RICK VITO & THE LUCKY DEVILS
Rick did his first pro work on tour with Delaney & Bonnie. Soon after, he began to establish himself as a respected recording session player first appearing on Todd Rundgren”s classic album, “SOMETHING _ ANYTHING”. At this time Rick also worked with such artists as LITTLE RICHARD, BOBBY WHITLOCK, JOHN PRINE, and DOBIE GRAY.
Late in 1974 Rick received an invitation to join a new band being formed by British Blues pioneer, JOHN MAYALL, with whom Rick worked with subsequently on four albums. In the following years, Rick was a member of ex-BYRD ROGER MCGUINN”s group, THUNDERBYRD, and also a founding member of Los Angeles club favorites, the ANGEL CITY RHYTHM BAND. With the ACRB, Rick had a unique opportunity to back many of the Blues greats he had been influenced by. Performing regularly at the Topanga Canyon Corral club on Monday Blues nights, they regularly held court with ALBERT COLLINS, LOWELL FULSON, BIG JOE TURNER, and GEORGE “HARMONICA” SMITH, among many others.
By 1980 Rick had recorded two albums worth of material and was starting to place more songs with other artists such as MCGUINN CLARK & HILLMAN, and DAVID SOUL. At the same time he began a long association with slide-guitar queen, BONNIE RAITT, appearing on her rocking LP, “GREEN LIGHT”, and as a member of her touring band. Rick spent most of 1982-83 working with LA- based singer/songwriter, JACKSON BROWNE. He appears on Jackson”s single” “SOMEBODY”S BABY”, and on his albums, “LAWYERS IN LOVE”, and “LIVES IN THE BALANCE”.
In between solo recording and live shows in the LA area, Rick continued session dates with many artists including RITA COOLIDGE, MARIA MULDAUR, and DOLLY PARTON, when he came to the attention of legendary rocker, BOB SEGER. Looking for a rootsy guitar sound to add to his work in progress, Bob enlisted Rick to try his hand at a solo over two long passages in a song entitled, “LIKE A ROCK”. The result of Vito”s efforts is now considered something of a classic in expressive slide guitar bravura. Of the experience Seger says in his “GREATEST HITS” liner notes: “My fondest memory of this recording is of (co-producer) DAVID COLE and I listening to Rick Vito play the slide guitar solo late one night at Rumbo Studios in LA. It was the single most spectacular overdub I”d ever heard!” “Like A Rock” has now been used as the soundtrack and slogan for Chevrolet trucks for over seven years and is one of the longest running TV commercials in history. Rick was an integral part of the hugely successful “AMERICAN STORM” US tour and has been featured on every Bob Seger album release since 1986.
Partly as a result of the high profile attention garnered by the Seger album and tour, Rick soon realized that he had reached another major turning point in his career.”I got a call one day from MICK FLEETWOOD. We”d played together a couple of times on a BILLY BURNETTE session and at one of my gigs, and he liked the fact that I was a fan of Peter Green. LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM had just been let go and Mick wanted Billy and I to learn some Mac tunes and come over to play with the band. I had been feeling lately that something was brewing with my career anyway, so when I hung up the phone I turned to my wife Aimee and said, “that”s it, I”m going to join Fleetwood Mac”!”
Rick did join the band as a member in July, 1987 and began rehearsing for the “TANGO IN THE NIGHT” world tour. The excitement and excellence of Fleetwood Mac during this period was captured live in a lull-length concert video of the same name, released by Warner Brothers in 1988. Vito”s playing and singing is especially well represented in a faithlul version of Peter Green”s “I _ LOVED ANOTHER WOMAN”. Soon after, the group released it”s “GREATEST HITS” album which featured two new cuts on which feature Rick. In 1989 Fleetwood Mac began work on what would become “BEHIND THE MASK”, a solid collection of songs by CHRISTINE MCVIE, STEVIE NICKS, and Billy Burnette, as well as four original tunes written and performed by Rick Vito. Again the Mac followed with an incredible world tour.
Work tapes of Rick”s songs had found their way to Atlantic Records president, Doug Morris through bandmate Stevie Nicks, and as a result, Rick was signed to his first solo recording deal. In 1992 his CD, “KING OF HEARTS” was praised in GUITAR PLAYER magazine for it”s “…dazzling collection of fiery, slide guitar-driven songs…”, and featured the single, “DESIREE”, a smoldering duet with Stevie Nicks.In 1994 Rick accompanied Stevie on her “STREET ANGEL” tour, and during this time, made a decision to relocate from Los Angeles to the Nashville area.
Rick devoted much of 1995-96 to family interests, but in 1997 he began recording his second solo CD, this time one firmly rooted in a Blues vein. Recorded both in LA and Nashville, the CD, entitled “PINK AND BLACK”, features nine Vito original songs plus solid treatments of others by Otis Rush, Eddie Clearwater, and Peter Green. “PINK AND BLACK” is both a reference to Rick”s personally designed Art Deco guitar, and also to a style of an era in music where Blues and Rock&Roll made a passionate connection. This same passion is reflected in the music within Rick Vito”s CD. Originally released in Summer 1998 on the Streamliner Records label, “PINK AND BLACK” has been picked up by the LA based WILDCAT RECORDS. In 1999 Rick has completed a world tour with old friend BONNIE RAITT in support of her “FUDAMENTAL” album. During this time he appeared on “OPRAH”, “DAVID LETTERMAN”, “THE TONIGHT SHOW”, “ROSIE O”DONNEL”, “CONAN O”BRIEN”, VHI STORYTELLERS, as well as the LILLITH FAIR TOUR and the ERIC CLAPTON WORLD TOUR.. Rick was featured both in duet with Bonnie and also performing songs from “PINK AND BLACK”.Bonnie has been quoted saying: Rick vito”s guitar playing just slays me! His style is as cool and sharp as a “59 cadillac tailfin.
Perhaps bluesman KEB MO” says it best: Soulful singer, brilliant guitar player, you got to check out Rick Vito, for sure!