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Meet Richard T. Anderson, Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Indie Filmmaker

Updated on January 5, 2016

Rich T Anderson Times Four

The all Rich T Anderson Band
The all Rich T Anderson Band | Source

Who Is Rich T. Anderson?

Richard Thomas Anderson is a Grand Rapids, Michigan singer, songwriter, musician, and independent filmmaker. Born in Michigan, Anderson is member of Generation X with a film and video degree, a whole bunch of talent, and a job working in retail that doesn't make use of his skills.

Richard has taught film and video classes for underprivileged teens and regularly creates videos for play on local public television station WGVU. He's belonged to several bands and has written hundreds of songs. He plays guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, and an assortment of other wacky things not generally defined as musical instruments.

While most of his work is largely unknown to the public, he played a low-rent mob goon and unlikely hero, Ringo, in the zombie movie, Too Dead to Die, an homage to low-budget B movies and served as a cinematographer on Murder Most Unkind. His first true love is music and he's wanted to make it for as long as he can remember. Take a journey with me down the page and into the heart of this under-appreciated artist.

That Rich, he's a triple threat.
That Rich, he's a triple threat. | Source

The Bit Where I Tell You Where You Can Listen to Some RTA Tunes for Free

You can find an assortment of music by RTA on his ReverbNation page. I highly recommend "Take It Back" as your starter course because the harmonica at the front is divine and the contrast between the energetic little man and that big angry voice blows my mind every time. "Tumbling" is another song I think is a "must hear" tune because it's a great example of his use of household items as musical instruments.

An Interview with Rich T Anderson Regarding Himself and NaCl

Kylyssa: What artists would you say have had the most influence on your musical voice?

Rich: That is a difficult question to answer. I love music and its many forms. I know that the Beatle's influence comes through pretty strong in some cases. Especially their willingness to experiment sonically. Other strong influences have been Billy Joel, the Pixies, Prince, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, and They Might be Giants.


Kylyssa: When did you first start making music?

Rich: I started to learn the guitar when I was probably 16. I wrote my first song some time in 1987. My friend Darrin had a four-track and we promptly started recording whenever we got together. Before long I got my own four-track and I would record alone or with Joel and/or Darrin all the time. In the early nineties I was writing and recording relentlessly.

Kylyssa: Where did you grow up?

Rich: I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Specifically in the Burton Heights Neighborhood. It was a pretty diverse neighborhood and we all got along even with the token racist family that wanted to leave.


Kylyssa: When did you first notice music as a concept?

Rich: I think I noticed music before my memories start. My dad always had music going. He had to teach me to use the record player because I just wouldn't keep my hands off it no matter where he put it.


Kylyssa: What is music to you?

Rich: It's a form of expression. A means of communicating. The sounds can express emotions that are hard to put into words. The lyrics can be poetic or not.


Kylyssa: How did you learn to play guitar?

Rich: I took lessons for six months at Kik and Associate's Music store. My teacher was Steve Korsen. K-O-R-S-E-N, I think that's how his name was spelled. But I picked up things from everyone I met along the way. Or learned things on my own to try to get some sound I wanted.

Kylyssa: What did you study in college?

Rich: Film and Video Production. There wasn't really and audio recording emphasis at the time, but I took all the audio classes because I had the idea I'd like to work in a recording studio.


Kylyssa: How did you meet your producer, Jupiter Jones, aka Mark Rehl?

Rich: I was taking the third Audio class. Joe McCargar, my professor, taught this class from the recording studio he worked at, Rivercity Studios. Mark Rehl was working there at the time, mostly recording at night. He was recording bands, and the daytime was really filled up with commercial recording. After the class I took an Independant Study to continue work on my second album, "Why Drink Bread?"

At that time Mark was recording with Domestic Problems and Mission Orange. I'd bug them during sessions. I got the guys from Mission Orange to play on one song and Mark to play on two of them. Thus began our collaboration.

NaCl

Front cover of NaCl indie rock album by RTA
Front cover of NaCl indie rock album by RTA | Source

One Last Question...

Kylyssa: How did you meet the other people who provided musical talent on this album?

Rich: Well. That's a long story or stories.

It's hard to say that my friend Joel is a contributer or not. I took a rough recording of him playing the drums and recreated it using samples on the song "Trip and Fall." so if that counts, I met Joel in high school we were both in band for the first time, trying to be percussionists. They'd sent the lot of us to a practice room where Joel turned to me and said, "You suck."

Darrin plays for real on "Trip and Fall". He and I met as babies because our dads went to high school together. He was one of my first musical partners. When I was just learning guitar, my mom told me that Darrin's mom told her that he was into music, too. We had a meeting of the minds. Lots of talk about Pink Floyd if I recall and we recorded a really rough version of his and Chris' song "I Wanna Be a Hippie."

Mandy Kubik plays Piano on both "Don't Forget the Salt" and "If I Kiss You." I met Mandy my first day working at Malecki Music. She showed me how to file music and then was off for a week or so to have surgery. I tried making music with her and her boyfriend at the time, John. It was fun but didn't go more than a few jam sessions. In 2006 we started working together and trying to get a band together. The result was Keys to the Confessional, the band that backs me on "Don't Forget the Salt."

Zeke Choffel, who plays bass on "Don't Forget the Salt," I met when Mandy and I were putting the band together. He was a lot of fun to play with, always full of energy.

Dave Smith is the drummer on "Don't Forget the Salt." I met him though Mandy. He had a good system of figuring out a song and then formating his part. We didn't use a click track, but he was consistant through the few takes that we did that we were able to edit a little.

Kevin Murphy plays harmonica on "Don't Forget the Salt" and might also play on "Take it Back". I met him at the open mic at Quinn & Tuite's Irish Pub. I found that if he liked a song he'd come up with his harminica and play along with no problem.

Jim Rockwood Plays Drums on "Make Sense," "Take it Back," and "NAFTA ? NaCl." I met Jim through Mark. The two of them played in a band called Einstien together back in the day. We met when Mark needed a song to record for his class at Aquinas College. I came up with a bit of a progression and we met at Jim's house to flesh it out.

Derrick Cross (drums), Matt Black (bass), Mark Siet (lead guitar) all play on Pirate Booty. I met Matt and Mark at Sky Productions where we were all doing an internship. I was planning to record drums one day, intending to play them myself, when Darrick showed up. We did three takes of him Jamming to the click and I edited it to make sense, adding just a little of my own playing.

Image used on Keys to the Confessional flier. K2C played on several songs in the album NaCl.
Image used on Keys to the Confessional flier. K2C played on several songs in the album NaCl. | Source

A Review of NaCl

NaCl is the chemical formula for Sodium Chloride, most commonly known as salt. It's the kind of salt found on kitchen tables, in the ocean, and in the blood, sweat, and tears of human beings. NaCl is an album about many of those things. Created by salt of the earth, Richard T Anderson, an independent singer/songwriter on a shoestring budget it spans an eclectic range of styles from blues to folk, from alternative to pop, but it's mostly rock and roll with a little bit of saline goodness inside.

Anderson has been compared to Weird Al Yankovic, Modest Mouse, Phish, and Blues Traveler but I don't necessarily agree. Maybe you should listen to some of his music and tell me what you think?

The songs on NaCl were gestated in a brain suckled and weaned on The Beatles and poured out of the mouth and fingertips of a man in love with sound. He took those songs in a rusty bucket to Jupiter Jones, his friend and producer, and together they polished those salty crystals of sound until they shined. Jupiter is a sound production educator and he has a fine ear for music. He has worked with Domestic Problems and a number of other local bands. Jupiter also has a heart made of dreams, a mind made for the microscopic dissection of song, and the spleen of a man in love with Phil Collins in a completely platonic way. Anderson has the experimental urges of a mad scientist and the soul of poet but he'll give it back in exchange for a cherry-red electric guitar. The two make an amazing team.

By the time you've finished listening to this album, Anderson will have fallen in and out of love a bunch of times, kissed a girl who wears pirate panties, defined love itself, failed to shoot a photograph nailed to a tree, turned into a trance zombie, and apologized for being a jerk.

He uses odd things for percussion like a manual typewriter, scissors, breaking glass, and the sometimes tortured sounds of household objects used in unnatural ways. That's only a few of the weird things he does.

Amazon designates this album as 'explicit' but it really just has a few naughty words in it here and there and not in every song.

If any of this makes you curious, you can listen to some versions of some of the songs on this album on ReverbNation.

If a few random liberal lyrics or naughty words will offend or if you've got something against the idea that all loves are equal regardless of gender, just walk on by. But you'll be missing at least one awesome harmonica solo and some great dirty guitar.


Don't Forget the Salt, Indie Music Video from the NaCl Album

NaCl
NaCl

NaCl is available as a CD through Amazon. Digital versions will soon be available elsewhere.

 

Pirate Booty, a Rock and Roll Love Song by Rich T Anderson from the NaCl Album

A Little about Pirate Booty from NaCl

Pirate Booty is a fun, rollicking romp of a song from the album NaCl. It is also the first love song my partner, Rich T. Anderson, wrote for me. Like him, it's silly, sweet, and a little bit weird. It has obscure references no one will recognize and innuendos a cryptographer couldn't figure out but it's catchy even if you don't know what the lyrics mean. People seem fond of giving their own meanings to the lyrics and that is wonderful. It can really mean anything you want it to.

Rich creates a wide variety of music and he's been compared to all sorts of musicians and vocalists depending on which songs people have heard. He's been compared to Weird Al Yankovic by people who've heard Pirate Booty, possibly because it's one of Anderson's straight-up novelty songs. He's not as slick as the great Yankovic but his goofiness has a charm of its own. I don't know, maybe it's just because I'm madly in love with the guy.

The tune has been described as "a bouncy earworm" by one reviewer.

Although labeled explicit on Amazon, Pirate Booty isn't, however, the album it comes from has four naughty words in it spread around on different songs. The song was inspired by my favorite pair of novelty panties but, as mentioned earlier, the lyrics are too impenetrable to be raunchy

Trip and Fall, Independent Music Video by Rich T Anderson

On Tumbling from NaCl

Tumbling is a song about relationships and laundromats. It is also one of my favorite songs off the album. I really enjoy the percussion style and the use of unconventional instruments like scissors and dryers. The odd lyrics are right up my alley, too, and par for the course with this artist.

How I Would Describe Tumbling

Scissors and other odd things provide percussion in this quirky and painfully honest love song while pop culture references to Ferris Buellor's Day Off inject a sense of self-deprecating humor. While translucently tinged with the odd and the slightly offbeat, Tumbling is a solid rock song about a man contemplating the nature of his failing relationship while washing clothes in the Laundromat.

Tumbling Lyrics Written by: RTA

CH: B-G=C-F#-A

Tell me that passion can last forever

Tell me that caring is love, and infatuation is not

Tell me that we can be happy this way

In spite of my memories and all the lies

V1: F-C#=A-Ab

Don't send me to do laundry, I'm too preoccupied

With thoughts of the ancient Romans

Who I'm certain weren't romantic at all

An Indian sweeps as your skirt goes in the dryer

Bridge 1: B-C-C# (2)=C#-C-B

And I'm in the same spot

I was last time

There's nothing you can do about it, but...

Repeat Chorus with "solo"

V2:

Through the dryer's hum; I am trying to read

The girl with the short hair is reading, too

I'm trapped by some flaw like a classical myth

Tumbling round and round with your damp clothes

Bridge 2:

It's all because

I didn't want to be Cameron Frye

Nothing left to do or say

Chorus 2:

Tell me that passion can last us our lifetimes

Please don't tell me that it's already fled

And tell me that we can be happy this way

Please don't say that it was all a lie

Fini: F#-A (3)=B-C-C#

Let's be wise

No more lies

Tumble dry

copyright RTA Inc.

Lyrics used with permission from Rich T. Anderson

This song was, fairly obviously, conceived in a laundromat, the offspring of a dying romance and a tendency to over-think just about everything.

Live Cover of "Fortunate Son" with RTA as Vocalist/Drummer in Persistent Flashback Disorder

Coming Soon, Music Videos from All Talk and No Trousers

RTA is currently editing sound and video for two new music videos from his upcoming album, All Talk and No Trousers. "When Can I Go Home," his wage-slave working man's anthem should be in video format within the next few months or so, followed shortly thereafter by "You're the Lucky Winner of a Kick in the Ass" starring Darrin Doyle, Jason Roth, and Cyrille Neuman.

© 2015 Kylyssa Shay

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      Cindy 2 years ago

      Nice article! Nice to see our locals getting some well deserved recognition!

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