Ricky Byrd Bio
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, guitarist /singer- songwriter Ricky Byrd (inducted in 2015 with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts), has had a career in music spanning over 40 years.
Although best known for his time spent with The Blackhearts, Byrd has also recorded and played with Roger Daltrey, and toured with Ian Hunter and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes respectively. He has also been blessed to have had the chance to, at one time or another, share the stage with music royalty including Paul McCartney, Ringo, Alice Cooper, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Joe Walsh, Mavis Staples, Dion, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Page, Graham Nash, and Elvis Costello…to name just a few.
Grateful for all of his many musical achievements, Ricky is fond of saying that one of the greatest gifts he’s been given happened on Sept. 25, 1987 when he started his journey in recovery. Simply put, “it was time.” He’s been clean and sober ever since, doing whatever he can to help others recover. It’s his passion and what he’s most proud of.
“There's this dark hallway filled with people caught between denial and surrender,” he says. “I've been blessed to have this next life and because of that gift, I feel I'm responsible to turn around and wave at those people in that dark place and just go, `hey man, come on, follow me.’ ”
The starting point of Ricky combining his music with recovery began in 2012, when he co-wrote a song with his friend, Richie Supa. The two wound up writing what is now considered a recovery classic: “Broken Is A Place,” which speaks to the inherent hole in the soul of those who continue to suffer under the great weight of addiction.
It hit a nerve.
Back in New York City, he recorded a demo of the song, put it up on social media, and the response was overwhelming. That’s when he realized how strong the combination of music and recovery could be. He wrote a second song, and then a third, and he didn’t stop until the seeds of his 2017 Clean Getaway album were planted.
Inspired to present these recovery-based songs on a different stage, Ricky made calls to treatment facilities, offering to come in with his acoustic guitar and perform them to the clients. He did, and the response was so powerful that he’s been doing it ever since, on the road as a Recovery Troubadour. He’d play his acoustic guitar, sing those songs, talk to people, listen to people, help people. In doing so, he was also helping himself. He kept writing, traveling, and visiting treatment facilities, schools, and juvenile detention centers.
“It was quite the education for me,” Ricky admits. “I found that there was a real connection…a tangible something I could do to help…a reason my checkered past in rock'n'roll just might bring about awareness, maybe prevention, maybe even lessen the stigma of addiction.”
Ricky Byrd has since given away thousands of copies of Clean Getaway at his recovery music groups across the country. The CD has garnered great reviews across-the-board and he’s currently working on a follow-up filled with songs of addiction, resurrection and hope. Taking it a step further, he has earned his CASAC T (Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor) credentials and CARC (Certified Addiction Recovery Coach) credentials.
As his card says, “Have Recovery Will Travel.”
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2015 Inductee with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
Certified Recovery Coach/CARC + CASAC T
4 Solo Cd’s
Sobering Times - 2020
Clean Getaway - 2017
Lifer - 2013
Tough Room This World (Live) - 2001
A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Ricky Byrd is now a Recovery Troubadour and Keynote Speaker using music, lyrics and his experience, strength, and hope to inspire change to those struggling with addiction.
Ricky Byrd is first and foremost - a man living in long-term recovery. With over 30 years of sobriety, Byrd has channeled his experiences to assist those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Earning his CASAC T (Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor) credentials and CARC (Certified Addiction Recovery Coach) credentials, Byrd leads recovery music groups at detox and treatment centers, as well as serving as keynote speaker at various events nationally. Additionally, Byrd has organized / participated in concert events, music outreach sessions, and prevention programs.
This Rock and Roll Hall Of Famer (inducted as former member and the lead guitarist of Joan Jett and The Blackhearts) combines his love for music with his passion and mission to help carry the torch of change surrounding the stigma of drug and alcohol use. Working to break down the barriers and spread the message of hope, education, awareness and addiction resources to his audiences, Byrd uses the healing powers of music as a touchstone.
As a songwriter, taking up the mantle of “Recovery Troubadour,” Byrd recognized the power of the word and music and combines both into a message of recovery, motivating those early in recovery or still struggling, along with their family members.
Ricky is comfortable in large and small settings, whether it be a keynote address or smaller, more interactive group settings. His presentations focus on the benefit of a sober lifestyle, and takes pride in also educating those individuals in our communities that are somehow unaware and uninformed of the deadly drug and alcohol pandemic we are facing in this country. Whatever the venue, Ricky, with acoustic guitar in hand, will incorporate recovery songs from his CDs Clean Getaway (2017) and Sobering Times (2020). The songs on these albums explore the physical, emotional, and mental journey of battling addiction, with an honest reflection on getting, and remaining, sober in daily life. His approach, using music therapy and the open discussion that follows, can lead broken souls to find that little bit of happiness – and encouragement they need to move forward.
In 2017, Ricky received the Drug Free Heroes Award, presented by Foundation For a Drug Free World. He has received other awards since, including the Faces and Voices 2019 Voice of Recovery Award, and the 2019 Italian American of Distinction Award, presented by Governor Cuomo, for his work in recovery. Ricky is proud to help others find a message and purpose to getting clean and sober.
In addition to Joan Jett and The Blackhearts from 1981-1992, Ricky has been blessed to share the stage with the likes of Roger Daltrey, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Steven Van Zandt, and Smokey Robinson, just to name a few.