Frederick Riley Jan 20 1947 – Jan 18 2007 By Frank Davies
I’d like to reflect on the passing of a friend and musical icon, Rick Riley. I first met Rick on the Olympia waterfront at his ‘Virtuoso Studios’ about a decade and a half ago, …classic guitar in one hand and a piece by Bach in the other determined to learn from a local master. After ‘auditioning’ for him, he began teaching me, as he taught all of his students, …from the beginning. He taught his students more than just classic guitar performance: He taught music. His students learned to sight read and to write music, but they also learned how to perform as a professional would, in the practical sense of being a working musician. Rick embodied the term as he performed music by classical composers such as Villa Lobos, Bach, Sor, Vivaldi, or Mozart, yet also performed in Johnny Lewis’s jazz band. Eric Turnbow (E. T.’s Cosmic Karaoke owner) said of him… “I best remember Rick from playing in Variety bands with him in the early eighties. He used to perform and tutor our ‘Raging River Band’ back in 1983 on how to sing 4 part harmony, stage presence, music theory, and the business of music.” A musician all of his adult life, Rick took private lessons with notable instructors at the Peabody Conservatory of Music starting at the age of fifteen, including: Richard Phillips (Peobody graduate and student of Sophecles Papas and Andre’ Segovia), Michael Lawrence (Peabody graduate and student of Aaron Shearer) and Robert Luse (composer and classic guitarist.) In the time I knew him he continued to study his craft, having recently returned to Peabody to take a master class from Manuel Barrueco (perhaps the best performer of Bach on the classic guitar in the world.) Rick also performed as a one man band on the synth and his singing repertoire’ included everything from the Beatles to ZZ Top. On occasion Rick would take a break from his world of music to go fly fishing, but normally he would be found in his studio helping others to someday reach his awesome status as a working musician. One can only expect he is now competing for ‘first chair’ guitarist in that band up in the sky.
Rick Riley was One of My Musical Mentors (By Eric Turnbow)
The passing of Rick Riley on January 18th, 2007 was a tragic day indeed for all Music Lovers. Rick left this world just 2 days more to go before His 60th Birthday! The cancer finally got Him and it is Our loss indeed.
I first met Rick in 1983 where He was working as a Guitar teacher and Salesman at “Simmons Music Company” in Tumwater Washington. It did not take long before He invited me to join his Country Rock Variety named “Lynn and The Night Hawks”, which after I joined we renamed “The Raging River” Band”. We worked steady, and often. Many Animal clubs such as The Eagles, VFW, or Moose Lodges. We did “Buy Back” dates at “Lake Cushman Resort”, and “The Cottage Cafe” in Shelton during this time in the early Eighties. Rick Mentored Me on “Live Performance” and we rehearsed constantly at His “Woodshed Studio” out on black Lake. It was here that I learned Vocal Harmony, and worked hard on My Bass Guitar chops.
Rick was an accomplished classical Guitar player, as well a great Jazz Guitar player. In fact He worked in The Johnny Lewis Band as the Lead Guitarist and Vocalist for many Many Years. It was always a pleasure of mine to go and listen to them play every year in Down town Olympia at Our Annual Lakefair Festival. This was an accomplished band, and Rick was a very important element in its success.
A few years after His His death I learned that Rick had long lost Daughter named Jess Mena. She hardly ever got a chance to meet Her Dad, and had searched the internet for hours and hours looking for some sign of Him. Eventually she found Me on Facebook, and I had her over to the house to reflect on the awesome talent or Her Father Rick. She played a mean guitar! Those genes really passed over to Her! I shot some videos of Her, and got to spend some quality time showing some videos of Her Dad, and giving Her a few pictures and keepsakes.It was great meeting and I enjoyed meeting Her very much. Here is some of our correspondence!
So, in closing Rick Riley was Musician, Teacher, Family Man, and Lover of Life! We will be dearly missed!
Ever wonder what Rick could be up to today? Well by My best guess, I would have to assume that He is in The Spiritual world above jamming in a Trio with Segovia and Bach!
I will remain His friend for life! Friend for Life!