Saturday, November 27, 2010


I am a daily Howard Stern Show listener. I know that factoid makes most people think all sorts of things about me and you know what? Let 'em. The fact is the show is awesome and I don't care that the public perception of Stern's strippers and porn stars is all most people know about the program (In full disclosure, those segments are usually my least favorite).

One day I was listening and discovered that producer Gary Dell'Abate was writing a memoir. My first thought was, "I gotta write about that." You see, Stern staffers don't just give out interviews and this was my only chance to talk to Baba Booey.

Rarely do I get excited for an interview with a celebrity, but when I picked up that phone and heard Dell'Abate ask for me, I was pretty fired up. I had a ton of questions to ask, but had to get to the stuff I knew I'd use for the story because I was given a mere fifteen minutes.

Dell'Abate had been doing interviews all day and I was the last one. Had I known that initially, I might have found a way to stretch fifteen into twenty-five. Instead, I burned through and didn't get much time to shoot the shit.

In case you were wondering, Dell'Abate came off as authentic and genuine on the phone as he does on air. There were even a few Baba Booey moments that made me chuckle (which I won't mention because I don't want to lose all credibility. Just know that they weren't anything major).

The bummer of the whole thing was that I didn't even go to the book signing. I told Dell'Abate I was going to because that was the plan, but that was one of those Saturdays that was booked solid from 10 a.m. to nearly 3 a.m. Maybe next time.

I'd link to the story, but it's already gone. But there is hope. Go to the Googles and type in "Ryan Ritchie" and "Gary Dell'Abate." Then find the first link and click "cache." I know that sounds like a lot of work, but I am totally not lying when I say it is the absolute best piece of journalism of my career. You'd be missing out by not searching for it.


I'll be honest. The older I get, the less I care about band reunions. In fact, I'm almost positive they shouldn't happen. Of course, there are exceptions and Orange County's Middle Class is one.

The group is credited with founding hardcore and was doing more of a post-punk thing by the time the rest of the punk scene caught up to them.

The fact that they weren't afraid to change was reason No. 1 I liked the idea of this story. Reason No. 2 was the fact that the band hadn't played in 27 years. This told me that something must have felt right for these guys or else they wouldn't have bothered? I mean, this wasn't Coachella offering a million dollars, nor was it a reunion of a band that gets back together every five years and plays the same set each tour. I figured, "Hey, 27 years. That must mean their hearts are actually into it." And I was right.

Middle Class guitarist Mike Atta owns a great vintage store in Fullerton called Out of Vogue, which is also the name of his band's first single. I must have bothered him because I called weekly for about two months before doing the interview. My logic was, we could have done the interview right away, but I wanted the band to practice as much as they could before we spoke. This seemed to work out well because Atta and his brother/singer Jeff Atta were in good spirits and had lots to say as we lounged on some awesome vintage chairs at Out of Vogue.

Unfortunately, I couldn't make the show. I got stranded at O'Hare Airport for three hours (that's a different story) and the thought entered my mind that I could have been at the show had I stayed in Los Angeles. The Attas say their reunion was a one-off, but if they play again, I just might check it out.

Click here to read all about dudes in the 50s playing songs they wrote as kids. But this time, don't feel depressed about it because it's actually a positive story!


I wrote this short story called "Making Lemonade" about a year ago. It was born from a rather inconvenient morning that found me rudely woken from a deep slumber by an alarm clock going off from somewhere that wasn't my bedroom. Luckily for me, the beeping went away after about five minutes.

But I got to thinking: What would happen if the alarm never went off? "Hmm..." my pea brain thought. "I could write something about that."

So I did. The draft came fairly easy (not easy easy, but as easy as any writing comes, which is to say it was a pain in the ass) and for a reason I can't recall, I forgot about the story for months.

One day I was looking for another file on my unorganized computer and there she was. I re-read it, made a few changes here and there, and without much thought (that's how I roll) sent it to the fine folks at Haggard & Halloo. I have had a few poems published with them, but never any fiction, so I assumed "Making Lemonade" would now sit for eternity on both our hard drives.

Imagine the splendor when I got that email saying they liked my story and wanted to use it. I imagine the feeling to be similar to what people feel on Christmas morning (I wouldn't know -- I don't like Christmas).

A few days later the story went viral (Am I using that word correctly?) and although as of this posting there are no comments on the H&H site, I can guarantee that everyone who has read it thinks it is, without a doubt, the best short story not just of all time, but also of future times.

Don't believe me? Check it out here.


I was at a fashion show one Thursday night. The event was put together to showcase the talents of a Long Beach designer named Char Pack. Her line is called Dirtysix and the show was really cool. It began with roller derby girls in skates modeling clothes and also featured models in shoes, bands, art and a bunch more.

After the fashion show, Pack's band The City played. They are an all-female trio that sounds something like a poppy Joan Jett. I thought they were good and walked away from the event more than satiated with all the arts I took in (or maybe that was the hangover I was nursing all day. But I won't get into that).

The next morning I woke up feeling great because the hangover was gone. I was awake for all of thirty minutes when I received a message through Gmail from the music editor at the OC Weekly, asking if I could turn around a music story by the end of the following Tuesday. I said I could try and began my search for a band playing between the dates she was looking for.

The first site I checked was Long Beach's Alex's Bar and lo and behold, The City had a gig lined up for that week. One phone call to Pack and the interview is on. I submitted my story that weekend and it ran the following Thursday. How's that for a quick turnaround?

Anyway, check it out here.