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Johnny Richter Speaks! The CelebStoner Interview

Kottonmouth Kings co-founder Johnny Richter left the group in October for undisclosed reasons. In this exclusive CelebStoner interview, Richter explains why he's no longer wearing the krown.

Founded in Southern California 1995, KMK has seen numerous personal changes over the years. But 2013 was a particularly tumultuous one for the band, starting with longtime roadie and megaphone shouter Taxman's departure. Then group leader Brad Daddy X and band manager Kevin Zinger began feuding over money and business issues related to their Suburban Noize label and SRH product line. A split developed in the band over who sided with whom. Taxman's friendship with Zinger sent him packing. The latest to go was Richter, who quit the night he decided to not show up for KMK's show with Rob Zombie in Pomona on Oct. 12.

Richter, writing on Facebook, wouldn't elaborate at the time other than to say he was "sick of all the drama" and was "happier with life and feel my soul is unclogged" after leaving KMK.

Several band members - mainly Daddy, D-Loc and DJ Bobby B - have charged Richter with high treason and drug addiction, among other things. A few weeks ago, Richter's rep contacted CelebStoner with an interview offer. Richter wanted to set the record straight. We sent questions. The video below is chock full of revealing answers.

Why did you leave KMK?
I left KMK because it used to be about a brotherhood, but for many years it hasn't been that. I haven't felt it… It wasn't the family vibe, it wasn't fun making the music, it wasn't fun being on tour. I really didn't talk to anybody in the group outside of tour. Five, six, seven weeks would go by and I wouldn't talk to one member of the group… Nobody hangs with each other anymore like it used to be.

You've been referred to as a junkie, addict, thief and liar by Brad, D-Loc and Bobby B. How do you respond?
I guarantee I'm not an addict or a junkie. I have have an addictive personality. When I like something I tend to go full bore. I was doing a little blow, about six, seven years ago for a period of a few months. It was never something that went on for a long time or something that still goes on to this day. It's not fun, and you realize that and you move on. Addicted? (points to lit cigarette) Right there. Cigarettes. I smoke 'em every day. Definitely not a junkie, that's crazy. Liar and a thief? That's some lies coming out over there for sure.

Do you have a drug problem?
No, I don't have a drug problem. I've dabbled here and there with other things, like E, blow, mushrooms… I've never done meth, never did speed, never done crack, never shot up anything… I was never put in jail for selling weed… I have tried H a couple of times, smoked it a couple of times. I didn't like it, I still don't like it… People hear things and they want to keep going on about it. Stories get way blown out of proportion. One little tall tale turns into some crazy addict this-that. It's amazing how far shit can get spun when you're too high. I get sick of trying to defend myself, it gets frustrated (he raps at 10-minute mark). That was written in 2011 (raps some more).

Why did you decide to quit the day of the Rob Zombie show?
I'd had enough. All this shit I copped for going to the second Pakelika memorial thing at the Whiskey (on Sept. 12). Within three days I had text messages from X and from D-Loc shocked that I went to Zinger's event. It wasn't Zinger's event. It was for Pakelika. I knew Pak's friends were going to be there. I knew Pak's mom was going to be there. I wanted to go. Pak was one of my best friends for a long time. I still miss him and I wanted to go say hi to his mom and his friends. So I went. I didn't put myself on the guest list. i didn't call anyone to get in free. I didn't tell anybody I was going. I didn't tweet about it. I showed up, paid $15 and went in. Stayed there for a couple of hours. Actually hung out with Pak's mom for an hour straight. I did what I wanted to, felt good about it and left. And I get text messages from those two, and then later on I got one from Bobby too - saying they can't believe I went to Kevin's event, can't believe I would play the show. I did one song with Chucky Chuck, that I always do with Chucky. It wasn't announced. It wasn't on the flyer. It didn't help sell tickets. It wasn't promoted. I just did it for Pak. I was up there for half a song and it turned into I did a show, a Kevin Zinger show. That really made me want to leave the group.

When did you join KMK? What's your connection to the other guys?
I grew up with D-Loc. I met Brad, Lou and Pak through X meeting D-Loc. I didn't join it, we started it in '95. Then I had a falling out, kind of. Some things happened where I left L.A. and went back to Orange County. They had decided I hadn't put enough into the group. I was just learning to write raps… I was bummed when I got home. I still hung out with everybody because me and Loc were really good friends. I'd still go out to Kottonmouth shows. I'd go to their video shoots. There was no hate.

Why did Pak leave the group in 2010?
He left because we were restructuring the business. They wanted to cut Pakelika's percentage down to less. I even agreed a little bit. I also didn't think it was fair to cut it as much as they wanted to cut it. There was a point where the band started getting to be more business. Instead of being friends, it was more about business.

Why did Taxman leave the group?
I know he wasn't happy. He was getting talked down to by members in the group. He grew up with Kevin Zinger. They're like brothers. He caught a lot shit of that.

Fans are confused about all of the turmoil happening with KMK. What do you have to say to them?
People grow up. Life changes. It is what it is. Seventeen years is a long time to put out great music. Thank you so much for the 17 years you guys did give us and the life you afforded us.

Do you think KMK will survive?
I try not to think about it. The day I left all of a sudden I was motivated again. That's up to them whether they survive. It's up to the music they make. They could self-implode. There's internal issues that they don't even know about. There are other people gunning for other peoples' money and things too.

What's next for you?
I'm still cracking'. I'm not goin' nowhere. My EP FreeKING Out (on Suburban Noize) is comin' out Dec. 17. Tour's comin' up. I want to get back to the roots, interacting with the people. My mission is to have fun with music again.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.