Rickolus was born in a sand dune and raised in the sparse pines of Jacksonville Beach, Florida. His father, an Army brat who lived in 22 states and 5 foreign countries before the age of 11, was the waiter at a beach side taco stand that was shaped like a sombrero when he met a dark haired Cajun Gypsy from the outskirts of New Orleans. Two weeks later they were married. Eight and half months later, Rickolus came out feet first into the world, almost dying in the process, saved by the life guard’s quick thinking and quicker scapulae. He still wears the scar to remind him of the day he’d never forget, if it were a day he was old enough to remember.
The summer of his sophomore year, Rickolus wandered into the Pablo Nine Movie Theater and didn’t wander out until the last sliver of silver screen was burned to ash and sent westward on an ocean breeze. He followed the ashes to another theater house, checked in and has yet to check out. Rickolus started scooping popcorn, moving quickly to a toy broom and butler. He found himself alone in a theater, sang along with the credits, reading each person’s name in a chorus of half notes. Rickolus was the last film projectionist in Florida. When everything went digital, he broke down the last movie late on a Thursday night, then threw all the xenon bulbs off the roof and watched them explode against the pavement.
He married young, fathered a child and taught her to draw before he taught her to talk. He stashed over 1,000 illustrated conversations into a military foot locker, mostly about guinea pigs and doodles to pass the ketchup. His wife was a dark haired beauty, not unlike his mother. They met at a juice bar. They flirted in a King’s courtyard. Fell in love in a hurricane. She sang quietly in traffic, danced with a broom. She argued over bottles of whiskey and made sure the coffee was brewed before the first knotty head fell off the pillow in the morning. She drew the families fortunes in charcoal flip books, painted portraits from photographs.
Rickolus had a guitar at age 7, learned every song in the Ritchie Valens catalog by age 8. He taught himself the piano, Bach and “Chopsticks” in D minor. He recorded an album a day for 13 years in a green shed, 4,748 albums. Most albums will never be heard.
He started a one man band, played run down bars with low ceilings. Played outdoor concerts. Went on tour and cleared the Bone Zone. He played empty fields, full cemeteries, and bleating petting zoos. He wrote songs on the spot, he dismantled guitars and deconstructed drum kits. He wrote “Youngster”, an album from an old man about the youth he spent and wasted away on cigarettes and long drives.”Coyote and Mule” was a return to the green shed’s four track recording.