Rich Schroder

Rich Schroder

BandRockSinger/Songwriter

On “Your Kind Words”, his debut album as a solo artist, Rich Schroder, singer songwriter from Boston, MA, demonstrates a flair for evocative entertainment as he portrays the human condition through his colorful characters and the circumstances that mold their destiny.

Biography

All true artists are builders. Brick by brick, they assemble a career, building their craft, amassing their stories, growing their fan base. Talented Boston songwriter Rich Schroder is himself a builder. He’s been honing his craft since age 14, when he initially set out on his rock and roll apprenticeship. Today, his band experience on hold, Schroder has moved into the next phase of his career. "I’d been playing in rock bands for the last ten years,” he explains, “but after my last go around I needed a change.” After taking a breather from performing to build a successful business, Schroder returned to his first love, this time as a singer-songwriter. He found a great sounding acoustic guitar and began writing anew. “Originally, I was looking for a stripped-down way to express myself, and found it in the singer-songwriter tradition. I set out to write this record with that tradition in mind, creating characters and story lines that expressed my experiences.”

On Your Kind Words, his debut album as a solo artist, Schroder demonstrates a flair for evocative entertainment as he makes his way through a generous handful of literate and colorful stories. It is this flair and his enthusiasm for songwriting that have served as two critical building blocks of his burgeoning career.

Over the past year Schroder has been sharpening his trade every Friday night at a neighborhood bar in South Boston, working the crowd as he works on his songs. They’ve come to know him, mainly through his songs—they’re all on a first name basis—and they love his material. “It’s great to have a connection with people,” Schroder says, acknowledging the impact this residency has had on his career. “It means everything to me to have a receptive audience.” Your Kind Words emerges from this intimate connection, as well as the artist’s outsized songwriting ambition.

The recording comes primarily from the classic storytelling traditions of the great songwriters: Guthrie, Young, Dylan, Springsteen, and most recently reflected in contemporary writers like Ellis Paul and Ryan Adams. “Father Jones,” for example, fixes a cold gaze on the sex abuse scandals of the Catholic Church. “Never Happen Again” explores domestic violence, while “Me and Cousin Willy” is a careening getaway car of a tune, marked by violence and murder.

Not to be too monochromatic, Schroder proves he can write with humor and pathos as well. “Retail Therapy” is biting social commentary on American consumer culture, (Key lyric: “Are you happy or do you want more? Can you find what you are looking for?”) “Hillbilly Makeover” riffs on the country’s obsession with reality TV, and “(Sorry That I’m Not) The Home Depot Type” is a candid ode to the common man. “We worked really hard on the lyrics to these songs,” says Schroder, the “we” referring to he and his musical collaborator/producer Ross Adams (Vance Gilbert, Bo Diddley, Mark Sandman). “We focused on character development and rewrote the lyrics to most of these songs dozens of times.”

Due mainly to his father’s career, Schroder has not led a conventional life. Born in New York City the youngest of three children, Schroder's family moved to the Middle East when he was 4. For the next six years, led by his father, an international banker, he moved from one war-torn region to another, living in Beirut, Teheran, and Cameroon. For the young Schroder fun came in unusual ways. “In Beirut I used to collect gun shell casings and make cassette recordings of gunfire outside,” he recalls. He also began writing plays and stories. Eventually, that way of life became too violent for the family. They moved to Boston, where Schroder found himself lagging both socially and academically. “I’ve always had to overcome things and try to catch up,” he admits.

When he was just 14, Schroder became interested in music and formed a rock band in the Boston area with some high school friends. They started out with the classics—Zeppelin, Beatles, the Stones—and then moved on to original material. While that band broke up, as did the next handful of bands, Schroder’s dream kept growing, and so did his abilities as a guitarist and singer. He played music through college and grad school, eventually forming, Zen Lunatic, his first recording act. They’d go on to make a couple of CDs and tour nationally, nearly breaking through to the big time. But no one wanted it as badly as Schroder. “I don’t want to make it sound disappointing, I learned a lot in that band,” he says. “But like many bands that break up, in the end, everyone wanted something different out of the music.”

Rich then took a temporary leave of absence from the music business to make use of his MBA. “It was the first time in 10 years that I didn’t have a band to make music with,” he says. “I really had to take stock and decide what I wanted to do.” When his business ran its course, he found a Santa Cruz acoustic guitar and started putting pen to musical paper.

It was at

Lyrics

Your Kind Words

Written By: Rich Schroder

Your kind words, were my hand-me-downs
In your kind words, I did drown
Nothing you said, made such a sound
As your kind words, my hand-me-downs

Wherever I go
They are there with me
Whatever I sow
Is from their seeds
I’ll never forget
The things you said
Still can’t yet
Get them out of my head

Grateful for this gift
You gave to me
Your tongue swift
In its severity
Written in my gut
Your cruelty
Which can’t be shut
From my memory

I Look in the mirror
No one stares back at me
It’s becoming clearer
For I can see
In my head
A part of me
This long thread
Now pulled free

Your kind words, my hand-me-downs
In your kind words, I did drown
Nothing you said, made such a sound
As your kind words, my hand-me-downs
Your kind words, my put me downs
Your kind words, of great renown
Nothing you said, made such a sound
As your kind words, turned me upside down

Never Happen Again

Written By: Rich Schroder

She remembers falling in love with him, everything was great
He said let’s get married, and she couldn’t wait
Their life was perfect, a dream come true
Then one night it happened, straight out of the blue
She tried to hide it, put a scarf around her face
Dark glasses and makeup, covered up the place

He said he was sorry
He said he was to blame
He promised it would never ever happen again

Her mother grew worried, could see through her lies
Having lived through it too, til the day daddy died
It all seemed so familiar; like she’d been there before
Like momma saying dad was different, when he got back home from the war

He said he was sorry
He said he was to blame
He promised it would never ever happen again

She thinks about leaving, but there’s no escape
Tries not to anger him, but he’s hard to anticipate
How did it happen, how did it get this way
Time keeps moving on, there’s a baby on the way

She can’t take it anymore, being afraid for her life
Though it’s all she knows, she’s through being his wife
Gathers up her courage, not knowing if it’s right
Quietly takes the baby, and flees into the night

He said he was sorry
He said he was to blame
He promised it would never ever happen again
He said he was sorry
He said he was to blame
He promised it would never ever happen again

(Sorry That I'm Not) The Home Depot Type

Written By: Rich Schroder

Never owned a drill before, or a ratchet set
Never owned a Craftsman tool, there’s none I wanna get
Never tried a tool belt on, it just wouldn’t look right
Sorry that I’m not the Home Depot type

Can’t fix our leaky faucet, which dripped for days
Can’t change a flat tire, thank god for triple A
Can’t make a home improvement to save my life
Sorry that I’m not the Home Depot type

I really gave it an honest try, but we could clearly see
That when I set the house on fire, there was no hope for me
Now I try to take it easy on my weekend days
Knowing I’m all thumbs and that you love me anyway

Now when things break, you look at me and smile
Now I don’t try to fix it, cause we know it’s futile
Now when the sink clogs, Roto Rooter clears the pipes
Sorry that I’m not the Home Depot type

I’d love to clean the gutters, but I’m afraid of heights
Sorry that I’m not the Home Depot type
Sorry that I’m not the Home Depot type

Discography

Your Kind Words - Full Length Album 2006

Set List

1 hour of original material is a typical set.

Also can play covers:

Song List

1. AC/DC: You Shook Me All Night Long
2. Adams, Brian: Summer of 69
3. Adams, Ryan: New York, New York
4. Adams, Ryan: Oh My Sweet Carolina
5. Adams, Ryan: To Be Young Is To Be Sad Is To Be High
6. Adams, Ryan: When The Stars Go Blue
7. Allman Brothers: Ramblin’ Man
8. Band, The: The Weight
9. Beatles, The: A Hard Day’s Night
10. Beatles, The: Help
11. Beatles, The: Tell Me Why
12. Beatles, The: Things We Said Today
13. Beatles, The: You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
14. Beatles, The: With A Little Help From My Friends
15. Beatles, The: Yellow Submarine
16. Berry, Chuck: No Particular Place To Go
17. Berry, Chuck: Oh Carol
18. Blink 182: All The Small Things
19. Bon Jovi: Wanted Dead or Alive
20. Brooks, Garth: Friends in Low Places
21. Buffalo Springfield: For What It’s Worth
22. Buffett, Jimmy: Margaritaville
23. Cash, Johnny: Boy Named Sue
24. Cash, Johnny: Folsom Prison Blu