Marc Ribler - Brooklyn Born Beatle
Marc Ribler (www.marcribbler.com) might remind you a little of Tom Petty, but his scope of composition on the new Life Is But A Dream album is as pliable as a late 60's Beatles album, done in THIS decade. No wonder he chose to pose with that red-covered Beatles' Greatest Hits album for the picture on the back of Dream.
His music: upbeat, loudly recorded, while carefully keeping melodies as the means, not the end. His lyrics: significantly introspective, sharply relating and elating a media- and love- inspired childhood. His major influences as a guitarist are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, Alvin Lee, Dicky Betts, Jerry Garcia and Keith Richards just to name a few. Just another kid raised on radio.
"I grew up listening to WABC AM and WNEW FM radio in NYC," says Marc, "and essentially I grew up with the great pop and rock 'n' roll of the 70's, and of course the bleed over of the 60's. I naturally have a radio head and instinctively write with hooks. When I was a kid, almost every song that I heard, after one listen I would be walking down the street humming it. I don't think popular music could ever be that inventive and fresh again. All that I can do is respond to the great well of stimuli that I received as a youth and do my own music with the most integrity and allegiance to the greats that I can."
Thus was born the album. And like every Dream album, it takes time to get it right. "The title song was written in 1997 when I lived in Manhattan and I was going through a bit of a stressful period: financially, spiritually and philosophically. The bulk of the album was written in the last couple of years and there are a couple of tunes that I wrote 9 years ago - i.e. 'Right in Your Backyard,' 'Watchin the World Go By,' and 'Everybody's Got Somethin to Say.' 'Prime Time TV' was also written then and funny (or sad) enough, the second verse about Saddam Hussein is still as relevant today as it was then.
"I started recording the album in October of 2002 and completed the mixes in May 2003. I co-produced the album with my close friend, Rich Mercurio who also plays drums on the tracks. Rich and I met in 1996 and we've always spoken about working together - finally, the time was right.
"I've always produced my own recordings by myself and I was feeling like I needed to hear an outside objective view on the treatment of the production of my record, and Rich was the absolute right person for the job. We've always had a very honest, uninhibited communication line between us and we've always had great musical chemistry. So I thought it'd be a great experience, and it was. Aside from the fact that he's one of the finest drummers in NYC."
One of the best songs on the album is "Prime Time TV," which, unfortunately, every couch croucher can relate to. Marc explains that "it is the story of and impact that TV has had on me and how in the 70's things were simpler - without the internet or 500+ cable TV stations or the media blitz and big brother living on every street corner and in our living room curtains."
It's not as strong as it sounds. There's nothing too heavy about the album. This is entertainment. But there is pain in birth. "The songs 'I Won't Give Up,' 'Learnin' to Laugh it Off,' and 'Gravity' were inspired by a near fatal illness that I experienced in 1999-2000 that, Thank God, is far behind me now. All of the songs are inspired by my search for truth and the deeper meaning in why things are the way they are in this life. And also not taking it all so seriously, as I am more than capable of doing.
"They also deal with obsession and addictive behavior such as in 'Identity Crisis.' But it all comes down to the fact that I am so grateful that I was blessed with the gift of songwriting. When I'm in the process of 'doing it' (the writing), I don't usually know where I will end up or what great insight I will find out about myself or the human condition, but in the end I realize that without having this process to vent and discover myself, I don't think I would be 'here.'"
There's more to primal therapy than just creating the tunes. Marc and a crew of three others replicate his arresting song catalog onstage. "I also do all the originals solo with an acoustic guitar and a loop box that I create accompaniment with on the 'fly.' This helps recreate more of an ensemble type of sound without using prerecorded tracks or sequencers (which I find to be sterile and uninteresting). The cool thing about creating the loops live is that each song is always fresh and spontaneous as far as tempo, feel and dynamics. It makes it more interesting and creative for me when I do solo gigs and the audience wonders where all the sound is coming from."
He mostly plays all originals from the CD, "plus whatever new songs I am working on at any given time. Usually I try them out at my local gigs to get a fix on the public's reaction. This is a great barometer for me. I also perform classic rock tunes and I always take requests. I know at least a thousand Classic rock tunes from The Beatles, Dylan, Stones, Hendrix, Led Zepplin, etc."
A lot of people - those who refuse to watch black and white movies, for instance - seem to think that yesterday is history. Smart ones like Marc know that only the names change; you're wise to mix the now and then into Today. He sees himself as "a rootsy singer songwriter; pop, rock 'n' roll with a strong allegiance to the classics that I grew up listening to. Utilizing some state of the art production values without being assembly-line sounding or 'flavor of the week.'" It's the only way to progress. And progress Marc Ribler wants to do.
"As John Lennon said, 'To the topper most of the popper most.' I have an incredible burning desire to express myself and it has been my lifelong dream to bring my music to the masses. Once I have the platform and popularity that is necessary, it is also in my heart and spirit to do whatever good I can to help those less fortunate through charity (fundraising, etc.) and whatever way I can help others to make this world a better place."
So what's keeping him busy these days, now that the album's out? "I recently performed some of my original music with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull at Town Hall NYC (the 'Rubbing Elbows' Tour). As a result of that show Bob Buchmann (the program director at Q104.3, the country's biggest classic rock station) who M.C'd that night after hearing my performance of 'Identity Crisis' with Ian and his band, committed to playing my music on the syndicated show 'Out Of The Box' hosted by Jonathan Clarke on Q104.3.
They feature independent artists every Sunday night at 9 p.m. The show aired on Dec 21st and as a result, there is a link to my site on the Q104.3 site (www.waxq.com) and lots of folks have purchased cd's as well. My band has been performing locally in NJ and we're planning to do many more national shows later in 2004."
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