band members hit on you? In other words, any other people surrounding it?
I guess what I’m thinking is here they see this hot young girl who’s just gaga over rock stars, and they’re thinking “Hey I’m with the band. Come over here and do me too?” Anything like that?
Rita Rae: I didn’t see anything like that happen, but that night as I was leaving, it was about 3:00 or something in the morning. They were all by the elevators getting ready to go down to the bus. Eddie Van Halen, I was sitting there next to him and he had lifted up my skirt and looked underneath my skirt, and I just gave him a big grin and that was really it, but he never actually said anything to me.
Tom: Why make conversation if you just look up a girls skirt?
Rita Rae: Exactly, but I did speak to Eddie years later. I had a little more conversation with him back stage when Sammy Hagar was in the band. I met them again.
Tom: OK, anything that time?
Rita Rae: No. I didn’t get anywhere near him. He was married and to be honest with you I wasn’t really trying to go after the married guys. Maybe if it would’ve happened I probably would’ve did it, but I really didn’t want to do something like that.
Tom: When you say you didn’t want to go after the married guys, were you trying to become a rock wife? Were you hoping that maybe one of these rock stars would marry you and then put you in that life style or what?
Rita Rae: That was my teenage dream. Yes.
Tom: First of all, we’re not talking with just David Lee Roth and …
Rita Rae: Billy Squire.
Tom: Yeah, Billy Squire. We’re not just talking those two guys. How many rock stars do you think you’ve slept with over the years?
Rita Rae: Well successful or unsuccessful?
Tom: What do you mean?
Rita Rae: Well I slept with a lot of musicians, I guess would be the word, but I would say probably close to 50.
Tom: OK. Help me with the definitions here now. When you say you slept with a lot of musicians, in other words it wasn’t always the lead singer?
Rita Rae: Right. It might have been the bass player, or the drummer, or the guitar player. I wasn’t just out there to sleep with anybody. I kind of had picked out who I want to sleep with, but then again, a lot of times you meet people and not that you expect royal treatment from them, but some people weren’t always nice.
Sometimes they might have just been having a bad day. I’m not sure, but sometimes they were jerks, and there was a lot of egos going on. If somebody was very aggressive, which I had in the case of when I first met Nikki Sixx. He was very overly aggressive and that was kind of a turn off for me. For somebody to just kind of grab at you, and expect you to…
Tom: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Help me out. OK, Eddie Van Halen can look up your skirt and that’s no big deal. What did Nikki Sixx do that you thought was out of line?
Rita Rae: We were at the Bronco Bowl down in Dallas Texas. I got back stage and then I went to the Green Tree, or something, Double Tree Hotel, or something like that in Dallas. I was partying in Doc McGee’s Room. Doc McGee who’s another big rock guy.
Tom: Yeah, he’s a manager matter of fact. He manages Bon Jovi and also…
Rita Rae: Motley Crew he did.
Tom: Yeah, but isn’t he also [inaudible 00:22:26] manager?
Rita Rae: I don’t remember. I just remember we were in his room and just hanging out and partying and that Nikki Sixx came in the room, and I was introduced to him. I was sitting on the bed and he pushed me back and pulled my shirt up and started sucking on one of my boobs, and I’m like “Get off of me!” He said “Oh, you know you want it!”, like that.
I said “Well, maybe, but not like this and get off of me.” I kind of humiliated. I just kind of thought that the intimacy would have been more of a private moment, and not for display for everybody in the room to see.
Tom: Right. Was this a thing too, as you’d gotten more and more rock stars, maybe you became more and more in control, as opposed to that young girl that in the past would’ve been like “Ooh, I get to sleep with David Lee Roth!”, but now you’ve already slept with a number of rock stars and so Nikki Sixx comes in and starts doing that and it’s like “No, more on my terms now.”
Rita Rae: Well the thing is I try to act like, whenever I was meeting a rock star I was meeting a rock star for the first time.
Tom: They had no idea?
Rita Rae: I didn’t try to advertise that. No. Not at all. I always tried to act like I was just meeting somebody for the first time. Some people probably knew and some people probably didn’t know, but the thing is I didn’t want to act like they were just another notch on my bed post.
Tom: OK, you wanted them to feel special?
Rita Rae: Exactly. Feels like the first time.
Tom: OK, you’re doing this now. Help me out with the time frame here, because you were… I guess I’ve got to ask this questions. I’ve got to go in to the sex questions here I guess, before I do in to this.
I think a lot of women might think that rock stars just by definition are better lovers. In other words, they’re going to be getting a David Lee Roth versus an accountant, or insurance salesman. You know what I mean? Would that be the case? What was the attraction? Was it the power? Was it the atmosphere? Was it better sex?
Rita Rae: I wouldn’t say that it was better sex. I would say that it was more exciting sex. It was exciting to me to see somebody…When MTV came out it was, it was just an explosion of media of all these rock stars. Of the different styles and all the different faces.
Before MTV you were really just hearing the music. You didn’t really know what a whole lot of people looked like in the band, unless you followed up and had all their albums or anything.
I just think that it was just exciting for me to see somebody, like “Wow, he’s cute. I want to get him”, and then they were coming to town. I would just try to find out where they were from. I would look on the inside sleeves of albums. Find out who their special credits were to, like the special thanks, Especially, the manager, production manager.
Anybody that I could find a name and name drop when the show came in to town to try to find a lead to getting me one step closer to getting back stage.
Tom: You’re lie? You’d read a name of, let’s say “special thanks to so and so” and then you would go and make a phone call and say “He I’m friends with so and so..” and they…?
Rita Rae: Or “We met you last time you were here.” I think the key thing was one time when I got in to back stage at the Civic, I actually went in to the production office and used the phone in there, and wrote the phone number down of the direct line in to the production office of the Civic Auditorium. When concerts came in there was a couple time I could just call right back to the production office, and start hollering off names and rattling off names.
Back in the day the radio stations controlled who got back stage and who didn’t, so basically it was really radio personnel. There wasn’t a whole lot of people back stage unless the radio brought them back.
You didn’t have tons of groupies until MTV came out in the 80’s when there was an explosion of just the whole scene. In the very beginning, when I got back stage there would be hardly anybody back there. It would be very easy to even just walk right in. Once you got back stage you could just basically walk almost in to the dressing room.
Tom: Right. Maybe a lot of people wouldn’t even try to go backstage because they would think that it would be a lot more of a problem than it would be to get back stage.
Rita Rae: Right. Exactly. It kind of became easy to me. When it wasn’t always easy to me it became more of a challenge to me. It was kind of like a little adventure, or a little treasure hunt or something.
Tom: Was it always one on one with the rock stars, or would you do two or three guys in the band, or would there be two or three girls with the one rock star at the time? How kinky did it get?
Rita Rae: Well I didn’t think it got really that kinky. There was a couple incidents where I was with a girl and we were not with the same guy, but we were both in the same room having sex with two members of the band, but not at the same time.
Tom: You had to think. Were you counting as to who the band was or how many members were there?
Rita Rae: Well it was kind of like they were sharing a room, we were both in the room, but we weren’t all on the same bed or anything. I guess they were saving money on a room. I’m not sure what was going on there.
Tom: They were the opening act…
Rita Rae: The thing was, a lot of times the bands didn’t always stay, you just got to party in the dressing room, or sometimes you’d go back to the hotel and party in the hotel bar and the bus would be leaving at like 1:00, or 2:00 in the morning. They didn’t always spend the night.
Tom: Where was the weirdest place you had sex with a rock star?
Rita Rae: Gosh, probably on that bus I would say. I can’t really think of anywhere else besides a hotel room or in the bus. I never did it in the dressing room or anything.
Tom: There was a time in your life then, you went to LA?
Rita Rae: Right.
Tom: You went to LA to live the rock and roll life style? Why did you go to LA?
Rita Rae: I moved to LA when I was 21. Basically, I just knew that when I turned of age, like legal drinking age, that I just didn’t want to be in Omaha anymore and I wanted to go where the action was, and I had moved out to LA.
My first intention when I was living out there, was I had been sewing and I used to make close and I always modified a lot of my own outfits. There was one time I was back stage at a Bon Jovi concert and Bon Jovi was like “That’s great, you should think about doing clothes.” I thought “Oh, I didn’t even think about it.” Somebody like him, by the way, he wasn’t opening act back then, but him giving me the compliment on what I made, it really opened up the door for me.
When I first moved out there I was trying to do stage clothes for bands, but there was a lot of competition out there for that at the time, but I still got to make a jacket for Brett Michaels, which was like my big claim to fame I guess. That’s about as far as I did. I did talk to Nikki Sixx onetime, about making some clothes with him at the Rainbow Bar and Grill one night, but nothing ever came about of that.
Tom: How much drugs were involved? How prevalent was the drug scene with this?
Rita Rae: After going back stage at the concerts I think that the number one thing was they always ask you if you knew where to get any coke, or get any weed.
In the very beginning I didn’t always have those things, but then later on I would usually go with no less than an eight ball of blow. It was kind of funny because then it was like your first line is free and your second line cost you 80 bucks. I wasn’t a dealer, but I knew a dealer that was at the concert that would take care of them.
Tom: When, or did it ever, start to lose its luster? In other words, yeah you’re young, you’re energetic, it’s the rock star life and blah blah blah, but sleeping around like that and doing drugs, was that getting old? At what point did that start getting old?
Rita Rae: Well after living out in LA for a few years. It wasn’t until I got a job at t night club called Tramps of London in Beverly Hills. It was a private night club. It was $5,000 a year to join, to just belong to this club. It wasn’t until I started working then, that I kind of fell out of the rock scene because now I was hanging out and partying with movie stars, and producers and movie people and athletes. Then I thought, “There’s bigger fish to fry.”
The rock thing did get a little old for me, because when I got out to LA, there was so much to do, going to the shows all the time. Not only that, but I was a small fish in a big pond when I got out to LA. I did get backstage for a few shows out there, but then you’ve got all the media, you’ve got all the radio personality, you’ve got all the record companies there with all the executives and all their employees.
When you went backstage in LA, it was nothing like as personal as it was back here in Omaha. You wouldn’t be able to walk into the dressing room there at a place unless, of course, they were playing someplace like Sunset Strip, it was like a personal show at the Roxy or the Whiskey or something like that. But it didn’t have the same excitement for me. I think it’s just because I did get a little burned out on it.
Tom: How old are you at this point in time, getting burned out on it?
Rita Rae: Probably about 22, 23, right in around in there. After a couple of years of doing it…Once I started partying in million-dollar mansions and stuff like that, I was not really into it as much as I was.
Tom: Was that because the drugs were taking hold? You became pretty addicted. You got pretty heavily involved with the drug scene, didn’t you?
Rita Rae: Yeah, with cocaine and marijuana at the time. Mainly cocaine.
Tom: Did you see anybody or any friends die because of the drugs?
Rita Rae: I never really witnessed anybody dying. I have witnessed some people, you were almost to the point where you thought you were going to have to drop them off at the hospital, but it never quite got that bad.
I knew a girl. She started out as being a stripper, and ended up being a porno star. It was sad, because years later, after I finally saw her again, she didn’t even look the same, because she’d had so much plastic surgery. Then I heard that she ended up overdosing on heroin. I did see a lot of people downfall from drugs, more so than I really had.
Tom: What about you? Did you ever do any stripping, any porno, anything like that?
Rita Rae: You know what? I never did stripping, but I had a girlfriend that told me she was doing bikini grams, and I thought, “Cut the shit. You’re a stripper.” Anyway, I had a girlfriend that was a stripper. One night she wanted to go out, but she told me she had to do a couple of parties, and she asked me to drive her.
I drove her to these parties, and when I saw what kind of money she was making…I wasn’t going to dance, but I got tipped out, literally 10 percent of what she made. I helped her make that money.
That’s how I got into doing stand-up comedy too, is because I used to walk out into the room, these were private homes that we would do bachelor parties in…and just go up there and talk to the crowd, get the guys going, make change. It was very entertaining for me and them, and I really enjoyed that.
Tom: Wait a minute, now. You start out. You’re being a super fan. You do that, and then you’re out in LA, and you’re a cocktail waitress for a bunch of movie stars and actors. Were you a super fan of the movie stars and actors too? Were you sleeping with a bunch of actors and stuff?
Rita Rae: Not really, but we went to a lot of parties. There was always a lot of parties going on in Cal. Literally, we would work until 2:00 in the morning, and after that there would be a party somewhere. Then you’d be at a party until 7:00 in the morning. Then you’d come home, or you might get breakfast somewhere. Then you’d sleep all day, and then you’d get up at 8:00, take a shower, and go back to work at 10:00 again.
Tom: You’re doing that, and now you’re driving a stripper friend around town. She’s doing bachelor parties and stuff.
Rita Rae: Right.
Tom: You’re working as the MC, and, as the MC, now you’re starting to add jokes to it and get some laughs and get the crowd going. You’re using this as a way to start doing stand-up comedy.
If I’m thinking of the time frame correctly, this would have been about the same time that Sam Kinison was hanging out with the rock stars and that. It was the boom of the comedy boom, the same time the hair bands were big in LA, so there was a melding of the two worlds.
Rita Rae: Right. I actually did the driving before I got the job at Tramps of London. I only drove strippers around for about a year, because it wasn’t until one time we were doing a private show that the bride-to-be came home early and surprised her groom. It was not a good scene, and they trashed my car, I was the driver…I realized that this could be dangerous.
The money was so good, and we were always doing drugs. It seemed like it was just a party, and then we’d go out to Hollywood afterwards. That’s why I got out of it. Then I got the job cocktailing in Beverly Hills. It was pretty exciting while we did it.
Tom: I would think that getting a job as a cocktail waitress at an exclusive club in Beverly Hills with a bunch of movie stars and stuff would be a pretty coveted job. Obviously, you’re a very attractive woman that was able to get the gig, but was there other stuff? Did you have to sleep with the manager for the job, or was there anything like that ever going on?
Rita Rae: No, actually, I was a cashier at a restaurant called Ciro’s Pomodoro. Ciro was really popular in the Hollywood scene. He used to hang out at the Rainbow and the rock scene. He was just an Italian restaurant owner, but they used to have a show there on Mondays that was called the “Skippy Lowe’s Talent Show.” They brought in a lot of producers to see people showcase their talent, I got to meet a lot of people then.
When you were talking about Sam Kinison, too…He used to go to the Rainbow. I’ve been to his house a couple of times, partied there many nights late. It was just a really fun time in the late ’80s, early ’90s.
Tom: Did you ever see comics and think, “I want to sleep with them, too,” or was it only the rock stars?
Rita Rae: It was really only the rock stars, because I wasn’t really into doing comedy. I did know Sam Kinison from being at his house. He had a lot of after-parties. It wasn’t until I was doing comedy that I had this one drug-dealer friend who was really good friends with Sam call me up one night in the middle of the night and asked me to bring my comedy tape up to Sam’s house, and play it.
He said that Sam was always looking for unknowns to take on the road with him, because he didn’t have to pay them shit. At first I thought he was just pulling my leg, but then I thought, “Holy shit. Is he getting me up there because they want me to bring up more liquor? What was the deal? What was the real motive for coming up there?”
But I never did show up, and it was kind of funny, because I did talk to Sam on the phone briefly. I asked him a question about comedy, because I used to swear a lot, and they told me that if I didn’t stop swearing, I was never going to make it on TV.
He gave me some good advice of just basically telling me to take “fuck” out of all my jokes. He says that when you cuss less, and then you actually do drop an “f-bomb,” that it’s twice as funny, because you’re not saying it every three minutes.
Tom: Sam Kinison…I did stand-up comedy for a number of years, and I worked with Sam about two weeks before he died. Back in the days you’re talking about, I knew Marc Maron, who was living in the Comedy Store, and Kinison was living there a lot.
Marc told me one time that when he went to sleep, he would actually sleep in the closet, because Sam would barge into all the rooms at 4:00 in the morning or whatever, looking for people to party with. If he saw you in bed, he would wake you up and drag you out.
Because he was such a big deal at the Comedy Store, the other comics didn’t want to mess with him. Marc would actually sleep in the closet so that Sam couldn’t find him and so he could get some rest.
Rita Rae: I’ve also seen him kick people out of his house for not putting any money in the hat when he passed it around to collect money to get more drugs.
Rita Rae: Yeah. He was, like, “If you don’t put any money in this hat, you get the fuck out of my house.”
Rita Rae: Oh, yeah. I don’t know if it was for liquor or drugs or what was going on, but there would be a point if there was no more booze, if you couldn’t contribute, you get the hell out.
Tom: I wonder at what point, then, did you start…you have turned your life around. You’re not doing stuff like this at all, and haven’t for years, right?
Rita Rae: No. The last show that I went to was the Sick Puppies. I took my stepson there. I don’t live that lifestyle anymore, but it was kind of funny. We were going to the end of the line of the Silk Auditorium, and the lead singer had actually walked out, was walking all the way down the sidewalk, and nobody even realized it was the lead singer of the Sick Puppies except for me.
He walked into some bar that was right there on the corner, I grabbed my stepson. We went in there, and we got our picture taken with him. He got to meet him and get an autograph.
Tom: I wanted to talk about when you started to turn your life around, when you started to clean up your act. This would have been at what age?
Rita Rae: Eight years ago.
Tom: You were 40 or something by that time…
Rita Rae: Yes.
Tom: …when you started cleaning up your act?
Rita Rae: I wasn’t still chasing rock stars like I used to. If there was somebody coming to town that I knew, I would definitely go to the show, if I knew I was going to get backstage. I wasn’t hanging around the buses at 40 in my Frederick’s of Hollywood Lycra or anything.
Tom: No. What were you doing between that time, then? Were you just waitressing?
Rita Rae: Waitressing downtown at the Hilton Garden Inn at a place called Nick and Tony’s. Then I was basically…
Tom: You’re back in Omaha at this time?
Rita Rae: Yeah, I’ve been living back in Omaha for 12 years now.
Tom: OK. Did you come back to Omaha to calm down your life?
Rita Rae: I came back to Omaha in 1999, because I was seeing a rock star that I used to date back in the day. I’d been seeing him on and off for about two years, and then I found out that he was seeing somebody else, too. I wasn’t real happy with that, and I had a really hard time with it. I moved back to Omaha because I just wanted to be away from the whole situation.
Tom: You had relationships, and maybe long-term relationships, with some rock stars?
Rita Rae: This particular one I did.
Tom: Who was he?
Rita Rae: His name was Juan Croucier. He was from Ratt. He always had a girlfriend when I knew him. He had a kid first, and then he got married. Then after that, I knew he was married, I stayed away from him. I saw him a couple times out in Hollywood, and it was good to just see him, but I didn’t hang out with him or sleep with him or anything.
At one point in my life, he was the love of my life. I always thought, maybe if it was meant to be, that something might happen later on.
Then it was weird, because later on in the ’90s, one of my ex-roommates called me up, and she was all like, “Hey, Rita.” I’m like, “Yeah,” and she goes, “What was that guy’s name in that band that you used to go out with?” I said, “Juan. Why?” She goes, “You’re never going to believe this,” and I said, “What?” She goes, “I work with his wife down at the restaurant in Manhattan Beach, and she’s divorcing him.”
I got his number the next day through somebody, but then I waited six months to give him a call. Then I gave him a call, and it was really weird. We talked for three hours. Then I went down to see him, and it was really weird because it was good to see him and all, but he was still very hurt and damaged from the divorce.
At that time, I was already rolling hard and doing partying and stuff, this was a lot of work. I remember seeing the baby bottle laying around and the kids’ toys and going, “Hell, no.”
Rita Rae: This is not a shoe that I’m about ready to fit into.
Then it was funny because I lost contact with him after that. Then it was a couple years, or maybe three or four years, after that that somebody else that I knew ran into him, and he wanted me to call him. I ended up calling him, and then we ended up hanging out and started dating again.
Tom: You couldn’t be surprised that he was sleeping with other women, because you saw that lifestyle. You lived that lifestyle. You were the other woman in many cases, so you couldn’t have been surprised when he was doing that to you.
Rita Rae: I wouldn’t say that I was surprised, but you want to believe what people tell you. When you think that you really know somebody, and they’re not telling you that, then you believe what you want to believe.
When the reality really hit me, I was just very hurt, because this is something that I thought was going to go into the future, which it really didn’t. Now, for all reasons, I’m very thankful and graceful that it didn’t work out that way, because I’d probably be divorced by now.
Tom: You came back to Omaha, but you’re still doing drugs. You’re still partying and everything, but you’re just a waitress now. If a rock band came to town, somebody you knew, you might go and hang out with them for a while or something?
Rita Rae: Right, exactly. It wasn’t my main focus in life anymore. I had already been through all that. It wasn’t until I was going to become a mom, that’s when I straightened my life out.
Tom: Talk to me about that. How does that work itself out? You were going to become a mom. You must have found some guy here and fell in love. Get married or…?
Rita Rae: I’m engaged. I’ve been engaged for almost nine years now.
Rita Rae: Not nine years. I’m sorry, seven years. We’ve been together nine years.
Tom: You’ve been engaged for seven of those years?
Rita Rae: Yes, we’ve been engaged for seven years.
Tom: You don’t need to rush into anything.
Rita Rae: No, exactly. I got all the time in the world.
Tom: You were going to become a mom, and then you just got off the drugs?
Rita Rae: Yeah, I started going to AA. After a few AA meetings…You’re going to probably laugh, but I went back to church. Once I went back to church, I met new friends and it gave me the strength and the faith that I needed to know that I didn’t need to go to a rehab and that I really didn’t have to go to any more of those AA meetings. I just did it on my own.
Tom: Now you’re a mom.
Rita Rae: I’m a supermom.
Tom: You’re in a long-term relationship. He, evidently, had a son. How many kids are in your family now?
Rita Rae: I have a son and I have a stepson. My son is seven, and I have a stepson that’s 12.
Tom: You got the two kids. You’ve written this book about all your exploits and everything. Now you’ve got this double life. On one hand, you’re just a soccer mom. On the other hand, you’re…
Rita Rae: I’m a rocker mom.
Tom: …a rocker mom. People wouldn’t think, “Look. There was the chick that was sleeping with all these rock stars, living this life.” The book’s out now. People had thought of you as a nice little churchgoing lady with the kids. Has there been any repercussions from the book?
Rita Rae: Not really. The reason that I wrote the book was, is when I moved in with my fiancé, I had a whole box of stuff, all my photographs, passes, and everything. It was just sitting there, and he said to me, “What are you going to do with all that?” I thought, “I don’t know.” He wanted me to get rid of it. I’m like, “You’re kidding me,” I said, “You know what?” I said, “I’m going to write a book.”
It was interesting, because I had a customer at Gorat’s that had passed away that I waited on for five years, every Wednesday and every Saturday night. He left me two grand in his will, I went out and I bought myself a MacBook Pro. I said, “I’m going to take this negative around losing my friend, and I ‘m going to turn it around into a positive.”
Once I started writing my book, it just started to flow. I don’t really have any regrets about writing the book. I’m actually very proud of my book. There’s not really anything…Basically, it’s a coming-of-age book, just like anything else. Yeah, I did make some mistakes. The ’80s was like a big sausage festival. There was a lot of sex going on, and everybody was sleeping with everybody. It’s not anything new, but it was a good time.
Tom: It’s also the time AIDS was coming up, though, and everything, too. You were with these rock stars. Did you use protection, or did you ever worry about AIDS?
Rita Rae: Yes, I worried about it a lot. There were times where I did have unprotected sex. When AIDS all came out with the whole HIV, I can remember the longest two weeks of my life was getting that AIDS test. Sleeping with all the people that I had slept with in my life, I was just blown away. I was like, “Oh, my God.”
Tom: That didn’t make you change at all?
Rita Rae: Yeah, it did. In the ’90s, everybody was sleeping with condoms. Everybody was using condoms at that time. It didn’t matter if you were on birth control or not, everybody was wearing a condom at that point, because HIV was just everywhere.
Tom: Did rock stars worry about it? In other words, you were concerned, so you were making sure condoms were there. But the rock stars of the time of all this going on, were they all of a sudden maybe not as willing to sleep with some unknown woman that just showed up at the show?
Rita Rae: I wouldn’t really know, but I’ll tell you what. We can’t ask the dead ones now, can we?
Tom: I guess you can’t. Now you’re the mom and all of that. As you look back on all of this, any regrets?
Rita Rae: I really can’t say that I have any regrets. I was a teenager when most of this was going on, for the most part. From the age of 14 to 19 is when I had the craziest times. Then when I got to LA and I was 21, it wasn’t as big as I thought it was. After being out in LA, it wasn’t as crazy to me as it was.
I don’t have any regrets. I think I wrote a really great book. I tell a little bit of everything. I probably tell more than people maybe even want to read. There was a lot that was edited out, too. It makes for a really good read, and there’s some great photographs in my book. It tells an honest-to-good story of a Midwestern girl that was seeing through rose-colored glasses.
Tom: You’re a waitress now, and you’ve got kids in school and all that. If you’re in a PTA meeting or something, and some other mom knows that you’re Rita Rae Roxx…You’re the one that wrote the book. You were that groupie — do they look at you like, “Oh, you’re her,” or do they look at you and like, “Tell me about sleeping with all these rock stars”? What kind of an attitude do you normally get with the other soccer moms there at school?
Rita Rae: For instance, there was an article that was written about me in the “Omaha World-Herald.” It came out on a Sunday. I went to the early service that Sunday at 8:30, so nobody had read the paper yet. I remember the next week, I skipped church. Then the week after that, I saw somebody posted on my Facebook page, they went, “Holy, Rita! I didn’t know you had such a colorful past.”
Rita Rae: I had a few people from church even come up and buy the book and ask me to sign it, which was cool with me. I figure, I am there for a reason. Right?
Tom: Once again, her book is called “Once Upon a Rock Star.” The web page is OnceUponaRockStarBook.com. You can download it also on Amazon, on iPod, and all of that. Get the book at bookstores, and read all the sordid details for yourself.
I want to thank Rita Rae for being a part of this. If you like the podcast, please tell your friends, spread the word around, send a link, and let them know about TomBecka.com.
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