Since 1967, guitarist Wayne Riker has played just about every musical style, and in an array of musical settings — house parties, coffeehouses, nightclubs, musical theater, cruise ships, arena rock concerts, and stadium festivals.
As a member of the Guitar Institute of Technology, Riker cohosted workshops around the world with A-list jazz and blues cats such as Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Marty Friedman, Dave Grissom, and Duke Robillard.
“Nowadays, I’m reinventing myself in the solo acoustic world,” says Riker, “after many decades of primarily electric-guitar gigs and projects. It gets me out of the house more often.” He’s also taken to telling stories between and during his instrumental performances, such as the time he met Jimi Hendrix cohort Randy California of Spirit or how he almost went to Woodstock in 1969 but instead ended up at a jazz fest featuring a brand-new group calling themselves Led Zeppelin.
“You rack up a lot of living when you play music for this long,” says Riker. “Though I may not be as famous as guys like Jimi and Randy, sometimes the best success is just surviving.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1. Tuck and Patti, Tears of Joy. “I can never get enough of hearing Tuck Andress’s astounding guitar-playing, which has been a huge influence on my own solo-guitar endeavors.”
2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love. “A timeless masterpiece. Easily around half of every guitar player’s lick vocabulary stems from this epic recording, whether the player realizes it or not.”
3. Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling towards Ecstasy. “A flawless collection of tunes, beautifully written, sung, and arranged.”
4. Tower of Power, Bump City. “Nothing like TOP for the ultimate funky grooves, classic tunes, and smoking rhythm-and-blues solos.”
5. Gretchen Parlato, self-titled. “This disc is a must for music lovers of all genres. An astounding array of high-level players back Parlato’s vocal mastery, including saxophonist Wayne Shorter and West African guitar wizard Lionel Loueke, who’s paving new paths in rhythm and lead-guitar chops.”
MOST VISITED WEBSITES?
1. “ESPN is good for the latest sports info and updates.”
2. “CD Baby lets me glean through the track samples and write-ups for thousands of artists, both indie and signed.”
3. “Watching YouTube, you get to witness everyone and their mother relishing their 15 minutes of fame.”
MAC OR PC?
“PC is an easier system to operate for the computer-challenged, like myself.”
FIRST THING YOU DO EVERY DAY?
“Drink down my two cups of Starbucks coffee.”
IDEAL SUPER POWER?
“Invisibility, so I could simply take it all in and chuckle at the hypocrisy.”
BEST REASON TO LIVE IN SAN DIEGO?
“The climate, the lifestyle, and the conveniences.”
WE WANTED JUST ONE REASON…
“Okay. Then, it has the perfect population mix of transplants and native San Diegans.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“I’m a junkie. For sports.”