Eric Michael Lichter was born in a small Connecticut town in the 1970's, to an artist father and a free-spirited mother.  Along with his younger brother Jeremy, Eric would pound on kitchenware with wooden spoons, keeping time to whatever his folks had spinning on their turntable.  Allan and Marylou(Erics' parents), were always playing music around the house, so it was inevitable that one day it would consume him.  ""My dad often brought home stacks of new records,"" Lichter remembers.  ""My folks were huge fans of Crosby,Stills&Nash, Dan Fogelberg and Little Feat, as well as Sabbath, Zeppelin and other harder edged groups.  Dad would come home with the latest Jackson Browne or Neil Young record, and in the same bag would be the KISS  ""Love Gun"" album he bought me.  He would crank it up on his prized(and out of reach of small hands!) ""Benjamin Miracord"" turntable,(which, by the way he still has).  We listened to that record over and over.  In fact, i believe that was the defining moment when i felt that would play a very important role in my life.
 
""I was never much of a student,"" Eric remembers.  ""I suppose i was avarage, and being somewhat hyperactive, my parents helped me find other outlets for all that energy.  I discovered soccer and other activities, and while i enjoyed being part of a team, my athletic skills were lacking.  My friends called me ""Dandylion"", because i'd stand on the soccer field picking them as the ball whizzed past my head!""  It was around this time Eric got his first guitar, (which he shared with his brother).  ""My older cousin lost interest in playing and gave it to us with the condition that we share it,"" he recounts.  ""Jeremy and i go back and forth on this next part.  That guitar, an old Gibson J-45, was on our sofa, and Jeremy, doing some pro-wrestling bullshit, launches himself into the air coming down hard on the sofa smashing the instrument to bits.  My family used to get these jumbo mail-order catalogs, Sears and Spiegal i believe.  Anyway, when i was 11 mom got me my first official guitar- a Les Paul copy with a little black amp.  My dad had this friend who was Van Morrisons' guitarist, who offered to give me some lessons.  After about a month i had learned some basic chords as well as that annoying ""Brown Eyed Girl"" riff.""  Those were the last formal guitar lessons Eric had, deciding instead to take the basics he'd learned, and together with his innate ability, teach himself by listening to players he admired.
 
As Eric entered high school, hopes of being a star athlete were short lived.  However, he figured he'd still have a shot with the ladies if he played in a band-""because everyone knows if you can't toss a ball, pick up a guitar!""  He played with friends at parties and in garages across town, butchering Clash and Who songs as they went along.  ""There was a group of friends who could ""sort-of"" play; drums, bass, guitar, what have you, and we'd form these bands the way you'd pick dodgeball teams in gym class,"" Eric recalls.  ""I had one friend John who was 6'5"" and a star baller.  He was the bass player in one of our little bands.  Anyway, he was horrible(sorry John!), but no one would tell him he sucked because he'd kick their ass!  That's how it went down the line.  I remember no one ever wanted to sing, so we had this friend named Boo who sang for all the bands because he was the bravest and knew all the words to 'Sympathy For the Devil'.  My sophmore year i signed up for this music theory class which was the first time i ever sang in front of anyone.  I sang notes as my teacher played them on the piano.  I guess i must have done alright because the next thing i know he schedules a meeting with my folks and recommends i have vocal training.  I began taking vocal lessons once a week, learning to sing from the diaphragm and not the throat.  I really enjoyed the lessons and gained confidence by singing in school productions and chorus(NOT cool at the time!)  It was around this time i went back to my folks record collection searching for some of the confessional singer/songwriter stuff they filled my head with as a kid.  The first Jackson Browne record and Dan Fogelbergs' 'Souvinirs' album stood out the most.  Their voices were out front and the songs were intimate and personal.  I loved it.  Those records transformed me on the spot, and i knew i wanted to make those kinds of songs.  Up to that point i hadn't so much as written a poem let alone a song, so i had much learning to do.  I borrowed a friends Tascam  4-track recorder and proceeded to record little bits and pieces of ideas, which weren't much at the time.  In fact, the first ""song"" i wrote was a thirty second thing called ""Fuck/Shit"", and all i did was sing three part harmonies muttering those two words over and over while playing guitar.""
In addition to these little recordings, Eric would stylize versions of Gordon Lightfoot and C,S,N,Y tunes figuring out their structure and how they could apply to his own material.
 
Fast forward to the winter of 1995, when Eric recorded his first real songs at a studio in Santa Monica.  ""I had all these songs written over the last few years, some good, most bad, and i had never really heard the sound of my own voice in that way before,"" refering to the slickly recorded tracks.  ""The results actually made me self concious, and i backed away from recording for quite some time after.  I felt i needed to find my own voice rather than trying to mimic others, and wanted to somehow capture the natural sound of what i had done earlier with the 4-track.  My voice sounded good to me when i didn't try to ""sing"", which is a funny thing for a singer to say, but it just felt more natural and less strained to me.""
 
""During that time i had been living between Nederland Colorado and Santa Monica  just trying to shake off the dependancy on my family and a relationship gone sour.  It was a week before Christmas when my mother suffered a stroke, which shook me hard, and i went back east to be with the family during her recouperation.  Since New York City was close by,  I figured i'd move there, which meant i'd still be close to my family, but far enough away to still maintain my independence.  I rented a walk-up in Brooklyn Heights and played every open mic i could find, as well as busking in Washington Square park.""  At one of these park performances a man approached Eric and gave him his card.  Tim Daniel worked for Polygram Records and liked what he saw.  ""He seemed to appreciate what i was doing, and wanted to be involved with me in some way,"" he says.  ""At that point i had a handfull of songs and a shitty-ass demo, so really needed to do something fast.""  At the time, Polygram was a big music conglomerate with Island,Def Jam,A&M,Mercury and Elton Johns' Rocket Records under it's umbrella.  Rocket began signing new singer/songwriters to it's roster, and Eric's name made it to the head of A&R, Todd Interland.  ""Timothy helped me out big time, by getting my name in front of the people at Polygram,"" he recalls.  We booked a series of showcases at the Wetlands and CBGB's gallery among others.  Todd from Rocket came down, as did Brad Ross from ICM(International Creative Management).  Anyway, Todd and Brad loved what i was doing, which gave me a hige vote of confidence.  They wanted me to record some of songs i'd been playing live, so found myself in a studio with all these great musicians helping out.  I was still very self-concious about my recorded voice"", remembering the Santa Monica demo, ""and i was trying hard to overcome that phobia.  What i got was a disaster.  I hated it.  I felt it was way to slick, and again, my singing was way over the top.  What i made was a sort of folk/pop hybrid that was against everything i stood for.  Drum loops and sampling with acoustic guitars, as well as doubling my vocals weren't things i was down with.  My favorite artists(Beck,Elliott Smith, and Ryan Adams)were stripping it down and getting to the real soul of the songs, and i sounded like a Backstreet Boy with a guitar.  I wasn't pleased, and neither were Todd or Brad.""
 
At the end of the 90's Polygram was acquired, cutting employees and dropping artists that were underselling.  The labels they owned either folded or relocated to other companies.  Rocket left the fold moving it's offices to london.  Deciding to focus solely on the Elton John catalog, they no longer had a place for Eric, ICM also no longer had interest in an unkown.
 
As the millenium dawned, Eric decided to join his brother Jeremy's band 'Barnstorm' back in Santa Monica as a second guitarist/singer and rethink his path altogether.  ""I really saw joining Barnstorm as a break from what i was doing and the let-downs of the previous few years"", he remembers.  ""I wanted to just play guitar and be a part of a group with Jeremy.""  The band hit the road playing all over the country, sputtering into Boston and ultimately disbanding amidst personality clashes.  The band recorded it's self titled debut album in Burbank that past May, and hoped for the best.  ""Yeah, that really didn't work out so well"", Eric chuckles.  ""I can say the fighting was never between me and my brother, but the experience made me never want to deal with a band again!""  While on the road with Barnstorm, Eric began writing again, simple songs that weren't trying to be anything but what they were.  Over time the creative fog that plagued him seemed to be lifting, and he finally found his voice in the process.
 
It's now 2005, and we are about to see Erics' first record drop.  ""Chorduroy"" was a long time coming for this artist who only wanted to be true to himself and to those who listened.  ""I really feel like i communicated fully on this project"", Lichter says.  ""I wanted it to be raw, just like those 4-track recordings from way back, but with a bit more sophistication.  I didn't want any gloss to hide behind, and that's why i played all the stuff myself.""  From the first notes of ""Drag"", the albums opening track, to ""Static"", the closer, it's clear that Eric sought to recapture the early days of that little boy with his parents' record collection, while also looking to his own future.  There are echoes of Neil Young,Beach Boys,Beck and Wilco on this record, but it's still distinctly his own.  ""I really wanted to start here.  This is the record i wanted to make from the beginning, and i'm very happy.  I wanted it to be my introduction, but i also left alot of myself off this record because i want to explore those other things as i move forward.""  It's been a busy time for Eric.  From his appearance in Banana Republic tv ads(curly headed, suit wearing gent), to his current side project with actor Willem Dafoe titled ""Trojans"", it looks like he's going to be busy for quite awhile. 
 
'Chorduroy'- on AMPhetamine Crown Records-ICmusic, Woodstock, NY

California
Recorded at my Dirt Floor Studios, i used a bunch of old instruments to record this record,and it shows..You can hear the dog bark,the wind blow,and the tempo speed up and slow....



Folk/Acoustic Rock/Americana
h h



Comments                                                Add new Comment   View All

Lars Mars

3/29/2008 5:52:59 PM
Hey Eric, glad that Hugh suggested you for the CONNECT i CUTS station. As one Chester boy (actually, four of us are Chester boys) to another: Good work... keep it up!

Glenn




Hugh Hamilton

10/29/2007 4:32:24 PM
Hi, Eric! "Oh, Leigh" is getting some spins around town...cybertown, anyway...

:)




Rod Washburn

4/30/2007 9:54:29 PM
This guy is just a super talent. he has it all, vocals, songwriting, the skills, and the feel as well. Buy this mans album, you won't be sorry.


 

       

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Brian Booth/Serendipity Hugh Hamilton tipped me off about you, for which I'm duly grateful - added, with pleasure
Brian Booth/Serendipity Hello - this is a new station, in which I'm asking artists who've been on serendipity stations to nominate one of their songs, new or old, for inclusion, with a brief review of what you like about it. Hope you can join in
Jam Your music was requested by Hugh Hamilton, welcome to the JAM
Carrie Wade Soooo, I went onto the Jam Station to request that they feature me there and low and behold who do I see but ERIC!! Dude, hope you're doing great, Carrie Wade
Michele Cipriano (Jenn's looking for youto come and play for Scot (Husband's) Thompson 40th birthday party
* Your song 'California' has just been added to Fresh Earwax station!
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* Your song 'California' has just been added to CONNECT i CUTS station!
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* Your song 'California' has just been added to Soul Over Sheen station!
* Your song 'California' has just been added to Crooners (For Fiona) station!
* Your song 'California' has just been added to HUGH'S NEWS station!
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* Your song 'California' has just been added to Diane's Place station!
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New album 'OWL' coming this summer..

First album 'Chorduroy' available now.....
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IAC Songchain..
CONNECT i CUTS
Soul Over Sheen
Vegetation Station
Beneath The Shining Moon
Crooners (For Fiona)
new n coo
Lala's Place #2
KROD RADIO Songs for a Sunday morning


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Eric Lichter