Musician Rick Boucher, former drummer for Betty’s Not a Vitamin and Ricky Wilcox and the Moonsnakes, has been dealt some major life challenges, wrought by diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.
Instead of turning inward and tuning the world out, he’s tuning us into his Rick’s Records Podcast to bring attention to noteworthy power pop/melodic rock musicians via live in-studio performances and probing interviews.
“Despite the sometimes insurmountable-seeming health issues, music has always been a constant in my world,” Boucher says, “and now not being able to be out in the musical trenches of gigging 200-plus gigs a year and all that that involves, I see the podcast as a way for me to make a small difference and be the voice of the indie artist and host a platform for their art to be heard.”
Here’s more of what he had to say about this exciting new chapter in his life.
Are you still able to play live?æ
With being a diabetic for the last 18 years, the disease has taken away my ability to play live. After almost 30 years of gigging around the Tampa Bay area, I now suffer from extreme diabetic neuropathy that uses me to use a walker or power chair for mobility. I am legally blind and am a three times a week dialysis patient. Hopefully this fall I will be getting on a donor list. The mobility issues started in 2012 and at that time I realized that my identity as a musician and what I had done all these years, was being robbed from me. It took me several years to wrap my mind around this new phase and to what my new reality was now. Thank God I had a strong support system in my wife, Jennifer, and our daughters, as well as extended family. The diabetes and all its complications actually made me stop and obviously slow down and take stock in what I did have and to remind myself that I had had a pretty good run for all those years. There were thousands of gigs, brushes with fame and some fantastic relationships that were forged.
What was your learning curve setting up a podcast?
I had actually been approached by a small bay area radio station to host a radio show and that really started me thinking about while I could no longer be on stage, I could still share my passion for music with a audience. When the station director and I couldnäó»t see eye to eye on a format, I had a friend who was doing a Bluegrass/Americana Folk podcast and he started telling me about how to do it and really opened my eyes to the industry. Suddenly I found myself as the music director, DJ and running my whole show. As far as a learning curve, my biggest obstacle was dealing with my limited eye sight and getting comfortable using the software. The editing and making track listings for each episode came fairly easy from a background of being a musician and being in recording studios. Making a playlist was the easiest part as I had been making mix tapes for friends and family since I was 12.
Tell us about some challenges you encountered and any tips you might have for aspiring podcasters?
One of the biggest challenges I had was being comfortable with my own voice and hearing myself talk on the show. You never realize all the “ands, ummms & yes” you actually use in your language until you hear yourself recorded. Thank God for the edit button. As far as tips for aspiring podcasters, I would say this: Make it your show, your rules and do what makes you look forward to getting back in front of that microphone whether your show is talk driven or like Ricks Records Podcast, is music driven. Find a niche and let yourself go. Put out quality and give it your all because you never know who is listening.
Have you monetized the podcast? Has it become a viable source of income for you?
I just started the podcast last October and Iäó»m right now just trying to help out indie artists that fit the power pop, melodic rock genre. It has really grown through social media, and I have yet to explore the realm of doing this and working with sponsors and advertisers. I would love to see perhaps some local clubs, bars and music stores use the platform and thus promote themselves, the bands and musicians they work with, as well as help the music scene in general. As a former working musician in the bay area, I remember being in the scene that was here back in the early mid äó»90s when there was a healthy place for original bands to play. I feel like it could happen again, but there has to be unity in the community.
Do you have a favorite interview?
I recently interviewed and featured on an episode guitarist Brian Ray. Brian is a member of Paul McCartneyäó»s touring band as well fronting a band of his own called The Bayonets. Brian was such a fantastic down to earth person to speak with. we spoke about his career as musical director for Etta James, his session work and of course playing with Sir Paul. That was a lot of fun and we had some good laughs.
Who’s on your list for upcoming interviews?
Well, I have Nashville resident singer/songwriter Bill Lloyd who was once the Lloyd in country act Foster & Lloyd and now does crafty Americana Power Pop records. Mike Skill from The Romantics as well as Tampa Bay singer/songwriter Ricky Wilcox, who I was fortunately able to hold down the drummers throne for his band The Moonsnakes as I played my last gig at WMNFäó»s Tropical Heatwave a couple years ago.