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"After the call from Mick, even before I went to the rehearsal, I turned to my wife and said, “that’s it, I’m going to be joining Fleetwood Mac!” - Rick Vito

Posted: February 28, 2024
Caliber - is a kind of measurement that can describe either the level of a person's ability or the diameter of a gun barrel.
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Photo by: Anthony Scarlati

As I listen to the accomplishments of Rick Vito, the portion of Caliber that fits him perfectly is the diameter of a gun barrel. Depending upon the diameter, any target can be hit with precision. However, it takes someone with a high level of experience and ability to meet that target head-on. Is there any doubt, that Rick Vito is always on point with projects that he is involved in?

There are very few guitar master’s that can claim the accolades that Rick Vito has. Is there room for debate in the way we have defied Rick Vito? Absolutely not. Review his accomplishments and those that he has worked with, and you will see something that is so reasonably compelling. Does it get any better than Rick Vito? Despite your argument, it is difficult to define his abilities without considering those that he has worked with. Let’s consider some of the things he has accomplished over a successful career in the music industry.

ABOUT RICK VITO

Few musicians in recent decades can claim the caliber of credits held by Grammy-nominated guitarist, Rick Vito. 

Perhaps best known as a member of the legendary supergroup Fleetwood Mac (1987-1991), Rick brought back the roots and blues quality once found in the band’s original Peter Green era. His original songs are featured on their albums, “Behind The Mask”, “The Very Best Of Fleetwood Mac” and “The Chain.” He also appears on their “Greatest Hits” release and the live full length concert DVD, “Tango In The Night”. 

Rick later partnered with Mick Fleetwood to form the “Mick Fleetwood Blues Band feat. Rick Vito.” Shortly after the release of their CD, “Blue Again,” Rick was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award in the "Best Traditional Blues" category as both artist and producer. 

Vito’s unique slide and lead guitar work has also enriched the recordings and performances of such legendary Rock & Roll, Blues and Country Hall of Fame artists as Bob Seger, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, John Fogerty, Little Richard, Albert Collins, Boz Scaggs, Dolly Parton, John Prine, Delbert McClinton, Roy Orbison, Jackson Browne, Roger McGuinn, Hank Williams Jr., Stevie Nicks, Todd Rundgren, and scores of others. He has appeared on hundreds of recordings, and his haunting slide guitar solo on Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock,” has been heard by untold millions as the guitar voice on the Chevrolet truck TV commercial ads which ran over a ten-year period. 

He also received the famed W.C. Handy Award for “Blues Song of the Year,” for “It’s Two A.M.”as performed by Shemekia Copeland. His songs have appeared in the TV shows, “Without A Trace,” “Las Vegas,” “Thieves,” “HBO’s ‘Real’ Series,” “Everwood,” “Memphis Beat,” and most recently, multiple episodes of the highly acclaimed, “Blue Bloods.”

Rick’s solo works include, “King Of Hearts,” (1992) “Pink & Black,” (1997) “Lucky Devils” (2000) “Crazy Cool,” (2003) “Rick Vito Live In Concert” (DVD 2005) “Band Box Boogie,” (2005) “Rattlesnake Shake,” (2006) “Complete Slide Guitar,” (DVD 2007), “Talk That Talk,” “Lucky In Love” (2009), “Mojo On My Side” (2017),  and “Soulshaker” (2019). 

Look for Rick Vito’s brand new 2024 CD, “Cadillac Man” on Blue Heart Records! Also available now are his Slide guitar tutorial from Truefire.com, “Slide Soulshaker,” and the “Rick Vito Soul Agent” Signature model guitar from Reverend Guitars, a major hit at the 2024 NAMM Show in Los Angeles. 

Are you impressed yet? You should be. In fact, it will have you comparing him with some of the greatest guitar players of all time.

INTERVIEW WITH RICK VITO AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: To state the obvious, I am impressed with Rick Vito. I am in all of those that he has worked with, but mostly with his wisdom and experience. His guitar skills are incredible. Thus, the decision to interview him, was decisive.

Guitar Thrills: Hi Rick. I want to thank you for joining me for a chat regarding your involvement with the music industry. There are some notable artists that are part of your history of collaboration. You worked with Fleetwood Mac for a window of time. How did that come about?

Rick: Thank you, first of all, it’s good to talk with you. I used to live in the Los Angeles area and because it was the center of the music business, I had the good fortune of meeting and working with many, many great artists. I was on a session for Billy Burnette whom I knew a long time, and Mick was the drummer. I was very much into the original Peter Green era of the band and we talked about that a lot. Soon after Mick, Billy and Kenny Gradney from Little Feat came to see me perform with my band, and in fact  sat in, and we had a great chemistry. When Buckingham left the group, Mick called and asked if I would come to a rehearsal and play with he, John and Christine. So I learned a dozen songs or so, we played all day and at the end, he invited me to join the band. An amazing experience, for sure!

Guitar Thrills: What was the first thing that came to mind, when that opportunity presented itself?

Rick: I had been having the feeling that something big was going to happen, for some reason. Actually I thought I was going to be asked to join Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band since I’d been touring with them. After the call from Mick, even before I went to the rehearsal, I turned to my wife and said, “that’s it, I’m going to be joining Fleetwood Mac!” Things just came together somehow.

Guitar Thrills: Have you seen an uptick in the amount of work you have received, because of the artists you have worked with?

Rick: I wouldn’t describe it quite that way, but it seems that there may be more interest in what I’m doing with my own music and career lately. That feels really great!

Guitar Thrills: Love for playing the guitar is a great motivator. Do you have any other reasons or inspirations that contribute to your success?

Rick: You’re right that the basic common denominator for doing this for over fifty years has been the love of the guitar. That then led to singing, songwriting, producing and all the rest of it. I got in this because I love music and love expressing myself on the instrument, and that thrill has never, ever diminished for me. My musical heroes have been guys who achieved varying degrees of success, but provided me with a world of inspiration to build on.

Guitar Thrills: Personally, I don’t like to be compared to other media outlets. Even in my personal aspirations, I like to be considered the original. Authentic. How do you feel when someone makes a comparison with your guitar style?

Rick: I guess as a musician I’ve always tried to sound original. Sometimes I was successful at this and sometimes to my own ears, not. To be honest I have not received too much criticism with people thinking I was ripping another player’s style off, although, I know for myself when I may have drawn from the wells of say, B.B. King, Peter Green, Chuck Berry, Jesse Ed Davis or any of the many other guitarists and musicians I’ve listened to. We all tend to borrow something at least, and I have too.

Guitar Thrills: You have been nominated several times to receive a Grammy. Is that incentive enough, or does it have an impact on your approach to your work?

Rick: I was only nominated as artist and producer of The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band for our album, “Blue Again,” in 2010. I never think about the Grammys in general, but it’s nice to be recognized for your work, I’ll say that.

Guitar Thrills: When all is said and done, what do you want to be known for? What is the legacy that you would like to be known for?

Rick: If anyone was moved in some way by something I played or wrote or sang, I would feel good about that. I’d hope that people think of me as someone who played from the heart, who played what was right for the song and did it all with feeling.

Guitar Thrills: What project are you currently working on, that requires much of your attention? What do you plan to achieve with it?

Rick: I recently signed with Blue Heart Records who are releasing my new album, “Cadillac Man” this Spring (2024). I’ll make plans based on the reaction to the recording, but I’d be enormously happy if the album reaches a lot of people and is well liked.

I think it’s a great record with some of my best playing and songs.

Guitar Thrills: What is your “go to” guitar brand and why?

Rick: I’ve been designing guitars since around 1986 and have had several prototypes made that received design copyrights. Since 2004 I’ve endorsed Reverend Guitars out of Toledo, Ohio, and currently am enjoying the release of my fourth “Rick Vito Signature Model,” which I co-designed with Reverend. They’re great guitars from a great company and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together. The current model is called the “Soul Agent.” You can see them at www.reverendguitars.com

Guitar Thrills: It has been a pleasure chatting with you. I will continue keep my ear open for what you will be doing in the world of music. Also, I would like to invite you to come back for another interview. The follow up interviews are always extremely insightful.

Rick: It has been my pleasure and I’ll look forward to that!




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