BRISTOL - Over the past summer, David Watson, Stanley OâDonnell and John Cyr, all Bristol natives, signed their first recording contract withÂ Roual Galloway of Cordial Records of London.
They are known collectively as the Rikki Aaron Band. Watson, whose stage name is Rikki, is the songwriter and main musical contributor, while OâDonnell, whose stage name is Aaron, plays drums and sings. Cyr is the sound engineer and manager.
The contract is for years and may include a European tour.
âGod works in mysterious ways,â said OâDonnell. âThis is so cool; itâs great.â
The Rikki Aaron Band has been together since 1981, and was known for its original song âSay Whatâs On Your Mind.â Watson, now in his 60s, couldnât believe the news they had been offered a record deal.
âAs I got older, I kind of gave up on the music dream,â said Watson, âBut when they told us the news, I just couldnât believe it. Every time I think Iâm done with music, years down the road I get this call and itâs music telling me âHey, youâre not done yet.â Music pulls right me back in. I was elated and unbelievably happy. I still canât believe it.â
Growing up in the same neighborhood, Watson and OâDonnell feel they were destined to become bandmates.
âThe previous band I was in wanted two drummers. I knew the kid at the end of the street was a drummer; I had heard him playing and asked if he wanted to join our band. We practiced together and became double drummers in that band. Dave then went on to become the lead singer,â explained OâDonnell.
Watson can recall the exact moment he met OâDonnell and joined the band.
âWe both lived right off of Lake Avenue. I heard about this local drummer named Stanley and everybody loved his band. I noticed he would walk by my house with his girlfriend and I played the drums like a maniac so he would hear,â Watson laughed, âI remember him telling me that he wanted a double-drummer band. And thatâs how I got started with Stanleyâs music.â
Watson, who was still in high school when he joined OâDonnellâs band, said he would get out of school, quickly do his homework and met up with OâDonnell to perform at their venues.
OâDonnell recalled all the venues, clubs and weddings they used to play at during the 1980s.
âWe used to play 8 days a week,â he laughed, âWe toured all over the United States. One night we would be in Ohio, the next night we would be in Vermont, and then the next night we would be in New York For three years at the Foxwoods Casino.â
In late March, the band will be releasing an album for sale on vinyl and digital release. It will contain 11 songs, including âSay Whatâs On Your Mindâ, âFor the Love of Music,â âSave the World - Part 1 and 2,â âHey Girl,â âThe Dream,â âWill You,â âGigi,â âIâm a Young Man,â âThink Fastâ and âBrighter Days.â
âThey donât want modern or electronic music,â said Watson, âThey want an old soul, raw sound. The record company told us that Japan is crazy about this type of music, so weâll see how it goes.â
When Cyr became the manager, he made sure the songs became protected and copyrighted and worked out negotiations with Galloway, a producer and owner of a record store called Love Vinyl in London. The store carries records from the â60s, â70s and "80s.
â Weâre very thankful for John. He has great negotiations skills and was able to pull the whole thing together. I mean, how many people from Bristol say they made it big? Weâre really excited,â said OâDonnell.
âNone of this wouldâve been possible if it wasnât for John,â added Watson.
As they prepare their passports and flights to London, The Rikki Aaron Band is setting off for its next adventure.
Watson leaves words of wisdom to those who are hopeful of making it in music: âIf youâre going take music seriously, learn to read it. Itâs going to make the music process so much easier and quicker. The music industry is very hard,. Always stay humble.â