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Richard Rayberg

Co-Lead/Rhythm Guitarist of the as-yet unnamed "Band 1". He hopes the name will be Thunder Turtle.

0 · 580 views · located in The World of Music

a character in “Metal Gods”, as played by Cypher


Name: Richard Marcus Rayberg, Rick Rayberg, Rick Thunderstorm, Ricky T, Rick-o, Rick-o-chet (he really hates that one), Cap'n, Hoss, Old Hoss, Amigo, Hondai, All-American Boy, "That Guy". Rick has lived in many places under many names, and for every name here he's forgotten about ten more.

Birthdate: 28 Sep. 1982, putting him at about twenty-nine and change.

Role: In his time, Rick has played many instruments. Although his primary instrument, and the focus of all of his technique, is guitar, he is also has been known to dabble in (electric and upright) bass, fiddle and the harmonica. He also occasionally fills backup vocals.

Appearance: Rick looks, for all intents and purposes, like the least-metal metal player ever. He is dirty and disheveled, and not even in the "crust-punk" or "grunge" way. He has wild, curly, shoulder-length dirty blond hair that tends to tangle and bunch up, which he sometimes ties back with a small length of bailing twine or a rubber band (usually taken from a bunch of fresh vegetables). In addition to the long, curly hair, he also has a long, curly beard of much the same color, which remains unattended and uncared for (except for picking the food out of it and cleaning it when he showers, obviously). His face - the little of it that isn't obscured by hair, anyways - is a ruddy tan, freckled and sunburnt, with a large, caveman-esque brow shading piercing, gray-blue eyes (frequently bloodshot). The little Choctaw he has in him has given him good facial structure, but he has a rather unfortunately bulbous, flat nose, not improved any by its "heal-until-it-can-be-broken-again" treatment.

He stands at about 6'1", a rather embarrassing fact considering that Viv is actually taller than him, but he has the build of a linebacker. There is nothing lean and thin about him - tipping the scales at about 220 pounds, Rick is little more than raw muscle and bone with leathery tanned skin and a torso that could easily be compared to a small sedan in terms of size and stability. His fingers are fairly long, but they're also thick in width, leading him to be referred to as "Sausage Fingers" on more than one occasion - not that this detracts from their quickness any, but still. He has almost comically large feet (size 13 1/2) in proportion to long legs with very thick thighs, and his arms are likewise rather long and large to keep his body in fair proportion (his head is a little small for his shoulders, though - not enough to be noticeable unless you look very hard but still annoying when you try to find a good hat). He could be described as "ruggedly handsome" on a good day, but he doesn't take care of himself well enough to be considered much else.

His non-metal appearance carries over to his choice of clothing as well. On stage and off, he adorns himself in the simple, the cheap and the tough. His torso is always garbed in a white wife-beater (the kind you can usually pick up in a twelve-pack at the dollar store), over which is thrown either a canvas work-shirt or wool flannel, depending on whatever's clean, followed by a vest of some thick material, more commonly seen on field-hands and folk singers than metal stars. When it gets cold outside he'll throw on a thick green wool coat, but that's about it. A beaten up hat (A/N: this hat, to be precise) is usually plopped onto his head, sometimes it has a blue jay's feather sticking from the band, sometimes not. For pants, he wears boot-cut Levis, mostly with crudely-patched knees, some with the seat patched as well, held up by a black leather belt. He wears a pair of worn-out Carolina work boots, although sometimes he'll throw on a pair of Nike sneakers or something simpler and more functional for day to day wearing.

In terms of tattoos, he has precisely three. One is on his left bicep; an eagle clutching a bunch of arrows, screeching defiantly at the observer. Another is on the webbing of his right hand, between his thumb and forefinger, the three Mandarin characters that spell "serenity". Rick says it's so he'll remember that peace of mind is always close at hand - it's the closest he's ever come to being a hipster (he hates the sight of the little bastards). His third tattoo will not be discussed in polite company (it's a small box on his ass with writing above that says "Kiss Here"; a reference to one of his previous jobs).

Personality: In a lot of ways, Rick is almost the perfect antithesis to Vivian's wild, fast-and-furious lifestyle. Rick is a calm, slow-going person with simple tastes and nothing to prove to anyone, more than content to sit on the porch with half a pack and a bottle of Seagram's Seven Crown and watch the sun go down over the skyline with his feet up on the railing, dozing in the late-day sun. He never seems to be in too much of a rush to go anywhere, which can sometimes be infuriating to strangers, friends and bandmates alike; especially when they're on a timetable, but this likewise never seems to bother Rick. He seems to absorb stormy weather and bad moods like some sort of anger sponge, carefully smoothing over rough patches with a kind word of a humorous quip. He doesn't like to see his friends get into fights with each-other, and he doesn't like to see important situations compromised with harsh language, so most of the time he seems a bit like his co-lead guitarist's psychological leash, a position he has caught endless hell for but never seems to resent. He is quiet and soft-spoken, with a heavy good-ol'-boy accent, and prefers simple jokes and easy conversations. He's quite easy to talk to when he's around and is always willing to listen to any of his friends' problems, anywhere, at any time.

He likes the outdoors, birds, wildlife and classic cars more than most other things in the world; owning a pet American Kestrel named Lucky (so called because of the fact that it has one leg), a golden retriever named Eastwood and a 1956 Chevrolet Bel-Air he hasn't named yet, but it has a 454 engine and does 0-60 in about eight seconds, so he thinks that speaks for itself. He used to smoke anywhere from two to four packs a day, but since joining the band has slowed down to anywhere between one half to one pack and/or a meerschaum pipe, and his preferred drink is Seagram's Seven Crown. He has been known to drink heavily; and when thoroughly trashed Rick sometimes turns into something completely different from the quiet Southern good-ol'-boy he is while sober. His behavior is wildly unpredictable and he becomes loud and boisterous; but just what he'll actually do is a mystery. On one occasion someone brought up his absentee father and he broke down in tears for the next three hours; on another night someone called his hat "a faggot hat" and he proceeded to beat the man unconscious with a barstool before lifting the man up by the nape of his neck, carrying him three blocks to the nearest gay bar and hurling him through the front window.

He is incredibly loyal to his friends and band-mates; and, although he is willing to give them a good hiding he always has the best intentions. He has beaten at least one music critic into a hospital bed for being overly caustic, although he considers this "a tender mercy compared t' what Viv woulda done". He basically considers them the family he never had, and even though they have their rough patches he's fiercely dedicated to keeping them well. When he's had somewhere as a guest, he sometimes doesn't feel entirely welcome and sometimes refuses to take food unless invited to do so, preferring to either bring or make his own. Also, when kept in one place for too long, he has a tendency to get a bit restless and have to go for a walk.

Background: Sometimes there are stories passed around the musical circle about wandering gods of music; troubadours of old who walk the earth with a worn guitar and a grim face, skin turned to leather by the sun, boots caked in the dust of the road, voice entrancing, guitar chords capable of drawing the soul from the body and setting it free for a few minutes to wander. Some claim to have met one of these wandering musicians, some discard them as myth and some just don't care altogether. But whether or not Richard Rayberg is one of these men is a simple story away.

Rick was born in Topock, in Mohave County, Arizona. His mother was a gas station attendant and part-time prep chef for a local restaurant, and he never knew his father. He has a few scattered memories and one tattered Kodak photo, faded and rough around the edges, of a dark-haired man in a brown coat playing a Taylor acoustic in a run-down bar or restaurant, but he knows vaguely that his dad left when he was around two, leaving his hopelessly-unprepared mother to raise the young Rick nearly single-handedly. Although she gave her best effort, Rick - despite being a quiet child with few needs - proved to be too much of a burden despite two more jobs taken on soon after his birth, and so the future guitarist was sent off to be adopted. Throughout most of his young life, he was bounced from foster home to foster home across all of Arizona, dealing with the best and worst families but never managing to stay long for one reason or another, be it running away or being returned to the foster home. When he was around twelve years old, he decided he'd had enough. His ninth family had a station wagon, a truck and an old trailbreaker, a 250cc motorcycle used for ranch maintenance and short journeys. Carrying nothing but the clothes on his back, forty dollars in loose bills and a few days of food, Rick cut and ran into the night.

The next three years were hard ones for the young boy as he grew up hard, crisscrossing Arizona and some of New Mexico. Although he had never had any formal education; never staying in one place to pick up more than a few days of schooling at a time, he was able to pick up a job as a ranch-hand or short order cook from town to town. He never stayed long, only gaining enough money for food and gasoline for the trailbreaker before he left, leaving only dust, memories - and maybe a couple fathers' daughters - in his wake. Eventually he outgrew the trailbreaker - accounts vary between him selling it, crashing it and just flat-out losing it - and had to make his journeys on foot, wandering into the Llano Estacado, the fabled plains of Texas and New Mexico, where he found himself even harder pressed to find a job. He eventually settled in a ghost town with a few other wanderers at age 16, migrant workers - some of them immigrants, some of them criminals - gathered out of a mutual need to find shelter between jobs. It was here where Rick received his first guitar, a wrecked old Martin with approximately three strings too few, a cracked body and a bent neck. Rick picked it up, strummed it a few times and then decided to hold onto it - he'd seen a few buskers making good money off of the things in a few towns, so it might supplement his already meager income.

Rick wandered on across the Llano, stopping from town to town and working, then playing by night to earn that little bit more. Occasionally people would comment, stop by to correct him on something or teach him something new, and soon Rick was making more money off of busking and the occasional bar performance than he was fixing cars or flipping patties at the local diner, so he decided to take music up as a personal job. He played solo for a while in his travels, but eventually he fell in - ironically enough, considering his present state - with a country western band he no longer remembers the name of. He spent two years performing with them before the band split on mutual terms and Rick began wandering again. During this period he performed with no less than twenty-two bands and contributed to at least five studio albums. Not bad for a guy who only had three strings on his guitar.

Eventually he just decided to wander on out of Texas, and he crossed the entirety of the American South, eventually coming to the coast, where he traded the old three string - now considerably more famous than before - for a rusted old Buick Riviera, which he used to make his way up the Eastern Seaboard. This was about four years ago, now - ironically enough, when Vivian posted her first band ad. Rick happened to be passing through her town at that point (really it's more of a city; Rick just thinks of everywhere as a "town") and thought he could use a job, so he signed up and auditioned. Surprisingly, the techniques he had picked up from country and western, hard rock and (later) a little heavy metal paid off very well, and he managed to land a job.

As was said, this was four years ago. Now, Rick has mostly settled into the city with his bandmates, and has continued recording music with them for much longer than he thought he would.

Playing Style: Although, like Viv, he never technically received any formal guitar training, in his years and travels he has learned many skills from mentors, friends, band-mates and the occasional YouTube lesson. He prefers a form of hybrid picking due to the fact that it was his primary play-style for many, many moons, bringing a quicker, more shred-y style of playing to the playing field. Despite the epic-level solo potential Rick's playing has, he prefers to use his quicker, higher playing as an accent to Viv's lower riffs in the same style as Iron Maiden's Janick Gers/Adrian Smith/Dave Murray (He refers to this trio as "Janadriave Germiturray"), where he plays the note that matches Viv's on a higher bar. He doesn't consciously know the name of his techniques, but he uses them and mostly just ear-plays through most of it. He can never repeat a solo and barely manages to play an entire song memorized because he can't read sheet music and therefore has to tab all of his songs manually, or just play them until they're memorized.

Instrument: Rick has had many instruments over the years, an almost comical number of guitars that most others would laugh off or just simply ask "why have so many?" when they ask how many he's had. Rick himself is quick to point out that he only has a few now, mostly because they all produce different sounds and are tuned differently or just because they're sentimentally valuable. "The List" currently contains:
- Fender Coronado: To be specific, a 1969 Fender Coronado Antigua; vintage. Well, not necessarily. The top is scratched and may or may not be a little cracked and the hardware has started to tarnish and wear in a few places, the neck is dirty and the whole thing looks well-worn. The wiring was redone by Rick personally, so most people do not consider it "safe" or "sane" to play it. Rick isn't most people. It's the guitar he's had second-longest to date, he picked it up in Baton Rouge while passing through in the mid-90s and was his main player for the longest time. Used for songs specifically requiring the larger, more full-bodied sound of a semi-hollowbody "archtop". Which are few, but hey, nobody's told him to get rid of the thing.
- Fender Jaguar: Bought incredibly cheap from a pawn shop in Miami and played hard for the longest time, Rick's favorite guitar. The neck pickup has been replaced with a Seymor Duncan Antiquity humbucker and the bridge pickup with an ancient horseshoe pickup from a Rickenbacker guitar he broke on-stage in Dayton, Louisiana, his former favorite guitar. While the Duncan is good for heavier playing, the punch of the Rickenbacker's horseshoe pickup makes the notes ring out clearer and also adds a certain flair to the guitar.
- Ovation Celebrity CC157: An acoustic/electric guitar, and the closest to the old Martin he's ever gotten since he traded it. He's retrofitted the standard model with the neck pickup from the Jag that he very carefully installed (read: secured in place with a claw hammer) for better sound and to better allow it to pick up on amp effects.
- Amps and Stomp Pedals: Rick plays a Mesa Boogie stack (he prefers tube amps) with a Big Muff effects pedal.

I think it'd be easier for you to name a genre and I'll name the bands in it that I like, hoss.

So begins...

Richard Rayberg's Story