Richard X. Heyman – proud baby-boomer and singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire – uncorks a canon of songs from his ever-prolific pen and calls it Tiers And Other Stories. A double album, no less, relating his experience of growing up in the 1960’s, his cross-country trek to the left coast in a quest to conquer the music biz, his ripening love for the girl he left behind, and his ultimate marriage and partnership with now-wife Nancy. He brings the listener into the present, with story-songs about life in NYC, reflections on what happened to his generation, mortality, the shock of 9/11, becoming conscious of the plight of stray animals (and doing something about it), and wraps it all up with an ode to true love!
This group of songs came to life as a result of the Magic Piano. The time had come for the Heymans to replace their keyboard. The ol’ Kurzweil, purchased with publishing advance money back in the Living Room!! days, was chock full of cat hair, on its last legs and duly retired to the bedroom closet. Taking its place came a Yamaha electric piano, whose most attractive feature was its built-in speakers (i.e., no need to plug it into an amp). As all Richard had to do to tickle the keys was push a single button, he found himself spending more time playing than he had in years. The Magic Piano opened the floodgates and the songs came pouring out – almost as if they’d been queued up for years, awaiting their chances to be heard. And not just the music, either, but full orchestration and lyrics too. Before very long, Richard realized the songs were telling a story – his story – and each new piece was another layer of the plot, another tier, if you will.
And so, Richard X. Heyman presents Tiers And Other Stories, his 8th album, a two-fer, taking its place in his catalogue of stellar pop albums (Living Room!!, Hey Man!, Cornerstone, Basic Glee, Rightovers, Actual Sighs, Intakes), but this time branching out in new and surprising directions, showcasing Richard’s finely honed melodic sensibilities, not to mention sharp wit with words. Always a devotee of composers of the Great American Songbook, on this compositional round, Richard let the Gershwin/Rodgers/Berlin side of his brain take precedence, though never abandoning his love for 60’s greats like the Beatles, Byrds, Beach Boys, Band, Bernstein, Bob, and many others that don’t start with a “b” like Joni Mitchell, The Kinks, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who and Laura Nyro, to name a few.
If you don’t know Richard’s history, here it is briefly -- he started banging on things when he was five, got a full drum kit when he was seven, and was astounding audiences with his chops by the time he was twelve. He picked up guitar and piano in his teens, which was also when original songs started popping into his head. Richard went solo in his twenties, although he’s found time to lend his amazing drumming skills to such great artists as Brian Wilson, Billy Squier, Link Wray, Jonathan Richman and the Left Banke’s Michael Brown, composer of Walk Away Renee. He is currently the drummer and contributing songwriter for legendary garage rock band, The Doughboys. He’s also played guitar and drums for Mary Weiss (of the Shangri-Las), and keyboards for the legendary Ben E. King. On the live front, Richard leads his own band on guitar and keyboards. Richard resides in New York City with Nancy and their family of felines.