It’s finally here! The FIRST Richard and the Young Lions album ever – 51 years after the band began (and 14 years after “Richard” passed away)!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it for sale on https://wickedcoolrecords.bandcamp.com/ – the long (and I mean LONG) awaited album of Richard and the Young Lions! I still can’t believe that I have the LP, CD and MP3 files in my possession now
A short history:
Back in Summer 2001, when I was learning to be a filmmaker and web designer, my co-worker and friend Shelly Riff joined this 60’s band called Richard and the Young Lions that was getting back together as a replacement keyboardist. As luck would have it, they needed somebody to create their website from the ground up, so Shelly recommended me. I met the band, and got the job and became fast friends with the guys.
As I was working on the site, one of the key pages was the Legend of the band. As I started writing this page, I learned a LOT about the band’s history. And as a budding filmmaker, I couldn’t have found a better first project. So I approached the guys and they thought it was a great idea.
I spent the next three years of my life working with Leon Leybs on this documentary – in addition to holding down full-time jobs. We learned so much about the band, film-making, and ourselves during that time.
The band’s musical comeback was going great in Summer 2001 and they were regularly playing clubs in downtown New York City. And then September 11th happened and everything changed and the NYC music scene was changed forever.
RYL continued on, but they decided to focus on putting out an album under Little Steven’s guidance. Every Sunday they were there working on this album – and I was there every Sunday shooting footage.
Eventually we met legendary NYC disc jockey Pat St. John, and he graciously offered to narrate our film. And to say I was blown away was an understatement. But with great opportunities comes great stress not to blow it. And we went into overdrive to finish this project.
Sadly, Richard Tepp, the lead singer became seriously ill during the filming and slowed down the album work. But that put even more stress to finish the documentary.
Which Leon and I did in late May, 2014. And I am so glad we did. On June 17th, 2014 – two weeks after we showed our final product to Richard and the band, he passed away. He was really sick, so I wasn’t in the room with him when he watched it with a couple of his RYL bandmates, but they told me that he loved it and said “We really had a great run, didn’t we?” Knowing that I was able to give Richard that moment is one of the greatest rewards I’ve ever gotten.
We had our video release on July 8th, 2014 which turned into a huge tribute to Richard. We really felt Richard was in the room smiling down at us.
After the premiere in 2004, the documentary had a good run and made it to the Hope and Dreams (NJ) and Anchorage Film Festivals. The album on the other hand really lost steam without a lead singer. There were a few replacement singers (Richard’s son Casey and the very talented Mike Fornatale), but without Richard (who had recorded all his vocals before getting sick), everything kinda floundered.
I never expected this CD to see the light of day. And then I got the call from RYL drummer Mark Greenberg aka “World Famous Twig”. I was shocked..
I got the LP and the CD in the mail !!!! And they were great! Richard would have been so proud!