Sean Rickman

Sean Rickman
Background information
Also known as The Rick
Born (1970-10-16)October 16, 1970
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Genres Hard rock, blues rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1989–present
Labels BMG/RCA, Warner Bros
Associated acts Shawn Lane, Dapp Theory, Garaj Mahal, Maxwell, George Clinton, Randy Brecker, George Duke, Steve Coleman

Sean Rickman (born October 16, 1970) is an American drummer, vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, producer and recording artist from Washington, DC.

He is best known for his work with Shawn Lane, Garaj Mahal, Dapp Theory, Steve Coleman, Maxwell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Blacksheep, Phil Upchurch, David Fiucynski & Screaming Headless Torsos, Kai Eckhardt, Anthony Tidd's Quite Sane, K'Alyn, Angela Bofill and George Duke.[1]

Rickman was lead singer and drummer for Garaj Mahal from 2007–2011 and currently his DC Rock band Big Mouth featuring guitarist Leonard Stevens. He was also featured alongside Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller on the Tribute To Miles 2011 tour.[2]

Currently Rickman tours and records with alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, bassist Kai Eckhardt, guitarist Miles Okazaki and others. He dedicates most of his off road time to his instructional site. Rickman releases self produced albums under his artist name The Rick performing all the vocals and all the instruments. He is developing live performances as the frontman of his power trio.

Early life

Sean Rickman was born in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., into a musical family. His father, Phil Upchurch, worked as a guitarist and bassist with Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, George Benson, Curtis Mayfield, Cannonball Adderley, John Lee Hooker, Grover Washington, Jr., Lenny Breau, and Dizzy Gillespie. His mother, Renee Morris is a singer who played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

His uncle, Joseph Morris, was a drummer with the Ohio University marching band who inspired Rickman's stick grip. Another uncle, Wayne Morris, was a DJ, who exposed him to a record collection without the bounds of genre. Rickman also enjoyed the work of Al Green and Funkadelic at an early age.

Rickman exhibited innate musical abilities and was considered a musical prodigy with a remarkable sense of meter. Surrounded by the musical influence of his family, he is said to have begun playing drums around age 1, as he began to learn to walk. Throughout primary school and high school, Sean excelled as a musician both intramurally and extramurally.[3]


In 1989, Rickman traveled from his hometown, Washington D.C., to Los Angeles, CA at the request of his father, who introduced him to owner of Third Stone Records and American cinematic music director, Richard Rudolph. Rudolph, known as "Dick" or to his friends and family as "Dickie" was the former husband of Minnie Riperton who Phil Upchurch, Rickman's father, had worked in the short-lived band, Rotary Connection in the 1960s. Rudolph released an album of moderate success with the band Saigon Kick. He later assigned Rickman to work with American record producer, Stewart Levine.

Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. signed Rickman to a publishing deal and gave him an advance, used to cover an entertainment attorney, transportation and studio expenses during the remainder of his time in Los Angeles during the late 80s and early 90s.

In the early months of 1992, Sean returned to Washington, D.C. and began performing with DC area reggae band Blacksheep.

In the final months of 1992, Jamie Brown (owner of Sister2Sister Magazine) recommended Rickman to Kim Jenkins of Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN. Rickman immediately relocated to Memphis and recorded a demo with producer, Angelo Earl. Earl placed him with rising star, Shawn Lane, whom Rickman instantly recalled from a Guitar Player Magazine article entitled "Unknown Greats" which he had read in years prior. Shawn Lane was sought out and signed by Jim Ed Norman, President of Warner Bros. Records in Nashville. Eventually the group toured the US with Robben Ford and released Shawn Lane's Powers of Ten album which was produced by the legendary Andy Johns. This was followed with the Tri Tone Fascination album release along with two instructional videos on REH video.[3]

In 1993, Rickman again relocated to Los Angeles to perform with his father, veteran musician Phil Upchurch. They toured Europe and performed in the Southern California area. Producer Angelo Earl relocated to Los Angeles to work with him, but they both returned to their hometowns following a devastating 6.7 magnitude earthquake in January 1994.

After living in Washington D.C. for a short period of time, Angela Bofill hired him on the spot after watching him perform in Washington D.C. with keyboardist Federico Gonzalez Peña and alto saxophonist Marshall Keys.

In 1994–1996 Rickman began touring with Angela Bofill, and working on her album Love in Slow Motion. While in New York, drummer Gene Lake Jr suggested Rickman to Steve Coleman. After an audition including a host of veteran drummers, Coleman hired 25-year-old Rickman. For the years 1996 through 2002, Rickman toured and recorded four albums with Coleman.[3]

In 1996 Rickman began touring with Sony recording artist, Maxwell.[1]

In 1999 Rickman joined Cosmic Dapp Theory which was soon renamed Dapp Theory. The group featured pianist/composer Andy Milne. Sean recorded, produced and toured with the group for the albums New Age of Aquarius, Y'all Just Don't Know and Layers of Chance. He remained with Dapp Theory until 2007.

In 2000 Rickman toured with Meshell Ndegeocello (with keyboardist Peña) as well as performing on her album, Cookie.[1]

In 2002 the DVD entitled Compositional Drumming was released, followed by clinics and lessons in the US.[4]

In 2007 Rickman joined the fusion band, Garaj Mahal and remained with the group until 2011.[5]

In 2011 Rickman was selected as drummer for the Tribute To Miles 2011 European tour featuring Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.[2]

In 2012 Rickman re-unites with Steve Coleman, records Functional Arrhythmias and continues to tour and record with the alto saxophonist.

In 2012 Rickman released his first solo album One under his artist name "The Rick". The self produced CD One features all original material with Rickman on lead and background vocals, bass, lead and rhythm guitars, as well as drums.

In 2013 Rickman launched his HD Video Lessons Website

In 2014 Rickman launched his solo artist Music Website

In 2016, Rickman released his second solo album Zoom as "The Rick." A self produced CD like the first release featuring all material and one cover song. Rickman is also performing all vocals and instruments.




  1. 1 2 3 Drummer World,
  2. 1 2 North Sea Jazz,
  3. 1 2 3 Andrew Lentz, "Sean The Rick Rickman of Garaj Mahal", DRUM! Magazine, Enter Music Publishing, June 2010, p. 17
  4. All About Jazz,
  5. Robin Tolleson, "Garaj Mahal & Fareed Haque", Modern Drummer Magazine, Modern Drummer Publications, Inc., September 2010, p. 90
  6. All Music,
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