Chapter 14 – Other Projects & Monkeys?

During the last decade, Richard has been involved in several other musical projects. He was a member of the “House Band” at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 1994 ceremony called “Topping of The Rock.” Again, Richard was humbled to be playing alongside several of his local rock heroes. Although it was a one-time band, it signaled the fact that, as a musician, Richard had arrived at a place in his career where he was considered a peer of such greats as Wally Bryson and Jim Bonfanti (from The Raspberries), Dale Peters (James Gang), Michael Stanley and Buddy Maver (Rainbow Canyon).

Sonny Geraci
Sonny Geraci in live performance – 2000

Another Cleveland music legend who figures into Richard’s career is Sonny Geraci. Geraci was a former singer in The Outsiders and Climax and has maintained his Cleveland roots. In 1997, Richard produced and performed on Sonny’s “On The Verge” album. Six Spina originals were also featured on this album and sit well alongside hits like “Time Won’t Let Me” and “Precious And Few.” Richard also helped Sonny build and orchestrate a new stage show that would be able to rival any great Las Vegas production. If you’ve ever seen Geraci’s show, you’d know that it does!

The ever-challenged jack-of-all-trades, Richard also played keyboards for Jonah Koslen’s Breathless reunion in 1999 and in Damnation Of Adam Blessing’s reunion shows in 2000. Because of his ongoing commitment to local music and local musicians, Richard still considers it an honor to help out when asked. Likewise, these acts really appreciate the expert renderings he delivers on their music. Mutual respect at its finest. He’s truly become one of the few people of whom almost everyone has something good to say. That speaks volumes about his character and his integrity.

Monkey Island
Monkey Island
(don’t ask!)

Threatening to ruin his integrity and his character for all-time is Rich’s involvement in Monkey Island (just kidding). In the summer of 2000, Richard began recording an untitled original songwriting project for two old friends, Jim Girard and Tim Layman. Weekly sessions at RBS Recording evolved to the point where Richard was asked to be a member of this group because his involvement was integral and his energy boundless. The self-titled CD release came out in 2001 and the second release (titled Walking Upright) is set for release in spring 2002. As a member of Monkey Island and as a friend of Richard’s for some 20 years, I can say that it’s been a pleasure to review his career in this website history and to be asked to chronicle one of Ohio’s most interesting musical careers…

Jim Girard.