Ever since we first heard the intro line “Hey, hey, what do I know…” from this wonder band’s debut single, we’ve been fortunate in getting to know a lot about Ricochet. But no longer do we need the “bounce-back” tie-in to this group’s catchy name.
Undoubtedly, Ricochet has bounced back with hit-after-hit-after-hit (“He Left A Lot To Be Desired,” “What Do I Know,” “Daddy’s Money” and “Love Is Stronger Than Pride”). In fact, the band has bounced back with enough success mileage in such a short amount of time that we can safely say that the “bouncing back” is over. No bounce about it — Ricochet is here to stay.
The group’s brand new album, Blink Of An Eye, is proof enough that this six-man band on the run isn’t going anywhere except straight to the top. Their sophomore disc on Columbia Records says it all when it comes to questioning Ricochet’s longevity and on-going success saga. Vocally, Blink Of An Eye is top-of-the-line quality, with an overall sound and song collection that’s simply bigger than ever. And believe it or not, the harmony is even better than on the band’s near platinum-selling debut project.
The list of accomplishments doesn’t end there either. Ricochet recently took home the Academy of Country Music Awards’ New Vocal Group honor, as well as Country Weekly magazine’s Favorite New Group.
“Someone asked me the other day what it felt like to walk up on stage for an award,” says Ricochet lead vocalist Heath Wright. “I told them the only way I knew how to describe that feeling was that if you were a mother or father to think about how it felt that first time you held your firstborn in your arms. It’s been something that we’ve all worked on individually. For myself, it’s been 20 years, and the rest of the band for equally as long. So it’s a dream that we’ve worked hard at making come true all of our lives. So to be able to actually step up and accept an award and know that all of America is watching you and to know that they really know who you are — that starts to bring it all back home. You then realize that the dream is actually happening, and if it doesn’t get any better than that, then you’ve lived out that dream already.”
The dream come true, however, for Ricochet’s Wright, Greg Cook, Eddie Kilgallon, Teddy Carr, Jeff Bryant and Junior Bryant was the result of much more than a six-pack of incredible musicianship and singing voices. Along with the natural talent came a unique level of devotion and chemistry that few bands in music history ever achieve.
“I think the secret is that we all have a good work ethic,” Wright explains. “We always say to our record label, our publicist and to anyone who has a job for us to ’Bring it on!’ if it’s going to further our career. We know that we only get to be Ricochet one time out of our lives. Now is the time, and we need to take it as far as we can possibly take it. And the only way to do that is to continue to work as hard as possible to fill up the day with activities that will somehow further our career.
“My dad told me when I first moved to Nashville; he said ’Son, whatever you do, make sure every day is filled with the things that will get you closer to reaching your goal — whether it be writing songs, just practicing your guitar or maybe even meeting someone who might be able to help you. Don’t just sit at home and watch TV. Do something that will take you closer to your dream.’ Take that,” continues Wright, “and multiply it by six and that’s Ricochet’s secret.”
But it’s no secret that this band of six is as about as different individually as it gets. Being the group’s front-man on stage and perhaps the band’s most ’adhesive member,’ as he describes himself, Wright thinks he can peg every member’s unique quality.
“Jeff is the practical joker and keeps things unpredictable. Whether it’s ’Hey, guess what I just put in Eddie’s suitcase?’ or whatever, he does that.
“Teddy is the good ole boy from Middle Tennessee. He’ll never change, no matter how much success Ricochet ever has or never has again. That’s the beautiful thing about him.
“Junior — how do you describe Junior? He’s just Junior. He’s a comedian within himself and can do all these little characters on the bus. If nothing’s on TV, he keeps us entertained.
“Eddie K. is probably the most creative guy on the bus. If you’re a songwriter and are having trouble finishing it; go get him to collaborate with and it’s done. He always has something fresh to offer.
“Greg is the brain. So if you’ve got a question about some kind of bug or whatever, you can always go to Greg and ask ’Why?’ He’s had more college hours than anybody else on the bus and spent a lot of time in science classes.
“As for me,” Wright continues, “I really don’t know. I think I’m sort of the adhesive to everyone else. And I guess I’m a good delegator.”
Regardless of Ricochet’s extreme individuality, their authentic blend of talent and personalities has conjured a package deal that’s carved a niche in country music. Whether it’s their harmonious vocal mixture, Junior’s flashy fiddle-bow twirl, the group’s attractive physical appeal or an explosive stage show that’s got choreography written all over it, Ricochet has something to offer for everyone.
“It’s funny,” Wright explains. “We never really sat down and planned any of that out. It all just happened. As far as who would take a solo here or there, we tried to just fill the spots on stage that seemed empty. I know a lot of bands do hire a choreographer but we never felt a need for that. We do a lot of the same stuff on stage these days, only because we’ve been doing the show now for 18 months. Most of the spots on stage, we know where we’re supposed to be during a certain part of the song.
“But we did plan a certain look when we were first putting the band together,” he continues. “Unfortunately, if you look at our old photos, everbody had a similar look, with the same haircut and similar build — kinda tall and lanky, except for when we added Teddy. He was our Teddy Bear.
“It was an ex-girlfriend I think that pointed out to me once that there’s something about each member of Ricochet, that no matter what their taste is, there is something that might be appealing to a certain female audience. For example, the long-hair, Fabio-looking, muscle type is Jeff. The tall, skinny lanky, boyish look is Junior. The sophisticated New York type is covered by Eddie K. And of course, the huggable teddy-bear type is obviously Teddy. She named off all of these types, but she left me out. So I have no idea what type of female I appeal to,” he laughs. “When we started putting the band together, I guess we were going for a youthful look. We wanted our band members to be pretty much the same age. I guess we were looking down the road thinking we didn’t want one member of the band to retire before the others did.”
While Ricochet’s extraordinary presence and sound could almost be listed as one of the great world wonders — planned or unplanned — one element about the band that is a sure-fire target is their fans.
“We’ve been real lucky to have such a good fan base, even back before we had songs on the radio,” Wright says. “Back then when we were working club circuits, we had a nice grassroots fan base. We definitely understand the importance of our fans today. Basically, they’re our family. Our stage show is always the most important thing for us. We always give what we think is the best performance we can give for the albums, but our stage show is always where we live. The band lives live. That’s our most important part of the day. We go out there and see to it that every single fan is on their feet before the end of the show. We just always want to make sure the fans get their money’s worth.”
And let’s all admit it — the new haircuts were worth it, too. At least this clean-cut group thinks so, with perhaps the exception of Jeff, Ricochet’s token “Fabio” drummer. It was just last year that one by one each member kept showing up with a short haircut. Maybe Reba set the trend?
“What’s funny is that we never really made a band decision about the haircuts. People just started showing up with them. Back in the summer of last year, I’d talked about it because we were doing a lot of outside shows. One particular show in Corpus Cristi, where we were set up there on the bank of the Gulf, the breeze kept coming in off the sea and my hair kept getting in my face. I spent more time pulling the hair out of my face than I did playing the guitar,” admits Wright. “And Greg is not a follower, so I’m sure he didn’t decide to cut his because of me. He actually cut his first. Then after I cut mine, Teddy said he’d been thinking about it. So then he shows up one day with a short haircut. About 99-percent of the fans have come up and said they like the short hair better. The one percent that likes the long hair just likes Jeff.
With or without the hair, Ricochet is a prime cut when it comes to country music.