For a while there, Richard Bacchus was an institution in New York City’s music scene. As a member of D Generation, he penned some of the group’s most memorable songs and appeared on the 1996 album “No Lunch,” the group’s most popular album.
Alas, despite being produced by The Cars’ Ric Ocasek, that album’s songs rocked too hard, fast, and unrestrainedly to climb the Billboard Hot 100. The band had to settle for legendary status instead of arena tours, and such is life.
Bacchus eventually left New York City and moved to the more mellow climes of North Carolina, where he lives today. He plays with Richard Bacchus & The Luckiest Girls, and earns extra scratch by working in a restaurant. Despite his New York City pedigree, he is now firmly ensconced in life south of the Mason-Dixon line. But he’s still the same British-born New York City transplant that he’s always been.
D Generation reformed in 2016 to record another album, “Nothing Is Anywhere.” The Z Review caught up with him and subjected him to the grueling process we like to call “Five Questions.”
TZR: Who are your musical influences that got you interested in wanting to play out in the first place?
RB: Back in England My dad had a bunch of Elvis 45’s, and Blue Beat, Ska records. Desmond Dekker and Prince Buster. Then I saw T Rex on “Top of the Pops” and decided that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.
In New York City aged 15, I was managing a shoe store on West 8th St. This English guy named Steve Lewins came in looking for a job and ended up hiring me to play guitar in his band, The Fugitives. We rehearsed that same night. Gene Casey, the lead guitarist, said, “Okay, this one is in E, it goes E to A to D to G.” I had no idea what he was talking about. Come to think about it, I still don’t.
TZR: What led to D Generation’s breakup, and are you on good terms with those guys now?
RB: The band never formally broke up. I left in 1996 because I just wasn’t enjoying it. We all remained on great terms. We’ve been doing the occasional reunion show and even released an album of all new material.
TZR: What kind of music are you working on now? Do you think your old fans will enjoy it?
RB: It’s basically punker music. I go by Richard Bacchus & The Luckiest Girls. There’s a couple of different lineups, based on availability. The core band that I record with is Jimbo Britt on bass, Bill Eagen on drums, Larry Burlison on guitar and Danny Ray on tenor saxophone. Bill Eagen and Larry Burlison are in the excellent heavy metal band Demon Eye. Jimbo and Bill also have a band, The Bleeding Hearts. Danny Ray is currently out on tour with Jesse Malin from D Generation.
I have an album recorded and in the can. I really can’t figure out the best way to get it out to the public. I usually will just Dropbox it to someone, if they want it. I really would love to put it out on vinyl with proper packaging.
TZR: What made you leave New York and move to North Carolina?
RB: It just wasn’t my city any more. No one I knew even had time to play music, and that’s what I wanted to do.
TZR: Why do so many musicians become professional chefs or enter the food service industry in general?
RB: Honestly, it’s the turnover rate. You can walk away for a month-long tour, then very easily pick up work after that; very easily if you’re talented. Then there is the ensemble element and camaraderie of kitchens. There’s no such thing as a one-man rock n’ roll show.