The Georgia Satellites’ Rick Richards prefers three chords and a clouda dust



By Steve Newton

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only guy around who still goes nuts for southern-fried guitar boogie, the kind the Georgia Satellites churned out so mightily in the late ’80s. But after talking to GS guitarist-vocalist Rick Richards from his home in the southern-boogie mecca of Atlanta, I realize I’m not the only one.

“There seems to be a contingency out there of mindless idiots that still like it,” he relates with a chuckle. “I’m glad; I like it. You know, it’s my kinda stuff—three chords, clouda dust. But its popularity comes and goes, you know. When we go to Europe—which we do, like, once or twice a year—there seems to be more of an affinity to just no-nonsense rock ’n’ roll than there is here.”

Hopefully, there are a few boogie-loving bozos like me who’ll be itching to see the band when it plays Animals in Abbotsford on Thursday (September 20) and Studebakers in Burnaby on Friday (September 21). Richards points out that—along with familiar songs penned by original vocalist Dan Baird, like the big hit “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”—the band is playing the odd tune he came up with, including the slide-riddled “Can’t Stand the Pain” and the riveting “Slaughterhouse”. “We don’t play with a song list,” he explains, “so every night’s different. Sometimes we do stuff that we’ve never done before.”

Along with Richards, the current lineup includes original bassist-vocalist Richard Price and former Molly Hatchet drummer Mac Crawford. The gap-toothed Baird left the band to pursue a solo career in ’92, and currently performs with Terry Anderson—who wrote the GS fave “Battleship Chains”—in the Yayhoos. Richards crossed paths with Baird in Nashville a few months ago, and notes that although the group’s breakup initially seemed like a divorce, they’ve managed to remain friends. And Baird had no problem with Richards and Price keeping the Georgia Satellites’ name going—he initiated the idea. But Richards hasn’t just been relying on the Satellites’ legacy to pay the rent; he also plays with former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin in the JuJu Hounds, a band that also includes G N’ R bassist Duff McKagen and onetime Reverend Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley.

Richards says that he may hook up with Stradlin again in Europe later this year, but for now he’s entirely focused on the Georgia Satellites, with whom he’s having a riot. “If it’s not fun, it’s really not worth doin’,” he declares, “because, certainly, it isn’t very profitable. Or glamorous. So you gotta have a coupla laughs.”

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