MAILBAG: Readers Remember Rick D.


REST IN POWER: Grafitti Outside Tritone, 15th & South [Photo By SARA SHERR]

Hey Jon,

Scotty here, the fat blond soundman from Upstairs at Nick’s and so forth. Just saw you were the editor of this webzine and wanted to thank you for putting up a blurb about that idiot comment made in response to the statement about Rick D. booking Dobbs. That was me replying — some people just have no class at all.

The service was really highly emotionally-charged as to be expected but there was a huge turnout with tons of people showing their love for Rick and consoling the family.

I was just back in touch with him as I’ve been going through some major health issues these last 6 years or so. I finally got out of my wheelchair [degenerative disc disease] and Rick had decided to totally revamp and upgrade the Tritone PA system and add more sound dampening. I’m sure part of the reason he was doing the whole upgrade thing was basically to help create a job for me at his place, to help me get back to at least working part time when I was feeling well enough to do so. He was just that kind of muthafucker.

I was supposed to see him last Sunday as I had missed a meeting we had on Tuesday to finalize the deal and start putting things together. Then on Saturday, my roommate came in, who’s also really close to Rick, and told me about the heart attack. I was completely stunned and I still am, I mean he was in the happiest place in his life than I’ve ever seen him over the 17+ years I’ve been good friends with him. We didn’t see much of each other while I was sick as it was really hard for me to get around and money has been tight since I’m living on disability at the moment. He had stopped his late night drinking binges and all that stupid stuff a long, long time ago. he even had slimmed down a bit and was looking ready to take on the world.

It’s just not fair. He could sometimes be a huge asshole who could bust balls like no one else, but he was OUR asshole ballbuster, dammit!

I’m gonna try to put together some type of memorial CD, with the profits going towards perhaps helping his mom, sisters or Sarah his girlfriend out with any financial problems if they need it due to how sudden his passing was or perhaps some sort of physical memorial to him [say, bronzing one of his vests, lol]. Hopefully I should be able to pull it off, I have two somewhat minor spinal surgeries coming up and that may put a crimper on the whole thing but I may only need to get the ball rolling if I can find someone I can trust to help me out with it. Anybody interested in contributing or helping with this project can reach me at

Hope you are well there, guy, I miss mixing or even hearing the Psyclone Rangers.

Scotty Parker [soundman, ex-Thorazine]

PS I became a dad! she’s 18 months old and named Julia Rose…. such a damn sweetie.

PPS Here’s a link to some great posts in reaction to Rick’s passing by some longtime friends and his sister.

Secret Cinema’s Jay Schwartz writes in, after the jump…


JAY SCHWARTZ, CURATOR, SECRET CINEMA: 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 arickd.jpg 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.)

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 from 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. It would 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.

Jay Schwartz


The YouTube ID of lBbuPnfG0Vo&mode=related&search= is invalid. JIM CARROLL: People Who Died

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