Out of Dayton, Ohio Rikk is a rock solid high energy Bassist. He has displayed a wide range of ability working in genres from Progressive Rock/ Jazz Fusion performing with the Dallas, Texas based “Michael Harris Tranz-Fusionto Hard Funk as a writing/performing member of “Funtime Freddy all the way to Classic R&B and Jazz Standards performing with Vocal/Bass duo “The Mannings” to name a few. Rikk is not only an accomplished performer, he is a composer and producer in his own right. His debut solo single “Right out of the Gate” featuring performances from powerhouses Chris Carver on keys, John Arthur Gentry Jr. on guitar, Jason Palmer on drums and special guest Philip Lassiter on trumpet was just released in March 2015.
Entertwine: Tell us a bit about each of the acts you have played with (Michael Harris, Funtime Freddy, and The Mannings); what’s the secret to working between different musical styles and genres?
The secret is being open-minded and well-rehearsed. Much like a good actor, I suppose you have to take a deep dive into every style you take on and become that genre long enough to be able to convince the audience that you belong in that role. The time I spent with Michael Harris playing his wacky brand of Fusion was by far the most technically challenging role I have had to play. Just being engaged with him daily and studying his compositions made me a better musician.
Funtime Freddy is in my DNA. It is pure Funk Rock and I wrote a quite a few of the songs we play live. Funtime has always been a constant comfort zone for me since I started with the in ’97. The chemistry we have on stage playing material that is so deeply ingrained in all of us makes me keep coming back for another show.
The Mannings being just a duo with my wife leading on vocals was a deep journey for me. Finding a way to produce the right chordal structure to carry the full rhythm section for her and not harm the integrity of classic songs that everyone holds dear was a great challenge. It made me a better writer as well I think.
What experiences and events influenced the writing and recording of your new single ‘Right Out of the Gate’? Could you tell us about how and where this song was recorded? What was it like working with Chris Carver, John Arthur Gentry Jr., Jason Palmer and Philip Lassiter?
The idea for this song came to me on a trip to Tupelo, MS. I went down to see Adam Nitti and his band at the time (Carver and Palmer). I was very inspired by what I saw. As soon as I got back to Ohio I made charts and cut the Bass demo. Then I decided I wanted a dose of what inspired me in the track. Naturally I called Chris and Jason to fill in the Keys and Drums. I refined my tracks over the year and reached out to Philip to put his signature tone in the middle section. After I had the skeleton of the song I knew I wanted John to do his thing on it. We all worked remotely to track it out and Rusty Wilmot mixed/mastered it. I just can’t say enough about the joy I had during the process with all these talented guys. All of them are super great players but even cooler dudes.
What basses, amplifiers and other musical equipment do you use live and in studio?
My Fender Jazz Deluxe is my go to for everything. As far as studio gear I tend to use just a bit of tube compression on my signal in the studio, nothing to get in the way of that Jazz tone I love. Live I use a lot of custom configurations mostly going through a 4X10 cab with a modest pedal board of goodies.
Could you tell us about a few of the most exciting or interesting live performances you’ve been a part of?
All of them are exciting. What I find most interesting are the contrasting gigs. One night with Funtime we headlined a major club to a packed house in Cincinnati; a few days later we played a private event in that same city to an empty room. Those two gigs both inspire me and keep me humble.
What does the remainder of 2015 hold in store for Rikk Manning? Are you currently working on other original compositions?
Always writing so, yes more to come. I do have some big news coming up for the summer touring season and a press release will be forthcoming on those details. Stay tuned!