There was a celebration this past Saturday night at Leo's Wood Fire Pizza Restaurant and Bar for a very good friend of mine. Sadly, I was unable to attend this celebration/(send off) of Richie Henry. It was his last public performance with his long time band, Red Room Arrangement. Based on the pictures and comments on Facebook, I believe it was a fun night for all. Since I was unable to participate in the festivities, I thought I would write about Richie this week and share the little that I do know about this talented, hard-working and amazing person.
I first met Richie years ago at the Julep Room in Ocean Springs, MS. I believe I was playing a gig there and through a mutual friend, Nick Necaise, I was introduced to Richie. I recall Richie being all hugs that night. Literally, I think he hugged everyone at least twice. Little did I know that this hug filled drummer would later become my friend and bandmate.
Richie's interest in music began at a young age. "I was playing clarinet in middle school... and I got interested in modern rock music and my dad had just passed away, so I wanted to play the drums because he played the drums.." If you ever meet or have met Richie, you may notice that he always wears a necklace with two small drum sticks on it.
"I do enjoy playing the drums and I like the way the drums make me feel.." said Richie. "I like getting better at my instrument, I like progressing, it feels good." Richie then discussed his progression in music and how he views it today. "When I started playing I liked really complicated music... I liked Steve Vai, Dream Theater and things like that.." "Now a-days I like a lot of things that don't have drums on it at all.. Like, I appreciate the song a little bit more than I did... I feel like the quality of the tune influences my playing more than music that's just there to have drums on it."
Richie did talk about his first performance being with his friend DJ Sewell at "Sound Hounds" in high school. "Which was kind of like the music club talent show, and we played an original song... and then I had a drum solo in the middle of it... And uh.. I just learned how to do a double stroke roll really well, so I just did that up and down the toms for a good 3 1/2 minutes" said with a smile and a slight chuckle.
A few folks came to Richie's mind when we talked about who influenced him over the years. "My dad definitely, only because I never got to do it while he was alive... Pat McGinley for sure, cuz he's the sh**..." He then mentioned Vinnie Colaiuta and his diversity which seemed to really inspire Richie.
Of course I had to ask him what inspires him to play music and what keeps him doing it. His impulse response was, "Not having to have a conventional job... Haha!" He then went on to say " At first I wanted to play in front of a million people, but now I don't really want that any more... I just want to create something nice."
Richie enjoys reading books (a lot), long walks in nature, cats and a new found interest in baseball. Sounds a little cliché but its the truth. He is also about to begin teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in Japan. It will be a year long trial to see if Richie likes it as a new career path. Did I mention Richie is pretty smart, because he did work really hard to get his degree and certification to do such things. So, yeah he's pretty smart to. As well as being an awesome drummer! Richie currently performs with the band Red Room Arrangement and Sera B. or at least until his departure.
Recently I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Richie on the Sera B. project. Richie stated "Working on that Sera B. record has been really cool. I've never experienced that before, so that was very cool!" Richie was such a professional in the studio. I would have never known he has not done that before.
I truly hope that our paths will continue to cross in the future. A big part of me is sad to see Richie go to Japan, but yet I am amazed that he has the courage to pursue something he is so passionate about. Richie, I know I didn't make it out to your send off celebration, but I hope that this little blog does you some justice. And for everyone else, I hope you will one day have the great pleasure of meeting and getting to know Richie. He has a humorous personality and humble soul. You truly are a great person! I wish you all the best on your new adventure!