It was probably the most harmful water park in America. New Jersey’s Action Park — or “Traction Park,” because the locals notoriously nicknamed it — promised journey, “large issues for little children to do,” and the grandest water points of interest on the earth.
But it was identified for bumps, bruises, dislocated shoulders — and worse. There had been so many accidents the park had its personal ambulances. Tragically, there have been additionally deaths. Three drowned within the wave pool. One was thrown from the Alpine Slide onto rocks the park had been instructed to take away. One was electrocuted after falling into the water on the Kayak Experience.
Longtime MTV VJ Riki Rachtman, former host of the steel show “Headbangers Ball,” knew nothing of the perils of the park when he was assigned to do a reside broadcast there in 1993 with particular company Alice In Chains. But he was as much as the problem, and Alice in Chains had been the precise band to expertise all of it first-hand, bringing swimmies and goggles to the shoot.
“There was by no means a band that was extra enjoyable to do something with than Alice In Chains,” Rachtman tells Variety. “They would all the time do one thing goofy, whether or not it’s being in a mansion with robes and ascots or every thing that we did at Action Park. That episode of ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ is probably the most asked-about episode ever.”
Rachtman — who now hosts two podcasts, The Triple R and Riki Rachtman’s Cathouse Hollywood Podcast — was shocked to see footage of that day featured within the Seth Porges and Chris Charles Scott documentary, “Class Action Park,” when it debuted on HBO final month.
Rachtman — at the moment on a cross-country motorbike trek elevating cash for the Alzheimers Association — took a second to drag over and mirror on that day in Action Park, and what he hopes to do with the unseen outtakes and pictures that the documentary missed.
Before the documentary was launched, did anybody let you know that they had been going to make use of that every one footage or how a lot involvement?
I had no concept! And when anyone instructed me, I assumed it was only for a second — however I’m in it far more than I assumed I’d be — and I used to be like “Really?” Because proper about the identical week, I had simply discovered a video of all of the unedited footage of the “Headbangers Ball” that we shot there, which I used to be going to finally put up on YouTube.
Did you shoot it across the time Alice In Chains performed Lollapalooza in the summertime of 1993?
I’ve a sense it’d’ve been after that, however I don’t actually bear in mind. We did stuff with Alice In Chains fairly a bit. All we did was have enjoyable — no person ever mentioned, “Let’s not try this.” We had been all reckless, simply children simply having enjoyable. And as a result of we had the digital camera crew, we didn’t have to attend in line. So we’d go to the entrance of all of the traces, movie a phase, get on a journey after which go onto one other journey. And [at Action Park], we might do no matter we needed in a spot the place individuals did no matter they needed!
Were you conscious of the park’s popularity?
Remember, I’m from Hollywood, so I’d by no means heard of Action Park — I bear in mind being in Hollywood and so they mentioned “We’re going to shoot at Action Park tomorrow morning,” so I needed to take the red-eye and go proper to the park. It was fairly nuts. I by no means heard any of the dangerous issues, or about anyone dying on the park. I simply bear in mind being on this chairlift and searching on the [Cannonball] Loop, and I used to be like, “What the hell is that?” And they mentioned, “Actually, it’s closed down. Somebody broke their nostril on it.” I mentioned, “Somebody really tried it? This has obtained to be the stupidest factor I’ve ever: How are you able to make a water slide with a loop? There’s no approach you possibly can’t get harm on it!” I used to be actually considering this could’t be secure, however I did all of them.
What do you bear in mind most about that day in filming with the band?
I bear in mind us doing the one factor the place you get on little mats and also you [go down a slide] actually quick, and me and Layne [Staley] and Jerry [Cantrell] had been racing, and one of many safety guys fell and we flew all the best way to the protection wall, and that’s the footage they used within the film. I bear in mind sumo wrestling with Jerry. From what I perceive, as soon as I posted one thing on Twitter about it, the producers mentioned that was the craziest day at Action Park.
Is the newfound consideration blowing your thoughts?
It’s superior, and I’m going to do a podcast about it. I’m going to show all of the video footage that I shot. I’m undecided which podcast that’s going to be on but, however it’s going to be on my YouTube channel, which I haven’t actually executed that a lot with. And I’m simply going to do intros and outros to segments and speak about behind the scenes after which play a bunch of unedited stuff, which is de facto enjoyable as a result of it exhibits the band doing what they did: Alice In Chains was nothing however a enjoyable band off digital camera.