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RICHARD AND THE YOUNG LIONS
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Richard Tepp (1947-2004)
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Flash forward to 2000...

The world of the 60's was pretty much gone. Hippies had moved on into society, John Lennon was horribly gunned down by a psychopath, Woodstock turned from an event about "Peace & Love" into a horribly commercial event that overcharged kids to see bands singing about hate and violence. And the worst of it all was the state of music!

But, not all things new were bad. Computers were brought out of the office and into the homes of the masses, and subsequently the Internet was created. Global communities were formed that brought together people with similar interests, regardless of where they were in the world. Within these communities, a group of 1960's music lovers, who remembered Richard and the Young Lions, had formed.

Richard found out about this Internet community through his son and started corresponding with these groups through their public discussion boards. And this led to Richard doing a few online interviews on the music collector's circuit.

A state away in New Jersey, Lou Vlahakes, who was guided by some unseen 60's musical force, decided to try and see if any of his old friends and bandmates were on the Internet. In his search, he found much of the same Richard and the Young Lions interest that Richard had found. But best of all, he found Richard's e-mail address through one of the interviews that Richard had given!
In a surprising parallel series of events (that 60s musical force again?), Bob Freedman, also still in NJ, was also using the internet and found Newsgroups and postings about Richard and the Young Lions, and was answering posted questions and messages about the band, using "Young_Lion" as his handle (how appropriate). Eventually, he contacted Richard about the unexpected new interest he found in the "old band".

Well, Lou e-mailed Richard to reminisce about the old times and without either of them realizing it, the spark was lit for a full-blown reunion! Most of the other band members had kept in touch with either Richard or Lou, and eventually they got together for a grand reunion. Bob Freedman was part of the initial reunion, and also for a few band get togethers to play, "for old time's sake", but, mostly due to other commitments in his life, did not continue on. But he is with them in spirit.

So they practiced, and they practiced, and eventually got all the rust out of their systems and began playing like their old selves again.

Eric Rackin, cousin of original Young Lion Ricky Rackin, was brought in to play rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals. Eric, who had gone on in the 1970's to form the critically acclaimed "Eric Rackin Band", had also become a hit movie song writer. He wrote "Livin' on the Edge of the Night" for Iggy Pop, which was featured in the 1989 movie, "Black Rain", and "Show Me Heaven" with legendary pop diva, Maria McKee for the movie "Days of Thunder. He then brought in his studio partner, Rick Robinson to play the Continental Vox Organ. Heres a piece of trivia for you - Back in the old days, the band never toured with an organ because of the difficulty carrying it around from gig to gig. Nowadays the band has a more portable organ.

With the band now at 7 members strong they were ready for a comeback!

In doing promotions for the first live show, the band got together on July 10, 2000 for the WNYU: Plastic Tales Psychadelic radio program in New York and performed an acoustic/electric set of 6 songs - Their 3 hits and the associated b-sides. The response was incredible!

If you want to hear the full 2 hour show, click here


Their first live show was Maxwells of Hoboken on July 15th 2000. They played to a full house and showed the world what "34 years of pent up Roar Power" sounded like.. The crowd responded to the band mightily!

See pictures of the Maxwells show here.

 

One thing was certain:

Richard and the Young Lions were back!

As the Maxwells show was so popular, they were booked for the "Garage Rock Festacular" - Cavestomp 2000 at New York's Westbeth Theatre on November 4th, 2000 playing with such garage band greats as The Troggs, The Syndicate of Sound, the Blues Magoos, the Gants, and the Beau Brommels.

A review for the show can be found here

CaveStomp 2000 was an even bigger show than at Maxwells, solidifying Richard and the Young Lions return.


With their success at CaveStomp 2000, Little Steven Van Zandt who, with his company Renegade Nation Productions, had recently partnered with CaveStomp, asked Richard and the Young Lions to play at a few of their Cavestomp! Monthly Music Series Shows at the Village Underground.

The first show was on March 31st, 2001, and they played with ? and the Mysterians of "96 Tears" fame. Richard and the Young Lions had played with ? and the Mysterians at the ALSAC benefit show at Cobo Hall back in Detroit in 1966. Also on the bill that night was Dave Aguilar of Chocolate Watchband, and the Greenhornes. The show was a sellout!

Shortly after the show, Rick Robinson left the band and accomplished singer/songwriter/keyboardist Shelly Riff joined the band.

The second show was on May 24th, 25th & 26th 2001,the band played with the Zombies of "Shes Not There", "Time of the Season", and many other songs fame. This show marked the debut of Shelly Riff's career as a Young Lion. Sadly, there's not a lot of pictures of this show.

The third Cavestomp/Little Steven show was on July 26, 2001 and they played with The Troggs of "Wild Thing" fame.

It was your webmasters first time seeing the boys play live, and I was in awe of the energy that they created. The crowd went nuts for the band. I would not want to be the band that went on immediately following Richard and the Young Lions!

Click here to see the pictures of the show.

Click here to see some video of the show

 


Currently, Richard and the Young Lions are on a touring hiatus, working heavily on their new CD.
Keep an eye out on this site for more news regarding it!



And to paraphrase Bronx rockers Black 47:

"That's the story so far of Richard and the Young Lions"

 

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