Time Won’t Let Me

April 15, 2007 at 11:26 pm 2 comments

Taken at Tritone, Thurs. 4/12

Jay Schwartz:

I forget if I met Rick at Upstairs at Nick’s or the Firenze Tavern, two
earlier venues Rick did booking for. I got to know him much better at a bar
called Bennie’s, which he and partner Dave Rogers soon bought and
transformed to Tritone. That’s where Rick let me do more or less whatever I
wanted. First I booked a couple of Secret Cinema movie screenings (the
features RECORD CITY and BUCKTOWN), and later, music events, with me and/or
my wife Silvia spinning various themes of obscure music, both with and
without bands. If I said I wanted to devote a whole night to “sunshine pop”
music (a genre which was the polar opposite of the punk and garage rock
that Rick favored) or to Spanish ’60s records (even before Silvia moved
here and she’d discovered a group of Spaniards living in Philly, i.e.,
before there was any logical reason to do such a thing), Rick said go
ahead, and never batted an eyelash. If said musical experiments were
occasionally less popular than we’d both hoped, he encouraged me to try
something else down the road.

Years before, a friend with a band told me that Rick D. was the only nice
guy to deal with when trying to book his group. While I had some
connections through Secret Cinema and did deal with a few other clubs then,
I later realized what my friend meant. After years of doing these
semi-vanity productions at Tritone mainly because Rick was so nice to deal
with, it only just dawned on me that at this point I don’t even know who
currently is booking the other clubs in town.

Rick was a cult movie fan himself, and used to run video screenings at the
Firenze. I never approved of video screenings of movies, but Rick did it in
a low key way, and always had interesting taste, with lots of obscurities
form the Something Weird video label. He also used to have these running
sometimes while bands played. I still wish I had asked what the title was
of this one weirdo Japanese sci-fi thriller that was one of the strangest
things I’d ever seen. I now wished I’d asked him lots of things…I never
even learned what his real last name was until he died (I thought I knew
it, but it turned out there were whole extra syllables that I didn’t know
about!)

If I ran a d.j. night at Tritone, I usually had a lot of gear to pack up at
the end of the night — especially at the earlier events where I was
foolish enough to bring audio AND film equipment, so that I could provide
visuals and sort of kosher the “Secret Cinema” labeling of the event. After
a few nights of nearly falling asleep while packing all of this stuff up, I
decided I had the right to call anything I did Secret Cinema, and that
presenting either just film or just music was enough work for one night.
Even still, it can take me a while to pack up the equipment, and when
everything is boxed up and on the handtruck, I would be more than ready to
head home and get to sleep, right after waving goodbye to Rick and thanking
him for the gig.

However, that last step never went as fast as I planned, because it
inevitably led to a multi-branched conversation with Rick about anything
and everything that popped into our heads, peppered with Rick’s famously
laconic wit. Five minutes became ten became twenty, thirty, and sometimes
more, and when I finally left I knew I would be that much more tired the
next day, but I never cared because talking to Rick was always interesting
and fun. Rick loved talking to people and really thrived running a bar. Now
I’ll have all that time back in my life, but I don’t feel like I’m gaining
anything in the bargain. I feel cheated.

Today I attended Rick D’s memorial service, along with what seemed like
hundreds of other people. I knew many, but most I did not know. That crowd
contained people of every walk of life, of every race, every age group,
from several different eras of Philly underground music history and people
far removed from the music scene. That he touched so many people and so
many kinds of people in his short time on earth is the best testament to
his character, his warmth and his generous spirit.

Our sympathies go out to his family and to his friends, which probably
includes everyone who ever met him.

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Entry filed under: Rick D.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. masterdan  |  August 14, 2007 at 8:45 am

    love the post

    Reply
  • 2. Erick G. Hansen  |  February 17, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Skiladika was originally a derogatory term used to express the more decadent side of “laiki” music in the early 1960s. The name literally translates to “doggy” which refers to the fact that the singing of some artists was considered so bad that it was said to resemble the barking of a dog. The term originally characterized cheap night clubs, but later was generalized by non-listeners of laiki music to most night clubs and Greek popular artists who used more Arabian elements than Greek in their music. Its wide use made many younger artists and people consider it a legitimate subgenre, thus losing its original negative meaning.

    Reply

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