The RV Story
I was raised in Berkeley, California, in the 1970s, where great funky music was made, and revolutionary politics were vibrant and relevant.
Long ago I learned that if I truly wanted to pursue The Funk with the freedom required to do so, that I would have to go to the Zone of Zero Funkativity and get a degree, and a job first. Therefore, along the road in pursuit of The Funk, I have pursued a career in education.
Out of Berkeley High School in 1979 I got into UC Berkeley through a minority engineers program called the Professional Development Program (PDP). Not having any interest in Engineering or the Reagan Defense Industry in the 1980s, I began as an Astronomy major. After a summer internship in Arizona at the Kitt Peak national Observatory, (where I worked on a "Luminosity Function of the Galactic Nucleus" for Dr. Jeremy Mould ) and had a blast, I was told that it would take another 12 years of study to return as a professional Astronomer.
So I returned to Cal directionless, and as an afterthought, spent the summer of 1983 at KALX radio, and things took off. After taking a Black music history course with Music Professor Olly Wilson I found a calling. I became motivated to learn (and to teach) the history of black music through the 1980s.
I was also deeply inspired to be a writer by Prof. Roy Thomas, who nurtured me and my work from my high school days in PDP through my UC graduation ten years later. Around 1991 I got a hookup with the school paper, The Daily Californian, writing my own outrageous weekly column, "Below the Funk!"
I graduated in 1987 as an Ethnic Studies major, and worked in after-school programs until entering San Francisco State’s Master’s in Ethnic Studies program in 1991. With the support of Prof, Oba T’Shaka, Prof. Laura Head and Prof. Jose “Dr Loco” Cuellar, I zeroed in on ‘The History of Funk’ as a research topic and graduated in 1993.
Thanks to associate Dean Jim Okutsu, I was hired at SF State to teach introductory “Critical Thinking” courses in Ethnic Studies, which paid some bills and allowed me to explore a wide range of teaching methodologies.
I took my “History of Funk” idea to dozens of publishers, but St. Martin's press was the largest, and quickest, and one of only two that showed serious interest. After two frenzied years of work, the "funk book" was published in 1996.
After Funk was published, Ethnic Studies Dean Philip McGee allowed me to design and teach a course based on the book, originally titled “Protest Music Since 1965: Funk, Rap and the Black Revolution” I taught a variation of that popular class from 1997 to 2002 when I left SF State to return to Cal as a PhD candidate in Ethnic Studies.
Along the way I developed a new course called the “Hip Hop Workshop” and with the help of a core crew of students, and a set of turntables purchased by the Ethnic Studies College, the course became one of the largest and most popular ever in the College of Ethnic Studies.
In 2003 my brother Teo barry Vincent designed the original rickeyvincent.com which kicked so much ass with flash animation, it is no longer visible on most mobile devices.
But I'm keeping it going as classic.rickeyvincent.com so folks can check the mad info and crazy designs my brother put into it!,,
*How to get around the RV archives: The original rickeyvincent.com website still exists, but only as "classic.rickeyvincent.com" so if you want to navigate around it, every link will go bad, unless you go to the page address and insert "classic" into the domain. It's stupid I know, but at the moment u can still access it.
So instead of "rickeyvincent.com/fun" you need to change it to "classic.rickeyvincent.com/fun" and it will work.
Here is the original menu page of what is now classic.rickeyvincent.com!
I returned to UC Berkeley to pursue a PhD in Ethnic Studies, and to develop research for my second book: PARTY MUSIC. In 2008 I obtained the Doctorate degree in Ethnic Studies, with the dissertation on The Lumpen: Music on the Front Lines of the Black Revolution. Wow.
As an experienced educator - and yet still a graduate student - I was given a lot of lattitude to design and teach my own courses in Ethnic Studies and African American Studies at UC Berkeley. So I went for it, and continue to teach innovative and on-time courses and topics to this day.
Now, the 2nd book is out, #3 is on the way, and the Sky is the Limit!
None of this funky mess would be worthwhile if I didn’t have my family to make everything go. My wife Tess is the loveliest, hardest working and most generous person I’ve ever met. She is the Greatest Woman on the face of this earth, and I would be panhandling on Telegraph avenue right about now if it weren’t for her.
Now our two boys have her good sense and my funkativity. Let’s hope that’s enough to get them through the evil 2000’s. Here we all are at an Oakland A's game, representin'!
Of all the things I've done, I'm most proud of helping my wife get our boys out of Berkeley High School in one piece and into college! Marcus went to UC Davis and is now in grad school at San Jose Stat getting a Master's in Mathematics, and Gary went to Santa Clara University and is now studying Law at Hastings in SF! Hell to the Yeah!
After 25 years together, putting two sons thru college, and writing two groundbreaking books, the best part is I still get to see her face every day!