Ricky5

Very sad news to pass on that former Pitbull Attack, Restraint and Taking Sides bassplayer, Ricky Taylor passed away on Saturday September 8 2018, aged 43.

Below are some random thoughts and memories of my friendship with Ricky that was cathartic to put down and help process the shock of the news. 

Hopefully they offer some sort of solace to those who knew Ricky or help paint a picture of why so many are hurting for those who didn't know Ricky.

Rick 

I can't exactly recall the first time I met Rick, but it was in the late 1990s at a hardcore show in Sydney. I can however, recall the first time I saw Rick play in a band. It was with Pitbull Attack, a band fronted by a menacing and very large human from New York named Doug. Pitbull Attack played a straight forward, old school NYHC style and with Doug front and centre, they almost looked the part to boot too. I say almost not in disrespect, but more so that the band's bassplayer rather than pulling a hard, staunch, tough guy face, had a smile from ear to ear, every song, every time they played.  That bassplayer was the 'smiling assassin', Ricky Taylor.

In much the same way that one sticks their tongue out while concentrating, when Rick would play he'd be grinning from ear to ear. I once asked Rick why he's always smiling when playing? He told me he couldn't help it. When he thinks about what he's playing and what's coming up in a song, he just gets excited and has to pinch himself that he's in a band. 

Ricky2

I struck up an immediate friendship with Ricky from the first time I met him. He was that likeable a guy, it was hard not to really. Back then in Sydney hardcore circles, it wasn't cool to be a surfer. You were instantly labelled as a gronk. None of this mattered to Rick, he didn't give a fuck, he was proud of who he was, proud to be a surfer, shamelessly loved his footy and was very comfortable in his own identity.  We got along just great.

Ricky even took to the streets to march for the reinstatement of his beloved South Sydney Rabbitoths into the NRL competition. In 2014, the Rabbits clinched their first premiership in over 40 years, and I'm glad Ricky was able to witness and celebrate the milestone. It's a memory he would have treasured, no doubt.

RickySurf

Once Pitbull Attack came to an end, Rick started up Restraint, made up of some local kids from the Maroubra area. Both the Pete's in Restraint, Pete Bursky and Pete Abordi were underage when Restraint first started playing, and the drummer Steve, was the younger brother of Ricky's then girlfriend, Justine. I could tell they all looked up to Ricky immensely. I got the sense he was a godfather figure at the beach for them, as he was not only a respected surfer, already covered in tattoos, but had also played in a hardcore band. I even think at the time, Pete Abordi was serving his electrician apprenticeship under Ricky, and was also being taught about the world of hardcore everyday through the stereo in the van. I could tell they respected Rick a lot and they hung on his every word. 

Ricky1

It was during Restraint that Rick really developed an interest in snowboarding. Being a regular visitor to the Snowy Mountains myself, I'd try and catch up with Rick for a few laps whenever he was around. Having grown up surfing at Maroubra his whole life, snowboarding represented a new challenge for Rick and one he decided to pursue vigourously. Rick would quiz me about how long I'd been riding for and how long it takes to learn tricks. I could see his mind ticking over, as he worked out a long term plan of snowboarding goals to acheive. He was extremely motivated and it didn't take Rick long to progress beyond my feeble coaching attempts.

Ricky3

At this point I was regularly spending a few months of the year in Canada for the Northern winter. Whilst living in Whistler, Ricky got in touch to tell me he was coming over. One of his friends from Maroubra was working the door at a club called the 'Savage Beagle' and Rick was coming over to crash with him. (Rick later took a lot of pride in telling me he'd decided to rename the club the 'Bitey Squirrel'. He found this hilarious, as the club was basically a country and western bar inhabited by the very tame over 30s crowd. Not very savage at all) 

We met up for a beer at 'The Boot', which was the local redneck bar / stripclub / punk venue in Whistler. A few beers in, Rick headed to the bar for some more refreshments. Redneck guy and his girlfriend come along, sit down opposite me on the shared table and start abusing me for having my feet on the seat, as I was stretching my legs. The guy was clearly looking for a fight, probably trying to impress his girl. Him being much larger than me and me being the non-confrontational type, I wasn't ready to oblige. Unbeknownst to me, while at the bar, Ricky had seen the whole situation take place. He slammed down the beers and got up in the guy's face, "You want me to punch the fuck out of you in front of your girlfriend or what cunt?" The guy looked Rick up and down, declined the offer and politely retreated out the door. If you were Ricky's friend he had your back, no matter what, no matter when, no matter why? 

Ricky4 

After Restraint came to an end, Ricky started a new band, Taking Sides. The band played their first show at Hardcore 2003 and by this stage hardcore had doubled in popularity. Now Ricky was playing in a bigger band to larger audiences and stepped up in both his bass playing ability and stage presence. Rick looked comfortable on a larger stage and was now handling back ups as well. The smile was still there occassionally, but the concentration levels had dulled down considerably, as the playing had become more natural to him. The band grew with every new release and Rick was in his element. You got the sense this was another acheivement ticked off the bucket list, something he'd always been hoping for.

Taking Sides eventually ran it's course over a four year existence. Rick moved over to Vancouver to live for six years, as he married a Canadian girl named Ash and started a family of his own. Snowboarding became his new release, a ready made substitution for surfing.

Ricksnow

Not long after he moved back to Sydney, I caught up with Ricky at my local beach one hot summer's day. He'd bought his new family down the coast and I was stoked to see him again. Fatherhood suited Rick well and he wore it as a badge of honour. He was excited to introduce his children to surfing and have them follow in his footsteps. He was a proud father and husband. He seemed content with life, and I couldn't have been more happier for him.

I hadn't seen much of Rick in the last couple of years, but got to catch up with him when Taking Sides reunited for a few shows. It was great to see him back on stage, smiling away, having a ball.

When I close my eyes and think of Ricky, this is how I picture him. My last memory of him is also my first. No different really, just the same smile from ear to ear, some 20 years later form one of the most genuine and nicest guys I was lucky enough to call a friend.

Ricky7 

I truly hope Ricky has found peace and his mind is now at ease.

I'd like to pass on my sincerest condolences to his two boys Brixton and Kye, Ash and the rest of his family and friends who are no doubt hurting right now.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with the funeral costs. If you wish to contribute please head here to do so.

If you're having trouble envisioning better days ahead, please reach out and talk to someone about how you feel, be it a friend, a family member or even a stranger on the end of a phone line. 

Headspace 1800 650 890        Lifeline 13 11 14     beyondblue 1300 224 636

 

Vale Ricky Tayor, a friend, a father, a husband, a son and a brother to many. Rest In Power.

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