Richie Scarlet, whom Ace Frehley gave the name, the Emperor of Rock and Roll back in the early 90’s, is a hard rock guitar icon who bares a slight resemblance to Rolling Stone guitarist, Keith Richards (except Scarlet is better looking). Scarlet has played with many great rockers including the Alice Cooper Group, Ace Frehley of KISS, Sebastian Bach, MOUNTAIN and he is also a producer.
Scarlet doesn’t take his emperor title too seriously and says, “I suppose it’s better than being called the idiot of Rock & Roll.”
He attributes his greatest accomplishment to date as having the opportunity to play with so many people that inspired him when he was a child and gaining their respect as a musician..
Examiner would like to add that his wife JoAnn Scarlet and the relationship that the two have, is one in a million in the world of Rock & Roll and should also be considered an accomplishment. They work side by side every day and work together as a team. It was great fun to spend time with them.
He’s appeared on too many albums to mention, including his own releases. Here are a few: Eyes of an Angel 1982, Ace Frehley 1989, Tommy V – Born Ready 1992, Leslie West – LIVE 1993, Richie Scarlet – Wise Guy From New York 1997, Space Walk – A Tribute to Ace Frehley 1996, Ace Frehley – Return of the Comet 1997, Ace Frehley – 12 Picks 1997, Neil Smith – Platinum God 1999, Richie Scarlet – Out of My Past 1999, Sebastian Bach – Bring en Back Alive 1998, Sebastian Bach – Back 2 Basics 2001, Richie Scarlet – The Insanity of Life 2002, FIGMENTS with Anton Fig 2002, Mountain – HIGH 2002, NYB – In Your Face 2003, Cork – Out There 2003, Richie Scarlet – Stage to Stage 2003, Jason Hartless Jr. – First Division 2004, The Scared Stills – Autopsy Turvy 2005, Chris Laubis – In a Wyrd Place 2005, Revelation Supreme 2006, Chris Laubis – Balance 2010, Fever 2010, The Misfits – Land of the Dead 2010 and, 5th Ave Vampires 2010.
Examiner caught up with Scarlet during his Boston show at the Wilbur Theatre where he played alongside Frehley who has been doing a solo tour with his band that features Scarlet on guitar, Chris Wyse on bass and Scot Coogan on drums.
Examiner: You have had a career that most musicians dream of having. What have you learned from all of the artists that you have worked with over the years?
Scarlet: It’s quite simple, I learned that each musician whether they were famous or not, were always open to learning more. You can never learn enough.
AN: Do you have any good road warrior stories that you want to share?
RS: One night at a gig in Arkansas with the original Ace Frehley band, we were all in the hotel room and we started shooting off fireworks at each other, among other silly and stupid things. I was very bad boy back then. Mind you, any musician who has been on the road always has a story that gets bigger and bigger as the years go on.
AN: I understand that you play several instruments other than the guitar?
RS: I mess around with all string instruments, drums and piano. When I am writing, I tend to write more on the piano these days. Sometimes, I’ll hear a melody in my head, and I’ll hum it until I can get to an instrument. That’s a fun way to write a song.
AN: What advice would you give to a young musician who is just starting out today?
RS: First, you have to stay absolutely true to yourself. It’s important to explore all kinds of music, blues, country, funk, hip hop, punk, and rock. You need to learn from each culture. To be a musician, it’s all about the passion. If you are looking at it to make money, don’t start in the music business.
AN: Tell us what you have in the works now?
RS: My newest release is titled, Richie Scarlet “The Essentials.” It’s a collection of songs that I’ve written which are in my catalog of CD’s. It includes my very first single, “Eyes of an Angel,” which has never been on a CD before.
I’m also working on some brand new material which will be released sometime in 2016.
Scarlet is just finishing up the Frehley tour and will be back in the studio working on is own material.