Always On Insane

Spending time with Rick Berlin when he is in the company of his current band — The Nickel and Dime Band — is much different from our weekly interviews. Chatting over coffee with him is frequently entertaining, but low-key.

Last night I was invited to observe the photo shoot for the cover art of Rick Berlin With The Nickel and Dime Band’s upcoming album, Always On Insane. Immediately after arriving at Rick’s apartment, I was hustled out the door, down the street, up a steep flight of wooden stairs, into another apartment with a dimly lit bedroom that had been turned into a makeshift studio.

A friend of Berlin’s was taking shots of each member of the eight-piece band in a white straitjacket, one by one. I walked in during Ricky Mclean’s photo:

After watching Mclean’s photo shoot, I followed Rick back to his apartment. I felt like a child trying to match their strides to a parent’s, my steps nearly two to Berlin’s one. Upon entering his home, he was in band leader-mode, coordinating who hadn’t been shot yet and who needed to be videotaped singing “Hilary.” Berlin’s next project for the band was producing a music video for the song by combining footage he shot of his muse for the song — Hilary — with the band singing in his apartment.

It’s obvious that being around these younger musicians energizes Rick. He seemed excited to the point of distraction, misplacing his wallet first, then his telephone (this wasn’t too dire, as there are only so many places a landline can go). Even as he was flinging jackets off a bed in his search, he was in high spirits.

As the night drew to a close, I witnessed an impromptu Nickel-and-Dime-plus-friends jam fest (while desperately wishing I could play too):

In The Nickel and Dime Band, there is a 46-year span from the oldest to youngest band member. The amalgam of personalities harmonize. It’s about the music.


About Melissa Tabeek

Melissa Tabeek is a freelance journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon. She reports on politics, culture and social issues in the Middle East. On her website, you can also find her blog, where she writes about her work and daily life in Lebanon. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Northeastern University.
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2 Responses to Always On Insane

  1. Dave Adams says:

    I’m so glad to find this. I was a big Berlin Airlift fan. Saw them a bunch of times and still have the vinyl.

    It may be a false memory, but I think the last time I saw Rick, he was my waiter somewhere (Commonwealth Brewery?)

    I’ll have to give the new stuff, new band, and the blog, some attention!

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