Richard X. Heyman - X

  • Song 1. When Denny Dropped Out of the Scene (4:04)

  • Song 2. Please Be Mindful (2:53)

  • Song 3. Be The One (3:38)

  • Song 4. Compass (3:01)

  • Song 5. The Difference Between Us (3:02)

  • Song 6. Firing Line (3:49)

  • Song 7. Counting Up The Days (3:41)

  • Song 8. Somebody Has Finally Found Me (3:24)

  • Song 9. Mourning (2:32)

  • Song 10. House of Cards (4:18)

  • Song 11. If You Have To Ask (3:56)

  • Song 12. Verges On The Day (3:30)

  • Song 13. Hangman Smiles (3:04)

  • Song 14. So Much For Forever (4:07)

  • Song 15. Will To Go On (3:59)

  • [To listen to a song, please click on arrow or Song link.]

Veteran singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and DIY recording pioneer Richard X Heyman will be releasing X, his 10th solo album this fall. As on past efforts Richard performs all vocals and instrumental tracks and produced himself. Recording took place in his home studio, “The Kit Factory” in New York City, with his wife Nancy Leigh engineering, excepting drum tracks which were recorded at Eastside Sound and engineered by Eric Elterman. The new album will be released in September 2013 on Turn-Up Records.

On X Richard once more proves himself a world-class artist whose effortless mastery of popular music idioms is matched by his uncanny knack for infusing classic styles with timeless emotional truths. For example, on the new album, the track The Difference Between Us is a conversation between two parties; one has already made up their mind about this relationship and the other is still trying to rationalize it. “The funny thing is,” notes Richard, “the name of this album is ‘X’ which is my middle name (for real); it’s also the Roman numeral 10 (it’s my tenth album), while ‘ex’ is what we call past partners and lovers. The music on Difference is slightly inspired by Little Feat, with a nod to Bill Payne’s piano style and Richie Hayward’s drumming.”

When Denny Dropped Out of the Scene is about the phenomenon known as FFS – i.e., Fading Friend Syndrome…that person who was part of your peer group whom you’d see whenever the gang got together, then gradually they show up less and less, then they’re gone - no falling out or explanation: friendship terminated. “The song was written on piano,” Richard states, “but it’s played on guitar. OK, many guitars.”

“When I was twelve years old,” Richard recalls, “I formed a band with my friend Mike Caruso. We started out playing instrumentals by the Ventures and, as the British Invasion hit our shores, we evolved into what is now referred to as a garage band called the Doughboys. We covered songs by the Stones, Kinks, Animals and Yardbirds, among others. Like many young bands, we simply couldn’t pull off the Beatles songs! I now tend to write more toward the melodic pop side of rock, but I recently wrote a more garage-y song for myself called Compass. As on most of the songs on this album, the subject matter is a bit on the dark side. I think a lot of us are feeling a little lost these days for a variety of reasons.”

Richard was one of the first “one man band” recording artists, following in the grand tradition of Paul McCartney, Emitt Rhodes and Todd Rundgren. His abilities have won him a fiercely loyal grass-roots fan base and reams of acclaim over the past two and a half decades. Critical praise began with the release of Richard’s first album Living Room!! which Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed “an undiscovered treasure.” All Music Guide called him “perhaps America’s greatest unsung hero of power pop, a songwriter of uncommon talent and intelligence and a one-man rock band without peer,” while the Hartford Courant proclaimed him to be “a true heir to [Brian] Wilson’s mantle, amid an ocean of pretenders.” The Chicago Tribune observed, “Heyman creates something fresh from his influences rather than parroting them.” As Rolling Stone then-editor David Wild put it in a piece on Richard’s fourth album Basic Glee, “rock’n’roll doesn’t get any better than this.”

The lifelong passion for music is what’s driven Richard since his days growing up in Plainfield, New Jersey. He began playing drums at the age of seven, and was proficient on guitar and piano by his teens. By then, he had already begun writing songs. He has developed a versatile singing voice, which can range from sweet crooning balladeering to balls-to-the-wall rock’n’roll wailing.

Richard was still in junior high school when he achieved his first taste of rock ’n’ roll notoriety as drummer with fabled garage band The Doughboys, whose raucous live sets won them a rabid following in the New York/New Jersey area during the second half of the 1960s. The Doughboys recorded a pair of singles for the Bell label, made multiple appearances on the local TV show Disc-O-Teen (emceed by legendary horror-show host Zacherle), shared stages with the likes of the Beach Boys, the Buckinghams, Neil Diamond and the Syndicate of Sound, and served as the house band at the Café Wha? in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1968.

By the time Richard reemerged as a solo artist in the late 1980s, he’d matured into a singularly distinctive songwriter with an uncanny ability to channel his vintage rock ’n’ roll influences into tunes that are both infectiously catchy and emotionally resonant. Those qualities were prominent on his self-released, home-recorded efforts Actual Size and Living Room!! Both generated considerable critical positive press and music-industry word of mouth, leading to a major-label deal with Cypress/A&M for the re-release of Living Room!! and then with Sire/Warner Bros., which released the widely acclaimed Hey Man! in 1991.

Recording for a corporate label helped to win Richard a wider audience and a higher media profile. But it also proved to be a frustrating experience, and it wasn’t long before he was back in indie territory, making and releasing his music on his own terms. His subsequent albums Cornerstone, Basic Glee, Rightovers, Actual Sighs, Intakes, and Tiers/And Other Stories, as well as the EP Heyman, Hoosier and Herman (with guest vocalist Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits) chronicled Richard’s ongoing musical evolution. Richard also found time to release the career-spanning video retrospective X-Posures, and to pen his first book, the vivid rock ’n’ roll memoir Boom Harangue.

In recent years, Richard has juggled his own work with his activities as a member of the reactivated Doughboys, who first reunited to play at Richard’s surprise birthday party in 2000 and have remained active ever since. The resurgent quartet has also released a trio of well-received new albums, 2007’s Is It Now?, 2010’s Act Your Rage and 2012’s Shakin’ Our Souls. Their song Why Can't She See Me? (written by Richard) was chosen as #3 Coolest Song in the World on Little Steven's Underground Garage Sirius XM channel for 2010.

When he hasn’t been writing and recording his own material or working with The Doughboys, Richard has also found time to work with an array of other artists over the years, including several of his musical heroes. He’s played drums behind Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, seminal guitar icon Link Wray, Left Banke leader Michael Brown and beloved indie troubadour Jonathan Richman. He also served as guitarist in Shangri-Las lead singer Mary Weiss’ band during her recent comeback, and played keyboards with soul legend Ben E. King.

Richard lives in New York City with his wife Nancy.