Vamp Guitarist Ricolf Cross Passes Away

Vamp Guitarist Ricolf Cross Passes Away

January 15, 2015

Ricolf Cross, founding member and guitarist of Vamp, passed away on January 3rd, 2015.

Cross started his musical career as lead guitarist with German rock band Cross. The band had its first success after relocating to London in the early ’80s, but ultimately disbanded. In 1985 Cross started Vamp with fellow musicians Dicki Fliszar (drums), Tom Bellini (vocals) and Oli Scholz (bass). His songwriting and expressive guitar performance was instrumental in the band landing a record deal with American major label Atlantic. Vamp’s 1989 debut album ‘The Rich Don’t Rock’ quickly gained international attention and the band toured extensively throughout Europe and the US until the group’s demise in 1991.

After Vamp folded, Cross studied sound engineering at the prestigious SAE Institute. Following his graduation Ricolf and his wife Susanne opened the doors to their new Perle am Rhein (Pearl of the river Rhine) studios. Numerous national and international recordings confirmed Cross’ standing as a top-notch producer for handmade rock music.

In 2013 Cross supervised the re-issue of Vamp’s debut album on Divebomb Records, remastering the original tracks and re-engineering previously unpublished recordings of Vamp. At the same time he was the driving force of a re-union of the original line-up — sadly, this reunion will not materialize.

Cross was a wonderful and giving person in private, a berserker on stage and a musician extraordinaire. His guitar work was influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Richie Blackmore, but he remained unique and original. Ricolf’s sound was based on simple ingredients: A Stratocaster plus a cranked up Marshall stack combined with the help of a pint of lager were the ingredients of his massive in-your-face guitar sound.

“The first time I met Ricolf he had long, messy dyed-blond hair, was wearing a black sweater, purple spandex pants and white clogs,” said Vamp bandmate Dicki Fliszar. “It was in his rehearsal room near Bonn where he was playing his Fender Stratocaster through two full Marshall stacks, all powered up by a 100Watt Marshall with no master volume. It was one of the loudest things I have ever heard. I was 14, Ricolf was 19 and the coolest guy on the planet.”

“Years later we played together in a band called Vamp, which was a ton of fun and craziness,” continued Fliszar. “Hair metal in the 80’s, what can I say… I will carry the scar you gave me on my forehead with pride. The one you gave me when you threw the can of hairspray into our van with full force at 3am in the morning on our way home from a gig and my forehead gashed open with blood everywhere. Seriously, I would not be where I am today without you. I will miss you. Thank you for the good times, my friend, and rest in peace.

“He was an amazing person to work with and went above and far beyond for Vamp fans worldwide to put together all the unreleased tracks contained on The Rich Don’t Rock reissue,” said Divebomb Records owner Matthew Rudzinski. “We are deeply saddened at this sudden loss to the music community. We send our condolences to his friends and family in their time of grieving.”

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