Friday, June 15, 2007

Ric Harman & the Wrong Band Remembered

Wrong Band with Ric HarmanBack in the early years of the exploding Nashville rock scene, one of the greatest things about the ongoing local music revolution was that, unlike Seattle, Austin, or even Athens, the Music City scene was truly diverse. From the blu-reggae of Afrikan Dreamland and the rockin-dub of the White Animals to the punk country of Jason & the Scorchers and pop bands like the Practical Stylists, there were a lot of different sounds for the music lover to check out around town.

One of the most underrated of the bands on the scene during the early-80s was the Wrong Band. Fronted by the photogenic Ric Harman on bass and vocals and including Craig Powers and Mike Rosa on guitars, Dwayne "Dr. X" Rice on keyboards and Andy Martin on drums (later replaced by Jeff Danley), the Wrong Band had a solid seven-year run in the region. The band's edgy new-wavish song "I Live In My Car" was in constant rotation on WRVU-FM and they played shows across the Southeast.

Ric Harman passed away from lymphoma on June 5th at the young age of 52, his short bout with cancer evidently doing nothing to diminish his creative spirit and zest for life. Ric had accomplished a lot after the various members of the Wrong Band went their separate ways, even if much of it was outside my sphere of awareness. A native Nashvillian and the son of noted session drummer Buddy Harman, who had played with Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline and others, Ric moved to New York City after the band broke up.

During the eleven years that he lived in NYC, Ric pursued his passions for performing and the visual arts, becoming a mime and stage magician, and he did some acting both on stage and on TV. Ric toured the country with his own cooking show sponsored by Proctor & Gamble during the early-90s, and he made a name for himself as a professional photographer and graphic artist. He returned to Nashville a year or so ago and worked for Nashville's gay and lesbian newspaper Out & About as a photographer and columnist. Ric, in the guise of his alter-ego "Cosmo Shitay," wrote a regular column for Out & About that may well prove to be his lasting legacy.

The Wrong Band's Andy Martin had told me that he was organizing a band reunion with all of the original members, which would have been great. Listen to "I Live In My Car" or "Wrong Song" (mp3s below, courtesy of Allen Sullivant's Nashville 80s Rock site). I think that you'll agree that although the production may be dated, the songs themselves have a timeless presence and rock just as much today as they did in 1983. Sadly, the band reunion won't take place without Ric Harman, a talented man of many interests that left a lasting impression on the local Nashville rock scene.

(Thanks to Andy Martin for the info on Ric's life and times....)

Wrong Band "I Live In My Car"

Wrong Band "Wrong Song"

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Blogger Unknown said...

Ric ! How you inspired me !!!

I feel privileged that you sent me some of your art.

Thank you for being a part of my life.

I miss you.

Let your magic reign.

Love - Tony

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labelled too "Pop" to be "punk" and to "punk" 2 b "pop", the Wrong Band was many things, to many people. They didn't party, except on stage, so were kind of the odd man out of the local "cool" bands.
And, they could actually play.
Humor,politics, social commentary,and love songs. What more could you want?

8:36 PM  
Blogger Jim Kane said...

Thank you very much for this great write-up on the band. Duane Rice is my uncle, and I have plenty of vivid memories of listening to I Live In My Car, Wrong Song, etc. as a kid. My mother even snuck me into The Stage Stop in Memphis to see them perform (I might have been 7 or 8 at the time). Thanks for taking me back!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Andy Martin said...

Well, uh, we did party, but it was on stage...and back stage!

Thank you Rev Keith for a great retrospective.

Andy Martin (Mr Decibel)

11:05 PM  
Blogger senormedia said...

We had ILIMC in rotation at WUTK in Knoxville back in the day. I liked it enough to appropriate the single, which has made several moves with me since then. It's going on the air today at WYLA-FM in Charleston, SC, where I am the station manager.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just found the 45 of I Live in my Car in a briefcase at an estate sale. I miss the variety of Nashville in the 80’s and early 90’s!

2:34 PM  
Blogger Andrew D Martin... said...

Great article Rev--by the way, I wasn't replaced. I quit, and they brought in the awesome and talented drummer/artist Jeff Danley. --Andy Martin (Mr Decibel)

1:47 PM  

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