When MANILLA ROAD signed to Black Dragon records people in Europe thought that "Open the Gates" was their debut album. Of course the line-up with Randy Foxe on drums seems to be the original line-up - but it is isnīt! On the first three records "Invasion", "Metal" and "Crystal Logic" you can hear RICK FISHER playing drums. Since the current reissue of "Crystal Logic" people know this fact! When you listen to those three albums you will find out that both drummers are very different in style. But they have one thing in common: They both play(ed) an unique style! When Randy was more heavy and playing tons of breaks in each song Rick was more relaxed and song-based. But if you listen to "Enter the Warrior" or "The Dream goes on" you will soon find out that Rick also played grooves that are not usual - a fact that makes the music even more interesting. The following interview was made in March 2001:

Rick, you are the original drummer of MANILLA ROAD playing on the first three records including CRYSTAL LOGIC. What do you feel or think when you look back now?

I have many good memories of my time with Manilla Road . We were a hard rock band with a unique style. It is that uniqueness I am most proud of, no one else sounded like Manilla Road. It is a time I look back on with fondness.

What were your early influences when you started?

I liked the drumming of Ian Pace, Simon Phillips and Neal Peart. Besides Rush, Deep Purple and Judas Priest other bands that influenced me were Uriah Heep, Metallica,and Black Sabbath

You left the band after CRYSTAL LOGIC. Do you think later material would be different if you hadnīt left the band?

No. I believe Mark had a specific idea as to the musical direction he wanted the band to take. You can hear the transition on Open The Gates, some of the songs on that recording were written while I was still with the band. The songs with the faster thrash feel were after I left. Randy fullfilled Mark's desire to go harder and faster, something I was unable or unwilling to do at the time.

You also played on the "lost" record. Why was this material never released? (It will be soon on CD!)

I think it was'nt quite up to our expectation as far as the production was concerned. I recently went back and listened to that  tape and found the songs to be good but more like the earlier style, where Crystal Logic was more of  the transition  and more to our liking.By the way I always thought Mark Of The Beast was the best song on that recording Marks guitar solos on that song still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

When you think back do you have any stories about MANILLA ROAD on tour etc.?

We all had a good time partying and making music, no particular stories stand out in my memory.

Unfotunately MANILLA ROAD never was that succesful in the eighties. Now in 2001 there seems to be more interest in the band than back in the eighties. Why?

I'm not sure why, accept perhaps distribution and maybe a new generation of fans have taken a liking to this style of music.I'd like to think Crystal Logic is a classic in it's own right even if it is a bit obscure.

What are your favorite songs of the "Rick Fisher-period"? 

The song I liked to play the most was Viels of Negative Existance. My favorite to listen to is The Riddle Master.

What are your favorite songs of the later stuff?  

I have'nt listened to anything after The Deluge. I lost track of the band until recently I did'nt even know Randy had left band. I now have contact with Mark and have become interested in his current incarnation of Manilla Road. I have no contact with Scott or Randy.

What do you  do now in 2001? Still playing drums, maybe in a band?  

I  own my own bussiness and have a family so I have little time to play in a band, however I occasionally jam with friends.

Any words to the MANILLA-fans? 

I would just like to thank all who have supported Manilla Road now and through the years. Also good luck to Mark on his future projects!

Thank you for this interview!