Rick Keene Music Scene – Another Boring Day on The Island of Pegipegi

Are you ready for a Razzle Dazzle comedy show?

It is time to chuckle. Time to laugh and time to listen to some great tunes.

Have a listen below to some comedy, great tunes and some surprises?

Mitch Ryder Speaks … Part Three

Mitch Ryder will be collaborating with a young Seattle band in the coming months. Depending on the band’s ability, his songs may or may not work. Ryder prefers to work with his own band so he can just give them what he has written and they can play it.

“Once I meet the guys and learn their sensibilities, their musical abilities and so on …” Explains Mitch. “Then I can see what we will do. If – according to their individual talents, they cannot do what I have written, then we will start from scratch. Collaborations are difficult …”

mitch ryder@rockpalast 2004A recent collaboration which took place, was Mitch working with the legendary Don Was as his producer on his recent album – ‘The promise’. Was has worked with everyone from Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones and while the pair of icons were working together, Was said something to Ryder which kinda floored the legendary singer …

” All the stuff I did with Don Was was my own material. All except one song which I covered by one of my heroes, it was a live version of a  Jimmy Ruffin song.. Don told me that there are two people he would never question in his studio. One was myself and the other was Bob Dylan. That was something I did not understand at all. There is no way I would put my name in the same paragraph as Dylan.”

Speaking of Dylan …

Mitch ran into Rodriguez – the South African wonder who gained a ‘Dylan-esque‘ mystique in the early seventies and disappeared from the music scene following a brief outburst of songwriting brilliance. Ryder ran into him when he was running for city council in Detroit.

Ryder Finds 'The Sugarman'
Ryder Finds ‘The Sugarman’

“This was decades ago …” says Mitch. ” He had already given up the music part and he almost made it but he didn’t. He got the job he wanted as was related in his unauthorized biography. I think it is marvelous he got to cash in on his early years but these things have shelf lives. After a while it will go out of the public consciences. ”

The ‘throwaway society in which we dwell cause concern for Mitch as far as how quick people get hits these days and how fast they disappear. ‘Timeless songs such as ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Hey Jude‘ and ‘Devil with a Blue Dress On‘ – not quite the same as the hits of today.

“It’s possible to have a bonafide hit in one day.” Says Mitch.” I can’t see my Grandchildren singing along to lyrics when they are my age – songs about the evil things you do in bed to someone or using filthy language to describe your Mother. I do not see these as lasting songs. They are hateful, harmful stuff that may have been the truth about someone’s life and it’s cool they got it out of their system – I just don’t see it as a building stone for society.”

The music business can be a building stone for society but at the same time – quite destructive. Ryder has seen everything in his five decades. Drug use and the very bad side of the music business.

2786401157“It is a fun industry to be part of as far as the performance aspect of it but on the business side it is cutthroat and nasty. People have committed suicide over rejection. It is a weird business. People will give up their self-pride, their self-worth over it. Especially in America. They will bend over backwards for their fifteen minutes …”

Mitch Ryder has had more than fifteen minutes of fame in his career. None more pleasing or ‘bordering on embarrassing than when he was Bruce Springsteen’s guest on stage.

“We were having a great time and I got carried away.” Laughs Mitch.” I went in front of Max’s ( Weinberg ) drum kit and I gave the signal for him to bring it down. Slow the beat. Max looked at me like I was crazy! I could tell he was thinking … this is Bruce’s show …What are you doing ?”

Mitch Ryder could have easily said ..

‘ Teaching Max. Just teaching …’

Mitch Ryder is at The Rialto Theater Sept.14th Purchase tickets here!

Check out Mitch’s Site Here!

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Mitch Ryder Speaks …

Rolling Stone Magazine has cited Mitch Ryder as one of the five most influential rock and roll singers to ever come from
Detroit. How about one of the most influential to come out of the Unites States?

mitch-ryder-album

Just ask Bruce Springsteen

“Bruce has said on numerous occasions that I was one of his major influences.” Says Mitch from his home in Detroit. ” I think he was ‘born to run’ regardless of my influence, but it is nice to have such a great performer to acknowledge me like that.”

Mitch Ryder, author of the groundbreaking and in essence, career defining song; ‘Devil with the Blue Dress On‘ – is far from being a forgotten golden oldie touring act. Ryder released his thirty-third record in 2012. An album titled  “Its Killing Me”. Unfortunately –  like most of his post – 1970’s material, that album is huge in Europe and practically ‘out of sound’ in North America.

‘Apparently in America, they only want the things they are familiar with.” Says Mitch.” It’s not so bad in Canada, it is existent yet not as bad. By not securing a recording deal in America, it deprives people from hearing new stuff. It is not the general population’s fault. The audience is totally blameless but my progression continued. There are something like twenty-two CD‘s that America has never heard of. It is a catch 22 …”

Mitch Ryder only has three gold records on his wall. A fact which serves injustice to his songwriting ability. An ability which was egged on by Ryder’s favorite songwriter – Bob Dylan. A lyricist, poet and musician who Ryder to this day – remains in awe of . Ryder is writing a screenplay for his own musical and is implementing ‘a trick’ which Dylan used in his songwriting.

mitch_ryder

“Most people that go see plays are more intelligent compared to the majority of the population. There are so many nuances in putting on a play. You see something in a play and then you realize that is not what you have seen at all. That’s what Dylan did in his songwriting. Bob Dylan had so much ambiguity in his lyrics, it appealed to all the masses.  It meant something to one part of the population and something quite different to a different segment of the population. It held meaning to all of those groups. That was his genius.”

Ryder’s musical is a current ‘obsession’ which is based on a book he just finished. ” Hide Your Love Away‘ is a title borrowed from The Beatles’ lyrics. It was perfect in Ryder’s eyes for the characters he is creating within his original idea and Ryder believes the time is right. He does not see the point of the current trend which takes someone or a group who have had a lot of hit records and create a flimsy story line around it.

” If I wanted to see that kind of stuff, I could go to see a cover band, read ancol_cd_8637 artist’s biography and obtain the same experience I would get by throwing away my money at a theater. I am looking for something more compelling. Something to keep the audiences in the theater so they walk away humming the melodies if they cannot remember the lyrics.. I’m not sure if I can do this but it is the kind of thing that I will not find out until I find out.”

Ryder has also recently penned his autobiography entitled, “Devils And Blue Dresses”. A book which  is continuing to climb upwards having already won a Gold Medal from the IPPY Awards as well as taking 1st place in their Performing Arts category. It also took 1st place from The Indie Excellence Awards in their Autobiography category, and was a finalist in the Performing Arts category of ForeWord Reviews annual BOTYA.

” The book contains my life. ” Explains Mitch. “Musically and personally. ‘They’ tell me it’s a great book. It’s about my wives and children – people I have met along the way and not just people in the music industry. It is about things that happen in your life, rights of passage, strange events, epiphanies, revelations, abuse, self-destruction, redemption – the whole deal. ”

Ryder’s voyage contains meeting and playing with many legends in the music business. Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to name a couple. The latter – quite the handful on the road according to Mitch. A real character.

It is impossible for Mitch to cite any major influences, the thought alone to come up with such a vast list – too taxing and unworthy to those he may leave off his list of influential artists. When he started with The Detroit Wheels, they just wanted to play music and were astounded to be suddenly meeting musicians who they once held as ‘out of reach’ in their minds.

Mitch Ryder is now ‘one of those guys’ …

Please stay tuned for Part Two where Mitch discusses the hypocritical state of American politics,the general decay of the American infrastructure, drug abuse and music …

 

To buy tickets for Mitch’s show on Saturday Sept. 14th Click here!

Visit Mitch’s website here !

Just Between Jerry Mercer and Me – Part Two

Pierre Senecal, Brian Edwards and Rayburn Blake first met in 1960 in Montreal. Their drummer did not show up one night for a gig, so Jerry Mercer was brought in and ended up joining the band. Brian Edwards quit the band and they continued playing under the names; the Phantoms, Ray Blake’s Combo and the Dominoes.

By 1965 they were calling themselves The Triangle. R&B singer Trevor Payne was the singer and they played for an additional four years until being discovered by record producer Bob Hahn. Edwards rejoined the band and they changed their name to Mashmakhan, after a variety of hashish sold by a local dealer.

‘ As the years go by’ was the band’s biggest hit and Jerry remembers getting off the plane in Japan to thousands of screaming fans.

” It was like we were the Beatles or something …! At home – we were playing before two or three hundred people. We sold 400,000 copies of the song in Japan. There were 10,000 Japanese people waiting for us!” Mercer laughs.

Mashmakhan was lucky enough to be part of The Festival Express. A gig that toured across Canada with some of the biggest names in rock music. The Grateful Dead, the Band and Janis Joplin all travelled with Mercer and his mates on a train.

” I think we were in Winnipeg. It was pouring rain and the train was leaving.” Says Mercer. “Janis was still wearing her stage clothes and was standing in the rain, leaning against a chain link fence. Being Janis, she was pretty drunk with a bottle of Jack Daniels in her hand. We all tried to convince her to get on the train. She said she would not leave until her manager came. Well, the manager never came and the train ( including us ) left the station without her. A small plane picked her up and flew her to the next town.” Mercer frowns. ” It was sad to see such a big star like that …”

During that tour, Jerry marvels at the memory of what went on.

“All the bands did not stay within their groups. I would hang out with Levon Helm for a couple of hours and next thing – I am with Mickey Hart of the Dead. I was lucky to pick up stuff from those guys. It was a once- in- a -lifetime  event!”

The only sour note for Mercer is years later, in 2004, a documentary was released about the tour. Mercer and Mashmakhan were mentioned briefly. A point which Jerry does not believe is right as he put a lot of effort to get the film made.

“Mashmakhan was just as much a part of that as anyone!” Says Mercer. ” To feature the ‘ big names ‘ and not us is a shame for everyone involved.”

Realizing the domestic success was not happening, Mashmakhan broke up shortly after the tour which led to Mercer becoming a session guy for a while. Jerry played drums with Roy Buchanan – a man who Eric Clapton was once referred to as ‘ the greatest blues guitarist ever’ and a band by the name of the Whackers.

It was then, along with Steve Lang, Brian Greenway and Garry Moffat – Mercer auditioned and got the job as a drummer for the band April Wine. The foursome along with founding members Myles Goodwin and Jimmy Clench – went on to international fame …

To be continued …

Jerry Mercer will be playing Friday night, May 18 2012 at Calistoga Grill in Pointe Claire.

He will be joining John McGale and Breen LeBoeuf of Offenbach fame. A band which played together in the late eighties as The Buzz Band !