WWE’s Rik Bugez Learned to Play Iron Maiden Backwards
When he's not body slamming his opponents, WWE wrestler Rik Bugez (aka Eric Bugenhagen) is a major metalhead. During a recent visit to Bugez's house, The Music Experience's Squiggy got a chance to speak with him about the music that molded him for this week's Gear Factor.
After being greeted by Bugez with some squats and a little acoustic version of Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets," Squiggy asks him for a few songs that get him pumped. The wrestler responds in kind with a song he once played in a Battle of the Bands and a well-known hair metal favorite. The wrestler also shows off his love of thrash metal digging into some Testament and Megadeth.
So how did young Eric Bugenhagen pick up music? He tells us that Iron Maiden's Steve Harris was one of his early idols, having to pick up bass because his brother had already claimed the six-string guitar. "The first lick I learned on bass was ‘Run to the Hills,’ but I didn’t know how to read tablature yet, so I played it backwards," says Bugez. "Then I figured out I was playing it upside down.”
A pre-teen Bugez, like many of his age, really found his musical love with Metallica. He humorously recalls, “Being a kid and not necessarily knowing how the world works, I went to Blockbuster when that still existed and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, a Metallica CD.’ I’m like eight-years-old and thinking, ‘This is it. This has all the hits on it.’ I didn’t know. I just thought a CD had every band’s hits on it.” After learning the error of his ways, he soon went back into Metallica's history and discovered ...And Justice for All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, with the latter really taking hold for him.
He also recalls hearing Megadeth's "Trust" for the first time, calling it a groundbreaking moment. “I’m like, ‘What is this band?’ It’s a band called Megadeth? Oh, that’s so metal. Death? Megadeth?! So I end up going to buy more Megadeth albums after that, like Peace Sells, Rust in Peace and So Far, So Good, So What, and I was hooked.
Check out more of Squiggy's visit with Rik Bugez in the player above and check out Bugez's YouTube channel here.