MP3 Rick Berlin - Old Stag
Like an old stag in the woods, he still stands, unbowed, shaky legs - an astute, empathetic observer of the painful distance between souls and of the exhilarating, oddball way we all manage to survive.
13 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Alternative Folk, FOLK: like Joni
First off: what has been said:
"...plucked-from-life stories, tough piano playing. Berlin approaches the piano like a good punk-rock guitarist, driving the grooves in a spare forceful way, yet darting into angular blocks of sound and laying snatches of melody over his rhythm lines. Next to his voice — which rises and sinks like an emotional barometer of his lyrics, his homespun piano style is a most distinctive instrument. He holds nothing back. There''s something genuine and special in the chemistry of his voice, playing, and songs."
(TED DROZDOWSKI Cellars By Starlight - The Boston Phoenix)
Simple, skeletal portraiture. The Song Itself - unadorned. "...the melodies could have passed muster in the Brill Building." (Robin Vaughan - The Boston Herald) "For the uninitiated, be prepared; the songs are startlingly confessional, filled with the kind of soul-bearing + rapid-fire beauty that has always been Berlin''s trademark." (Kevin O''Hare - THE SPRINGFIELD UNION-NEWS)
As blatent as a torn pocket. As confused as a kid stuck in jail. As sad as a beautiful girl alone on a street corner, her heart + loss a thousand miles away. Absurd as a leering drunk with a beer gut or a drive past midnight to nowhere - Berlin creates a world, a town, a topography that seems as familiar as it is unusual. "Berlin''s songs evoke characters as colorful as the crowds that gather to hear them, and he willingly shares the highs and lows of his life with a level of depth rarely captured through song." (Christopher Muther - BAY WINDOWS)
THE AWFUL TRUTH ABOUT RICK BERLIN (continues)
1945 Born Richard Gustave Kinscherf III, Sioux City, Iowa
1957 Shook hands with Richard Nixon at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. (Weak grip.)
1967 Graduated from Yale University. (BA Pre-Architecture, American Studies, Whiffenpoofs). Turned down full scholarship to Yale Grad School of Architecture. Designed toilets for Vincent Kling & Associates. Rejected by Peace Corps.
1968 Taught special class in Moosup, Connecticut public school system. Quit.
1969 Taught English and photography at Whitman School_in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Got fired. Dropped acid before_physical exam for the draft. Rejected, 4F.
1970 Accepted to Yale School of Drama, full scholarship. Dropped out. Auditioned for Jim Steinman''s Neverland. Wrestled with Richard Gere.
1971 Spent three months making a movie in Grenada, West Indies. All 35 members of cast and crew arrested and jailed for nudity.
1972 New Haven, Connecticut. Worked in porno bookstore, started writing songs.
1973 Formed band called Orchestra Luna in Boston. Met Danny Fields, shopped demos in NY City. Performed at Frank Zappa''s 10th Anniversary party with LaBelle and Patti Smith. Rubbed elbows with Andy Warhol, Lance Loud, Jane Friedman, Susan Blond, Peter Berlin. Opened for Weather Report, Roxy Music, Split Endz. Began dropping names.
1974 Orchestra Luna is signed by Epic Records. Released eponymous debut album. (WBCN begins tradition of playing ''You Gotta Have Heart'' for the Red Sox on opening day.) Springsteen, the Eagles, Linda Rondstadt join CBS. Orchestra_Luna is dropped.
1976 Orchestra Luna II is formed, including Karla DeVito. Band becomes regulars on the NY City/CBGB''s scene with Talking Heads, Ramones, Blondie, Television, etc. Seymour Stein (Sire Records) offers O.L. a contract. Band rejects offer, feeling they could do better. They couldn''t.
1977 Orchestra Luna performs at Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. with Ellen Foley in Jim Steinman''s production of Neverland. Orchestra Luna showcases for labels at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, NY City. All labels pass. Rick breaks his foot. Karla DeVito joins Meatloaf. Orchestra Luna disintegrates.
1978 New band called Luna is formed, has hit single ''Hooray for Hollywood''. Rick changes last name to Berlin. No one can spell Kinscherf.
1979 Luna is offered deal by Steve Popovitch at Cleveland International/Epic. Band''s former producer gets greedy, refuses to release the recording rights for less than $100.000. Deal fizzles, as does Luna.
1981 New band, Berlin Airlift has major success on Boston radio with ''Over The Hill'' and ''Don''t Stop Me From Crying''.
1982 Ron Alexenberg signs Berlin Airlift to Handshake/CBS Records. Band releases eponymous debut album. Six weeks later Handshake declares bankruptcy, album dies in infancy. Rick writes quasi-autobiography titled Kami Kazi.
1983 Berlin Airlift opens for J. Geils Band holiday tour. Releases six-song EP called Professionally Damaged, featuring ''Hunger Strikes,'' which becomes number one local song of the year on Boston''s WBCN.
1984 Berlin Airlift crashes to earth. Rick writes The Kingdom, a stage/movie musical about a whacko cult in Vermont and a boy with magic powers. Disney passes, saying ''It''s not family''.
1985 Yet another new band, Rick Berlin-The Movie.
1986 Taught drama and songwriting at Boston Technical High School. Co-created ''Boston For The World'', an ill-fated attempt to raise funds for the homeless through concert and event promotions.
1987 Rick Berlin-The Movie has a hit with ''Rock n Roll Romance'' which wins Rick Indie Songwriter of the Year at the Boston Music Awards.
1989 The Movie ends it''s run. Rick begins working as a waiter at Doyle''s (an Irish bar in Jamaica Plain). Writes a screenplay/murder mystery called I Never Loved A Man.
1990 New band, Rome Is Burning. By now a lot of managers and musicians have been chewed up.
1991 Rome burns to the ground. Rick begins solo career. Starts recording new material with former band mate Chet Cahill producing. Appears 47 times as informed bohemian citizen on local PBS affiliate WGBH talk show called The Group.
1992 Shot no-budget video of new song, ''Two Drunks Dancing''. Wins 2nd Prize in Boston Phoenix Video poll. Worked for Clinton/Gore Campaign Headquarters, Boston.
1993 New eleven-song recording of solo effort distributed to everyone in Rick''s phone book.
1994-5 Performs monthly at Don''t Tell Mama''s in NYC. Plays NY Gay Pride ''94 & ''95. On the pier. Follows cast of Angels In America. Verrry quiet afterwards.
1994-03 Performs 9 years (432 Monday nights) at Jacques (the oldest drag bar in the country) in Bay Village. Picks up showbiz tips from the Ol'' Rimma Rama herself, Sylvia Sydney.
1995 Dreams up/organizes 1st Annual Drags Dicks & Dykes 4 Life at Jacques. (20 bands, 14 Queens, etc). Raises 3.1 grand for AIDS Action Committee.
1995 Goes Abroad. High-school pigeon Frawnsaaay. Encounters rea life KGB-type PoliceBoy at Radost Cafe, in Prague.
1996 2nd Annual Drags Dicks & Dykes 4 Life at Quest. (40 bands, More Queens, etc). Raises 6.3 grand for AIDS Action Committee.
1996 Records LIVE AT JACQUES, 5 Mondays in a row. (Dan Cantor, producer.) Mike the queens at the pool table.
1997 Writes Go For It Girl about trip abroad. Who could have predicted that nobody wants to publish the genius novella?
1998 (January) Berlin dreams up Rock n Roll Romance Revival. They overtake local clubs with diverse local artists for one brief racing ride (April) Berlin fakes it up w/ ControlFreakInk: Produces (July thru December) a Corner Store (circa: End Of Century) variety show: Marlene Loses It At The Lizard (Lounge) Jugglers jiggle, tap dancers don''t show up, magicians flame out, Flamencos spin and clack, comedians laugh at their own jokes, teen, bald spoken word performers get their face in the Globe, independent movies are shown on sheets...
(September) GarageDog Records releases RickBerlinLIVE@Jacques (Rick pushes sells his own record like crack out of a backpack)
1999 Sick of watching other people hog the klieg lights (+ many horrible band names later) THE SHELLEY WINTERS PROJECT brakes the bubbly over the bow + hook up with David Minehan (Producer Of The Year, Boson Music Awards: 98, ''99) to begin recording at Woolly Mammoth Sound
2002 1 baby, 3 drummers, 2 bass players + 2 violinists later the CD is complete. Sign with Windjam + play all over the place. Bill Anderson (film maker) follows band around like a bloodhound + begins rough cut of Lightbulb in a Dark Room - a docu-drama about Berlin''s endless kareer + SHELLEY in all her glory.
2003 SHELLEY gets ugly passport photos, washes her hands (SARS - thinks about China) + opens in a ballpark for B52''s. SHELLEY WINTERS (herself) calls Berlin from LA (his teeth hit the floor). Back in Woolly w/ Min O''Han for SWPII.
2004 SHELLEY (the band) in a coma. Berlin mixes up last gasp CD (Forced To Swallow) at WOOLLY. Records new solo CD (Me & Van Gogh) – piano + voice only at Hi-N-Dry (Billy Conway producing, Tom Dube engineer). Stages https://www.tradebit.com benefit (BOSTON TEA PARTY 2 – DRUM BEAT AROUND THE BUSH) at the Milky Way one day after the Democratic Convention (raises 6 grand). Continues inevitable housework + changing of wallpaper in all inappropriate areas.
2005 Learns Final Cut Pro, interviews 60+ locals for 2008 documentary entitled JAMAICA PLAIN SPOKEN (Un-Gated Community In The 21st Century?)
2006 Releases Me & Van Gogh. Hot ink all over the place. Out of control CD release with 40 friends chosing one song of his from forever backwards.
2007 Begins new CD: working title: An Old Girl In A Young Dress. Half-way through filming and editing documentary. Web site: https://www.tradebit.com
Berlin plays piano.
Orchestra Luna (Epic) 1974
Berlin Airlift (Handshake/Epic) 1982
Professionally Damaged (EP - Self-released) 1983
Rick Berlin: The Movie (LP unreleased) 1989
Half In The Bag (LP unreleased) 199 2
The Kingdom (LP of musical of the same name - unreleased)
Rick Berlin LIVE @ Jacques 1996 (Garagedog Records)
The Shelley Winters Project (EP – Self-released) 2002
I Hate Everything But You (Windjam) 2003
Forced2Swallow (Self-released) 2005
Me & Van Gogh (Hi+Dry) 2006
Orchestra Luna Re-Release on SonyUK 2007
Many of these records can be heard on his website:
Rick Berlin site:
Rick Berlin''s MySpace:
JAMAICA PLAIN SPOKEN
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