New Album Review: Rick and Friends
Artist: Rick and Friends
Album: Rick and Friends
Rick and Friends is a throwback to Southern Rock's heyday. It sounds like it is coming right out of Macon, Georgia in the late 70's. Had this record come out in that time period there is no doubt the legendary Walden brothers would have taken a serious look at bringing this band into their stable with the giants of the genre. The band is solid with catchy hooks and southern soul to spare. It is steeped in the blues like all the bands of the genre, but also has a distinct 80's rock approach at times reminds me of the more commercial side of 38 Special. This is a band that could turn any roadhouse into a party on a Saturday night. One of my favorite tracks on the album is the opener Forever Home. Coming in with a catchy guitar riff and a very memorable harmonized chorus that felt a bit like Styx meets The Marshall Tucker Band. It is a perfect opener to this 12 song album, setting the table for what is coming down the tracks. Sweet Jackie is another one with a tremendous chorus hook. This one embraces all of the Southern Rock tricks impeccably. The harmonized guitar lines are right out of The Allman Brothers book and the vocal is a perfect take. I don't think this band could have picked a better vocalist to sing these songs. It is just a very memorable three minute Southern Rock track.
Livin' Day To Day is an acoustic piece that takes you right into the swamps with Curtis Lowe and Simple Man. This Southern Rock ballad is heartfelt and executed with grace and skill. Coming in with a drop tuned acoustic guitar and a slide sets the mood perfectly for the vocalist to take the listener on a soul soaked performance of a very well written track. Smokey Whiskey is another standout. It's like a cross between Cripple Creek and Gimme Back My Bullets. It just has the vibe that paints a vivid picture of illegal moonshine runs. It has a couple of seamless key changes that keep the ears engaged and some very compelling acoustic slide guitar parts that fit like a glove. Rick and Friends are a Southern Rock powerhouse. They flirt with some unexpected influences but never leave the solid footing of a classic genre. This record is like the soundtrack to Sturgis. It's well written and performed. The grooves are deeply pocketed and the choruses are ridiculously catchy. If you're a fan of the Southern Rock genre this is a must hear. I hope this record finds the listeners it deserves.
Check out the interview as well!
Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career.
Rick and Friends The Artists Seasoned professionals, Rick Drevet and Mark Pappalardo collaborate on a new musical venture. Their vast musical and life experiences, energizes them to create classics that will stand the test of time. They share a life, and values philosophy of pulling from actual experiences. Reaching deep into their hearts and souls, to find creative and poetic ways to convey these true stories to you, their fans. We sincerely hope you find their journey moving, entertaining and enjoyable. The Music Hook filled, catchy tunes based in a Rock-Southern Rock-Blues blended style all their own. Soaring vocal harmonies, soul-stirring lyrics that draw you into the story, flanked by dual guitars and a beat that will have your head rocking and foot tapping! Career Highlights
Rick Drevet: has played in multiple cover and original bands spanning the country. Having shared the stage with EZO, Enuff Z Nuff, Badlands, Jake E Lee, Dokken, Cinderella and Sebastian Bach, Rick has gained a great appreciation for putting feeling into notes. His songs have been nominated for several awards. Having built and operated a profitable recording studio, Rick learned first hand how to get the best from artists including himself. A self described “Tone Junkie” Rick strives to make each song speak to you on a personal basis.
Mark “Boomer” Pappalardo: having started at a very young age, has come up through the L.A. music scene, a graduate of the Musicians Institute in Hollywood where he was privileged to have studied with the likes of Buddy Rich, Joe Porcarro, Steve Smith and Todd Sucherman, has appeared on multiple recordings from 4 major labels, and has performed with and for many top industry acts including but not limited to, Tim Bogart, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Flee, Stevie Wonder, Mickey Thomas, James “Jimmy” Cleaver, Kevin DeBrow, and many others, as well as having shared the stage with the likes of Van Halen, Stryper, Poison, Motley Crue, The Pretenders, Y&T, and a host of others. He also received the “Who’s Who in Music” award. Bill Adams: Bass on Cold Steel Blues and Forever Home Rusty Wright: Vocals
Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
My musical influences cover the gambit as I started in Jazz/Bebop, then swung an 18 piece swing band then got into funk and rock. So as a drummer I was influenced early on by greats like Louie Belson, Gene Kruppa, Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams. As I got further along my influences included, Joe Porcaro, Terry Bozzio, Simon Phillips Dennis Chambers, Sugarfoot Moffet, Steve Smith, Steve Gadd, Todd Sucherman, Greg Bissonette, Shannon Forest and others.
Non-Musical Influences would have to be my Dad.
What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician?
There are so many how does someone pick just one? If I had to pick one, it would have been Blood Sweat and Tears.
What song do you remember most from your childhood?
Oh my! See I started playing at the age of 5 yrs old and started doing paid gigs at the age of 9. I think it would have been either "Lucricia McEvil, or "Frankenstein".
What’s your favorite accomplishment as a musician thus far?
Winning the "Who's who in Music" award and Hmm, well I'm really proud of this album we have put out, so I would have to say our debut album.
Tell me about your favorite performance in your career.
I would have to say, doing the L.A. Street Scene where I performed in front of a crowd of 50,000, that was a total rush!!
What's the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
"Play for the song, not for yourself" and "No matter how big you get, stay humble, cause God is always bigger than you"
What's new in the recording of your music?
Being able to record on my awesome custom-made drums, by my master drum builder Ian Hammer of Hammer Custom Drums!
How has your music changed over the years?
With an ever-increasing technical ability (as I still practice at least a couple of hours every day) it as got more intricate, more musical yet more accessible by the masses.
What inspires you to write the music you write?
I write from real life experiences, whether by me directly or by someone close to me that has gone through something. I feel people better relate to that then made-up stories. There is so much more to music then just "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N Roll"
What made you want to play the instrument you play?
First hearing Gene Kruppa ripping that floor tom entro in "Song of India" when he played with Glenn Miller. I heard that, on my dad's car radio on the way back from a barber shop one afternoon, at 5 yrs old, and just started banging along with Gene on his dashboard! When we got to the stop sign, my dad looked at me and asked, "Do you want to play the drums"? Without a second of hesitation, I looked at him and said, "Well YEAH"!! LOL
How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past?
This is my first real "Southern Rock" album I have done. Up until now, it's either been, Pop, Funk/Dance/R&B, or Rock. I'm like a chameleon, being so versatile, I adapt my playing to whatever the music calls for and having met Rick (who is a true-blue Southern Rocker/Electric Blues man) I delved into that arena with him.
Do you feel like you are continuing to grow musically?
Oh most definitely! I recently completed study with my latest mentor/instructor Todd Sucherman (Styx) and he opened my mind and the door to all kinds of new things, some of which I am still working on! Yes I feel if you are not going forward, then you are stagnating and slipping backwards.
If you could play anywhere or with anyone in the world, where or with who would it be?
I would love to play one of the big arenas like Wembly Stadium, or Madison Square Garden, or an outdoor venue like in Rio de Janeiro, in front of 180,000 happy fans like when Tina Turner did it! I would love to play with Eric Clapton, Randy Jackson, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai, Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Thelonius Monk!
How does music affect you and the world around you?
Music IS my world. It is so much a part of my DNA that if it was removed, I'd probably die! I'd like to think that my music touches people, moves them, makes them feel, makes them think, brings out the positive in them and thereby making the world a better place.
If you could change anything about the music industry today, what would it be?
Definitely have it get back to when it was about and for the artist! I long for the days when an AR man saw your potential and would sign you to a label, who in turn invested in developing you and your craft, supported and promoted you with a team of pros in every other aspect connected with your artistry as an artist, and helped you cut through all the noise! That's all long gone sadly.
What are your biggest obstacles as a musician?
Getting noticed, and heard in today's digital world, being able to monetize your hard work, so we can bring this great music and talented players live on tour, to the world.
What strengths do you have that you believe make you a great musician?
My sense of feel as a drummer. Out of all my technical abilities, that is one area that I constantly get complimented on, and one I have worked on from the beginning. One of my early mentor/instructors Wally Warwick (original drummer from the Tijuana Brass) told me "It doesn't matter how many notes you can play or how fast you can play them, if the people can't tap their feet and dance to it, you're wasting everyone's time"
Do you have any weaknesses that you're actively working to improve on?
A professional always knows and has a weakness here or there, and if you're not constantly working on improving those, you are not growing, and if you are not growing everyone else will pass you by. I would say at this point it is my double bass pedal speed and more technically advanced four-way independence between all my limbs.
Describe your favorite and or least favorite part about being a musician.
The most favorite part is the playing live thing! Recording in the studio is fun, and a great learning and growing environment, but there is no bigger rush for me, then to feel the electricity I am creating with an audience and feeling that coming back to me on stage! I live for that! The least favorite thing would have to be the down time in-between shows, I get bored and antsy.
Do you have any anxiety about performing live? Do you like to perform or do you prefer to record in a studio?
LOL!! Well I think I jumped the shark on this one and answered that on the previous question! My Mom always called me a "Born Ham" I do not have a shy bone in my body and just LOVE to perform live! Anyone who says they don't get a few butterflies before performing before a large crowd is either a liar, dead or "comfortably numb" as the song goes LOL!! But once you hear that first applause all that goes out the window and it's "FUN TIME"!!
What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
I personally think online music sharing has virtually destroyed the industry we as artist musicians love. It sucked the profitability right out of it! We very rarely give our music away for free, cause it's what we do, it's our livelihood. I don't think the trash man would pick up your trash for free so why should we give away our work? Now having said that, if there is a good charitable cause we get behind, well then that's a different story and we are all about helping others in need.
Describe your creative process when you write new music.
Well normally it starts out with the music for me. Once I have the music structure in place, Hook riffs/ chords/ arrangement etc. then I start to pick out a cool melody over that. Like I mentioned I started in jazz and big band, and I have always loved the saxophone. So, I hear melodies as if a sax was playing them. Once I get that melody going, I break that down into syncopated syllables. Once I have that down, I then think of the story I want to tell, and the music will often dictate what that story will be by the feel of the music being played. For this album Rick would come up with some music and a song title for a track. I would then build my lyrical ideas off of the title and what I created with the melody.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Ok, when I was 7 years old I got run over and it broke my left arm pretty badly, the doctors wanted to amputate my arm, but my Dad insisted they get in there and fix it, as he said "That's NOT what I am paying insurance for, so you get in there and fix it"!! Well several hours later I came to with my arm in a cast from my knuckles to my shoulder. I took me the first week to get through the pain, but as soon as that started to fade, I broke apart the cast by my fingers, and would sit hunched over my practice pad, so I could keep up with my drum lessons, much to the chagrin of both my parents and my doctor!! LMAO!!
Other than being a musician, what was your dream job growing up? Are you currently in that same field today?
Yes I am. I knew from the time I was 9 yrs old exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was working in a jazz quartet of all older men, and a nice looking woman came up to the stage where we were, and slid a dollar bill down my rack tom in front of me and winked at me. From that second on I knew what I was going to be doing with my life and have been doing it ever since to this day. That will end when they plant me like Charlie Watts.
Give us some advice for new musicians just starting out in the industry.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Get so good at your craft that the machine can't possibly keep you out of it. Stay humble no matter how big you get and jump on and appreciate every opportunity that comes your way, cause if you don't, they will stop coming. Always be early for any engagement, and don't be a jerk! There are plenty of those out there, and believe me other players, producers and engineers want to work with the nice guys, not the divas! Treat the janitor the same you treat the CEO because you never know who you're gonna run into on the way back down the ladder.
What are your interests outside of music?
I've been a lifelong biker and have been riding Harley's since I was 15 1/2 yrs old through today! In fact I wrote "Shakin Sally" (on our album) about my own ride who is named Sally. I also am very active in my church. There I head up a "Celebrate Recovery" ministry to help others break the chains of addiction as I did. Finally, I love to hunt (I eat all the I kill and only kill what I eat). I also have two wonderful German Shephards that I love to spend time frolicking with!
How do you promote your band and shows?
When we have shows to promote, we enlist a multi-pronged approach. We first utilize our most excellent PR/ Agent Eugene Foley to facilitate a lot of that. Then Rick spends countless hours on social media, and I spend some (I'm not real big on social media) I'm a much more face to face, kind of person. So, I would hit the area with ads and flyers, ya know old school, cause well I am old school, tried and true, through and through.
What is the best way to stay updated on current news; gigs, releases, etc.
On our website http://www.rickandfriends.com there is a place for fans to sign up with their email address (we PROMISE NO spam), where they will receive our monthly newsletter, keeping them up to date with all our goings on. Then if we have a special engagement or something pops up we can email everyone to let them know.
Anything you would like to share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?
Right now, we are putting all our effort into getting this album out to the masses. We do have some really cool merchandise on our site as well! Rick and I do have the beginnings of the first two tracks for our next album tucked in the wings already.
Are you available for private parties? If so, how would someone contact you about booking?
Well unless it's a high-end party where finances are not an issue (we have expensive logistics to cover) not really, but we never say never, you know as the old show goes, if "The Price is Right" we're there! Anyone can contact us via our website Rick and Friends
What's next for your band?
Just building our fan base to the point where we can take this album out on tour, then touring!
Anything Else You Would Like to Include?
Yes, help us bring back Southern Rock to the forefront of mainstream music, support us, we'd love nothing more than to give it back to you all!