© scotty ramone
- Interview with Ricky Bacchus 6th December 2004 -
I think I read somewhere that you originally came from the UK. Is that right?
I was born in the UK. I lived in a tiny village called Hockliffe in Bedfordshire. At age 9 I moved to Saint Vincent, West Indies, and I moved to New York when I was 12. My parents moved back to the UK when I was 16. I still have a UK Passport.
You have writing credits on both of the first two NY Loose singles ‘Bitch’ & ‘The Luckiest Girl’ as well as production credits on both singles. What was your connection with NY Loose, and was this before you joined D Generation?
NY Loose 'Bitch' 7" single
The song "Long Lost Debby" tells one side of that story. Brijitte and I dated, on and off for about 6 years. I met her at The Chelsea Hotel in 1986. I really enjoyed writing with her, she can sing anything. 'Luckiest Girl' is a great song, I played the opening verse at soundcheck in a bar the other night to freak out Steve Antonakos, the guitarist on the single. We recorded the 'Bitch' single at Studio 4 in Philadelphia, it's the same studio that all the Chaka Khan and Rufus stuff was done. We had to fight for microphones with Boyz 2 Men.
Were you in other bands before you joined D Generation?
Brijitte and I had a band called Viva La Wattage. We had several celebrity members: Henry Bogdan from Helmet, Reed St Marks from Celtic Frost and Dee Dee from the Ramones. Jesse and Howie used to come and see us all the time; we opened for White Zombie a lot. Our first show ever was opening for the Pixies with the Happy Mondays opening for us. Jesse used to drive us to gigs. Before that I was in The Fugitives, with Steve Lewins from the Count Bishops and Chelsea. I wrote music for this crazy girl named Schizo, from Berlin. I think Andy Shernoff produced the record. After VLW I was rehearsing as 'Atomic Elf' with me singing and playing guitar, Jesse on 2nd guitar, Howie on bass and Belvy K on drums. That eventually morphed into D Generation. My very first band was with Improv alto sax player Daniel Carter - instrumental freak out stuff.
I once heard that D Generation had recorded an unreleased album before their Chrysalis debut. If that is true, who produced it? Were there songs on it that were never released on any of the D Generation albums?
The 'Gasatanka' single was taken from some sessions with Daniel Ray and Andy Shernoff. I think
'Age of Confusion' and 'Sister Soda Jerk' were in those sessions.
Was there also an early D Generation song called 'Coney Island Baby', and if so, was it a cover of the Lou Reed song?
'Coney Island Baby' was an original. I can only remember the end of the chorus "whoa, whoa, whoa my favourite song".
Why did you leave D Generation in 1997?
I was pretty miserable with our manager. To this day, I really think that 'Capital Offender' should have been the first single off of No Lunch. I had a few songs that I had submitted to D Gen that the other guys in the band had passed on. I started Vasquez as a joke and played a few of the D Gen rejects out. Howie and Jesse saw Vasquez and decided that they wanted some of the songs; I said no. They told me I had to choose between bands. I chose Vasquez, I wasn't having fun in D Gen anymore. It was pretty funny, I immediately took a job selling ice cream on Avenue A. I got the idea from Dee Dee - he was always threatening to quit the Ramones and get a job selling hot dogs at Nathan's.
When you rejoined D Generation on a temporary basis in 1999, had the rest of the band already decided that they were going to split?
Rick (second right) back in D Generation
I don't think so, they we're waiting for Jim Wallerstein to get sorted out. Those show were loads of fun.
Is your band Vasquez still playing together?
We play from time to time. Whenever we get together we always end up just screwing around. I'm pretty annoying to be in a band with. I have the attention span of a flea. We've played out about five times in the last three years. It's a great band, we have a great time, I have a hard time taking it seriously.
Had you known Sami Yaffa a long time before you formed Vasquez together? How did that partnership come about?
Sami and I would run into each other at High Times parties, Motorhead shows and at the dog run in Tompkins Sq Park. His 200lb doberman Greta and my 8lb dachshund Gomez were mates. I play guitar with he and his wife's band Mad Juana sometimes.
I understand that when you tour the UK you’re going to be playing a solo acoustic set. Is this something you do a lot or is this going to be a new experience for you?
I've never done it. I kind of hate it. It's sort of like being in the worst band ever, I can't wait to get out there and Rock.
Have you ever played any shows in the UK or Europe before?
I've toured Europe playing with Murphy's Law, opening for The Buisness. I've never played the UK.
Have you been writing new songs for the acoustic show or are you reworking the Vasquez material? Or is it going to be a bit of both? …I think ‘Long Lost Debby’ & ‘How You Gonna Ball’ would certainly translate to an acoustic arrangement very well.
Those two are in the set, also 'Age Of Confusion'. I'm doing all my own original material. Check out the 'Twisted' track on my site. I guess that's the direction I'm headed in for the upcoming tour.
The Vasquez songs I’ve heard have been quite a departure from your previous work with D Generation & NY Loose… If you don’t mind me drawing comparisons, then I’d immediately say Jimi Hendrix. How would you describe your solo acoustic sound?
I always have a hard time describing myself. Influences come from everywhere. I like the Jimi thing though, I've always wanted to cover 1983.
Who would you cite as your main musical influences?
Marc Bolan, Miles Davis, Prince Paul, The Pink Fairies and The Saints. "Capital Offender" was inspired by Nas and Biggie Smalls. Scorch was me trying to compare Scorcese and Fellini to arsonists. They all work with light, am I right?
Is there going to be a new Ricky Bacchus CD available that you’ll be promoting on this UK tour?
I'm recording all the acoustic stuff for a CD right now.
Will you be selling Ricky Bacchus & Vasquez merchandise and CDs on the UK tour?
I'll have the Sunny Annie Houses CD and the acoustic CD tentatively called The Bicycle Diaries. Oh yeah, and T-Shirts.
Do you have a record company backing you for the UK tour?
I'm keepin' it real. No corporate backing, strictly grass roots, yo!
Jesse has occasionally included your old D Generation song ‘Capital Offender’ in his solo set. When you tour the UK together, can we expect you to play one or two songs together - maybe to belt out an old D Generation classic like Capital Offender’?
To quote Jesse Malin "You never, never know". I'd love to do 'Waiting For The Next Big Parade', it's a great terrorist anthem.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about your forthcoming UK tour, your music, or life in general?
I'd like to first and foremost thank Almighty Rock n' Roll for spreading me across the universe. New York, London, LA, Tokyo
...and, "don't forget to boogie" (Salman Rushdie).
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