Ask Rick

 November, 2003

1. Stacy, Fall River, MA: You have been the soundtrack for our lives. Every one of us can probably name a song of yours that the first time we heard it, felt like it described us personally. Is there a song like that for you? If so, what song (and artist) and why?

Rick: "I'll make you happy' by the Easybeats while I was dancing with my first 'real' girlfriend Tania at a local dance. That's one of the reasons (apart from it being an great song) that i covered it on the new CD. It's a pretty simple song but it had enough angst and longing in it to satisfy a 14 year old.

2. Michelle, PA: What would you never do, even on a dare?

Rick: Walk a tight rope wire across the Grand Canyon..or any canyon for that matter.

3. Julie McKie, Peabody MA: Rick, were all the songs on the upcoming cd written during your time in Vegas or will there be anything on the new cd that was written earlier and just never recorded?
Rick: Only my Depression was written for the 'Karma' sessions but I could never see it fitting on that record. It definitely fits on this one. Also obviously 'I'll make you happy' as well. Everything else (again, unlike Karma) is new stuff.

4. Amy Haley, Glendale, Arizona: Were there songs/times you "had" to write that you had difficulty writing or do you write only when the words just seem to flow?
Rick: It's a struggle 60% of the time but a struggle I enjoy (most of the time).

5. Cheryl in MA: Do you collect anything?
Rick: I have a pretty extensive rare Star Wars toy collection and some cool Beatle stuff also a guitar collection that I continue to add to.

6. Sandra: Rick, if you could go back in time and witness a certain event, which would that be?

Rick: Dinosaurs baby, dinosaurs!

7. Donna T. in Delaware: Being a father to two sons, do you think the youth of today differs from twenty years ago? And if so, how?

Rick: I see all the same patterns just different influences. Stuff like ' oh kids are made to grow up too soon because of TV and magazines' etc. is odd to me because back in the days of the ancient Egyptians, they had to marry and have kids by 13 or 14 (mainly because everyone died at 30). I recognize a lot of the stuff my sons are going through and have gone through.

8. Christina in Ca: Do you watch TV? If so, what TV shows do you like? Are you a reality tv kinda guy or A Dr.Phil guy? Just curious :)

Rick: I haven't watched TV regularly in 30 years. I never recognize anyone on the cover of the TV guide at the market. I grew up without TV and so it never became the deal that it is with most people my age. I'll watch the Simpsons with my kids now and then but that's it. A movie every once in a while.

9. Michele: Did you ever think at age -- (54?) that there would be so much butt pinching still with your fans and that they would be loyal throughout your career?

Rick: Yeah, I have a great ass. I am astounded continually at the energy of the fans. I truly would not tour if things weren't as fun as they are at the shows. It fells like the world's best party to me (most of the time).

November, 2002

1. From Bill in AZ: I also am a writer performer, and wanted to know what format do you currently record with. A lot of guys are going back to the old days with the analog tape. I still like my half inch tascam.
Rick: I recorded Karma on analog but because of convenience will probably do the new one on Pro Tools. All my demos are done on 24 track ADATs so I have been in the digital world for a while now.

2. From Candida: List your top five songs recorded by other performers.
Rick: Impossible to name. Too many awesome songs but the first 5 that come to mind are
Strawberry Fields Forever (Beatles)
You really got me (Kinks)
Family Snapshot (P. Gabriel)
I'm almost with you (Church)
Aenema (Tool)

3. From Cathy in TX: What is the strangest thing you've ever read about
yourself that isn't true?
Rick: That my favorite color is purple. I also read I was gay once. (Both not true)

4. From Molly in Italy: You've been to a lot of places because of your job
but there's one of them you especially like, a place that makes you feel
like you were home?
Rick: Definitely New Zealand

5. From Kim A in PA: Rick, Looking back at yourself and the concerts in
the eights, what differences do you see in yourself and your concerts from
then to now??
Rick: I think they are more fun for me now. More personal too. And more energy.

April, 2002

1. From David in WA State: Do you have plans in the future to re-release your 1985 concert video "The Beat Of The Live Drum" onto DVD format? I loved that video. I had bought it when it originally came out in stores, way back in '85, and played it until it literally wouldn't play anymore! I managed to recently find another VHS copy. Hey, if I had it on DVD, it would last a little longer *laugh*

1) I'm not sure who has the master tapes of Beat of the LD but I would consider releasing it again as I thought it was cool (directed by David Fincher.. Alien 3 , Seven, the Fight Club etc.)

2. From Lisa, aka rainbow (LOL!)

BUT, exactly how does he have that chest hair removed? I'm envious... it appears to be with ANY irritation... lolololol If he could share THAT particular grooming secret, I'm sure many people would be eternally grateful...

2) Hopefully Lisa doesn't need this info herself! The gymnasts at the EFX show told me you have to use the hair trimmer thingee on an electric shaver. It's the only way to not break out etc. Also put pure aloe vera gel on before shaving, it cuts down on the drag!!! That's the first beauty secret I've ever told, I feel a little weird.

3. From Kimmer in Saskatoon, SK, Canada:

I am considering getting a tattoo and wondering about your Tattoos. How many do you have, where and what are they? Do they all have special meaning? Also do you regret getting any of them? Or are you considering any new ones?

3) I have only one tattoo of a 'red shouldered hawk' on my right shoulder. I love having it and what it represents to me and since they said you can never stop at one tattoo I'm trying to prove them wrong.. but it's not over yet. It has a very deep meaning for me (spiritual) and I would suggest to anyone getting a tattoo that it represents something meaningful to the person and not just get it as a fashion accessory.

4. From Cari in NYC:

I was wondering what CD of yours is your favorite, and what CD would you recommend to a "new" fan (other than a Greatest Hits CD)?

4) For a first time fan I would probably recommend WCD or LIO. I think they have held up the best for me (personally) so far. If they were a little more adventurous I would recommend Tao. Over all I would probably say the new one that's coming out.....er...soon.But it's all personal taste.

5. From Melissa in TN:

My question is who is your favorite fictious character?

5) A favorite (I couldn't choose 'THE' favorite ) would be Captain Nemo form 20, 000 leagues under the sea. Or maybe the shark from Jaws, depending on how I'm feeling at the time.

6. From Enza Dolce:

How do you decide which song is a single? Thinking back, what song do you now think should have been a single? I always thought "Kristina" would have topped the charts.

6) I am fairly clueless (I think) as far as what is a single. I really didn't think 'Jessie's Girl ' was that special when I wrote it, but on the other hand I thought 'Celebrate Youth' was, and one did well and the other was only OK so you never know. I should have you all pick the next single:-)

November 2001

1. From Melissa Welborn: How have the events of September 11th affected you?

1. It has affected the way I view the world somewhat and certainly the way I see America and our freedom. I especially don't honk people on the freeway or flip anyone off anymore. Even Matty.

2. From Mary Williamson in TX: I read in a magazine article on him recently (never heard this before) that he was originally slated to play Buddy Holly in "The Buddy Holly Story". Is this true and if so, why didn't he do it? And also, what does he think of Buddy Holly's music?

I read for the Buddy Holly thing and I think I even sang but they liked Gary Busey better:-) That was in the 70s sometime. I love Buddy's music. He was an innovator during a great time in Rock and roll.

3. Monica Fredericks, San Antonio: You have so much energy. What drives you to be the best at what you do?

"I always feel I can do it better the next time" is probably what drives me and keeps me hungry. A desire to achieve my potential.

4. Tim Elliot: It's been interesting to compare the live performances from 1982's Showtime special and 1985's "Beat..." to those on the new "ALIVE" CD. How have you tinkered with the live arrangements since the '80s, and how have your voice and guitar skills changed over the years?

I think sonically the sound has changed a bit because times and equipment has changed. As far as arrangements go, they change to suit what kind of show I'm doing at the time. I have more time to relax and communicate now and I think that has changed the way songs are played.
My voice has gotten a bit of a ragged quality to it at times from the years of singing wrong but I don't mind it. My guitar playing I'm not sure, I don't really work on my playing very much but I play a lot of the time so hopefully there's a little more growth in my playing.

5. From Alexandra Chavez: What fragrance/cologne do you use?

None. I never use cologne or anything like that. On the occasion that I do ( once a year) I use Aqua De Silva after shave.

August 2001

1. We get email all the time from your international fans who wonder if you may tour in England, Europe, Australia and Canada any time soon. What's the word?

We would love to tour Europe and Oz etc in the near future but nothing is set as yet. Once we start touring regularly again we will put out the word and start looking to do a few weeks in the rest of the world.

2. From Serena in KY: What made you adopt a vegetarian lifestyle? Are you a true "vegan" or do you eat some animal products?

I am not a true Vegan as I eat fish and occasionally a really good steak (not very often though). I started cleaning up what I ate in the 70's after reading some distressing stuff about the general quality of our food. More self preservational than (I'm sorry to admit) wanting to not kill the food animals. I eat a lot of organic food and eat no diary at all and lots of salads and y'know that kind of stuff. Oh and I recently read that chocolate enhances your sex life and makes you live longer and makes you richer....I think I read that..maybe I dreamt it.

3. From Kimberly in CA: How do you feel about meeting your fans and is it sometimes the "wrong" time to meet you? Does it get old having your life constantly intruded upon?

I love meeting fans (I think that's obvious by now) . The only time it's not good is when I'm out with my family or somewhere that's obviously a private time. (Or when I'm asleep in my hotel room and the phone rings at 3:00 am).

4. From Kurt Taylor: . I believe I once heard in an interview that you took martial arts and that was one reason you managed to stay very fit and look so young. Any truth to that and if so what style and what belt do you hold?

Yes I took Shotokan for 5 years (3rd degree brown belt) and Tae Kwon Do for 3 years ( I forget what belt) . Any exercise helps you stay healthy and 'younger'. Being active is goooooooood!

5. From Patty in Alabama: The music from Karma has a Catholic feel to a lot of the lyrics. Did you go to a Catholic school as a child? (lots actually have commented to the overall "spiritual" feel to Karma...any comments as to where the spirituality came from?)

The spiritual side of Karma comes from my continual thinking about spiritual things and meditating and reading (I get some of my best spiritual ideas from Sci Fi books). The 'Catholic' feel on Karma is a residual of my Catholic upbringing. Spirituality comes from both the East and the West for me.

May 2001

1. From Kim Mundzak: You write a lot of up tempo songs, but I love your
ballads the best. Why don't you write more ballads?

I always thought I was a ballad writer. All my best early stuff were ballads, but when Jessie's Girl hit, I became known for up tempo stuff and the ballads took a back seat. I am writing ballads still and will continue until one of them is a hit, dammit!

2. From Gary Feldman: I was thinking of buying a Gretsch 70 s Superaxe like
the one you played in the 70's. I always identified that guitar with you. Do
you still use it and why or why not?

I never knew what it was called, only that it was a Gretsch. I've never seen anyone else playing one and I assumed they were rare and/or out of production. I gave my black one to Billy Mumy ( the guy from 'Lost in Space') and have never seen another one. Are they still around?

3. From Marci in Philadelphia, PA: Would you ever consider doing another
movie? If you would, what would be the enticement to do so? If not, why not?

Yes, I love doing movies. Do you have a script?? (Just kidding.) I am always looking and would fit it in around what I was doing at the time. (It would be difficult at the moment tho)

4. From Mike Najbor: As a celebrity, does it feel at times like your every
move is watched and noted? How do you deal with the pressures of living a
life in public?

Yes sometimes it does feel like the world is watching (last September, for example.)
It's definitely the down side to having a name. The UPSIDE is that I get good restaurant reservations and I sometimes get out of speeding tickets!

5. From Gail Goyette: Caught the EFX show from center stage first row last
month and was totally bowled over by the "Forever" duet. As a long time fan,
any chance you will release this wonderful touching song for your listening
public? (Truthfully, we were bowled over by the whole show but fell in love with this song.)

Yes I am planning on recording 'Forever.' That'll happen with the next album. Album? What the heck is an album? CD I mean.

March, 2001

1. From Delane Elson: Are either of your kids into playing music? If so, do you see them following in your footsteps?
Liam (15) plays guitar and has his own band (and they are LOUD!!!)
Josh(12) plays drums and is also very into baseball.

2. From Ken Pearl: We read in your recent chat you were thinking of working on some of the Sahara Snow music again? What exactly are you thinking of doing?

I had a thought to re release a version on my own label here (just for fans) and include some extra tracks from about the same time period. I'm still thinking about it :-)

3. From Greg in California: I've enjoyed hearing your live guitar sound from the "Alive" CD. What are your favorite guitars, amps, and effects that you like to use in your live shows?

For live I use Yamaha's. We get a great deal and they sound great just out of the box (I tend to be a little tough on guitars on the road so I don't take my vintage guitars out with me.) I don't use pedals, but have an incredible amp. It's one of the original Naylors that were hand built in Detroit and any guitar I've ever put through it sounds great. In studio I use my 1965? Gibson 175. I also have an old Rickenbacker 12 string that I have used on past albums and will generally try a lot of different guitars in the studio.

4. From Wanda Doak: Do you have a daily exercise routine?

At the moment my daily exercise routine is get up, get showered and go to the EFX theater and run around the stage for 3 hours. I work up a sweat. (But not as much as my live shows) When I'm not working I lift weights and run.

5. From res096tv: What are your pet peeves?

Global or personal. It's hard not to think globally in this world at this time, but I think you mean personally so I guess my main ones , or the first that come to mind are:
a) Someone who doesn't do the work they were supposed to or doesn't put 100% into it.
b) Accidentally breaking a guitar I really like.
c) The 'rumor mill'
d) I can't think of a 'd'.

January, 2001

1. From Jodi in Missouri: Is there any one artist that you would like to collaborate with?

Paul McCartney

2. From Amanda in Mississippi: What five CDs would you take to a desert

Beatles:Revolver, Blue Nile:Hats, The Church: The Blurred Crusade, Graham Parker: The Up Escalator, Beethoven: 9th Symphony

3. From Patti in Illinois: What is your take on the election debacle of 2000?

I hope it helps change a very bizarre election system ( whoever heard of two different election tallies???).

4. From Joanne: Will you release any songs from Alive as singles?

Possibly, that's up to the response the Cd gets.

5. From Amy in MA: You are very influenced by nontraditional religions such as Taoism and Buddhism...what drew you to those philosophies and how have they impacted your life?

I was drawn to them because the religion I grew up with ceased working for me as a spiritual path.

6. From Caitie: Being a prolific writer and poet, what is, in your opinion, the best song you've written lyrically?

"Honeymoon in Beirut"

October, 2000

1. How did you come across recording your version of the Mondo Rock song
'State Of The Heart' - how did you discover it, and did you record it first
or was it a live cover song? From Neil in Melbourne Australia.

I was in Australia for a visit in '83 I think and I heard the song on the radio. I've always been a Ross Wilson fan, ever since 'Sons of the Vegetal Mother', (a band he had in the 60's) and loved the song. I was backstage at one of my shows in the States a few months later and started playing round with the idea of doing the song on my next record (Tao). I sped it up a little and wrote a 'bridge' and did some instrumental changes and it has become one of the more popular songs in concert tho' it wasn't that big of a hit initially. Actually it's the song my band likes to play most in the live show because it has such a great feel.

2. Fans often give you gifts of drawings, photo albums, poems and more. Do
you enjoy these gifts and what do you do with them? From Adam in Rhode

I read every piece of mail I actually receive. I also look at every gift. It's always been a thing for me ever since I wrote to Hayley Mills when I was 10 and living outside London. She sent me a signed photo "To Richard, Love Hayley Mills". I kept it by my bed and kissed it goodnight every night, Then I wrote her again and asked for another one and this time it came and the writing was completely different. (I guess she'd had secretaries doing it). I was so bummed I threw them both out. It's always stuck with me so I think that may be the reason I make sure I read all my mail (tho I can't answer them all - but if I do, it DOES come from me. ) As for the gifts, to be honest, if it's something I really like I'll keep it, otherwise I give it to charity so somebody gets to enjoy it.

3. Would you consider Broadway again or a Vegas show? From Marni in NY.

Yes I would consider both Broadway and Vegas. I had a great time in NY doing Smokey Joes. A different environment for singing, performing etc. can be as good as a rest to me so I look for different things to do. I love touring but there has to be breaks and I don't want to just sit on my butt and contemplate my navel again. (Anyway not till I'm at least 100 or so).

4. What is your feeling on Napster?

I liked the idea of Napster until my son went online to check it out and said "Dad they have all your songs on here". I truly don't think it will impact sales though that much and it could actually be a promotional tool of some sort. I will always prefer to go and get the whole CD package rather than just a download, but I might hear something on Napster that inspires me to go out and get the CD. The jury is still out but I think it's a moot point as it's here to stay in one form or another and I think artists should look for the upside of things like Napster.

5. On VH1 you mentioned that you are writing songs for a new album. Could
you tell us when it will be released and what type of songs will be on it? From Roxanne in CA.

The new CD should be out before the end of the year I would hope. At the moment it's too early to tell what form it will take tho' I was thinking of something more electric and 'louder'. It was fun mixing the live CD and I got back into the energy of the louder stuff. I will have to wait and see.

July/August, 2000

1. What is your goal/expectation/wish for the Greatest Hits Alive CD?

That it lives up to all my outlandish and unrealistic expectations of being the greatest, most successful live album of all time, anywhere, throughout all parts of the known universe and beyond. Also that those who receive it, enjoy it.

2. What is your feeling on record companies today: are they helping or hurting artists?

They help and hurt like they always have. It's really not a lot different except that new artists don't really get a chance to build an audience like some used to get in the old days. There is a lot of talk about the crappy state of the industry but it's almost always from people who aren't selling records. It's always been partisan, unfair, difficult and aggravating, but if there wasn't a pay off, why would anybody attempt it.

3. Do you read much for pleasure? Are you reading anything now?

I absolutely read for pleasure. I just finished 'Light of other days' by Arthur C. Clarke and have just started 'How to know God' by ol' Deepak Chopra.

4. How do you feel computers have helped you connect with your fans, if at all?

I can talk directly to them and we can both connect in a way that's not possible in any other medium. "It's a whole new world...." wait a minute... I feel a song coming on.

5. What is your favorite food indulgence?