posted March 15th, 2013

April showers peel back the dirt from our greenish earth, often revealing previously hidden roots 'n' gems either lost for a time or in some cases never rightly appreciated in the first place. This April, that gem comes to from the mysterious urban graveland we call, Detroit and one of the minds drifting free there sometime in the indeterminate past. Back when the Motown scene was uprooting, and the city's Vietnam protesters were looting, a young Rich Ristagno went from jamming in the garage with his Midnight Riders band to serving time in the military during the conflict that propelled and repelled his generation. Upon his return in 1971, working a series of faceless jobs, Rich planned a career in music, starting with a single of original material, which he recorded and pressed with a Canadian vanity plant (insert your own joke there!), the majority of which were sent as promo to radio stations.

When the world failed to come knocking with a record deal, Rich found work at a steel plant, wherein plans for an album rooted themselves in his mind, and grew, and festered. Time passed, the kind of time we measure as years. One day, Rich finally pulled the trigger after seeing an ad in The Detroit News for a recording studio called Solar Sound, which had it's very own house band, Solar Flight - a group who proudly declared themselves "so high they could touch the sun. This was important, since Rich needed a band to make his album. This was 1981, and Solar Flight were wicked R 'n' B players whose disco tendencies paired uniquely with Ristagno's classic rock sensibility to deliver, unbeknownst to either of them, something quite like DNA or The Contortions - a darkly sharp record that might be considered essential to the downtown New York scene of the time, had it actually been a part of it. Or it might be considered akin to an early Ariel Pink production. Clearly, it was the wrong time, wrong place for Rich Ristagno. A hundred copies of the album, called What Would It Be Like To Be Rich, were pressed without a cover, remaining in his parents basement completely undisturbed (yet under-clothed, in only their dust jackets) ever since, being extracted only once in awhile, to float into the hands of some crusty waxidermist. And thence to us. But like we say, April's afoot and this generation's kids get the benefit of a fresh new pressing - this time with jacket! - of this rarest of pleasures. Rich Ristagno's What Would It Be Like To Be Rich must be gripped, and once in hand will produce repeated spins, as addictive as any brain candy your shug-addled brain can imagine. Find out What Would It Be Like To Be Rich, on April 16th!

Artists in this story: Rich Ristagno