Blog #9 The Way I See It


  It’s quite simple. If the drive to create is deeply ingrained in your soul, coursing through your veins and as natural as every breath you breathe, you have no choice in the matter. Exterior comforts or lack thereof mean nothing. They are an inconvience at best. True artists create in spite of their surroundings.. people, places and money ..critique whether good or bad. We brush it all aside and put pen to paper.


  Every life experience is a muse, a song title, a landscape to paint, a character to act out. As Keef said, as he was being released from jail in the 60′s,”Maybe I’ll get a good song out of it.”


   There is nothing like the  feeling an artist gets when he or she makes someone laugh, cry or think, with their work.


   My guitar calls to me like Richard Pryor’s crack pipe called to him. It sits in the corner, sometimes for weeks, and then tells me to pick it up.It has an idea. I wake up in the middle of the night with a riff rollin’ around my head and have to grab my guitar. It won’t stop until i suss it it..feel it..see if it’s worth the trouble to agonize over.  


   I stare at a blank piece of paper, tortured for that perfect line that will hit someone right in the heart..or below the waist. I get up, walk around,come back,nothing.But I don’t stop until I get it. It needs to be just perfect.  Every word counts.. Every phrase…the way it sings, as we say.


   I am absolutely without a doubt the same person I was at 13, listening to music on the roof of my apt building in the Bronx, transistor radio glued to my ear.


    From first seeing the Stones on the Ed Sullivan show at 8 yrs old, to a “looking for trouble” teenager at the legendary NYC Rock and Roll  bar Max’s Kansas City, to Cleveland’s Rock Hall took me 50 yrs and I’m one lucky Byrd indeed! One of  the very few to be so honered, I am extremely humbled and proud. But mark my words, it’s a perk..a freakin’ huge perk.. but a perk. Award or or no award, I would still be dragging my guitars around to venues, big and small, to carry the Rock and Roll Torch because that is who i am..period!!


  I still go into every project wide eyed and excited to see what the Rock and Roll gods have in store for me. I still get that same adrenaline rush as i’m about hit the stage..not’s the anticipation of the will the songs play out..will I have a voice tonight..break a string..have what it takes. I love it!!!


  Thing is, if you are a true artist, you do it because you can and because you have to. If someone buys one of your songs or poems or paintings, it’s a plus.

We do it either way.

Validation and fame can be sweet no doubt. But the true artist creates with or without all of that, because it is how we express ourselves.

Never stop..never quit..  We press on.


There Ain’t No Rock…without Da Roll                                                                                           

                   I am a “LIFER”

Blog #8 What a Freakin’ Year 2014

This year has brought quite a lot of turmoil in my personal and professional life  …much of it was my bad, but you live and learn don’t ya!

As Keef said it’s the price of an education!!

  Now as the year comes to a close everything is nice and calm… calm as I’m capable of being.

Seems even though I am Clean and Sober for over 27 years I still love a bit of the old drama…what can I tell ya.

Speaking of DRAMA!!

 Good Golly Miss Molly the year has certainly ended on a professional high note!!!

Along with my old friend and band mate , a true RnR icon Joan Jett ,I am being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame as part of the Blackhearts…1981-92 version!!!

It’s almost too much to wrap my head around …

A kid from da Bronx with a transistor radio glued to his ear listening to music day and night dreaming of playing on the big stage is actually joining the people he listened to …crazy but true!!

Here’s something I wrote about the upcoming Induction…


“Ok now that some of the hoopla has died down and I can think straight..
Joanie is a true RnR icon .not only musically but culturally. She showed women in a male dominated business that she could stand shoulder to shoulder and Rock with the best of them. I was there and I saw and heard the bullshit.”Pretty good for a girl” …no. Jett is good period 
We never had one argument in the 11 years I played with her and some serious steam came off that stage when we played.we rocked hard. 
She cares about people and animals.and has a good soul…. 
So to you my old pal.congrats on the one deserves it more …
I’m grateful to be part of it and proud to stand side by side” 



I have quite a few shows booked already for 2015 I am am chomping at the bit to play for youz guys.

Sometimes Solo Acoustic .. sometimes with an electric slung low, but either way I promise to rock until my gas tank is on empty..

I will also be releasing new music to follow up my CD “Lifer” …soon!!!!

It’s all singles now ..probably not another full Cd but who knows.


I will also be passing the message of Recovery around the country as part of Clean Getaway…unplugged and full out balls to the wall RnR All Star Band…

We are gonna try and raise some dough to help people who desperately need treatment and can’t afford it.

 12 Steps and 3 Chords

Let it Rock baby

 So to all of you Magnificent Bastards…Family, Friends, Fans and Foes alike ,                                      I wish you a wonderful Holiday and I hope you all get exactly what you want outta life.. but more importantly what you need.

 Love you all



Blog #7 Just Sayin’

People on the rebound make decisions that are hasty

They jump the first train comin’

Let me see where this one takes me

But that ain’t the love train that you’re on

Derailed you may well be

A whistle stop at best my dear

You should have rode with me .

Blog #6 Blessings and Blessings in Disguise

Only two variables …Blessings or Blessings in disguise …we torment ourselves and spin our wheels trying to figure out which is which ..and trying to change and fix things and people we can’t fix..
But when the answer comes it’s a rush of endorphin no drug can give you …it’s like a switch is flipped and you just let go of the rope and let yourself tumble knowing you are catching a lucky break..
Sometimes you just need to observe to figure it out . Step back ftom the canvas and see the whole picture …
Breathe ..keep your eyes and ears open and more will be revealed …

Blog #5 I Read The News Today Oh Boy!

The newspaper is very hard to read today…22 yr old with sense of entitlement couldn’t get his rocks off so he kills 6 innocents …very next page so called wedding of the decade..two Celebs that have less then zero talent ( Bride way less than zero than Groom) at anything but getting press..
I have been around a while and feel we have hit the proverbial wall.
I am afraid for my kid..Heroin..NRA..Second Amendment rights..victims non rights , Reality shows ( losers made famous by bored ,confused everyday people that want to get out of their own troubles by watching Housewives of Sheboygan) ..over the top violence on tv, movies, gamers…parents working so hard to just make ends meet have no time to be parents…kids looking for their place in life..misdiagnosed mental illness combined with easily purchased weapons ..non affordable health care..affordable bad healthcare…it goes on and on..very scary shit going it has not always been like this….
Of course there were always problems ..wars..polio..’29 crash..poverty..
racism…killers..pedophiles..the bottom feeders…
But like Superstorm Sandy things are lining up like they never had before…
It’s that old joke about Mickey Mantle..
When he died and got to the pearly gates Saint Peter said..Mickey you have lived a life of drinking and carousing…you were a great baseball player but a terrible role model to the children ..I can’t let you in to heaven..
Mickey turns and head hung low walks away dejected ..
Saint Peter calls out…Mickey before you go can you sign this box of balls for me!
It seems we can only tend our own garden so go out and do something positive for the Human race today.

Blog #4 : Just Sayin’

Ok folks… six months ago I released (whatever that means these days) a cool, fun, greasy, loud, tons of guitars and filled with below the waist beats kind of Rock and Roll CD called Lifer! 
Although I have sold a decent amount for a DIY game plan, I would like to sell some more so I can take my new band The Skeleton Crew on the road. Also it would be nice to record a follow up at some point..
I am sure (unless you are in total denial) musicians with my R’n'R history and are in my demographic understand the glory days are for the most part behind us ,but some are putting out the best music of their careers! I know I am!!
Things change ..I get it , but good ole Rock ‘n’ Roll should not slip completely through the cracks..
On “Lifer” I have recorded a love letter to the music that made me want to be this guy I am…The music that helped me maneuver through my teenage years!! 
All original new tunes written either by myself or with the help of some of my pallys!
Problem is i’m swimming upstream with the rest of the Salmon and it’s crowded and hard to get noticed!!
So all I ask is you read the reviews and decide for yourself if you would like to drop some dough on a real R’n'R record..
I am nowhere near ready to hang up my Les Paul, and will still put on my glad rags to play sweaty RnR for whoever wants to hear it…
It’s what I do Pally!!!…It’s what I do!!!
My band The Skeleton Crew, will hopefully be coming to a town near you to rip the roof off the joint and I expect to see you there…

Remember…Maybe something I’ve played on helped you maneuver through your teenage yrs!!! 

Read The Reviews:

Purchase the Cd on Amazon…Itunes..and signed copies from my website 

Like the Byrd Fanpage

Blog # 3 It’s About Time

  It’s the last night of a much needed family vacation in Montauk and I thought it might be a good time to sit down and write!!


 The last year and a half has been filled with the good, the bad and the ugly.

  The good was the completion of my very 1st solo cd “Lifer”,released Feb.of this year to amazing reviews.With that said

it’s a new dawn in the music world and I’m learning on a daily basis how to self market and sell this cool Rock ‘n’ Roll record I put together. Whatever happens I couldn’t be more proud of Lifer!!!

 The bad was Super Storm Sandy which destroyed half of our house…Yikes what a mess!!

The night of the storm as we were hiding from the rising waters on our 2nd floor I truly thought we had bought the farm..and then the tide went back out…jeez that was close.What we were left with was a giant pile of ruined memories..ruined furniture and alot of submerged studio equipment. Luckily we grabbed most of my guitars before the flood.

  And last but not least Da ugly. We’re still waiting for insurance dough to fix the mess which used to be my finished basement/Studio. Yet we’re far better off than many who were hit by the storm. We actually have a house to live in…grateful for that!! 


   Back to business… Because the music industry is hobbling on one leg, the only way for an artist like myself to almost make a living is to go out and sell CD’s and merch at live shows. You can sell a bit online but the real method to this madness is to put together a Rock n Roll band and hit the streets. That’s exactly what I’ve done!

Introducing Ricky Byrd and The Skeleton Crew …with Scarlet Rowe on bass and Shawn Murray on drums, plus me trying to juggle nine guitar parts from my cd all at once.

I’m on the phone and on my laptop all day and night trying to book shows and sell my product. It’s actually kind of exciting because my destiny is not in the hands of some greasy A&R guy. And I say that with all due respect;)

It is certainly a lot of work, but I love my record and I refuse to let it go unnoticed. 

I’m going the full 12 rounds in this fight!!

  So pretty much that’s where I am Aug of 2013.

Looking forward to much hard work and a lot of  loud, drunken sailor Rock ‘n’ Roll in this musician’s 3rd act!

Remember kids…There ain’t no rock..without da roll!!

Play guitar…don’t drink…and help another Alcoholic;)



Byrd Blog #2 “Hello Cleveland”


Byrd Blog #2

“Hello Cleveland”  

     Every once in a blue moon I get to experience the Music without the Bizness! That certainly is a rare and random occurrence in my chosen profession and it quickly reminds me why I picked up a six string razor in da first place. Now mind you the experience usually doesn’t last very long so you gotta grab the bull by the horns, which is what I did this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yeah I know the Rock Hall is all about business and politics but I choose to look through the eyes of a fan and fellow Rock ‘n Roller.

Backstory: For the past 6 or so years I have been a proud (well maybe proud is a little strong) member of the Official Hall of Fame Rock ‘N Roll band. The core of this band ( which I like to think of as “trouble walkin”) is myself, Jeff Carlisi (38 Special), Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel, Hit Squad), Rob Arthur (Peter Frampton), and Jeff Adams (Starship). Will Lee had played bass with us the first few years but then scheduling got in the way. One year even the Maestro himself Paul Shaffer joined the band. This year we also had my partner in The NYC Hit Squad…Christine Ohlman (SNL Band) and Jimmy Hall from Wet Wille. Now those two are real sangers!!

Since 2006 we have had the good fortune to play a big ass benefit the Rock Hall puts on in Cleveland each spring(unless the Induction takes place in Cleveland as opposed to NYC, which is every 3 yrs…but more on that later). Each time we’ll wind up backing  6 or 7 different artists. Everyone from Mavis Staples to Billy Squier, to Sheila E, to Mitch Ryder, to Don Felder, to Sam The Sham ,to Russell Thompkins (The Sylistics), to Tone Loc to Ronnie Spector to Darlene Love…all the way  to Roy Head (Treat Her Right) and so on. Now since the band is all scattered across the country we pretty much learn the material on our own starting about a month before the gig. Then we get to Cleveland have a really looooong rehearsal with each artist (and with each other)…run back to the hotel for a quick meal and a shower (sometimes I have to combine the meal and the shower..picture Kramer and the salad) and run back and play the show. Lotta work but it’s always a blast!!

This year we were supposed to be off since the Induction ceremony was going to take place in Cleveland (which means no benefit), but we got a call asking us to play the fancy ass party night before the big event (guess they like us)! At first we were asked to play a 1½ hr. set of fun Rock and Roll/ Soul stuff (much like the Hit Squad) but then Terry Stewart (who runs the joint) started adding artists for us to back up. Felix Cavaliere, Darlene Love, Local hero Michael Stanley and Dave Wakeling from the English Beat. So now we have our work cut out for us!…Learn that poem…Learn that poem. End result is it turned out to be a blazing 2 ½ hr. set that rocked in all different directions and no one got hurt. My kind of gig.

Here’s where it get’s interesting…I get a call one morning a few months back from Steve Dobo the director of promotions and sponsorship at the RH…he says “are ya sitting down?” I say “actually Steve I’m still horizontal since it’s 7 am…what can I do for you?” He says “Joan Jett and The Blackhearts” were nominated this year!!! Applause…applause.

Now I know the chances of getting in the first time are slim to none so I just roll with the nomination , and believe me I am humbled and happy as shite to be in that category.

As we all know by now we didn’t make the cut this year but as the Brooklyn Dodgers used to say…wait until next year!!!

Anywho …the Induction was this past weekend and it was filled with emotional moments for me plus many a thrill and chill for this kid from da Bronx. Since this is supposed to be a blog and not a life’s work, here’s a list of some of my highlights

First off Thurs. we land in Cleveland, drop the bags at the hotel and go straight to a 7 hr. rehearsal at the Rock hall for the Friday night show.

Friday night:

-Playing Groovin, Good Lovin’ and People got to be free with Felix

-Rockin’ hard with Michael Stanley who is a gentleman and can write an anthem like nobody’s business.

-Playing He’s a Rebel, Da Doo Ron Ron and The Boy I’m gonna marry with Darlene

-Skankin’ with Dave Wakeling…turns out NY Jews can play Ska!

- An unbelievable version of Take me to the River with Beehive Queen on the testify and me and Carlisi playin’ da blues!

- Hanging with Felicia from the Letterman band

-Will Lee’s sick version of “Mama told me not to come”

- Jimmy hall and Beehive singing “If you don’t know me by now”

- Me getting a chance to do “Whatcha gonna do about it” (with a little Humble Pie tossed in) as a tribute to Steve.

-Basically we tore it up and everyone in the band was in top form!

P.S Rob did a great job as MD and without a good MD 2 words come to mind…Train Wreck!!

Party…Party…Party…on to the next night

Sat Night. The Inductions

-Shaffer asks me and Christine if we would like to be part of the background singers for the Don Kirshner tribute… Darlene Love singing “Will you still love me tomorrow”…uh yeah

-Friday before our gig Byrd and Beehive rehearse vocals with Shaffer and the other singers. First in a small room than on the main stage for TV Blocking (gonna be on HBO may 5th)

I have never really sung without holding a guitar, so I immediately realize I have no idea what to do with my hands!!

-Sat vocal rehearsal with Paul..Byrd and Beehive enter the room to find Carole King sitting behind the piano

- Finish with Paul and go stage left with Beehive to watch the Faces (sans Rod) do sound check….last time I saw them was early 70’s at the Pocono raceway…which I told Mac. Now the Faces are one of the reasons I am who I am, so as you can imagine watching them do “Ooh La La” and “Stay with me” was shall we say a tad over whelming. A few tears might have been shed.

Then they did “All or nothing” and showed a big picture of my old pal Marriott on the screen and…have mercy!!

-Back to the Hotel…quick Byrd nap and back to the Induction Hall.

Everyone is backstage..Kid Rock (who admitted he came to more than one Blackheart show when he was a young lad), Billy Gibbons who gave me his says Friend of Eric Clapton, Billie Joe from Green day, Tree Cool from Green Day (Is my name the only one that’s real), Slash, Glyn Johns who came over to me and asked if I nicked my bonnet from Ian McLagan…and on and on

-Christine and I sang with Darlene and I think my hands knew what to do but I’ll find out for sure when I see the show.

-Great yet sometimes strange Induction Speeches. Little Steven was perfect in his induction of Faces/Small Faces. On the other hand John Mellencamp was interesting (I’m being kind) with his induction of Donovan.Robbie Robertson sending prayers to Levon Helm made the whole place go…uh oh!

-Great and touching acceptance speeches…Ian talking about Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott not being there was very moving. The award for groups including the surviving members of The Crickets, The Blue Caps, The Miracles, The Fabulous Flames and the Comets was overdue and wonderful!  Donovan’s speech was..poetic (you’ll see) and Freddie King’s daughter accepting for her dad was Blues cool!!

-Oh yeah..Green Day opened the show with some loud and proud Rock and Roll and had everyone on their feet from the first chord…bravo lads!

-No Axl turned out to be much ado about nuttin’ cause Guns killed.

-I left before the Chilli Peppers and grand finale because the show ran about 2 hrs over and I was spent, but I did manage to hang at the after show party(Grandmaster Flash doin’ the DJ thang) a bit (with Club soda in hand…no thanks I don’t drink…no thanks I don’t drink…no tha….)

Great night all around…Went to bed early in the AM with a big smile on my face.

Point is…when I first picked up that crummy acoustic guitar (which I still have) at age nine….who knew!!