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MP3 Rick Kaval - Land of the Free

In Land of The Free versatile musician, composer, & songwriter Rick Kaval takes an introspective look at his own life experiences that many listeners will readily relate to. Brotherhood, love, family, loss, & change are themes that weave throughout this.

10 MP3 Songs in this album (45:07) !
Related styles: ROCK: Rock & Roll, ROCK: Acoustic

People who are interested in Neil Young should consider this download.

- I started learning piano at about 7 years old- My Mom was a piano teacher. She had a hard time teaching me so she took me to a private teacher. Wasn''t long before the teacher realized that I wasn''t reading the music, as I''d ask her to play it and watch a listen. Then I’d play it.

-Somehow moved to the drums. A friend asked me to take drum lessons with him to be in the drum and bugle corps. I never did join the drum and bugle corps but continued to play through middle school years while taking lessons at school and was in the school band and orchestra. My dad bought me my first set of drums from Alto Music in Monsey, NY. I know my dad didn’t have the cash to lay out for a new set of drums, but I was happy to get an almost full set of Ludwig’s- That''s what Ringo had man..... I remember playing those first gigs at the Pearl River Middle School like they were yesterday. We called ourselves, “The Naked Grape”. The cool thing was, the soon to be back up group for John Lennon, The Elephants’ Memory would play there too, so I got a lot of tips from them. I really don''t know how my parents put up with us playing in the basement. My first band consisted of my brother Jim on guitar, Jim Wannamaker on bass and Rich Vlosky on guitar too. We used to have a girl from down south, Cheyenne Swan as a singer at times. She was a good singer, but mostly she was one of few girls with boobs. Jim Wannamaker and his brother were good with electronics and built some great speaker boxes. So for a bunch of kids, we could really deal out the volume. They also built strobe lights and we even had a tape delay that they had made.

-I hit high school and did the high school rock band thing. Not through the school, but on our own. The problem was that I couldn’t carry the drums around like I could a guitar. You know, sit on “the hill” play and sing with the hippie chicks. Then I wanted a car, so I sold the drums and bought a VW square back. (That’s a whole other story). At that point I started playing guitar and bass. I had no more drums. Wound up playing bass in a band with Rich Vlosky on guitar again and Joe Taffuri on drums. We had fun for a while but I was too much of a perfectionist and quit the band when they wanted to “play out”, before we were ready. My summers were spent at a fresh air camp. I wasn’t a “city kid” but one of my friend’s dads had been a counselor and thought that would be good for us to get “citified”. It was a melting pot of backgrounds and music. I learned a lot from friends and played a lot. It gave me my first experience playing in front of larger groups of people too. It also gave me an interest in Latin Music. Salsa music had hit an all time high in the 70’s.
High school started winding down as the class of 1974 was about to hit the road. My dad was pressuring me to pick a college to attend in the fall. I wanted to go for music, but couldn’t stand the thought of another 4 years. I decided to go to Sullivan County Community College for Hotel Technology to learn how to cook. I thought I’d be a hermit and live off the land or something and figured that 2 years instead of 4 was a much better idea.

- Little did I know when I started taking classes at Sullivan, I’d be taking some music classes too. I remember my first music professor was a “man of the cloth”. I think it was Gregorian stuff we were singing when he told me I should pursue music. “Keep at it”, he’d said. Wouldn’t you know it, that summer, one of the guys; Rod Funston came back to camp playing the bass like a madman? One year at Berklee had turned him into an animal. It was then; I decided to stop fooling around and get my butt to Berklee. I should have graduated Sullivan that year (another story), but needed a couple classes and wound up attending Rockland Community College in NY. While at RCC I took a number of music classes which I thought were great. The best thing though was taking my first formal guitar lesson with a local guitar genius, Richie Hart. Richie was the one to go to “shed some wood” as they say. I walked out of that first lesson and wondered why I hadn’t done this years ago? All the fiddling around….I could have cut years off getting it together. Well, Richie Hart got me ready for Berklee as best he could. He had graduated from there and was very well remembered by the staff and faculty there. He’d certainly left his mark. After he left Berklee he had started a jazz band that played at “The Office” in Nyack, NY. When you walked into the place, horn players were seated near the entrance and would have to move their horns to the side while they were playing to make room to let you by. The band was so big for that place it was like you were walking into a speaker box.

- When I got to Berklee, reality hit. Hard. I was just another number. It was like a meat shop of guitar players. I learned very quickly, if I wanted to make it out alive, the days of partying till late night and cramming were over. It just wasn’t the kind of thing you could “cram” for. It was a 24- 7 cram. Muscle memory. I didn’t go out much. I would go and see Pat Metheny in a small club on occasion though. That was awesome. He was really amazing to watch and listen to. Unbelievable stuff. He is truly an American treasure. I only wished I could play like him. As I made my way through Berklee, I was able to take some new and interesting classes. One of my favorites was a song writing class with Pat Pattison. So there I was in a jazz school learning how to write “pop” songs! I love jazz, but I figured at that point I just didn’t have jazz flowing through my finger tips as some of the meat shop guitar virtuosos had. I’d be somewhat of a spectator at that. I decided to keep to my roots. Neil Young was my hero and decided to stick with him. They (Berklee) had told us that we need someone to emulate. Pick someone. I picked Neil. You should have seen the looks and heard the comments I’d get. It was at that point I hooked up with a guitar player, Ethan Anneshansely. He’d been into lots of different rock guitarists, but his hero was Angus Young of AC/DC. I have to give Ethan the credit of introducing me to the “Auto Pilot”. I had been so stuck on the “scales and technique” that I couldn’t get out of my own way. He told me to stop thinking about all that crap, and just play. For the first time I felt like a free man.

- More to come……

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