Interview with Nevada-based blues guitarist Rick Berthod: High energy and soulful blues with Peripheral Visions.
How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
Music has made me into the person I am today. It has taken me upon many journeys, from my first guitar almost 40 years ago to when Rita King inducted me into the Las Vegas Blues Hall of Fame in June 2017. One of the best moments of my life. Music has defined me my entire life.
How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?
I would describe my sound as Blues based guitar music with some soul in there. It’s about the entire band playing the shit out of their instruments and about being in the moment of the music.
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Meeting BB King & Albert Collins was life changing. I’ll never forget when BB told me “Just do what you love & people will see your passion”. Albert Collins work ethic had a huge impact on my life. Albert would drive his bus and you could find him under the hood working on the motor before a show at the venue or hotel parking lot.
What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
There was just something special about old school recording. All musicians in the studio, live recording, the warmth of analog tape, laying down tracks until you get that magical recording.
Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
The first time I opened for BB King… BB was booked for two nights in a row at The Strand in Redondo Beach. I opened for BB that first night and it was an amazing show! Later that night, we were in BB’s bus and he asked me if I was opening the show the next day. After I told him they only booked us for theone night, BB replied”I want you to open for us tomorrow”.
Needless to say, I opened up for Mr. King the next night and 3 more shows in Southern California. A highlight of my career and life.
If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
I would like to see younger people accept and embrace live music. Technological advances have changed the music world. The young kids of today need to experience the raw honesty of live music in an intimate setting. Backing tracks, lip-syncing, auto tune need to go away.
What would you say characterizes Nevada’s blues scene in comparison to other local scenes and circuits?
The Nevada blues scene is alive and well. We have venues where you can see new artists as well as famous players. Las Vegas has a history which represents glamour of Vegas as well as the hunger, pain and sadness that also exists on the streets here.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?
Magic happens through creativity and spontaneity. Success is achieved through communication and collaboration.
What is the impact of Blues on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?
The Blues, (as is all music) is artistic expression. Some think of the Blues as sad and lonely music, but it can bring joy and happiness as well. Music can take people to a place where they forget about their everyday problems & make people smile more often.
Interview by Michael Limnios