Transcript: Transcript Ex Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ Ricky Byrd- Guitar Magic

hello to you. I hope you’re well. I’m very happy because spring has finally broken out where I am. And I hope you’re enjoying some lovely weather wherever you are to. It’s a crazy old world we’re living in weather wise, isn’t it? Let’s hope there are not too many extremes to come. Talking about extremes. This week we get to meet a rather extreme rock and roller. He’s best known for his time spent as guitarist and singer with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. But he’s also recorded and played with the who’s Roger Daltrey and toured with people like Ian Hunter. And Southside Johnny. He shared the stage with musical royalty, including Paul McCartney, Ringo, Alice Cooper, and Smokey Robinson. To name just a few. Right now he has a new solo single out. So I got him onto a zoom call to have a chat. I hope you enjoy meeting guitarist singer songwriter and producer, Ricky bird. Okay, Ricky bird from NYC, your screen says Welcome to a breath of fresh air. How are you,
Ricky be from NYC. That’s my community support group zoom name.
I’m very curious. And the work you do with recovery is just awesome. I want to talk to you about that. Fabulous to discover that you’re releasing your own material yet again. But we’ve got to go back to where it all started. And talk about your childhood and talk about all those years with Joan Jett and the black heart.
Look through a brief history just to get to them just to get to the present.
It’s kind of what’s led you to today. That’s super important for us. And no doubt that the music that you’re putting out today is all about how you got there.
Ask away.
Perfect. So you’ve been playing music for 150 years you started when you were just a kid. I was most interested to know when it was that you changed your name because there was nothing wrong with your name to start with.
What was my name? It was?
Yeah, that’s exactly right. It was originally
right. That’s right. That’s funny. You mentioned that because it’s you know, you as you get older you ask your parents things if you’re lucky to still around, and you’ll learn stuff from your child if you’ve never heard before. And I asked my mother, why? Because I was Richard at the beginning. And then I think they changed it on my birth certificate to Ricky. I was Richard briefly. But I said where did you get the name? Where did Ricky come from? And she’s, I swear to God, she just told me this a few months ago. She loved I Love Lucy so I was named after Ricky Ricardo.
Ah, that’s awesome. I thought it was awesome too. Yeah, and you never knew that.
That’s amazing.
I never had I never thought to even ask where the name came from.
How lucky are you to still have your mom around today? That’s fabulous too.
Yeah, she’s down in Florida. And she’s in good health obviously yeah, she’s in relatively good health you know, we all start to fall apart like an old car a little bit.
Don’t we just they were she must have been looking on to your career very very proudly all these years where she?
Oh for sure. In fact, if she’s in a store down in Florida and something I’m on comes on the radio she starts screaming That’s my son her kid
been about seven to
belong with me and I could tell it wouldn’t be long
around 13 or 14 cents it to be why are the I don’t know. I thought it looked good. What the Why and Ricky or something I don’t know. And then I changed it legally. And I got rid of the sky I thought it was too many too much stuff.
But they didn’t call you Richard Scott. Only when they were very angry with you, I suppose.
Posh for me. No, no, I’ve never been Richard at home. No, no, I was oh, we were always
Ricky. Yeah. I was always Sandy. And I get that. That’s my mother’s
name, by the way. Sandy. Yeah. Oh, that’s nice.
When she sang versus start off with. Yeah, she was Saundra. Yeah, so Andhra with very posh on Ooh, disappeared crush family from which you hail from the Bronx. Yeah, right, really? That we’re happy that you chose a career in music and pursued it? What do they want you to do anything else?
No, no, no, they never thought it for me to do anything else. I mean, I started playing guitar when I was nine. I grew up in the Bronx, as my bio says. And we left that when I was about 13 or so somewhere. Now. We moved to Queens, New York. But a very big move. Different borough different. It’s in a different part of New York. You know, it’s not it’s not very far, you know, how I know? No, it’s far now. When we lived in Manhattan, when my wife and I lived in Manhattan, I would go to Yankee to the Bronx for Yankee Stadium, you know, and I would go to 30 games a year easy. Because you would just hop on the train, and it would take straight to the bra. This is how I know it’s a, it was a form of now that I’m in Queens, it’s to get there takes you an hour and a half, you know, like you have to go through. You have to go all the way around. And it’s a whole thing with traffic. So that’s when you know, it was it’s far, right. Was it far culturally to? Well, the Bronx is the Bronx, right. I mean, Dion’s from the Bronx. I know, it’s a neighborhood. Queens is the neighborhood to think it’s a little it’s a little culturally different. I mean, the Bronx is like Brooklyn, you know, like, you know, a girl from the Bronx. It’s got a reputation, you know, tough talking. Yeah, straight talking. Right? You know, not that Queens wasn’t, but I don’t think Queens is the Bronx and Brooklyn have their own little reputations. And I got my first guitar at nine years old, in the Bronx, and B, that was because of, I don’t know if you had it in Australia, but the Ed Sullivan Show. Yeah, shall we did you that? Well, so that was on every every Sunday night when I was a kid. And the thing about it was, which doesn’t happen anymore. And most families, the whole family would sit around the TV, which was not like the TVs we have now. That was a big box on the floor, right?
Of course, and black and white. In those days,
there was black and white. Yeah, it was black and white. So every Sunday night, we’d watch it. And Ed was like, he was like an old school newspaper guy. Right? He used to write a column and one of the New York papers and then he got this TV show. And he was completely bizarre, itself. And people have done impressions of him for years and years. But he had a variety show. So we would have like a comedian, you’d have a singer and I’m talking about like, you know, Dean Martin and old comedians, you know, because a variety show and then he would have music you would have music on and of course they wanted ratings so they would get the kids and now this is for the kids and he would bring on whoever the monkeys or the Beatles or the stone so I think the first time I saw the Beatles and The stones around 1965 was nine years old. I said that’s for me. But evening ladies and gentlemen tonight from New York some of them show and now here he is, and suddenly
thank you very very much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you art harness tonight show again Stars The Beatles before they return to England, you know, discussing the day we’re all gonna miss a mirror a bunch of nice kids. You know, all of us on this show are so darn sorry. I’m sincerely sorry that this is the third and last our last current show with The Beatles because he junctures from Liverpool, England, and their conduct over here not only as fine professional singers, but as a group of fine youngsters leave an imprint with everyone over here who’s met him and that goes for all of us on our show
Me going on. So you saw the Beatles at nine and you decided that that was it for you. And by 16 You’re already in bands at school, right?
Yeah. Yeah, at night, it was something going on that I saw that I wanted part of. And, you know, I always I grew up with a lot of music in my house like we live with at one point we live with my grandparents. And my parents got divorced my mom and I, and there was always world war two kind of big band music being played. Those two Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. And Frank and Dean is always in play. And then of course, music or radio in New York, and that period of the 60s was great. We had these great am stations. What was great about them, which is very similar to what little Stevens underground garage is now. You could listen for an hour, of course, it was the top 40 So that’s not little Steven stick, but it was a tough 40 And it was you know, it went from Frank to Trini Lopez to Sammy Davis, if he had a hit like The Candy Man or something like that. And then it was like I want to hold your hand
say that song. I wanna hold
I got a great education as a kid and I soaked up a lot of different styles. Blues, not much but but you know, they like the Thrill is Gone when that was a hit BB King. Soul of course they had dark in the bay. Right, Otis Redding. Sam Cooke Chang is going to come or twist the night way when it was a hit. That was a teeny bit before me. But my point is, is that I had a great education because radio in New York was fabulous when I was a kid, you know, because they played everything on one station. So there was something about the the Beatles you know, of course, we all love the Beatles. But when I saw the stones, I just saw something that was like, Oh, that looks kind of evil like that, you know. And then a little bit later on, the stones did a video on it was on Top of the Pops right in England. And it was jumpin Jack Flash and it was the famous one where they’re all wearing face makeup and it’s dark and light flashing. And that was the that sealed the deal for me, man. I was just like, Yeah, this is someone I want some of that
you certainly went out to dinner, you got your fair share of it.
But the other thing also is I found when I first got my first guitar, which my mother brought my mother’s boss to work for a handbag company and her boss for my birthday. And I can’t my timeline on it was around when I was nine. It was right there. Like I I saw the bands on TV and I asked him I said I want to play guitar. And he gave me my first guitar. That guitar is in the Rock Hall now, which is really cool. I managed to save it the whole time. But I found that I was good at picking up melodies from the radio like I could like if I heard happy, let’s say Happy Together by the turtles right, down, down down and I could figure that out on the guitar. I’m not saying Great. I’m just saying I could figure it out. Like I believe everybody can do something wonderful. It’s sometimes like just like just drags you didn’t have some tough sometimes unfortunately some people don’t never get to what they do well in fact I played happy together and public school was one of those like show Intel days and I said stood in front of the class and played happy together and sang it badly probably
great song. One of my favorite all time Yeah, I agree Charles and great. Yeah,
imagine me. I do. I think about your day and night. It’s only to think about the girl you love. And so happy to give should call you invested time and you say you belong to me. Imagine how the world people so happy to.
You and me, no matter how they toss the dice to be the only one for me. And you for me. So happy to be there.
So you were a bit of a hit at school. Well,
it’s interesting you say that. Because, you know, it was a tough school. I was a quiet kid. You became this other. He weren’t as picked on as much because of reason.
Once he was being cool, yeah, right. Well, I don’t know
about cool. But like as a musician, it sort of kept the bullies away, I guess. All around. It seemed like a good you know, good grade. You
got it? Yeah. I can’t imagine you as a quiet shy kid.
I was I was very quiet.
When did that all change?
As a good question. It’s funny. We used to go up on vacation. Sometimes we go up to the mountains in New York. Right. Like the Catskills area that upstate. I went to dec de Kamp. So I’m in daycamp. Right. And my mother, you know, we’re staying I guess we had bungalows nearby or something. They were putting on a show. And they picked me to be the leader of the bad like, like, you know, remember Mitch Miller. It was the bandleader. Well, I was rich, they made me rich Miller, they painted they put a little mustache on me. And I led the band. And my mother came to the show, and she was like, I never said anything about it. And she was completely like, what, what, how long has this been going on? So I guess there was a part of me that was outward. But I think I was I was very quiet and shy. Yeah. And it changed. Like once I got to the stage bug. I became a hammer, of course, like most artists, do.
You found your true calling, then didn’t you?
Yeah, I have never had fear of being onstage. Never. Like when I was with Joan, like, lose a big state opening the queen in front of like 70,000 people. Now never never had that fear. It’s tougher almost to play in front of like a, like an acoustic show in front of 50 people. It’s scary to do that. Because it’s
yeah, of course.
massive crowd is just giant blob of people.
Yeah. No fear or no adrenaline rush. I mean, you must have got an
adrenaline rush. Yeah, I get that now. I mean, still to this day, thank God, I still have it. I get physically, like I say nauseous, but like when it’s right before I’m supposed to go on, like, I get chills. And I get kind of lightheaded for a minute. And I kind of get off on that. And, and but once I hit the stage, it all goes away. And I love that feeling and with with with jet, we used to go on to we, our song played before we came on was Won’t Get Fooled Again. And we all knew when kids moved to the big drum thing in the middle, it was time to hit from the stage. And that was when I got that, that like you felt the blood rush from your head is, but it was a good it was a good Rush was not fear at all.
I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to think about how a seasoned rocker feels before he or she steps onto a stage. Hugh Jackman once told me that if you don’t get that adrenaline rush ahead of a performance, then it’s pretty much time to give up the game. Back in a sec with more. This is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kay. It’s a beautiful day. Thanks for hanging in. Ricky bird struggled for many years with drug and alcohol addiction, but finally got clean and sober in 1987. It’s something he’s never taken lightly. And to this day continues to work with addicts, both as a mentor and performing at recovery related fundraisers or treatment centers.
Because I’ve been keynote speaker, step two in recovery, and I’ve just not scare one thing that I’ve learned over time, if you forget something, you go with it. Like I have little lines that I say, you know, like the 80s were very tough on a thing Excuse me. If I forget something, and it gets a laugh, like I know like certain things get a laugh and you make the people ease. Because the one time that I was I was doing a showcase for somebody’s a little club but some record companies then it was really good song called wide open. I just got to the second verse and I was gone I could not for the life of me remember that next line completely blank. And and the harder you think about it, the further away it goes. And it’s kind of squeezes your brain. It’s like in American baseball when they say that you supposed to hold the reason why you see bats fly. Sometimes when the battery is up and you see it flies into the stand. Because the to do it correctly. You’re supposed to not grip the bat hard that’s trying to loosely grip the bat. You know like where life like a loose garment they say that’s the same thing for everything like that. You got to find a way to let it go take a deep breath and just say whatever you know, and then and usually people are on your side. They’re not going to start screaming at you. And they could smell fear. If anything like a dog.
Just so you don’t forget the words next time Ricky here’s English singer Chris follow with that song you wrote wide open which match your sleep No more
it’s hard to let go when you show
your town Chambord No, I’ll never understand how quickly changing short number with no regrets I leave myself
get stone give me
the doubts about truth in the year
before you join Joan Jett in 77, you will with this power pop band called Susan and you actually had an album with them. How did that come about? And what was that album
like? It’s a long story. But so in New York, there was a paper called The Village Voice.
I remember that.
And it was a big thick paper. And it was, you know, New York stuff, you know, great writers. But in the back was declassified. And if you’re a musician, first of all it had where everybody was playing, and all the little clubs, the big stage, the big artists, everything. But there was classifieds in the back. So if you were looking for a guitar player, you’re looking for a bass player. That’s where we went. So I guess at some point, I was looking for something what to do, and I found this band moving down from Boston called Susan. I went and played with them. And it was two brothers and a guitar player named Tom Dickey, Leland brothers on drums and bass, and I joined the band. But Karen was my girlfriend. She knew Tommy Mottola, the famous Tommy Mottola was the president of Sony for a while he had a management company and she brought him to a rehearsal he signed us to a production deal on RCA through his management company. And we did a record called Falling in love again and we opened for a first tour was my first tour nationally was opening for Graham Parker in the room on the squeezing out the sparks too. So your audience might know that was my favorite part
to taxes
screening to win grabbers.
She knows
she can’t escape winter after some kind out to Baghdadi synergy is arranged
my first tour,
amazing way to start off
wasn’t bad. And before that, I was just like every other kid I was playing in clubs in the city. Before we had originals. When I was playing covers out in Queens at that point, junior high school high school, I was in rock and roll bands that we played dances, just like everybody else, you know, garage bands. And then we start playing in and then we started moving into the city a little bit, you know, bands change, you start writing originals, and we started playing some of the famous now famous clubs that were notorious back in the day. And that led to meeting new people. I just thought that my original bands always had a British tinge to it because guys, I was in bands with back then. They were from another part of Queens. But they had been to England already. And I’m talking I was 16. And they turned me on to humble pie Rod Stewart in the faces. I knew the Kings, the Beatles and stuff but then these other bands, Slade, you were heavily influenced by all my music now is a product of what I grew up on for sure, of course. And so when we did originals, we opened up with a humble pie song. You know, we did satellite ground. We did Roxy Music. Nobody did that. Oh, we were just like, they turned me on to the stuff and we became a band that did that kind of cool stuff. Yeah, well, and we were all these pictures of us. I had glitter under my eyes and like a scarf. Except for the glitter. It’s basically the same as to have standing up you know, wasn’t white. It suits
you why? So Ricky bird anyone you join Joan Jett and the Blackhearts How did that sorry? I kind of missed the i don’t i Blackhat
Yeah, it sounds like what’s his name but guitar player? Why can I never remember his name?
It’s because you’re of that age
to the merits of the Australian actress they’re both Australian by
Keith Urban.
Yeah Keith Urban
black pass his eyes Ozzy is what you would have laughed at me where you’re totally mixed between American and
and we played Australia like I had a wonderful time in Australia with Joan Jett. Oh yeah don’t ask me where we played I don’t know
that was that was in the 80s and you lost that decade
right but I do remember in Sydney we stayed at the something townhouse evil
disabled ah, the infamous hotel that’s right. Yeah. How did you get to join them again through the Village Voice and the classified
past that No, Carol again. It’s all Carol.
Oh, she Wow. Carol was happening for you which she was a
publicist. She was a publicist at a place called LIBOR Krebs and management company famous back then manage the Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Humble Pie Def Leppard at that point. So Humble Pie. Well, that’s a whole other story. She introduced me to Steve Marriott and and we became friends which was like, recognizing cool for me. Before John had been record I was part of I Love Rock and Roll. She had a bad reputation record. They didn’t really have an office. So her manager was had, they gave them a lot of space because they were friends with the management company. And Carol became friends with Joan and she Carol just asked me if I knew who Joan Jett was. I said, Yeah, of course. Because I had seen the runaways club in Manhattan. She said, Would you like to go down and play with her? And I was at I didn’t even know why. She’s I said, Yeah, sure. And this was after Susan, and I was kinda like, what do I do next? If the Susan we did the one tour. Then I did a tour with Colin outside a guitar player named G. Smith. You might know G Smith. He left all the notes. He was with the same management company until and he said I had just put a record out. Do you want to come on tour with me as my guitar player? He played? He plays guitar too. As the second guitar player so yeah, and we opened up the squeeze tainted. Nether UK. Another great yeah, so two great experiences national tour
of flannel, my face, pajamas, hairbrush new shoes and a case I said to my reflection let’s get out of the church steeple the laundry on the billboards and the buildings memories of it and forget it
now that you have gone
I’m back in New York and I’m hanging Seabury I’m hanging with John wait because he just left the baby somebody thought we’d be good together we became friends and then I went down to play with John and I joined the band and there you go.
You just turned up there one day on Carol’s recommend obviously
they were looking for a guitar player and I went down and we got along great amore over here a little bit more stones faces like that kind of guitar player and Jones was more la punky
I was gonna say not your style of music at all.
No other combination made good records. I brought to the table what she didn’t do she brought to the table that I didn’t do and you listen to the records when you get here a little bit of you know, obviously it’s it was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts of the style was guided by Joan and I just want what I do to the table.
All right, I read a description of Jones music it was a brand of rock and roll. It’s simple direct, a very effective a combination of glam rock stomp bubblegum walks and power driven of course by her raspy voice, and What energy did you bring to that? Where was the overlap?
I think I brought more of that other swag or the Chuck Berry swag. You know that piece side of the music. I mean, I loved glam too. I grew up on sweet and Slade and stuff like that. I think my guitar playing at that point was you know, we don’t want it to be Keith Richards Right. Or Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton. That’s what I brought. You know what I could sing so I’ve got you know, good backgrounds with me. And we sang well together. You know, the blend was good and the Catoctin to guitar sounded Good to go
the winds comes walking no
what was she like to work with? Was she is
she’s hard, yes. But she’s like a great person. You know? I mean, we’re all different in different situations that can be hard. It’s too, you know, it’s just but she’s a doll. You know, like, we spent 10 years together traveling around the world and we got along. I don’t think we had one fight the whole time. Maybe little disagreements on something but nothing.
backgrounded obviously led her to that style of music to really want to pump it out there. Because there’s something that’s most memorable about being with Joan Jett for 10 years. I’m sure there’s lots of things that are memorable stuff. Yeah, I mean, it was one story.
Well, being inducted into the Rock halls, not too shabby. There’s that. And
was that was a long time after you left the band and not at all you I mean
opening for Queens in England. And finally 70,000 people playing with the Beach Boys for July 4 It was every year there was a July 4 Beach Boys concert in front of like a million people in America, you know, in DC and Philly, like on the same day, like flying from one to the other. Jimmy Page is like standing next to me playing guitar, you know, I mean, there’s a million and then there were funny things. You know, sometimes we didn’t go over well, like like we would like to straight up rock and roll band. And we were opening for like a new wave band or we open to the scorpions in Europe and in Spain. We had a little hard time with the crowd. In fact, I got hit with a battery.
Someone threw it in the crowd. Yeah.
Oh, yeah. Someone with a good arm
to listen to the baseball team.
Yeah, I mean, I can remember me and Joanie standing up there and like when they slap the shelf going? Am I going back out there all the call recording stuff we did with the Beach Boys you know singing standing in a semicircle with the Beach Boys singing and dancing.
Traveling or hanging out and listening to the stones or whoever. I remember when the Beastie Boys came out and like Joan would leave what would be blasting on the bus like 24/7 We partied hard, but we lose a lot of work, man, let me tell you something. I couldn’t do them. Now when I did that, like the traveling. were on tour of months and months and months at a time. Like play a gig. Get on the bus go travel 700 Miles play the gig. Of course I’m grateful for it. But don’t let anybody tell you it’s easy. Eating crappy food. You know, like, I mean, it’s my choice. But we were all young. So you know eating cheeseburgers at three o’clock in the morning at a truck stop. Not sleeping. And of course I was you know, I got sober in 87. So I was a wild man, right? So you combine all those things together. It’s not a healthy lifestyle.
You lucky you survived it the way you hit. Many of your colleagues didn’t. And if they made it a really suffering now,
no doubt if they’re still here. But let me tell you some. I’ve had a wonderful career and it’s still going strong, different in a different way. And it’ll never be like that again, that was like a moment in time for all of us. You know, even for job like that job. I love rock and roll was just this giant thing. That part of my career was great. I left that band in a in 91 was an 1818 year run of stuff.
So why did you leave? In the end? It was time.
Yeah, I mean, I had gotten a publishing deal, which gave me a chance to stay home. I was like four years sober by then I was, you know, I was beat like I was. I just didn’t have an inmate to do it anymore for a while I needed a break from it for traveling and stuff. And don’t get me wrong, like total gratitude. I love getting up in front of people is Wally who could argue about getting up in front of 1000s of people, but it’s just I needed to take a left turn. And it was just time for me to leave.
Is Ricky says no matter how glamorous that lifestyle appears, it’s pretty wearing. I think it takes guts to call it quits when you don’t know what’s coming next. So to find out where Ricky bird goes from here, hanging in, this is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kay, it’s a beautiful welcome back. I’m chatting to serial rock and roll of Ricky bird who’s best known for his work with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Once he got that publishing deal with Sony, that was the time that you started touring on your own with people like Roger Daltrey and EA and Honeywell.
A lot of things happen, right? It’s a tough Okay, so I got home, I got a Sony publishing deal. I get a call from my friend Gerard McMahon. He’s producing Roger Daltrey. And he says, you’d be the perfect guitar player for this. So he introduced us and I did the adultery record. We did half in New York half in Abbey Road, which was you know, okay, death but it is a moment. Like you’re up in that big that little room upstairs and you’re looking down and go whoa, I know this view. Where have I seen this before? Oh, the beetle. Friday, waiting at the gates on the weekend. We get ote last five days, looking online we’ll find five five
we all start with maybe feeling tired. Maybe feeling them maybe living
together but you weren’t gonna be on everybody’s head
tomorrow these the beads
did some events. We played Carnegie Hall. We did a bunch of TV shows. Then I got a call from Ian Hunter. Now, Marco Polo was another one of my favorite bands. And Ian said I’m doing the Scandinavian tour would be interested in coming with me. And then we’ll pick up a Scandinavian band. He would do it every year. The big Ronson had just passed away. So we’re talking like 93. And I said, yeah. So I went and I did that tour with him. And then I came back to New York. And then I had a couple of failed attempts. Like I, if I’m talking to you straight up, it’s like, what do I sound like? And it took a long time for me to not just sound like a poor man’s Rolling Stones. I had to find my voice. And you know, I know what it sounded like, Joan, I knew what I sound like. It’s like, I’m real good as a guitar player I can play with most chameleon style I can do is jazz. I could be put in any situation and I could hold my own. And you really learned that? Yeah, no, no, explain that to go I put together bands, you know whether I picked the wrong people or, you know, I had a joke for a while. It’s like the next time I get a guy from my band, or I’ll get them coming out of the Betty Ford Clinic as opposed to going in, you know, but I couldn’t find who I was, you know, and it took a long time until I said, Okay, let me get my acoustic and just play acoustic and find out what I had. So I started doing acoustic gigs and working up a collection of songs. I have a friend in Belgium, she’s from Alabama, but she lives in Belgium. And she’s got a good career over there. And she said, Hey, you want to come over here and open for me on a tour and I did it. The acoustic Belgian tour you know, I was loving it. That was my no band, no headaches to her. I just I started doing that. Now I’m starting to find out who I am. And little by little I started creeping towards doing a solo record and that didn’t come until 2013 But in all that time I was doing all this stuff. I went on tour with the shots I Johnny and the Asbury Jukes for you one of the reasons my guitar playing besides getting clean really got to the level I feel that it’s at now and everything my voice my songwriting, I started to get calls to do events. So I would be in an all star band liberty to veto from Billy Joel’s bad we’ll leave Letterman’s bass player you know The Jeff Khaleesi from 38 special, we’d be the house band. And we’d be backing up like Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples, Sam morphin, Sam and Dave, like the list is huge, Smokey Robinson. So all of those people are different different musical genres. So as one of the guitar players, it kept me on my toes. And it educated me into not just being that guy and learn how to really learn fast, learn, well show up on time, and I can’t read music. So but I would write a cheap charts. You know, like if I didn’t a certain passage, I would just write the chords down. So it really expanded my capacity as a top player, and I’m grateful for that. I still do those things. I just did something the other night. It was the Irish rock review that I do almost every day. Obviously not doing COVID My friend Joe Hurley and all these cool people on it. I did one song I did a very delicate song messing with the kid
was a kid.
Couple of weeks ago, I did a recovery event at this New York City winery. You know, I was on a bill with Rosanne Cash Steve Earle Marshall Crenshaw, I did two songs, though. Actually, I did one recovery thing I opened the show. Something to note. Never volunteer to open a show again. That I had fear about that. I was freaking out. I did a song off my sobering times my recovery record. starlit night let’s go
down by the river’s edge I’ll bring my old guitar We’ll sing a few songs and laugh to live hurts
oh how lucky we are I’m grateful for the Mani another chance to get it right laughing will guide you if you let it like a ship adrift on a stone in
troubled times I know all too well. Left my heart badly bruised. I wanted to change but I did not know how. Then a ray of hope came shine. Gray Greg another chance to get right. laughing all its glory will guide you if you let it lie like a ship a trip Donald Stalin.
It was about youth and transgender LGBTQ community and getting help when you have addiction problems. And I was scared. Oh my god. I think I’ve ever done acapella before like that. But you could hear a pin drop man. As soon as I started singing the crowd was completely silent. And you know what I did? I just close my eyes. And I saw the words like written like in a cartoon with a little ball bouncing. And I just sang it like that was my eyes closed. And it’s such a great response from it. So that’s what I do a lot of
Yeah, yeah. Well then you you still super busy and doing your own thing if you found your own voice your own style. Three solo album so far.
lifer in 2013 Straight rock and roll, couldn’t get away in 2017 that was lyrically recovery based it’s rock and roll. But the lyrics were recovery based, you know, no preaching just cards on the table. Yeah, here’s what you can expect from drugs and alcohol is what you can expect from recovery. You make the choice and sobering times. The reason those two albums came to pass is because I started doing recovery music groups and treatment facilities around the country. And I had all the songs and the clients in treatment would say how can we get this music to take home with us? Which led me to do in a clean getaway like this? So good, but that’s where those records came from. So now we’re today we’re up to the day. So I started writing more songs, you know, and a lot of this happened during COVID Of course, yeah, yeah, I started writing new songs. I made a conscious decision to not write recovery songs. It’s like I’ve got plenty. Let me just change direction and righteous and cool rocking on but with different subject matter that I’ve never written about. glammed me flus came from a year and a half in to the pandemic, you know, wondering what’s going to happen. That’s a song about frustration. So hopefully a lot of people can relate to
when did you get back in town? It’s been strictly dullsville since cqe been around. Things have changed, but you knew that all along, did you cut to the chase or used to be is gone.
I know we’ll get crabby match you
this one’s for the Magi. And to do that you
just sit down like a Psalm and it comes out and I was glad because that’s part of it. And the lyrics are about frustration and the glamour Demick blues. I was just trying to pick up a title. It suits you. So again, we’re already having to put this out the last two records I had on the the Stephens underground garage. And somebody did record he says why don’t you come up with a wicked cool record. So this time, I said okay, let’s do it. Let’s do singles. I don’t want to do full records anymore. So I got all these singles that I’ve been recording.
Ricky says with every new one he’s getting less glam. Well that’s certainly the case with this latest one. It’s called ru Wang
don’t you go out and get yourself right right
you hit the skids yet you keep coming back.
He’s got you you got to trim the fat
go out and get yourself right right away.
I just knew that I could get the singles out on live underground garage quicker than I can get a full length record because they have such a lineup of talent that it wouldn’t come out a year and a half. So I just wanted to hear myself on the radio.
Go to be a great feeling. I’d like to I find it interesting that we’ve come full circle though when modern music started to be released. It was always as a single then that’s what I said albums then it’s come down to into EPS. And now we’re back at singles again and I’ll
even I’ll even tie a better ribbon around it. I said to them, let me be like Tommy James originally singles. Let us be 1964 for a little while and see what happens. You know and it works out people asked me like what do you write? I want to write music that excites people the same way I was excited when I was 14 I want you to hear little things if you put on your earbuds like a guitar going from one side to the other liquid when Jimmy Page would do. I want my songs to have ear candy gradebooks ear candy short so far I haven’t written one that I went it’s not technically maybe we’ll throw that one I’m not just riffing I’m trying to more orchestrated guitar solos a little bit more Mick Ronson a you know like and then I’ll blow at the end two bars just to show everybody I still can’t get
does anybody out there taking stock and we
It must blow your mind since the start. We’ve not come very far. For there are
those that still fear anyone who might look different than they do? This beautiful world as an overly sad thinly veiled speeches have been given
us this phone. Call that progress. I’m not too sure about that.
Don’t get me wrong in this world.
What an incredible story you have to tell all the twists and turns of your journey. It almost feels like your journey is just beginning again now.
Well, there’s always something new. I’m always looking for something, put a twist in the saw. A smart player. I know what I liked. When I was a kid. I know what to put where, listen, every generation should have their own music. That’s just the way it is. But you can’t We can’t let rock and roll that we grew up on. Just pass away. Somebody’s got to be out there playing some rock and roll, not rock. I play rock and roll. All my teenage stuff is all in that
wiki bird great chatting with you. Thank you so much for your time today. You’ve been super generous. I appreciate it. Ricky bird may no longer be writing songs about recovery. But he’s still incredibly active in helping others with addiction problems. He is a certified recovery coach and drug and alcohol counselor Skye. Thanks for joining me today. I hope you’ve had a good time and that I can count on your company again same time next week. I haven’t mentioned it for a while but if you’d like to suggest a future guest, all you’ve got to do is drop me a line through the website, a breath of fresh and I’ll do my very best to get your favorite artist onto the show. Hope you have a good week coming up. I’ll see you next time. Bye now. Because since you’ve been listening