“I’ve always been the perennial sideman, kind of like a musical Zelig”, explains bassist Rick Bedrosian, referring to the chameleonlike qualities of one of Woody Allen’s most memorable film characters.
“Whether it’s a rockabilly band like Jeannie Smith & the Hurricanes, an Irish band like Hard Times or an art-rock band like Squareone, I think that I’ve been able to adapt and fit in well musically, but I’ve always been in the background.”
Bedrosian, who’d been an integral part of so many popular Capital District bands that he’s lost count of them, is finally stepping out of the background and into the spotlight with the release of his own brand-new, 10-song compact disc, “Inside My Car”. Photo of Rick Bedrosian
“I can be really lazy sometimes,” he admits of his nearly 20 year musical career. “Songwriting was something that I always wanted to do, but I always put it off until tomorrow. It was so easy for me to get by without songwriting.
“But if you don’t write music or sing, then you have to continually latch on to other people who do. Every band that I’ve ever been in, I’ve been at the mercy of the songwriters, which isn’t necessarily bad. But eventually you just want a little more control over what you’re doing.”
With “Inside My Car”, which he began recording in the fall of ’90, the Delmar native faced all the control he could handle. He wrote six of the songs himself, and says, “The four songs that I didn’t write were all written by friends of mine from Nashville.”
He sang all of the lead and background vocals, as well as playing bass, piano, synthesizer, guitar and percussion. He also produced the album himself, co-mixed it with engineer Ace Parkhurst and released it on his own label, October Eve Records.
“I’ve always been into musical production,” Bedrosian says. “In the mid 70s, the first thing that I ever produced was for a Radio Shack song contest, and it won the $3000 second prize.”
Songwriting, however, was a different story.
“I’m just so in awe of great songwriters like John Hiatt and Marshall Crenshaw,” he said. ” But then I realized that everybody’s got to start somewhere.
“The only songwriting that I had ever done was about 12 years ago when I wrote the verses to the song “Inside My Car”, but I never did anything with them. Finally, about two years ago, I wrote the chorus for it. I liked the results and started doing more and more songwriting.”
In addition to the title track, Bedrosian penned the chugging rocker “Too Much Distance”, and a pair of bouncy pop tunes, “So Easy” and “Faded Blue”.
His other two original tunes are dedicated to former musical associates. “Don’t Go Johnny” is a rave-up rockabilly tribute to local fave Johnny Rabb, while “Leaving Tonight” is a haunting ballad in memory of the late Byrds co-founder Gene Clark, with whom Bedrosian played briefly in Nashville in the late 80s.
“Musically, the album features at least one country song, a few rockabilly tunes and the rest is kind of pop-rock,” Bedrosian offers. “it might initially seem a bit too wide-ranging, but those are my favorite kinds of music and I wanted the album to sound like me.”
The album is, in fact, a sort of stylistic summation of Bedrosian’s vast career from the mid-70s country-rock sounds of Silver Chicken to the stripped-down, pop-rock approach of Tornado Bait, and several of his past and present bandmates dropped by to play on the album, including drummer Al Kash and guitarists Todd Nelson and Eddie Angel.
The release of his solo album won’t alter his present band affiliations. “I know that I’m more of a band guy,” Bedrosian says modestly, and his busy performance schedule currently includes regular gigs with the ever-popular Newports and the Celtic-country combo Hard Times, as well as a duo with singer-songwriter Kevin McKrell.
Stepping into the studio on his own, however, was more difficult than he expected. “I’ve been in lots of studios as a session player, and I’ve done a fair number of recordings with the bands that I’ve been in, but doing a solo project like this one was definitely a strange kind of affair for me,” he says.
“You don’t have the kind of input and support that you have in a band, and you’re really all on your own. After you listen to a song for 100 times or so in the studio, it’s easy to lose perspective and begin to question whether or not what you’re doing is any good or not.”
Review by, Greg Haymes