BYRDWATCHER: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles
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MUSICIANS ASSOCIATED WITH THE BYRDS

Ra - Ri



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The Remains

Jonathan Richman

Stanard Ridgway

Bill Rinehart

Johnny Rivers

David Rivkin



The Remains

The Remains were a great rock band best remembered for "Don't Look Back," a Boston-only garage rock hit, later anthologized on the original Lenny Kaye compilation, Nuggets (Elektra, 1972).
The Remains opened for the Rolling Stones in 1965 and for the Beatles on their final US tour in August 1966. They recorded a single album, The Remains (Spoonfed, 1967), which has been reissued several times with additional tracks, sometimes under the name Barry and the Remains.
"Barry" was lead singer and guitarist Barry Tashian. The other band members were keyboardist Bill Briggs, drummer N.D. Smart, and bassist Vern Miller. All but Miller would later work with Gram Parsons. Tashian and Briggs played in the original incarnation of the Flying Burrito Brothers, which occasionally included Parsons. Later, Tashian and Smart played with Parsons and the Fallen Angels. Tashian went on to Emmylou Harris's Hot Band, and now performs as a bluegrass/country duo with his wife Holly Tashian. They have an official Barry and Holly Tashian website. Smart later backed Todd Rundgren on Ballad of Todd Rundgren (Ampex, 1970).


Jonathan Richman

Although Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers were managed by Eddie Tickner and Phil Kaufman in the early '70s, their sound couldn't have been farther away from that of Gram Parsons, or anyone else in the Byrds/Burritos axis. The Modern Lovers took the noisy drone of the Velvet Underground and turbo-charged it with the churning organ of future Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison. To hear what they might have sounded like at the wake for Gram Parsons, check out the only official document of that era, the live Precise Modern Lovers Order (Rounder, 1994).
Their proto-punk sound, as heard on the cult classic "Roadrunner," was recorded in the early '70s, with John Cale producing, but went unreleased until The Modern Lovers (Beserkley, 1976), after which it became a touchstone for several waves of punk rockers in the US and the UK.
The next year, Richman alienated all but his most ardent fans with his next release, on which a new band played mostly acoustic songs that sounded nothing like the Velvets and a lot like children's music. Yet even his goofiest late '70s albums contained gems like "Lonely Financial Zone," with its beautiful guitar intro, or the genuinely inspiring "Morning of Our Lives."
In the '80s, Richman built a new following that appreciated his ability to find wonder in the everyday: chewing gum wrappers, corner stores, toddlers, neon signs. Eventually he made his own (temporary) Nashville move on Jonathan Goes Country (Rounder, 1990).
Richman is one of the musicians that most people don't "get," including many critics and other jaded types. Those who scoff at his work are missing out on some winning songs and a guitarist of unappreciated sensitivity. For the best possible introduction to his music, check out a live show, where you'll discover a blend of sincerity, humor, wonderment, and intelligence that isn't always captured on his recorded work.
One aside for Parsons scholars: in Sid Griffin's book, Kim Fowley, who produced some aborted Modern Lovers demos in 1973, describes an incident in which Gram Parsons soothed a group of hostile Chicano bikers at a Modern Lovers gig. "I love Kim," said Richman when asked about this incident, "but that never happened.... With Phil Kaufman around, we just didn't have to worry about that sort of thing."
For more information on Richman, try the Abominable Lesbian Vampire Cappucino Bar in Cyberspace.


Stanard Ridgway

Stanard Ridgway was the lead singer of Wall of Voodoo, best known for their 1982 single, "Mexican Radio." He left the band for a solo career on first IRS Records and then Geffen. His latest project is called Drywall, and Ridgway has created a Drywall Website.


Bill Rinehart

Bill Rinehart was a guitarist with the Leaves, an LA band that, like early Love, straddled folk-rock and garage band proto-punk. Guitarist Rinehart co-wrote their first single, "Too Many People," a minor hit in the LA area. The Leaves' big single was "Hey Joe," which they learned from hearing the Byrds do it live. They released two versions of the song that failed to hit. Then the band released a third version, recorded after Rinehart's departure with his replacement Bob Arlen. This rendition hit the US Top 40 in June 1966.
To hear "Hey Joe," seek out Nuggets Volume One: The Hits (Rhino, 1984). To hear "Too Many People," look for Nuggets Volume Two: Punk (Rhino, 1984).
After his departure from the Leaves, Rinehart joined the first incarnation of the Gene Clark Group in the spring of 1966. He also played on Clark's first solo LP, Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers (Columbia, 1967).


Johnny Rivers

Johnny Rivers was a guitarist and singer active in LA in the '60s. The liner notes to the Byrds' In the Beginning correctly point out a mild Rivers influence in the early guitar work of Roger McGuinn (though their mutual inspiration by Chuck Berry may account for the similarity.)
Rivers also influenced Clarence White. Nashville West covered two songs associated with Rivers on their eponymous LP: Chuck Berry's "Memphis" and Tom T. Hall's "I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water" (also a 1965 hit for Charlie Rich).
Rivers was a fixture on the LA club scene. He had a run of hits in the '60s, many of them tasteful (but not bland) covers of R&B standards, like Chuck Berry's "Memphis" and Harold Dorman's "Mountain of Love." TV Theme "Secret Agent Man" and ballad "The Poor Side of Town" were also successful singles. His best work can be found on Johnny Rivers: Anthology (1964-1977) (Rhino, 1991).


David Rivkin

David Rivkin was a staff songwriter at Irving Music, the publishing arm of A&M Records, when he met Gram Parsons in 1971. Together they co-wrote "How Much I've Lied," which appeared on GP (Reprise, 1973). Rivkin is miscredited as "Pam Rifkin" on the LP and elsewhere has been called "Joshua Rifkin."
By the '80s, Rivkin had moved to Minneapolis and was working with Prince under the name "David Z." Rivkin is credited with recording several songs on Purple Rain (Warner Bros., 1984) and as one of several who recorded the songs for Parade (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1986). More importantly, he is credited with arranging that album's hit single, "Kiss." Rivkin has also produced for Prince's Paisley Park Studios, working with such artists as the Fine Young Cannibals, the Bo-Deans, and Jody Watley.


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Related Musicians | Musicians Associated with the Byrds | Ra - Ri

Welcome | News | LPs | History | Members | Spinoffs | Related | Reference | Sanctuary | About | NEXT SECTION

Artists Covered | Other Influences | Associates | Musicians Influenced | Byrd/Not a Byrd | NEXT CHAPTER

A - Bro | Bru - Bu | C | Da - Di | Do - E | F | G | H - J | K - Lea | Lev - Ma | Me - Mu | N | O - Pa | Pe - Q | Ra - Ri | Ro - Ru | S | T - V | W - Z | NEXT PAGE






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