CAMP VERDE – Having a grandmother with a Yiddish accent can make for some very interesting pronunciations around the house.
“Geddy, Geddy,” a young Gary Lee Weinrib used to hear his grandmother say.
As the story goes, his friends would also hear the calls. Next thing he knew, the young man had a new name.
More famously known these days as Geddy Lee, the young Weinrib couldn’t have imagined a thick brogue would play a role in his persona as one of rock music’s greatest bass players.
Ask Rick Flom, of Norwegian descent, and it was the bassist of Canadian power trio Rush who made him want to shift his musical influence from horns to stringed instruments.
“I started playing the bass before the guitar,” Flom says. “And that was because of Geddy Lee. Freewill, that song from a musical perspective hits everything I’m about.”
In 2015, Flom and his wife Sandy opened the upscale resale shop in the Wingfield Plaza. Some days, business was good. Other days, not so good.
“When people came in, it was good,” Flom says. “I made some wonderful friends. And it kept me going. But when people weren’t coming into the store, I had to do something. I focused my energies where I needed to be, musically.”
With a lot of time on his hands, Flom, who now mostly plays the six-string acoustic guitar, began fiddling with chord melodies.
The guitar, he says, is a “formidable instrument, on the deepest level.”
“It’s very difficult to play,” Flom says.
When Flom first opened Rick’s Picks, he wanted it to also be a music store, a “music hub.”
Even the name, Rick’s Picks, was a double entendre. Not just a collection of items the proprietor picked up, but also the man’s life virtually revolves around music – and playing an instrument that generally requires a pick.
Both successes and struggles with owning the business causes Flom to search inside for more professional meaning.
“Music is absolutely my soul,” he says. “But my music career was dissolving. The ebb and flow of music, it’s great when it’s going well. But painful when going slowly. It can be stressful.”
So he began offering music lessons. Though Rick’s Picks closed a few months back, the music lessons continue.
From the womb
Shifting from trumpet to bass guitar to the six-string guitar has helped give Flom a broad musical education.
So did growing up in a musical household – and playing in the family’s band.
“Pretty much, I’m a jazz guy,” says Flom, who lists his primary musical influences as Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Chick Correa, Wayne Shorter and Jack DeJohnette. “It’s good to be able to express your chops in a variety of settings.”
“For a short time, I was influenced by Eddie Van Halen,” Flom adds.
With parents who each taught music, Flom was introduced to music pretty much from the womb.
Having been exposed to music’s fundamentals from the start, Flom believes that teaching that structure is important for any aspiring musician.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people pick it up based on what they see,” he says. “Kids today aren’t exposed to the fundamental qualities of music to further themselves. The lack of diverse exposure is what limits musicians today.”
Though Rick’s Picks is no more, Flom’s guitar picks are getting a lot of use these days, both playing and teaching his music students.
Anyone interested in taking guitar lessons can contact Flom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42