Richrath Project 3:13 just released their new album "L.A. Is Mine" and to celebrate we have asked Michael Jahnz to tell us about the song "Help Me Save Me from Myself." Here is the story:
In a blink of an eye, a chance meeting in 1988 changed my life forever.
It was an exciting, yet challenging time, moving out to California from the Midwest with my band in 1985. Back then we were progressive rockers in the hairband era, so we were definitely different for the California music scene. We were playing the L.A. circuit at places like the Whiskey, the Roxy and Gazzarri's, doing originals and throwing in a couple RUSH songs here and there.
Fast forward to 1988. My drummer was at a convenience store and one day who walks in? You guessed it, Gary Richrath. Looking at my drummer and noticing his long hair, Gary asked if he was in a band by chance. He said yes, and Gary nonchalantly said, "We should get together and jam sometime," explaining he lives close by. Truthfully, I never really expected anything like that to happen of course, but sure enough, one day he showed up at our studio.
That first night we jammed a bit, playing a few REO songs that we happen to know. After hearing my vocals he asked if I wanted to come to his studio sometime to record some background vocals and of course, I didn't hesitate. Gary had me do some background vocals and after several songs he asked if I wanted to try singing a few lead vocals. During recording of my lead vocals he said he was amazed because I could "pin the needles" with my vocal pitch consistently. He would just laugh. He made me do it over and over and over (many times until 3:13am) and he just couldn't believe it. He finally asked me to record some demos with him. At this time, I was a bass player but Gary now insisted I needed to learn to play rhythm guitar and he took it upon himself to teach me.
Some tumultuous times ensued in the coming months between Gary and REO and they finally parted ways in 1989. This is when the Richrath Band was officially born.
Gary was truly my mentor and became my best friend. We toured together for over a decade and released our "Only the Strong Survive" CD in 1992. Throughout this time, we worked on so many songs, several of which didn't make the cut for the "Only the Strong Survive" album. In looking at songs for the second Richrath album, this one kept coming up and I've been waiting for just the right moment to reveal "Help Me Save Me from Myself". Now I can finally give it to all the Richrath fans and the world.
Gary never really explained the meaning of his lyrics to me, I can only speculate, but to me this song can be about anyone, after all, we all have skeletons in our closet. I think this song speaks to those whose issues have gotten out of control, whatever they may be, drinking, drugs, overeating, gambling, depression and they feel they need to actually be saved from themselves because they just can't stop. They're reaching out for comfort, to be held, to know someone is there to help them. Our music video for the song starts out sad and lonely and through reaching out for help, shows the positive light at the end of the tunnel when someone shows love and compassion. I hope this song touches people in a positive way and if it gives just one person the message of hope, it'll be worth it to me.
The exciting thing about this song musically, is we figured out a way to pull Gary's actual guitar tracks off the demos we did together all those years ago. My sound engineer did an amazing job at isolating the tracks and my current band and I played along with them. It literally sounds like he is right there in the studio playing with us. It actually gives me chills. I believe Richrath fans are going to be thrilled to hear Gary's guitar sing once again. To finally hear this never before released track written by the legendary Gary Richrath, with my personal touches added to the arrangement and in production is something I'm sure most never expected after his passing. I have to say I'm very proud of my vocals as well. I think I did Gary justice and I also think I would've made him proud.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here