JamSphere’s Twenty-Question Interview With Rick Shaffer

 

 

 

 

1. Where did the songs on your eighth solo album, “STOLEN MOMENTS” come from, have you been storing them away and waiting for the right moment, or did inspiration suddenly hit you?

Rick Shaffer: All my albums are written in the moment prior or during the current recording. Although the track “Other One” was a lyrical idea kicking around a while. The musical idea of “Other One” was to wrap Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer” around Television’s “Marquee Moon” guitar atmospherics. The overall song material is written in a stream of consciousness.

2. You were joined by Teddy Rixon (bass) and Stevie Carlisle (drums) on your new album, how did that affect the writing and recording process, were you in control the whole time, or was it more of a process where everyone left their mark?

Rick Shaffer: The rhythm section rolls with the songs presented, they play what they’re feeling and we take the song and sounds to where the production is realized. Teddy comes from the Bill Wyman / Ronnie Lane school of bass, and Stevie is a Nick Knox / Mo Tucker guy, and both are perfect for this album. We recorded twenty-two tracks and put together the ten that made the most sense continuity wise. Producing the material myself gives me the freedom to get the tracks just how I imagined them in my head. It’ all about groove, vibes and tones. 

3. Okay, so we’ve discussed how the album was made, but for someone who is sitting on the fence, why should they grab themselves a copy of “STOLEN MOMENTS”?

Rick Shaffer: There’s no sitting on the fence. If you want some raw, aggressive, real rock-n-roll then jump on board. If you’re looking for the over produced, over thought out and, to these ears, boring, corporate projects, I’m not your guy.

4. We always like to ask which artist and bands influenced you to pick up the electric guitar in the first place and who is inspiring you today?

Rick Shaffer: A bunch of artists, but early Stones, which led to the blues masters like Muddy Waters, Slim Harpo, Fred Mc Dowell and the great Magic Sam. Later the sixties and seventies rockers Bowie / Ronson, Iggy and the Stooges, Free , Lou Reed , and Mitch Ryder. A guy that I’ve been listening to lately is Bo Carter and the Mississippi Sheiks.  I always focus on what I would call the “long game” artists like Link Wray, Van Morrison, Iggy Pop and Muddy Waters, people that continue to keep working on their sound.  The production sound was a interest also, like the Phil Spector Gold Star recordings, Chess Records, Motown and lots of the indie 60’s garage sounds. 

5. Was there a definitive moment when you knew you wanted to be a guitarist?

Rick Shaffer: I think it was more of a cumulative addiction, always tone, hooks and guitar riffs, hearing Keith Richards “Satisfaction,” B.B. King’s “Live at the Regal,” Peter Green’s “English Rose,” and the wonderfully distorted Link Wray’s “Rumble.” 

6. Do you remember your very first guitar and do you still own it?

Rick Shaffer: My first guitar was purchased from the Sears and Roebuck department store and was an acoustic Silvertone for $25 bucks which led to my first electric “Danelectro Longhorn” like Link Wray played. Unfortunately, I do not own them today.

7. Your first gig: disaster, success, or long forgotten?

Rick Shaffer: I still remember the noise, the beat and crowd. I loved it and thought this is for me. How good the performance was — I don’t remember any negative crowd response, or being hit with anything, and there was a lot of dancing, so it was a success.  

8. What’s your favorite bit of musical gear in your collection, and what’s the latest addition you’ve made, or are wanting to make?

Rick Shaffer: My 1960’s Framus guitars are favorites, along with my 1961 Supro Ozark.  So it comes down to a few to get the colors and character on each song. The Premier Reverberation unit and the Mahoney Cal Tone fuzz pedal are essentials. Two new important additions on this album are a 1971 Framus “Caravelle” and  ‘Embargo” pedal designed by Ant Farm Amplification that’s a take on the original Rangemaster. And I’ve been looking for a Hornby Skewes treble booster.

9. It may seem like an odd question to ask as you’re still very much in the prime of your career, but what do you look back on as your proudest moment so far?

Rick Shaffer: The work my partner Bruce Cohen and I did working with director Michael Mann, and playing live the original line-up of The Reds on tour with Blondie, Police, The Ramones, and Joe Jackson. 

10. To get back to the album, “STOLEN MOMENTS,” when you aimed to recreate The Stooges “Fun House” production style in the studio, was it because you wanted to sound authentic, or were you trying to avoid an ultra-clean modern production sound?

Rick Shaffer: I didn’t aim for the “Fun House” production, as much as using it for inspiration to my own sound. It came through a bit in the recording process, because generally my production has a heavy lean on distortion and is consistently anything but clean. I think recording live on a Scully 280 gives that early 70’s sound, and on tracks “Time Stays” and “Call My Name” we switched to a Ampex 4-track for that early Stones / Pretty Things sound. For me, the tracks “All I Want,” “Modern Lie,” “Other One,” “One In Five” and “Danger Awaits” really come the closest to The Stooges “Fun House” sound.

11. In the UK and Europe music magazines and websites they’re incredibly pessimistic. After another year of declining sales of guitar music, everyone seems ready to proclaim the death of rock?

Rick Shaffer: Fuck em, there will always be rockers. What did that old Neil Young say? “Rock and roll can never die.”

12. As a great guitarist in your own right, and as a former member of a highly successful act how do you respond when you hear commentators talking that way about guitar-based music?

Rick Shaffer: They’re morons that need something to write about and just show their intelligence, or lack there of.   

13. Is there an artist whose music you love that might surprise our readers?

Rick Shaffer: Sixties artist Laura Nyro, because her lyrics, imagery and intensity is a beautiful thing.

14. Is there a guitar or bit of equipment you remember being excited about buying in the moment, but now look back and just shake your head?

Rick Shaffer:  That would be a sixties Gibson SG Standard that didn’t have enough bite for me.

15. In your eyes, what makes a great guitarist?

Rick Shaffer: Tone, memorable riffs and songwriting. Jimi Hendrix is one of the few artists that had the whole package.

16. Time to annoy our guitar obsessed readers: the best guitar in the world is?

Rick Shaffer: The all purpose Fender Stratocaster . God bless Leo Fender.

17. What is the best piece of advice regarding the music business that you actually followed so far, and what is the advice you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?

Rick Shaffer: Play it like you feel it, never give up, block out the noise and write your own material. The worst decision ever was A&M Records insisting The Reds use The William Morris agency to book our live dates. Because it meant firing Ian Copeland, a person we really loved, who was our original booking agent.  A bad moral and business mistake I felt at the time, but didn’t follow through on because of the record label agenda.

18. How would you personally describe your music, in the length of a Tweet, to someone who has never heard your stuff before?   

Rick Shaffer: I don’t tweet, but I am on Facebook (facebook.com/TheRedsMusic).

19. Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?

Rick Shaffer: Yes, they’re good tools to reach a larger audience, especially to connect with fans. Real talent will emerge in the long run, there has always been “short  timers.”

20. What is the one thing you have never ever been willing, or prepared to do, in your quest to sustain a successful musical career?

Rick Shaffer: Sell out the music for the bucks, or for anybody.

Rick Jamm — JamSphere Magazine

 

Rebecca Cullen Reviews Rick Shaffer’s “Stolen Moments”

 

 

After experiencing the strength of Rick Shaffer’s previous album Outside Of Time the prospect of a new project to indulge in was an exciting one. In actual fact, if at all possible, Stolen Moments is even more of an explosion of energy, passion and grit than the former, and it’s addictively entertaining.

All I Want is the opener, and what a way to begin. Full throttle rock and roll, authentic grit and gravel in the voice and the distortion. Notably different to anything else I’ve heard from the songwriter, All I Want has something deeply real about it – the lyrics seem consumed by the chaos and beauty of being human, being lost within a lust for making music. It’s not dissimilar to the incomparably honest sound of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The sound of Rick’s voice is superb, stylish and powerful, emotional, entirely engaged and seemingly married to this music and this artistry.

Downtown Suzy explodes in an equally attention grabbing manner. The guitars are out of this world, and the melodies and riffs featured bring about a touch of country rock, a hint of Primal Scream, a varied sense of songwriting and a definite moment of certainty and character. One In Five swings the indie anthem bat and offers up a memorable guitar riff and a song with plenty of space surrounding the lyrics, so you get a real sense of storytelling, as well as a further helping of almighty rock and roll.

Modern Lie is a huge song; from the moment it begins there’s something striking and quite special about it. The chord progression, the slightly softer sound, the additional vocal parts, the melody, the build up to the hook – this one is a stunning bit of songwriting. You can take home a copy of this song in an instant, for free; just click the link below…

Another beautifully honest and compelling song is Other One. This track leaves its mark for a number of reasons, not least of all that inherent depth and passion that comes through in the reflective storytelling, and the emotional vocal performance; gentler here for the most part. There’s a real touch of humanness to the writing and Rick Shaffer undoubtedly has a way with poetic expression, as well as a unique and interesting perspective on life. A fantastic song.

Higher is an infectiously enjoyable track, the rhythm and vibrancy of the piece just pours out through the speakers and incites a craving to witness the whole thing being performed live. The full band, real time experience is likely to be insanely good. There’s a sense of urgency to the song and it fills you with enthusiasm and a certain lust for life, in the way that only truly expressive, authentic music can. Rick Shaffer’s passion is incomparable, it drives these songs with intense purity and realness, and fortunately, his unquestionable level of experience means that every track is skilfully and effectively crafted.

There’s another moment of somewhat lighter rock and roll with Time Stays. The guitar riff running throughout creates a further touch of country rock and blues, and as the song progresses, the melody varies a little, and the good vibes seem to multiply. Call My Name follows on from this brilliantly. Stolen Moments is really a project that just gets better and better as it moves along. The sound becomes familiar, the energy settles in for the long run, and the ideas presented take on a new level of personality and intrigue.

Chopping Wood is a song in a world of its own. The opening instrumentation has the ultimate level of grit and boldness that just oozes creative freedom and storms into your consciousness with a manic sort of power. Then you get the final track of the collection, the smooth and seductive hit that is Danger Awaits. There’s a sense of space again here, the beat is thick and heavy yet mellow in pace, the reverb-soaked solo guitar moments flicker in and out of the mix. The bass line is spectacular – simple but solid in its attitude and relevance to the mood. And of course, right there on top of everything, Rick Shaffer’s vocal strength and immediacy offers up the concept and the story line as one last reminder of his unwavering presence, as one last stolen moment even. The artist is unstoppable, and the quality of the music is at an all time high.

• Rebecca Cullen (Musician and writer with an MA in Songwriting.)

                             Watch the “Modern Lie” video YouTube

Rick Shaffer’s “Modern Lie” Video Released

In every way possible America is being slowly destroyed politically, financially, medically, socially and environmentally. The controlled media barrages us 24/7 with nonsensical reporting of “news” that are deliberate diversion tactics meant to keep citizens from knowing exactly what is really taking place around us.

When it’s more important to rebuild Iraq, as our own infrastructure implodes, and people go hungry every day, it’s not hard to recognize the misguided plans of the self-appointed elite. When universal medical coverage can only be achieved if it includes tax credits for the rich there’s a major disconnect of reality.

The middle class has, and is, systematically being destroyed by the obvious agenda of creating two classes, the super-rich and the poor. Ask yourself which group you will become a part of in a two-class country. Sadly, most people are more interested in social media and their cell phones than the future of our country and environment. That is why it’s imperative that everyone in the U.S. band together to take the necessary action to “end the illusion” that this is the greatest country on the planet, when it clearly is not. It’s time to realize it’s all just a modern lie.

TarockMusic.com

WATCH THE “MODERN LIE” VIDEO ON YouTube

 

“STOLEN MOMENTS” BALANCES GARAGE PRIMITIVISM & SMART ROCK CRAFT!

 

 

2017 marks Rick Shaffer’s eighth solo album, “Stolen Moments”, which was inspired by the concept that there are no guarantees or promises in life.  Throughout his career, Shaffer has turned over every possible stone, and he’s decimated them all into a thousand pieces. He helped jump start punk rock, merged seamlessly into garage rock and found success with The Reds©, a band he co-founded, he has since found his way to solo punk and garage rock releases among other projects. That all makes his new record an incredibly hard act to follow. What else is there left to conquer? The proto-garage raver to end all garage ravers, that’s what!

Rick Shaffer’s art balances garage primitivism and smart rock craft, which will frequently draw avant-gardists and casual listeners alike, to his unique rock n’ roll fervor. Combining jagged, roaring guitars and fast-slow dynamics with raw melodic vocals, intertwining harmonics, and evocative, lyrics, Shaffer is an accomplished musicians who is not afraid to wail and bash out chords while his lead guitar squeals out spirals of beautiful noise.

The music’s shrieking power will cover every emotional and intellectual territory inside your cluttered brain, as “Stolen Moments” pushes the envelope, redefines, and ultimately sets fire to the foundations of everything currently found under the rock tag and all its sub-genres.

It is of course, abrasive in parts, but it is not inaccessible to even mainstream radio. I could easily imagine tracks such as Downtown Suzy”, Modern Lie, Time Strays and Call My Name blaring from my radio. It may take some time to get past the squalls of raw power, but once you do, it is easy to see that this actually is a very melodic album. The guitars wail and scream and Shaffer uses his instrument like few others do today. A great full-length from one of the smartest, ingenuous artists foraging within the genre, in my humble opinion.

No theatrics, no sense of hip or cool. Just the basics. The performances themselves are delivered in variable doses of bone crushing, elegance, beauty, raw, power, and color. The great thing about Rick Shaffer is that he is an artist that does everything so right. The vocals are fierce and emotive, Teddy Rixon’s bass like loud, delicate thunder, Stevie Carlisle’s drums smart, inventive, and solidly anchored.

And then there is Shaffer’s guitar, bearing the responsibility of bringing all those twisted, sonic sounds right into your stereo. Of course, there are the songs that exult those qualities, among them: All I Want, One In Five, Higher, Chopping Wood and Danger Awaits. Rick Shaffer is for real, and “Stolen Moments” is an immense creative process transformed into musical form, one that is impossible to ignore.

                                                                                       

Screaming Match Reviews Rick Shaffer’s “Stolen Moments”

 

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: RICK SHAFFER

GARAGE-ROCKER RICK SHAFFER HAS BEEN GOING STRONG SINCE THE 70’S, AND HE CERTAINLY HASN’T LOST EVEN A LITTLE BIT OF THAT FLICKER AND FLAIR THAT MADE HIM SUCH A RECOGNIZABLE FORCE IN THE UNDERGROUND ROCK SCENE.

Continue reading and download a FREE mp3 of “Modern Line” . . . http://bit.ly/2fXugNO

Tarock Music Releases Rick Shaffer’s 8th Solo Album

Rick Shaffer’s eighth solo album, STOLEN MOMENTS, was inspired by the concept that there are no guarantees or promises in life, and every minute he spends writing and recording is precious time.  The result is an album packed with low-tech wallop, bursting energy and immediacy.  The production resembles The Stooges “Fun House” and is a proto-garage raver to end all garage ravers.

Read all the Liner Notes HERE.

Listen to full tracks on CD Baby.

ModernLie_SoundCloud

Stereo Stickman’s Exclusive Interview With Bruce Cohen

If you haven’t yet explored Bruce Cohen’s latest album Four BC, you most certainly should. The story behind it is a unique and interesting one, but more importantly – the music is well worth taking the time out to experience.

We caught up with the artist behind it all for an in depth chat about creativity, inspiration, touring, the future of electronic music, and much more.

Here’s how it went ► http://www.tarockmusic.com/stereo_stickman__bruce_cohen_interview/

(A free mp3 of “Seen” can be downloaded at the end of the interview.)