If you had to apply a descriptor to Joe Rickard’s drumming, it might be this: He’s not quick, he’s sudden.
Voted one of the Up and Coming Drummers and one of the Rising Stars of the past few years, Rickard is the timekeeper for veteran agro-rock band RED. His long hair and tats provide a visual element to the group’s innovative sonics. But when you look and listen closer, you find the precision and passion of a man dedicated to his instrument.
Encounter Joe Rickard off the stage, and you’re probably going to run into someone who’s either just come from practicing, studying or writing music, or he is on his way there now. He’s that into it. “I love watching really good drummers and trying to figure out what they do…I also spend a lot of time writing and recording. Being consistent every show is what I strive for” says Rickard.
Rickard started drumming at an early age. “I asked for a drum kit for Christmas when I was 13, and a month later was playing in church,” Joe remembers. “I was absolutely hooked, obsessed even.” That kind of quick decisiveness carried over into Joe’s first ongoing professional gig, at the age of 17. “I heard about a band out in Phoenix called Sky Harbor, and saw on their website that their drummer had left and they were taking tape audition tapes…I went down to my church, made a video and mailed it off…they called me as soon as they watched it…I drove 19 hours from Houston to Phoenix, tried out and they offered me the gig…I was on the road with them for a year” says Rickard.
Thus was Rickard’s professional cycle for the latter part of his teens: find out about an opening, throw the drums and clothes in a car, travel from Houston to an audition (ex. Tulsa, OK w/Mourning September and Fayetteville, AK w/The Wedding), impress the band, get the gig and be out on the road for a year or so before the opportunity dissolved.
It was on one of those cross country tours that Rickard met Hayden Lamb, the then-drummer for RED. When Joe found himself sans gig, Hayden called him with an offer to hit the road as RED’s drum tech. After teching for a short period of time, Lamb was in a car accident that forced him to leave the band and resulted in Joe stepping into the slow with Hayden’s blessing.
Performing and recording with the four piece, Grammy Nominated band RED (with vocalist Michael Barnes, guitarist Anthony Armstrong and bassist Rand Armstrong) Joe has had the opportunity to play on The Conan O’Brien Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and very importantly has found a creative freedom that goes far beyond being “just the drummer.” He is digging deeper into songs as a whole, “our song process is very beat driven, it usually starts with me tracking a song idea by myself on drums and then Anthony writes something off of that”
“I love playing the drums, it’s what I enjoy the most. I didn’t finish high school. I went on tour during my junior year and never went back. It was a hard decision at the time, but I am so thankful to be doing what I love and working with amazing people. God has been so good to me. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”