August 2018 . . ..

Where to start ? ….well, how about a fantastic show at Viva Las Vegas this past April? It was a great weekend from start to finish , with performances by Jerry Lee Lewis, The Stray Cats, Duane Eddy, and the Sun artists. It was nice to play a major show with my own band, my own keyboard, my own amp and guitar etc. !! The sound was awesome thanks to Tom Ingram’s crew. I was backed by John Bazz, Bob Gothar, and Karl Moet …they did a great job! I also got my friend Ray Campi up for a version of “Rockabilly Man” which was a blast.

Last year I headlined at The Wildest Cats In Town (UK) and will be returning in July 2019. In a few months I will be heading to England to play at the fabled Hemsby weekender (Oct 5th 2018 ) …this is the 61st Hemsby and my first time.

So, the Festival bookings have been great (can always use more!) and I have been keeping busy here at home. The new CD “I Was Born to Rock” came out in 2017 and has been well-received. It has some variety and, I think, has some very good material on it. We all know the record business is a shadow of itself, but I will be writing and recording as long as I can. In 2017 Ray Campi recorded an album of only my songs called “Still Rippin It Up” …what an honor and a great compliment.

Earlier this year I was privileged to play piano and sing backups on some new sides by the legendary Freddy Cannon…he still rocks and is a great guy to know !!

The 1960 DeSoto is progressing with engine, brakes and mechanicals all working. I want to paint it this year if I have the time energy and money hahaha.

I hope to see as many of you as possible at upcoming shows …check out the schedule and stop by sometime….Rockin regards,

Rip


May 2016 . . .

This year has been busy so far, soon I will head off to Europe for shows in Germany, Sweden and the UK. I have been playing a lot at home in California as well, with recent shows at Pala Casino, Joe’s Great American Bar and Grille, and Don The Beachcomber's, among others.

For the first time in several years, I played at Ronny Weiser's pre-Viva Las Vegas party. It went really well and I was lucky to get Danny B. Harvey up to play guitar for me. I also sat in with the band at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in Bakersfield a few weeks back….what a great place !!! It was on my list of places I wanted to get to, and it did not disappoint.

I have been working in the studio on some other folks' projects, most notably a collaboration between Ray Campi and Rosie Flores that also features legend Rose Maddox and Ronnie Mack. These are never-released recordings from various periods that need finishing and it is coming along great!

I am way overdue for new recordings of my own, and I will have some exciting news on that front soon.

I bought a 1960 DeSoto a while back and am gradually bringing it back to life as time and money allow. I was missing the old Big Red '57 too much, I had to have another Forward Look fin car !!


May 2013 . . .

I recently returned home from playing some great shows in France and Sweden. The "Good Rockin' Tonight" Festival in Attignat, France was somewhat Rollin' Rock themed this year, with Ray Campi, Jimmy Lee Maslon, and me headlining along with Johnny Powers and Rayburn Anthony. The Italian group The Adels did a great job backing me, and I hope to work with them again. After that, I went to Sweden and played several shows around a town named Umea. I had played there a few years ago... it's a great town and features a unique record shop (!) run by a real music enthusiast, Stefan Nilsson.

In the past few years, I have played in Norway several times, and have continued my touring schedule. I have also been busy in the studio, producing three CDs for my friend Ray Campi, a salute to Woody Guthrie ("Woody"), "The Jimmy Skinner Songbook", and "Country Kings", a salute to the artists of the King label. I will be recording some new material of my own soon. I have plans for at least two new CDs in the works. Additionally, I have been contacted about recording some legendary projects which I will tell you more about when and if they happen.

I also have put together a new show "Rip Masters History of Rock and Roll"... well, the name says it! I have written the show to demonstrate the varying influences and styles that led to and comprise rock and roll. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, as it gives me a chance to explore boogie-woogie, jump blues, hot country, doo-wop, rockabilly, surf, New Orleans R&B, etc etc. in a historical setting. So far, we have performed this show several times to enthusiastic crowds. We have some bookings and are seeking to expand to casinos, fairs, civic centers, etc.

I am continuing to refine and expand my performances with the band, and have purchased some new equipment recently. I'm still having fun furthering my guitar playing and have also purchased a Yamaha keyboard to replace my previous Kawai.

Plans for the coming year include several new Southern California venues, overseas travel, more shows for the History of Rock and Roll, and lots of new songs. Hope to see you all in the coming months... be sure to keep checking this site... the Concert Calendar is updated promptly and regularly!!


April 2010 . . .

Sorry, I've been so busy playing, writing and recording, that I haven't updated this page in a while. The new CD is almost ready, and I have a little time to catch up. This is some more biographical information and recollections you may find interesting:

Rip Masters has recorded 7 albums, was the main house piano player for Rollin Rock Records, wrote the song "Rockabilly Man", played on recordings by Gene Vincent, Ray Campi, Mac Curtis, Jack Cochran, Jimmy Lee Maslon, Chuck Higgins, Tony Conn, Rockin Ryan and the Goners, Pep Torres, Linda and Eitaro, Nikki and the Corvettes, and many others. He sings, writes, plays piano and guitar and has played all over the world including the UK, Singapore, Sweden, France, Germany and Japan. He played the 2006 Americana Festival in Nottinghamshire England and appeared at the Eddie Cochran tribute in Chippenham UK in March 2007. 2008 featured promotion of the new CD "Back to the Honky Tonk" and a July return performance at the Americana Festival in the UK which also headlined Asleep at the Wheel, Robert Gordon and Ray Campi. 2009 found Rip headlining the "Blue Monday" festival in France while on a tour that also included England and Sweden.

"I always loved music and loved to sing...Rock'n'Roll carried me through good and bad times when I was a kid, so I naturally started singing whenever I could. I started out singing in Church and at school, joining chorus and Glee-club type groups, then eventually singing at various functions, dances, parties etc.. I soon joined a working group, first as a singer and rhythm guitar player, then switched to vocals and keyboards. I made money doing that and when I finished with school, didn't see any reason to do anything different. I never have found anything I'd rather do! I moved to California shortly after finishing with school, and played in a variety of Rock'n'Roll and Blues bands in San Francisco, Mill Valley and Santa Cruz. After a few years I moved to the South, where I still live to this day. I needed work so I played keys and sang in a mix of groups from Soul to Country to Chicano-rock. I had alot of fun, but something was always missing. I had tried several original groups, some led by me, but I wanted to sing more, to write more and to focus on the music that I grew up with...Rock'n'Roll, Rockabilly, Country and Boogie-Woogie.

Around that time I met a music enthusiast and record collector named Dick Blackburn. He listened to a song I wrote and said he knew a guy that was recording that type of music. I gave him a tape which he took to Ron Weiser. A short time later I got a call from Ron and he said he would like Ray Campi to record my song, and did I have any more??? I had seen Ray's name in the paper...what had struck me in the listing for Ray's show was the word "Rockabilly"...a word that I knew from when I was 11 years old, but had hardly seen since. (Hard to believe today!) Rollin Rock didn't really have a steady piano player so pretty soon I was trying to get a decent sound out of Ron's decrepit upright and working on albums for old and new heroes, Ray Campi, Gene Vincent, Mac Curtis, Jimmy Lee Maslon, Chuck Higgins, Johhny Legend, Tony Conn, Nikki and the Corvettes and all the Rollin Rock Artists. After a while Ron asked me if I had more material, and said he would like me to do an LP for him. I had done some recording for other people at that point, but soon I was recording "Rock That Rock", my first record. One of the songs on the album was a song I had written for Ray Campi, "Rockabilly Man", but Ray didn't record it at that time so I included my version. Some of the songs came out great, some not as great, but the album was well-received and got some decent airplay around the world. It was a great learning experience and soon I had alot of new material.

Unfortunately Ron Weiser was starting to get burned-out with the record business after hassles with the Blasters, and a guy I knew expressed interest in putting out a new album on his label Commando Records. "The Cool and the Crazy" was the second record for me and featured some originals and a series of cover tunes chosen by me or the producer. This LP got good distribution as well, and airplay on some major stations such as KNAC and KROQ in Los Angeles. There was a follow-up single "I'm Gonna Flip" with "I've Had It" to be part of the next album, but Commando Records' owner was tiring of the music business and ended up turning over the Master Tapes to me, plus I had additional material I had recorded to suit my own vision. (some of this unreleased material was included in the CD "The Cool and the Crazy" out late in 2006)

The follow-up album to "The Cool and the Crazy", tentatively titled "Tough Sound" was shelved and never was released.(Maybe will be out someday!) Despite interest from different labels and some schemes to put it out myself, this was a period when I didn't have a new record out. I kept writing and recording, but I didn't find the right outlet for what I was doing. I concentrated on my live performances, and kept doing alot of gigs around California, including the Palomino, the Lingerie, and many others, primarily in the Southern California area, but with trips to Singapore, New York, Nashville and Texas to spread the word as far as my music was concerned. I also kept working with my buddy Ray Campi and did many memorable shows with him.

Around 1995 I recorded an album of rockin Country music, with several ballads, entitled "Don't Tread on Me". I have always played and sang Country, though it's not all I've done. This CD opened up some new doors for me and I played in England, Sweden, Nashville, Texas, Alabama, and many other places to promote the record. I love Country and it was very satisfying to focus on that part of my music.

I still had alot of interest from Rock'n'Roll fans so the next CD "Big Red '57" was more Rockabilly, Boogie Woogie piano, and Rock'n'Roll. This period also continued the increased visibilty in Europe and I have played festivals and shows from Frankfurt to Manchester, from Furuvik to Falun, from the Americana Festival in England to the Duved Country Music festival in Sweden, etc etc. The next CD was entitiled "The Rock'n'Roll Album" and continued the themes of my musical life. I have been doing alot of writing and I still have many songs that haven't been released yet. The release of "The Cool and the Crazy" in 2007 made available some hard to find and unreleased material which was combined with the best tracks from the original LP. A new Country CD, titled "Back to the Honky-Tonk", was released January 1st, 2008. I had been wanting to do a new Country record and we worked on it from July through the end of '07. I don't hear enough of the kind of music I like, especially on Country radio, so I wanted to do something that was classic Country without trying to be retro or turn back the clock to any particular time period. This record has a mix of Honky Tonk, Texas shuffle, Country Rock, Boogie, and Southern Rock influences....just like me.

My latest effort, "Bare Knuckle Piano", is a return to the roots/'billy style of "Big Red '57" with lots of pumpin' piano and swingin', rockin' tunes. One song of particular note is "Rose Of Love". I was proud to play piano on Gene Vincent's original recording, which was part of his last ever session, done for Ron Weiser. This is my version, and a tribute to Gene. Also featured are some of my latest compositions and new versions of some favorite originals from over the years. I tried to put a little bit more emphasis on piano though there's still plenty of guitar!

I play around 200+ dates a year and haven't stopped loving singing, playing piano, playing guitar, digging cars, chicks, and good Rockin music.....not necessarily in that order!!!"


November 2007 . . .

A very busy year so far... I've been working hard on the new CD for the last several months. It's really come along and I couldn't be happier with it. It was nice to get great results from some great musicians and long-time friends. This is a slight departure from some of my other CDs, but I know my fans will enjoy it. I also think it will appeal to a large number of people who are starved for something real in the world of Country music.

I've been busy here in California with live shows and the studio work, but I did have a great trip to Europe earlier in the year, appearing in England and Sweden. I have great news regarding the Americana Festival in 2008: I'll be performing there along with one of the greatest line-ups ever, including Asleep At The Wheel, Robert Gordon and Ray Campi.


January 2007 . . .

Rattler Records is proud to announce the release of a new CD by Rip Masters titled “The Cool and the Crazy”

It’s Rock’n’Roll in the classic sense, with rockin tracks like the title cut and “Get Right Up”, as well as medium tempo songs and ballads such as “Triangle” and “The Girl of My Best Friend”.

Some great musicians back Rip up, including Eddie Cochran’s sax man Mike Henderson, and noted guitarists Deke Dickerson and Tony Gilkyson.

This CD contains 15 tracks which have never been available before in digital format, and many of them have never been released to the public in any form. They cover a time span of 25 years, staring right after Rip Masters’ recordings for Rollin Rock. This CD includes the best tracks from the well-received LP “The Cool and the Crazy” as well as “I’ve Had It” and “I’m Gonna Flip” from a 45rpm single recorded for Commando Records. Rare gems also include two songs recorded in Singapore 1984 during Rip’s tour. There are more covers of classic songs than in recent Rip Masters CD’s, but they are nicely done and songs which you don’t hear every day, such as Dale Hawkins “La-Do-Dada”

The catchy title track is a favorite at Rip’s live shows, and after hearing it, the next time someone says “That’s Cool!” you may just find yourself replying “That’s Crazy!!”


February 2006 . . .

The big news is the upcoming release of "The Cool & The Crazy" on CD, and a tour of Europe this summer. "The Cool & The Crazy" has never been on CD in any form, and this release will feature additional tracks, several of which have never been available to the public. The material was recorded using many great musicians. I had forgotten how good some of them sound. This won't really be a straight reissue, but will be 'volume 1' of 2 CDs of previously unavailable tracks. We will feature the original artwork... maybe I'll even get around to reissuing the Cool & Crazy t-shirts if there's enough demand!

I have been booked for a return engagement at England's fantastic Americana Festival this coming July. I will post the exact date as soon as possible. I'm really looking forward to seeing my friends in Europe again. I'm working on possible additional dates in England and Sweden.

In the meantime, I've been busy here in California with my own band and doing the occasional show with Hot Rod Lincoln and The Hollywood Combo.


October 2005 . . .

Wow, this was a busy Summer! I think I was busier staying in California than I've been in a long time. Even though I didn't go overseas, it seemed like I barely had a moment to think! I did quite a few gigs with the great band Hot Rod Lincoln in addition to my own shows. The Derby continues to be the coolest regular gig in L.A. and we've had some great times there over the past few months.

The Hollywood Showdown at the Knitting Factory in September was a real highlight. The joint was jumpin' with bands on two stages playing to packed crowds. One of the many cool things about the weekend was the number of new faces. I also shared the bill with fellow piano-pounders Linda Gail Lewis and Lance Lipinski. Speaking of Linda Gail Lewis (Jerry Lee's little sister,) she has just recorded my tune "88 Friends." I wrote that song many years ago with Jerry Lee in mind, but though I tried to get it to him, I don't know if he ever had a chance to hear it. Now it has come full circle, at least within the family and I am very pleased with the preliminary mix that I heard. Plus, I had the great pleasure of meeting Linda Gail, who turns out to be a real cool lady in addition to being a great artist in her own right.

I have good news for my friends in Sweden, I have made a deal with the Swedish label Scana, who has leased "Don't Tread On Me," "Big Red '57," and "The Rock And Roll Album." These will be released with new booklets and revised covers over the next several months.

Bermuda and I will be working on the retrospective compilation this Fall. This CD package will include songs from the vinyl albums, 45s, and unreleased material, much of it recorded in the early eighties for a follow-up to the "Cool & The Crazy" album.

I just finished producing the "Rockin' Goldies Show" CD for Linda, the great Japanese singer whom I met on tour in Japan in 2004. This was my first time producing an entire CD for another artist, and it was a lot of fun. Her musical partner Eitaro played guitar on the record, which also features a guest appearance by Ray Campi. Bermuda did some great drumming, and Jimmy Harris played upright bass, so the CD definitely has a "Cool & Crazy" rhythm section! I contributed a few tunes in addition to various piano, guitar and vocal duties. I couldn't be more pleased with the final result, which will be released December 9 on DIW On The Hill Records in Japan. The cover features cool artwork by well-known Japanese artist, "Smiley".

I miss my friends in England, Sweden, Germany and elsewhere overseas, so I will be making a concerted effort to tour in 2006. I am working on several new CD projects including a new Country album, and a various Rock & Roll recordings. In addition, I have written a number of new songs outside of these genres, which I will try to find a way to promote.

I have a number of appearances coming up over the next few months, including guesting with Hot Rod Lincoln at Pala Casino, and several shows at The Derby.


January 2005 . . .

It's been encouraging to hear from fans all over the world interested in various aspects of my music. Thanks to all for the great support. It's really great when people take the time to seek out the CDs... the distribution picture is constantly changing, but there are still plenty of sources out there if you contact us, or just search the web. I've even heard from a couple of friends who were able to find the Rollin' Rock album! I found a few copies of "The Cool & The Crazy" album, which I can make available to those interested in vinyl. At some point, I will try and get all that early stuff out in CD form.

I've been doing a lot of writing recently, and have a couple of interesting ideas for upcoming CD projects. I recently played on a Western Swing (!) tribute album for Ray Campi, and have been keeping busy here at home. I expect to resume touring this Fall and will try to keep the Concert Calendar updated.

The "Rock And Roll Album" has been extremely well-received. (Go to the Rock & Roll Album page for more info and sound samples!) A lot of people seem be thrown by the hidden tracks... but that was the idea! The hidden tracks seem to work best when the listener forgets that the CD is still playing, and receives a jarring wake-up from the drum hit that opens "Suwanee Boogie!!" The track info on those songs is actually printed right in the liner notes, under "ONE, TWO, THREE." The songs are "Suwanee Boogie" (live,) "A Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache" and "FireFlite." There were some questions about the production of the album... here's some info: The recording was done at F1 Studios in Fullerton, California, for the most part. Jon and Greg really know how to get a great sound, and we've explored a lot of possibilities to get just the right approach... I think we eventually used every guitar and amp combination possible! We used a lot of different amps, including my first amp - the '63 Alamo - which sounded great! (see gear page.) Another nice touch was Tony's '55 Martin acoustic which had belonged to his Dad, Terry Gilkyson (writer of "Marianne," "Greenfields" and "Memories Are Made Of This" among others.) I was also able to use my own home piano on most of the tracks, due to the magic of mobile recording. I'm really excited about the tracks... great performances from Tony Gilkyson on guitar, Bermuda Schwartz and D.J. Bonebrake on drums, Paul Diffin on bass, and Ray Campi doing a little singing on his tune, "$50 Upright." We're already getting airplay from Australia to Northern California and around the globe. The CD is available on the ordering page or from HepCat Records.

I recently did a gig on piano with Ray Campi... we had a great turnout and Ray really rocked the place! Hard to believe we've been associated for more than 20 years now!

January 2005: dateline California - Hi friends!!! Well 2004 was a good year for me musically. I made my first trip to Japan and did a package tour with the Hollywood Combo and Japanese artist Linda Kawai. The first show was in Tokyo's Shibuya district and the crowd was fantastic. I got to see my friend Duke Sakuma and his lovely lady who came down to the Club Asia to see us. From Tokyo it was off to Nagoya by bullet train. The weather was great throughout and the show in Nagoya was a blast!!

Americana 2004 was one of the highlights of the year. The weather wasn't the greatest but the crowds turned out in force...at least 50,000 attended! I was lucky with my shows as the sun was shining on both. The country show was ably backed-up by Roger Humphries and his great band... it was great to be able to do a full country set. The Rock 'n' Roll show the following day featured The Rat Pack, rockin' the stage with me. Those of you who haven't been to Americana should make a point of going - it's a great weekend of music, cars, trucks, bikes, and all things American.

I have a couple of recording projects in the works including a new country album, a package of previously unavailable Rock 'n' Roll tracks, and a new album with Ray Campi. I have just recorded a song, "Bare Knuckle Piano," for the upcoming Bear Family Records anniversary CD, featuring Bermuda Schwartz on drums. I may also include a version of this song on a new rockin' CD.

Here's some weird facts about me:

First guitar:    Fender Jazzmaster
First electric keyboard:    Vox Continental
First song sung with live Rock'n'Roll Band:    Rave On
I'm driving my third Dodge Van
First Amplifier:    Alamo Paragon (I still have the brain! It still works!)
Real Name:    Martin J. Masters
 
Played keyboard for West Coast R&B singers "The Young Hearts"

Let me know how you are doing... e mail me!!

Best Wishes,
Rip