Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Rich Hardesty

Rich HardestyI am hanging out today with a talent you have probably heard of one way or the other.  If you have not, then take my word for it, go listen to his music.  He is also a treat live so if you can see him perform even better.  Bringing a fun, energetic, and incredibly talented set of instruments behind him, he is one of the Midwest’s best talents.  Always able to light up a stage, get you out of your seat and dance, and take a shot of Jager with you when the show is over, he is on his way to where he belongs; the top.  It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Rich Hardesty.

I have seen you both full band and solo.  Which do you prefer?

I enjoy both shows equally.   It’s nice to play solo and tell stories about the songs and how they came to be. One of my biggest influences was Jim Croce and he did a lot of story telling.  The acoustic show has been my full time job  for 15 years, enabling me to have the freedom to put the band together. The synergy of playing with the band in the present moment is such a gift.  I have also been blessed to make some very great friendships from my band mates and have the utmost respect for their talent and what they bring to the stage.

Do you play full band or solo more often?

75% solo  The demand for the band is high for both shows.  The band can be a bit pricey also but it gives the fans something to look forward to.

When did you guys all meet?

All at different times within the past 10 years.  In studios,  venues and via musician friends.  Bloomington, Indiana was definately the catalyst that indirectly brought us all together.

What is your first memory of playing a guitar?

At my aunt’s house.  I knew how to play the piano by ear at age 7 so I knew what a chord sounded like.  I took my aunt’s guitar and tuned it so when you strummed all the strings at once it sounded like a G chord. Then all I had to do is put my finger across the chord like a Kapo.  I learned a bunch of John Denver songs that way. Then I learned the proper way and have been playing by ear ever since.

Where do you get inspiration when you sit down to write a song?

From lifes experiences and from living in the present moment of life.  Jamaica has been very inspirational to me when it comes to writing but I also remember in 7th grade writing a song for a commercial we had to come up with and I wanted to be creative and stand out in the class.  I recently started writing a song in Australia and finished here in Indiana. The sky is the limit to my writing and I also enjoy writing jingles for companies.  Ultimately it is a gift from God and I want to keep practicing and focusing on my talent that I feel so blessed to have. I have hopped planes at the last minute just to arrive in a new and different place for inspiration.

PC or Mac?

MacBookPro.   Everything about it!  Notebook G4 was my old one that I currently use to record. It’s fun to sit down at my PC and be reminded how much I love my Mac.

You play a ton of shows.  Are you ever afraid of over saturating yourself in the local market?

I spread them out all over and think I do a pretty good  job of not saturating.  There are so many small towns within an hour to 4 hours of driving where people are starved for singer/songwriter tunes.  I usually send out my posters a couple weeks in advance to create the demand.

What is the biggest crowd you have ever played for?

Negril, Jamaica during spring break.

The smallest?

A fly on the wall in my studio.

What is the last movie you saw?

Taking Woodstock.

Did you like it?

Yes but I had to duck out towards the end to make my sound check.

If you could meet anyone alive or dead who would it be and why?

Jerry Garcia or Bob Marley; they have kept me keeping on!

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

Jim Croce,  James Taylor,  Sinatra, a Prof Smith from IU who taught me the law of diminishing returns and to take road less traveled,  My mom and dad who have been fighting and surviving Cancer and MS and the most higher.

What would you be doing if it were not music?

I swam since I was 6 years old to senior year in high school.  I had a couple state records.  When I went to college I wanted to have fun with my guitar.  I love brand marketing and it goes hand and hand with my music now.  If I stopped performing today I would still be involved in Marketing.  Although my college degree is marketing I believe you can do whatever you want in life.  We are all blessed with something.

Do you have a job or is music it?

Music is my life and music is my wife. (Laughs)   It’s been my full time job for over 15 years.

If you could play with any band in the industry right now who would it be?

Slightly Stoopid.

Let’s say you are about to open at Verizon Wireless Music Center.  Who would be your opener?

Kelley Isenhower.

Pepsi or Coke?

Pepsi.  I used to guzzle it down.  The Pepsi in Jamaica must have sugar cane in it and it is the best in the world.

Let’s get some pizza.  What toppings?

Veggie; all veggies especially hot peppers.

Has anyone ever told you that you look exactly like Dane Cook?

I get that often and also that I bust out envelope pushing comments that others only think.

What was it like touring with Slightly Stoopid and Pepper?

It was great to travel around with two of my favorite bands and get to know some of them.  They didn’t seem to have great big egos.  Ironically three years later one of my songs is going to be on the new Jagermeister 2010 sampler with Slightly Stoopid and Pepper.

Miles (one of the lead singers of SS) had us over to his house on the last day of the tour in San Diego and cooked us breakfast. When I lived in California I spent a lot of time in San Diego.  I wish I could have linked up with Slightly Stoopid then but blessed that it happened.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Writing songs about the people and places that inspire me. I believe everyday is a gift and I take it day by day to soak up the present moment.

What do you want to be remembered for when it’s all said and done?

An entrepreneur who created his own reality writing songs and creating a musical soundtrack to life while making a difference in the world.

If you could play only one cover song for the rest of your career what song would it be?

Eyes of The World; it is never played the same way and has an amazing message.

I always let the artist get the last word.  Go.

I love feedback from the people who allow me to keep doing what I love.  It’s a two way street and I want to continue this dream job. Thank you to all the people and places that have inspired me on this journey of life.  Blessed love and positivity!