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Ricochet: The Hardest Working Band In Country Music

Posted by: Petr Mecir

photo: CountryZone.net
Interviews 02/14/2008

Ricochet claim they are the hardest working band in country music and there really might be something about it. Their unbelievably energetic shows and perfect 5-vocal harmonies with a lot of musical surprises are always a very enjoyable experience. The peak of Ricochet's career was in 1996 and 1997, when they even happened to be the best selling country band at one point. They also made history when they charted the US national anthem as the first band ever. Richochet's hit records such as "Blink Of An Eye", "What Do I Know" and "Daddy's Money" can be still heard on the radio and thus I was very thrilled to learn about their comeback and first European tour. I came to see the band in Zurich, Switzerland to make a very cool interview.

How did you come up with the name Ricochet?

Greg:
"Well, the truth is back in the day we played in a bar called Silver Bullets a lot. We changed our manager, but the old manager owned the name, so the new band had to come up with a new name. So it seemed logical and appropriate to call the band Ricochet."

Heath:
"I liked the natural way, it's good."

Who came out with the idea to release the national anthem as a single?


Greg:
"We would have to give the credit to..."Heath Wright

Heath:
"Me! It was all my idea!"

Greg:
"...our former label Sony."

Heath:
"Damn it, call it me!"

Greg:
"OK, so it was Sony and Heath."

Heath:
"All my idea..."

Do you play it in most of your shows in the US?


Greg:
"A lot, yeah. A vast majority of the US."

What kind of responses do you get?


Greg:
"We get a lot of great responses, because we do a lot of surprises. We have the horns, we have the drumline. It's always different. That's what we take pride in, that's for we have a lot of great responses."

What can you tell me about the What A Ride album? When was it recorded and why was is not released?


Greg:
"That was during the time we recorded songs for the third album. We planned to release What A Ride worldwide and the label decided to change it. The major labels make a lot of decisions without consulting with the artist. That's what happened."

But you used some of the songs for What You Leave Behind.


Greg:
"Yes, we did. I don't remember which ones, but yeah, we did."

How many songs were left behind?


Greg:
"Well, I think about 10 or 12. We cut about 22 songs for that record and 10 made the record."

Is there any chance that it would come out someday?


Greg:
"Not really, because the masters belong to Sony."

You released a single from the album What A Ride and this song, Honky Tonk Baby, was penned by the great Billy Yates. Have you played with Billy onstage?

Greg Cook
Heath:
"You know that song? Yes, we recorded that song. Not a big hit in the States but apparently big over here. Billy Yates is a friend of mine and I met him at the same time as Greg. For me as a songwriter, the first song that was ever recorded by an outside artist was a song that Billy and I wrote called 'Goodbye Makes The Saddest Sound' on his debut album. He recorded that album from our collaboration and it was a big honor for me. We used to play that in our show. Billy is a great artist, a great songwriter and a great person. I received a Christmas card from him this past December."

How about the song Freedom Isn't Free? What moved you to write this one?


Heath:
"It's stolen."

Greg:
"It's not!"

Heath:
"Freedom isn't free, DMZ, Korea..."

Greg:
Absolutely not! That's a hook, not a song. OK, we stole the hook." (laughs) "We did a show in Korea, an USO tour, and DMZ, which was the Demilitarized Zone in the Korean war, it's a kind of a moving thing to find yourself in that situation. And we just got a hook from the bumper sticker. But as you know, we didn't get everything from the bumper sticker."

Do you still play it?


Greg:
"No, we don't do it much anymore."

There is a movie called Team America and there was a song of the same title. It was a parody of George Bush, quite stupid, but the song was there.


Heath:
"Freedom Isn't Free? Really? That's interesting, I didn't know that. George Bush is a fan of Ricochet. We played at two if his campaign releases. He requested us for the campaign release. He believes we are representatives of his stand."Dwayne Dupuy

In Ricochet there have been many members through the years. How do you manage to find the right people and how much time does it take them to learn the repertoire and practise enough the keep the high quality standard of Ricochet music.


Greg:
"We got lucky a lot of times with guys that come in. They're fans and want to learn our songs. We do rehearsals and sound checks and the new guys have to find their way in all those lines. Kenny is a friend of Troy's. They were in a band together before. That's the kind of relationship thing in business. Changing members is a huge deal to us."

Heath:
"Every member that comes to this band knows the standard that we have. They try to live up to that standard - vocally, instrumentally and personally. We won't invite somebody to be in the band that doesn't fulfill all these requirements. We've been very lucky for all of our members. Everyone's been a great addition to this band and everytime we replace a member, the band gets better. So we feel lucky."

Well, today it was quite a surprise for me, because on your website there is still Jimmy Herman in the line-up.


Heath:
(laughs)

Greg:
"Oh, really"“ (laughs)

Heath:
"He was stolen from us by Carrie Underwood. Jimmy is now with Carrie Underwood."

Greg:
„"Our Myspace page is more current than our website." www.myspace.com/ricochetonline

Do you think that the sound of Ricochet has changed through the years?


Greg:
"Yeah, but not a lot. Just little bit."
Dwayne Dupuy & Heath Wright
Heath:
"The one thing that stay constant with Ricochet is our vocal. Our harmonies, vocal harmonies stay constant. The audience, our fans, they expect big, rich vocal harmonies from Ricochet. We try to get them that every time. "

Are you working on a new album?


Greg:
"Yeah, that's gonna be a half old, half new stuff. We get to recut the old hits and we're gonna re-release that with some new stuff."

Heath:
"Half greatest hits, half new songs. Probably the best CD that's ever come from Ricochet. I can say that because I've been on all of them. This is the best of all the CD's, musically."

Do you already have any release date?


Heath:
"Christmas season, probably. Maybe sooner."

Are you still signed to the Cowtown Records?


Greg:
"No, we're looking. We're independent right now. We may put that album out on our own label, we don't know."

Do you still tour as much as you did?


Greg:
"Not as much, but we still do like 60, 70 dates a year."

Are you enjoying touring Europe?


Greg:
"Absolutely!"

Heath:
"Very much! We can't wait to come back."

Where else have you played?


Greg:
"Just Switzerland, we haven't played anywhere else. Hopefully we will tour France in the fall and hopefuly a lot of other countries here."

Heath:
"Someday we could play in your country and make some new friends."

That'd be great. Thank you.

 

Ricochet & Petr Mecir

(Ricochet & Petr Mecir - Zurich, Switzerland, 02/14/2008)

 

 

 

A greeting from Ricochet

 

 


(C) Petr Mecir 2008. All rights reserved.