By Michael Eck
Special to the Times Union, Albany, NY
July 22, 2007
Elsmere’s Rick Bedrosian likes the simple things in life — good music, good movies, good beer. He’s smartly managed to turn most of those pleasures into employment.
“I’ve basically taken everything I enjoy doing — except, at this point, for drinking — and turned it into work,” he says.
Bedrosian is best known in the area as the founding bassist of Hair of the Dog, the popular Irish band that has been packing houses around the Capital Region and beyond for 15 years. But his musical resume stretches back even further, with stints in Capital Region favorites like Silver Chicken, Square One, The McKrells and the Fabulous Newports along with a chunk of the ’80s spent in Nashville.
More recently, Bedrosian has been reviewing films online under the banner of Rick’s Picks; and in November, he’ll lead the ultimate Beatle fans journey, a Magical Mystery Tour for fellow fans through Beatles hotspots in London.
Q: You play Irish music; do you like Irish music?
A: Yeah, I really do. There are so many different kinds of it. One person’s Irish music is different than another’s, depending on their opinion. But I really do like it. And I like our band now more than I ever have before, because I’ve always been a rock guy. I like bluegrass and folk, too, but now that we have drums and electric guitar in the band, it’s more of a rock band than it ever was. So for me, it’s way more fun. Playing rock electric bass is a lot more fun than playing bluegrass bass.
Q: You’ve played bass since middle school, what turned you on to music?
A: It almost sounds like a cliché, and it does date me, but like millions of other Americans I had heard about this band from England that was really huge over there and exciting and different, called The Beatles. I sat around the TV with my parents and my brother and we watched them on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” and I just thought, well that looks like a lot of fun.
To me, it was like four guys from outer space. I was very young at the time, so I didn’t start playing right away, but eventually in seventh grade, my father bought me my first electric bass. It was a Vox Panther. At the old Westgate Plaza, they had Westgate Piano & Organ and they were a Vox dealership. He made me promise I’d go to Sunday school every Sunday if he brought me an electric bass.
I knew if I played bass I would be necessary; I would be needed. I didn’t know how thankless a task it would be for the rest of my career, which is kind of why I’ve become a bit of an overachiever. As Cheese Blotto used to say, nobody notices the bass until you stop playing.
Q: A Beatles fan, eh? Is that what prompted this upcoming trip to England?
A: This is something I’ve always wanted to do, this Magical Mystery Tour, so I did some homework and I picked a date and I’m very excited about it.
I’ve read over 30 Beatles books and I’ve done a lot of research, and I know where I want us to go and what I want us to see. We’ll have a motor coach with a driver and a guide, and I’m going to get with the guide beforehand and talk about what I want us to do. I don’t think they need me to act as any kind of host, because they do this all the time, but when we first get there I’m going to scope it out and see if he needs a hand.
I’m really psyched about this trip. The biggest disappointment for me is that The Cavern Club (where The Beatles got their start) was torn down in the mid-70’s to put in an air-conditioning shaft for a the subway. About three years after they tore it down, there were like, “Whoops.” So now, down the street from the location, they have a place called the Beatle Experience, which has a brick-by-brick recreation of the Cavern. We’ll go there.
Q: Early in the decade, you dated Rachael Ray for about a year. How did you meet?
A: I met her when she was doing “30 Minute Meals” on WRGB. She was doing a “30 Minute Meals” demonstration at the Price Chopper in Slingerlands, and me, being a foodie, I met her there. I thought she was cute and she knew how to cook, so I got talking to her and told her I was in a band.
She’s a big music fan, so she came out to see the band up at the Parting Glass.
We got talking and we just really hit it off.
We both really loved each other, but it was just bad timing for both of us. She was really struggling and working long hours and driving back and forth from Lake Luzerne. In order to see each other, I would have to take a few days off and go stay with her or she would have to come down and stay with me and we were both living with our parents at the time. The timing was just bad. We’re still friends. I’m still crazy about her, and I’m so happy for her success.
Q: For the past few years, with Rick’s Picks, you’ve been independently reviewing movies, tell us about that.
A: I’m a huge movie aficionado. I love ’em.
My earliest memory of the movies is my mom taking me to see a revival of “Doctor Zhivago” and “Gone With The Wind” at the old Hellman Theater, with the huge screens. I remember being blown away by the spectacle of it and by the sheer size of the screen. But, unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to the movies a lot as a kid, so as soon as I got to be an adult and have the money and the access to movies, I started going all the time.
Consequently, people found out that I went to the movies all the time and they started asking, , “Hey, what movies are out there? What movie’s good?” I got so sick of answering questions that I started writing movies reviews on our band’s Web site.
I did that on and off for about four years, and during a lull when I wasn’t doing so many reviews I got a call from Cotton Hill Studios, saying they were doing podcasts, so now I do them at Cotton Hill (and they’re posted) as audio reviews online.
Interview by, Michael Eck