Ric Lee
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Ric LEE - Interview - June 6th 2008
(c) Copyright Ten Years After (c) Festival du Creusot

  1. Ric, you're in France today for the Blues Festival in Le Creusot.

    (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk Ric : Oui...
    AM : What are your first impressions ?

    Oh great, we love to play in France. The audiences are fantastic and the nice thing about the French audiences is that we get a lot of young people. In Germany we do in certain places, but in a lot of places it is people of our age, so it's nice to play in France because the young people listen to our music, which is terrific, there is a new generation that come along with us.

  2. Do you prefer to play in festivals, stadiums or in small venues ?

    I personally don't like the stadiums. When we got big in the seventies I wasn't, I mean I enjoyed it, in one way, because it's great, it's very exhilarating to play in a Festival like the Madison Square Garden in front of 20 000 people but in those days of course there was no video screens and the sound I can imagine was very good and it certainly wasn't good on stage, so (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk the communication between the musicians was not good so from that point of view I much prefer to play in small venues, I prefer to do, we used to do a theater for Bill Graham in New York called Fillmore East which I believe held, I think it was two and a half thousand people per show so you played for 5 000 people a night I would have preferred to do 5 nights there, than one night in Madison Square Garden , but in those days, by that time the business had moved in with managers and the agents and everybody, "well you can play Madison Square Garden then you play the Spectre in Philadelphia the next day" you know, and of course it was huge money.... it really was, it was not as big as it is now because the ticket prices are much higher you know for the people...they used to sell out in Madison Square for three or four nights and quite right, so times have changed but I prefer the smaller venue, where you've got contact with the audience and you can actually hear each other better and you can play off with each other better. The festival like this one is great because it's not so big so there is still a contact there with the audience and there is still a contact with the ones who play on stage. Some places we play in are so far away we are (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk relying on monitors all the time, I mean in the 60's and the 70's I never had drum monitors, I used to sit between the amplifiers with my ears just behind the front of the amplifiers on the floor there was no drum monitor, and that was great because I could hear everything and everybody could hear me, but the minute you get a drum monitor and then you get an amplified set further away and everybody is, it's very very difficult, you totally rely on the monitor system, and to be totally honest the monitoring wasn't great, but you know we did the show.

  3. Can you talk about your live album ?

    (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk Ric : Our live album, it's called "Roadworks". Oh my blimey, What do you want me to talk about ?

    AM : I want you to talk about your track called "The Hobbit".

    Ric : It's a bit of, as we say in England now, it's a bit of an old chestnut, you know, it's been going on for a long time, so each night I try to put something different in it, it doesn't always work, I have, I always thought of it actually as a story I like to try to take, it's very hard with drums to maintain interest, so I like to think of it as a journey with a beginning, a middle and an end like every story, every good story and I try to take you on a ride with me through a journey, that's the best way to describe it.

  4. What do you do apart from playing with TYA, I read that you run a holiday business ?

    (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk Ric : That's right, yes I do. Well, I do all of the band administration too, I 've got all files to do all the accountancy, I do all the ordering of material for the merchandising, I do all the legal work for the band, although I'm not a lawyer, but I've learnt how to do contracts, so I do all of that, I do most of the band's negotiations so that's pretty time consuming and then, yes we have a holiday business too, we have two cottages that we rent out for people who come to stay on holiday in a very nice part of the world in Derbyshire England it's where the beginning of the mountain chain of England has the Pennines, so it's very hilly and a lot of people come to walk or to go rock climbing, cycling, canoeing, so it's an outdoor activity area.

  5. What are your hobbies ?

    (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk I don't have time (laughing). No, I play at tennis and I've just started to... in fact before we left on this week-end I went to Wimbledon with my wife to see the tennis and we saw Andy Murray get through the next round and also I've just started to learn to play the guitar, I just suddenly decided I want to do that, and eventually I want to have a workshop and perhaps do some stuff either in wood or metal, I used to be very good at that when I was at school and I've not done that for years I'd like to get a workshop and have a lathe to be able to make things...say in wood...I'm not sure yet... I want to get the workshop then I'll figure it out.........

  6. Is it easy to find a balance between life on the road and your family life ?

    (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk Yeah it can be difficult because it's very hard sometimes for me to get back. The family when I go, kind of closes down a little bit, so there's one space that shuts and when I come back that space has to open up again, and it is difficult at times, yes sure, and it takes a few days for us to get back into the swing of things and the problem at the moment is that we are basically away every weekend, so that's change every three days, but you know, it's a very good marriage and a very good wife and two lovely kids, my daughter has just had her GCSE exams. (General Certificate of Secondary Education), I don't know what you call it in France...probably high school exams, she's 16 and my son is twelve and he is a good tennis player, but he wants to be a professional footballer... we shall see.

  7. Ric : So you ask me about the future, isn't it ?

    (c) Copyright Jean-Paul Wolniaczyk
    AM : Yes. How do you see the future ?

    Ric : Well on the immediate horizon we have a new album called Evolution, I think Leo has probably mentioned that. We also have a DVD which we have been promising for about two years now. We are waiting for some footage in Germany to be edited, it was done for some filming we did in Switzerland in fact about three years ago and then we did another shoot at the end of last year and we are going to put the two together, and I'm working on the history bit...so, where was I ? Yeah, so we took, we shot some footage in Osterbrook and we are going to use that as a kind of purpose live thing and then I am working on this history bit, a lot of which was compiled for us by our dear friend Herb Staehr who was the chronicler of all of the bands history and wrote a book about it but unfortunately he died at Christmas last year.

    AM : Yes I saw this sad news on your website.

    Ric : A very, very nice man...It's very sad it was such a shock he died, really without any warning and he was only in his fifties, so it's sad (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews.com yeah but anyway I am using a fair bit of that material, but also I do a talk called "From Mansfield, which is where I was born in England to Woodstock and beyond" and it's two hours and I am going to bring it to Germany in fact, maybe into France too, and it's the history of the band it's has photographs and video, the whole thing, and then I do an hour take at Woodstock, and have a little break, and the second part is Woodstock and beyond, then I finish up obviously with the drum solo, so it appeals to everybody, to fans of the band and also to drummers, so I've got to find a potential dates for next year in Germany where I am taking that and maybe we can bring in to France.

    Ric : Do you think that will appeal ?

    AM : Yes I think.

    Ric : Small venues about 100-150 people you know, nice, I mean this room for instance will be nice or little bit bigger than that and I do it as like I'm talking to you, like I'm sitting in my living room telling the story. I have done it in England and it has gone down very well...we shall see. So that's the future - I think the band will continue as long as we can stand up ! (laughing)

    AM : Yes, we hope so !

    Ric : Thanks very much...both of you...I appreciate it.