January 7 – Rick Built Foundation For Many A Hit

On the day we remember the passing of one of rock’s great drummers, Neil Peart, one year ago, we remember a happier occasion for another star behind the kit. Happy birthday #73 to one of the busiest and best drummers most have never heard of – Rick Marotta.

Marotta was born and raised in the Big Apple but unlike most other successful musicians, didn’t start into it young – he first sat behind a drum kit at age 19. Asked by Modern Drummer why he chose them, he said “I was a dancer, my parents were dancers so it was the rhythm.” It probably didn’t hurt that he grew up with Andy Newmark, being friends before either became serious musicians. After slugging it out with a relatively unknown blues band, Brethren, in the early ’70s, he found he was perhaps better suited to clicking the sticks for other people’s tunes – and boy did the American recording community agree.

Although there’s no New York “Wrecking Crew”, if there was, Rick would likely be one of its go-to guys. He worked with the likes of Linda Rondstadt, Jackson Browne, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon and John Lennon on Mind Games. “John thought I worked with the cartage company,” he joked, but pointed out “he was a very, very nice guy.” And let’s not forget his work on records by Roxy Music (probably being recommended by Newmark, their regular drummer for years), Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon (appearing on among things, her single “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain”) and Steely Dan (several of their tracks of theirs, including “Peg” which he picks as the best recording he’s been a part of) And if you’re watching Everyone Loves Raymond, the theme music – that’s Rick’s composition, despite its lack of percussion. He’s created a number of TV themes, saying “everybody wants that job because it seems all fun and games and it looks easy, but it’s really tough.” Not only do you have to create music which fits the show, which you might not have even seen in full, but even if you succeed, the pilot might flounder and all your work is for naught.

Drummer World list him as one of the best drummers around, noting that he has the “ability to lay down the perfect groove unburdened by ego or needless complexity.” He’s been a corporate spokesman for Yamaha equipment and has a good sense of humor that doubtless helps along with that. Asked if he plays other instruments besides drums, he quipped “just enough keyboards to make mistakes.” Talent runs in his family. His younger brother Jerry is also an accomplished drummer who’s worked and toured extensively with Hall & Oates and Peter Gabriel.

2 thoughts on “January 7 – Rick Built Foundation For Many A Hit

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    That is some resume. The TV theme part is really cool. He is right…all of your work is down the drain if it fails…and most likely it will…it looks like they could recycle…and I’m sure they do some.

    Like

  2. Pingback: May 31 – Did Fans Get ‘Scam’med With This One? Probably Not… – A Sound Day

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