Dreamers are seldom doers, and realists are seldom visionaries.
Singer-songwriter-musician-producer Marc Ribler, however, embodies all of those traits. His unique ability to balance emotion and logic enables him to infuse his music with raw passion laced with a clear-headed understanding of the complexities of life.
The creative force behind the acclaimed Marc Ribler and Friends series of themed showcases at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park views the universe as a source of constant inspiration. Marc spends about 18 hours each day on a range of pursuits that may include writing songs, producing other artists' tracks and his own, gigging almost every night in the New Jersey/New York area, directing and performing in the Supper Club shows, writing movie soundtracks and, in his "spare" time, dreaming up his next big projects.
Following super-storm Sandy in Oct. 2012, Marc wasted no time producing a number of benefit concerts to help restore the shore. He also wrote "Garden State" and "Our Spirit Is Strong" that chronicle the storm's devastating effects while focusing on the strength of Jersey's people to rebound. All of the profitss from the sale of these songs on www.marcribler.com goes to the Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Marc's philanthropic spirit is equaled only by his relentless work ethic, superior musicianship and a refusal to settle for "good enough." Below is a snapshot of a career in perpetual motion.
One of the initial turning points for Marc came at age 17, when he joined the band Nightflyer. Marc was suddenly keeping very good company, with Nightflyer opening for Sam and Dave, Rick Danko of The Band, Sly and the Family Stone, Paul Butterfield and other national acts at New York City venues such as Kenny's Castaways and the Lone Star Cafe.
That same year, Marc was doing session work at the legendary Record Plant in New York City studio.
In 1985, Marc experienced an important "first" in his career: the thrill of having another artist (Canadian singer Lee Aaron) record one of his compositions "Line Of Fire".
In 1989, Marc had his first chart-topping song, "Good to the last drop" recorded by the Canadian band Helix.
In the early 1990s, five of Marc's songs were selected to be part of the debut album for RCA recording artist Mitch Malloy. Three of those songs charted on the Billboard Hot 100, with "Anything at All" reaching #25 and "Nobody wins in this war" peaking at #26 on Casey Kasem's American Top 40.
Those power ballads and pop anthems for Mitch Malloy resulted in Marc snaring a songwriting development deal at RCA.
Over the years, Marc has written and produced nearly 40 songs for major label recording artists throughout the world, with several songs charting on Billboard as well as top 10 hit lists in Canada and overseas.
In 2003, Marc's freshman CD, "Life Is But A Dream" was embraced by critics, with many of the tracks receiving airplay on several rock stations. The CD is full of songs with catchy hooks, clever pop culture references and music that is instantly memorable.
Marc's second CD, "This Life" released in 2008, demonstrates his songwriting versatility. Different in tone from his first CD, "This Life" is a reflective and insightful look at love, loss and hope.
Marc currently is completing writing and recording his third CD, scheduled for release in 2013.
Marc was tapped to compose the soundtrack for the 2012 independent film, "Altered States Of Plaine"
Marc wrote, arranged and recorded a portion of his original composition "This Life" for a thought-provoking Trojan condoms commercial in 2005, before the song was released on CD. This commercial venture led to an unexpected outcome: instant visibility for Marc and his work, with the public clamoring for the single.
Marc recorded a parody of "Taking Care of Business" for Office Depot and wrote jingles for V8 juices, Bell South and Green Mountain Coffee.
In addition, Marc composed the jingle that Activia yogurt has been using since 2006. Part of the jingle succeeds in bringing the word Activia to life in just four notes that create an indelible brand association.
Throughout 2012 and into 2013, Marc has proven his musical direction prowess by staging numerous shows benefiting charitable causes. These include:
One of my first memories was at age 5 waking up to the radio alarm clock with WABC pouring out tunes like Donovan's "Mellow Yellow," Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover," The Beatles' haunting "She's Leaving Home" and The Byrds' rendition of "Mr. Tambourine Man." Those pop ditties melded deep into the fabric of my very being, with great hooks that the artists seemed to be singing straight to my soul.
My strong commitment to equality was formed at the age of 9, when my family moved from the Nostrand Avenue housing project in Brooklyn to the sticks of Jackson, New Jersey. My entire being went through culture shock. I remember being picked on due to the differences of where we all grew up. In the projects, my friends were culturally diverse...coming from all walks of life, various races and religions. We were kids trying to find our place in the world. Prior to the move, I never experienced racism or bigotry. The experience had a profound effect in shaping my views on intolerance and my passion for self-expression.
My parents bought me a nylon string guitar when I was 11. This guitar was the "Holy Grail" and my best friend. I practiced for hours and listened to the guitar heroes of the day: Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, Clapton and other icons. If I couldn't figure out a guitar lick, Marc would slow down his turntable to half speed so I could hear and try to emulate the subtle nuances. It wasn't long before I started my first band, with a succession of other bands to follow over the years.
Paul Prestopino, an engineer at The Record Plant in New York City where I was doing session work when I was 17, became my mentor. He played almost every string instrument -- from the mandolin to the banjo -- and was deeply involved in the folk music scene of the '60s. He performed with John Denver, The Chad Mitchell Trio, and Peter, Paul and Mary, who were some of my favorite acts, and worked in studio with some of the biggest and the best from Aerosmith to David Bowie and Johnny Winter. Paul's influence on my life and his guidance from the production end of the business gave me the confidence before too long to get my own recording studio.
Barry Bergman, who launched the careers of artists such as Meatloaf and AC/DC, became my manager when I was in my early 20s and still is today. This was a major turning point for me, finding someone responsible, with integrity, who was very gifted and experienced in the music industry who could help me realize my dreams. One of the most important things Barry ever taught me was to focus on my songwriting, and the rest would follow.
In the late 1990s, my life took a devastating detour. I was stricken with a progressive case of ulcerative colitis and rapidly lost so much weight during my four-month hospitalization that I was in danger of dying. Had it not been for the skilled hands of my surgeon, I would not be here today -- in good health. My health crisis gave me a new appreciation for the people around me who loved and supported me, and for life as a whole.
When I'm in the zone for writing, a lot of times it's like a spirit will wake me up in the middle of the night when I have stuff I need to get out. I'll wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, and I'll stay up for a few hours and write a song or two -- completely write them and record the demos -- then go back to sleep. When it's on, it's on!!
I feel an equal need and allegiance to songwriting, performing and producing. Though I'd probably say if I had to pick just one, it would be performing and sharing music with others. I like the collaborative energy that feeds between musicians and the interaction with an audience.
I'm optimistic about the future. In some ways, the path seems to be paving itself. As I look down that road, I'd like to one day tour the U.S., and perhaps Europe, performing my own songs.