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Ricky Byrd discusses new album ‘Clean Getaway’ and Joan Jett (Includes interview)

Regarding the song selection of the new album, Byrd said, “We worked hard and we worked as fast as we could. I’m very happy with the result. In 2012, we wrote the final song of this album. I threw it up on social media, but the response I got was so strong, especially from those that had experience with addiction and recovery. I was encouraged and wrote additional songs. All of a sudden, I had 17 songs about addiction, recover and hope, over the course of a few years. I started to learn them, so I could play them out. I made phone calls and visited treatment facilities, where I offered to play them for the clients, and the reaction once again was strong and emotional. As a songwriter, that’s what you are looking for.”

Byrd continued, “I decided to do an online campaign through PledgeMusic, and figured out what it was about. I raised the money, and gathered the musicians and recorded the album. I started it in February of last year, and I finished it in the summer.”

The veteran rocker noted that it was difficult for him to select a personal favorite song off of Clean Getaway. “I love them all,” he admitted. “When I do these songs at the treatment facilities, each song has a different response, and each song is about a different topic.”

Byrd revealed that he has been in recovery for over 30 years. “This is not really a ‘Ricky’ solo record. It’s more of a statement and it’s more of a concept album,” he said. “I had the freedom to go all over the place with genres. It’s all over the place and that’s how I wanted it to be. I give it away, and I sell it to the general public so I can afford to give it away. I make money from selling it and I manufacture more to give it away. I started a nonprofit, Clean Getaway, which is a vehicle for us to put on outreach events around the country. It will have education, awareness and prevention. That’s the plan for this year going forward.”

Digital transformation of music

On the impact of technology in his music routine, Byrd said, “I did this record on Pro Tools, but we mixed it down on an analog board. The good news is that Pro Tools make things really easy to do. The bad news is that you have so many tracks and options, if you are not careful and restrained, that you can completely overdo a record. Technology is great, as long as it’s not overused.”

In 2015, Byrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts (Lee Crystal and Gary Ryan). “I’m a kid from the Bronx. I grew up listening to rock and roll, and with a combination of timing, talent and good luck, all of a sudden, we’re being inducted into the Rock Hall. Joan Jett gave me the opportunity to be part of a No. 1 record, and that particular band was inducted, the four of us, and I thank her for letting me be part of that. I love Joan to death. We are part of history together. That was the vehicle that made this thing happen. Seeing Gary Ryan that night was also great. That night in particular was unbelievable. I played with Ringo and McCartney, and I was right in the moment.”

Speaking of Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, he listed “Starfucker” as his personal favorite song to play live. “That was my favorite deep track,” he admitted.

For his fans, Byrd concluded, “When you buy the record, Clean Getaway, it is helping me spread the message of recovery, and it’s helping me give it away. The more you buy, the more I can afford to give them away at treatment facilities to people that are struggling.”

Ricky Byrd’s Clean Getaway is available on iTunes, and the Clean Getaway organization’s homepage.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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