“Rick Shaffer is back with more of his signature proto punk . . .”

CrossradarRick Shaffer is back with more of his signature proto punk, just as bristling and energetic as ever.

‘Killer Time’ kicks things off with swaggering vocals that race alongside the furious guitars which splutter along and give way to a solo that is curiously slurred and tight at the same time. ‘Going Down Slow’ paints the picture of devil-may-care driving down the road late at night, with flashes of British rock thrown into the mix. Rick Shaffer’s work continues to be exciting and engaging, on the one had looking back to the influences of early punk rock, while on the other always looking for new ways to communicate that punk aesthetic. ‘Your Charm’ takes a classic riff and redevelops it for its own purposes, like taking some old clothes and deconstructing them to be recreated in a new way. It’s all still the same fabric, but it’s sometimes time to be used differently. As a result, the tracks found on Outside Of Time have a feeling of familiarity while also offering the excitement that comes from engaging with new tunes.

Shaffer certainly sticks to a consistent model, and anyone who knows of his work is unlikely to be disappointed with this new selection of upbeat, swaggering tunes.

• Chris Marsh • August 24, 2016
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The Ministry Of Truth Reviews “Outside Of Time”

Chairman RalphAnd so, the clock rewinds, the minute hand takes a moment to reset itself, the second hand waits for an encore cue, and we renew our acquaintance once more with Rick Shaffer, former guitarist of those amped up ’80-s Philadelphia New Wave ravers, The Reds, who’s lately racked up an impressive streak of solo albums that shows no signs of letting up.

That’s certainly the case for his latest effort, Outside Of Time (Tarock Music), which maintains the standards that we’ve come to expect from him: high energy, stripped down garage-psych and punk, infused with flecks of old school R&B, and a little hill country blues, too, while he’s at it.  As usual, Shaffer carries the load (guitar, percussion, lead vocals), with a little bit of strategic assistance from Teddy Rixon (bass) and Russ Mitchell (drums, percussion).

If you’ve followed Shaffer’s work this far, you’ll know his albums start off with a houseshaking opening track, and “Killer Time” is no exception.  The track builds around a fuzz-laced riff, and a drum/tambourine track that just propels it right along, as Shaffer asks someone — a business partner, friend, or lover, we don’t know — to just drop the pretense, and deal with life’s hard truths, for a change (“Why are you waiting for things you can’t see?).  Then, in the middle, the song explodes into a truly paint-peeling, overdriven lead solo that provides an apt counterpart to its theme (a favored subject of previous Shaffer efforts).

This up-tempo approach and unapologetic mindset prevails on tracks like “One By One” (“Ask me once, but please don’t ask again, where I’m going, and mostly, where I’ve been”), and “Blowing My Mind” (“I ain’t changing, I ain’t changing my mind now”), on which Shaffer laces his lyrics with dark flecks of guitar fills. Like I’ve said before, and feel obliged to say again — if the Rolling Stones are serious about reclaiming their mojo, here’s where that mission should start.

“Going Down Slow,” on the other hand, is a shot of grungy blues energy that nods to simpler pleasures: in this case, cruising the cityscape, and listening to music, without worrying about where you’re going, what you need to do next, or whether you’ve got to be on time (“Going down, going down slow/don’t tell the things that I already know”).  It’s a fitting subject, considering the site of the album’s recording (Del Tone Studios, Detroit, MI).  The blues elements return in full force on the closing track, the aptly-titled “Hellbound Trip,” which will definitely give a glimpse of a hellhound’s pursuit.

Other highlights include “Show Me,” a shimmering, moody piece of psych-pop that (honestly) recalls the world-weary, “shrug my shoulders” resignation of the Music Machine’s twilight years.  As on the other songs, Shaffer leaves the listener to determine just who he’s taking to task here, though it’s definitely someone that he’s happy not to see anymore (“How many times/must I try to explain/Trouble coming down like a pouring rain”).

Other tracks show Shaffer in a more pop-oriented mood.  The biggest surprise here, and a hint at a direction to explore on future albums, if Shaffer chooses.  Notable snapshots include “Blowing My Mind,” “Your Charm,” whose guitar hook nods to T. Rex’s breakthrough (“Get It On”), and “Changing Anything,” which boasts an earnestly singalong chorus amid its underdog determination (“This ain’t changing anything, no this ain’t changing anything/No this ain’t changing anything I know”).

 In less adept hands, the sonic collisions that often occur here — the layered vocals, persistent leads, and strategically deployed guitar and percussion fills — would sound soggy and deadly. On Outside Of Time, they sound just right.  Ladies and gentlemen, may we present — Mr. Rick Shaffer, Philly guitar slinger, who’s bearing down on you with everything he knows — the one-man last gang in town, who hasn’t chased the trends.  With works of this caliber, he won’t feel the need.

Ralph Heibutzki

Chairman Ralph’s Ministry Of Truth       
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Tarock Music Releases New Rick Shaffer Video • SO TIRED

JitterbugShake_FrontWhen Rick Shaffer wanted a fast come-at-you video for “So Tired” he immediately enlisted the expertise of British artist/director, Peter McAdam, who previously took the reins on two of Shaffer’s solo videos, and two for his band, The Reds®.

The “So Tired” visuals encapsulate the feeling of being overloaded by a modern world that continually bombards us with text, sound and images.  McAdam, used his extraordinary software creation called, iCoda — a sound interactive image blender — to express the chaos of the inner mind.  McAdam’s unique application works by loading in numerous images that are then activated by amplitude and duration of the music to create a random animated mash-up.

For the “So Tired” video McAdam resurrected his alternate being, Johnny Satan, to choreograph and dance to the music.  Satan becomes a symbol for going with the flow by dancing and embracing chaos, and/or allowing anger to release our inner demon and the secret inside scream heard only by the screamer.

THE “SO TIRED” YouTUBE LINK ► https://youtu.be/O6eIasvtRds

∎Director: Peter McAdam, http://www.icoda.co.uk   ∎Choreographer/Dancer: Johnny Satan  ∎Still Photographs of Rick Shaffer: Theresa Marchione, http://www.tinyurl.com/TheresaMarchionePhotography  ∎Thanks To: Phil Holden – Tyne Media, Baltic 39, and Dan Parker  ∎So Tired Video © 2015 Tarock Music

∎”So Tired” is track 4 on Rick Shaffer’s album, Jitterbug Shake.  Download a free mp3 — https://soundcloud.com/tarockmusic/so-tired-rick-shaffer

∎Jitterbug Shake buy options — http://www.tarockmusic.com/jitterbugshake/buyjitterbugshake.html

∎Jitterbug Shake liner notes — http://www.tarockmusic.com/jitterbugshake.html

∎ARTIST: Rick Shaffer — ALBUM: Jitterbug Shake — VIDEO: “So Tired” on YouTube — https://youtu.be/O6eIasvtRds

JEREMY GLADSTONE INTERVIEWS RICK SHAFFER

JitterbugShake_FrontJeremy Gladstone at Sleeping Bag Studios (Abbotsford, BC, Canada) interviews Rick Shaffer about his new album, his writing and recording process, his influences, and much more.

Read the interview HERE

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloud

 

 

 

Rick Shaffer’s Epic Career Continues With More Raw Garage Blues Music

Staying in  the music game for a long time is a tremendous feat.  There are ups and downs that could defeat any person without a strong resolve to succeed.  Even when things go great there is always another corner to turn that could end it all.  This is the reason we have such high regard to Rick Shaffer.

The singer and guitarist began his musical journey in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with the Philadelphia band The Reds®.  After a stint with A&M Records that saw some great success, including live performances with such luminaries as The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, and The Ramones, the band went independent to release a few more records.  It was a wild ride.  In 2010 Shaffer started a solo career with his debut record Necessary Illusion focusing on his garage and blues guitar style.  His early roots remained in the sound and caught the attention of new fans.

June 2015 Shaffer release his sixth solo venture Jitterbug Shake.  The ten track album sticks with the garage blues sound and also touches on his early R&B/rock n roll influences.  The opener “Got To Know” sets the vibe right away with an indie underground recording style that seems to max out each instrumental track.  “Going Strong” shows off a darker side that grinds along through guttural vocals accompanied with peppy harmonies.  The guitars push ahead with some impressive solo work thrown in.  The blues sound takes the lead on “Confidence Man” bringing back the sounds of influences like Bo Diddley and Slim Harpo.  This song would fit in well in any of the last six decades.  The record closes with “Last Of Me” that seems to blend all of these styles into one big bowl of awesomeness.  The grit of the song is felt down to the bone and I don’t think anyone could resist having their head bopping along to the mass of beautiful beats intertwined within.

  • Indie Band Guru

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloudhttps://soundcloud.com/tarockmusic/so-tired-rick-shaffer

Photograph: “The Harmonica” ©2015 Theresa Marchione

“Some artists seem to operate as if they have some kind of dynamo inside them — Rick Shaffer is no exception . . .”

Some artists seem to operate as if they have some kind of dynamo inside them. Rick Shaffer —the guitarist from The Reds® who were active way back when — is no exception, with his energetic music that transcends any particular time.

On the one hand, it could be easily assumed that Jitterbug Shake is a classic album from the past, while on the other hand there is much about it that suggests it is in fact a modern record with one eye over its shoulder to the past. In a way, that is exactly what is going on, as Shaffer certainly has experience that stretches back to a time when music was breaking new ground, and yet here something about it still seems fresh and exciting.

‘Got To Know’ opens the album with real gusto, the roomy echo on the guitar creating a really classic vibe, while Shaffer’s snarling vocal adds bite to the track. ‘Sure Thing’ sways and swaggers like a drunken uncle at a wedding, all clattering bass notes and slurred words, and ‘Going Strong’ really draws on a classic punk sound with its ringing guitars and cheeky tambourine. In the main, Jitterbug Shake is an album that shows little sign of relenting or stepping away from its rambunctious sound – ‘So Tired’ thunders and rolls along with guitars that twang with a gloriously fifties feel, much like ‘Just A Little’ does, although on that particular track there is more of a sing-song feel, as though Shaffer has channeled memories of nursery rhymes into his writing. As such, the album manages to become a kind of audio time machine. At times, it’s as if we’ve been transported to Lou’s Diner from Back to the Future, where we can join in with the other hip teenagers as they tuck in to their milkshakes and put songs on the jukebox. ‘It’s True’ encapsulates this aesthetic perfectly, with vocals that veer towards a more aggressive Elvis Presley and guitars that are drenched in a vintage spring reverb, while ‘Confidence Man’ goes for more of a slower tempo as is slouches along with hints of Americana.JitterbugShake_Front

Throughout Jitterbug Shake, Rick Shaffer is certainly consistent, it’s an album that doesn’t try to reinvent anything, nor does it make the listener have to try too hard by coping with any strange or alternative methods – this is pure rock music perfectly designed for anyone who wants to have an experience where they are given a vintage feel, with some nostalgia thrown in at the same time. Shaffer’s wealth of experience as a rocker really shows, and these songs manage to let the listener know that they are in good hands, that the music has been carefully crafted, and that this has been made by someone who has been through several decades of music taking various twists and turns throughout the development of the genre. As a result, the sheer consistency might mean that for some, it’s just too much of the same thing throughout the album. But on closer inspection, each track manages to have its own distinct tone and feel, all the while staying true to a very specific aesthetic that runs all the way through like words through a stick of rock. And rock would certainly be the operative word here.

  • Chris Marsh • July 25, 2015

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloudhttps://soundcloud.com/tarockmusic/so-tired-rick-shaffer

 

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The Faulkner Review: “So Tired is so Stonesy they’ll be disappointed not to have written it themselves . . .”

Incognito

Rick Shaffer is a singer and songwriter, as well as the founding member of the Philadelphia based band The Reds®. Their eponymous debut album led to live appearances with groups like The Police, Blondie, The Ramones and Public Image, amongst others. On a different label they released several critically acclaimed albums, which led to working with director Michael Mann, who incorporated their songs into the show Miami Vice. This led to writing for films and the song Terror In My Heart featured in Nightmare on Elm Street 2.

Along with session work, playing guitar for artists like Marianne Faithfull and Marc Almond, Rick started releasing solo albums, with Jitterbug Shake being his sixth. It contains ten tracks all written by Shaffer and has been produced to recreate the raw, overdriven sound of the garage rock groups of the Sixties like The Pretty Things and early Rolling Stones. These bands were inspired by the 50’s rockers like Chuck Berry, Slim Harpo and Link Wray, and those influences are manifest throughout this album.

Got to Know starts the album and makes immediate impact, with Shaffer’s swaggering Jagger-esque vocals delivered over the biting guitar twang of the great Chuck Berry and Link Wray records. The following Sure Thing is superb, a swampy blues number in 2/4, driven along by a riff that brought to mind Personal Jesus, one of Depeche Mode‘s rockier moments. Going Strong is another highlight, with a fantastic nah-nah chant on the addictive chorus and some wonderful lead guitar.

So Tired is so Stonesy that they’ll be disappointed not to have written it themselves, carried along by a jangling guitar riff that brought to mind their early classic The Last Time. Sixth track Just A Little is another fine blues rock track, while the fuzzy distortion of It’s True features a wild lead vocal drenched in slapback delay, a hallmark of 50’s rock n roll production.

Confidence Man and Break Of Day carry on the Stones vibe, while throwing harmonica and slide guitar into the musical mix. Can’t Go Back is a great homage to blues artist Jessie Mae Hemphill, while closing track Last Of Me is a perfect finale, with a mean guitar riff. It appropriately parts with the words ‘C’mon baby, do the Jitterbug Shake….’

Overall, this is a fantastic album that takes all the best elements of garage rock and combines them to create an arresting and potent sound. It manages to sidestep what could have become mere pastiche and revitalizes a sub genre of rock for the modern age, in a similar way to bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. Fans of those groups will find much to enjoy here.

Alex Faulkner ∎ The Faulkner Review

Verdict: 8.7 out of 10

Download a FREE mp3 of “SO TIRED” on SoundCloudJitterbug_BuyHERE

 

 

 

 

Photograph: “Incognito” ©2015 Theresa Marchione