Piano Man

A fixture on Court Street in Athens, Ohio, Rick O'Keefe keeps the crowds entertained playing “fast and loud” on his piano. Students join in on the fun through the night.

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Rick O'Keefe:

My name is Rick and what I do is what you see me doing I play a 64 key piano on Court Street here, weekends, in Athens. I started out doing this on the banjo because I’d been curious about it. What had kept me from doing it early on was the image that people have doing this. That middle class image of a street performer as someone that can’t get gigs is something I held for to long and when I found out how easy it was and how fun it was I realized I just wasted 20 years playing indoors for bored people and club owners, this is where it is at.

Jennifer Singing:

Hey Roberta, oh Roberta, Girl tell tell tell me now where you been When you come home in a bottle baby you are drunk of gin.


I met him. He was one of the first people I met in Athens. My friend and I came to town just to see what the promenade was like up here, with all of the other students and stuff. We met him, this guys is really nice, he is really neat. He is a great guy.


Hey Roberta, oh Roberta why do you try to give me pain. You know the way you dog me down baby you ought to be ashamed.

Rick O'Keefe:

I know people in this town that are quite good but five minutes and one drunk college student they won’t do it again for 10 years. But I don’t mind it. I like playing what I like to play and having dance parties. I like the chaos and the unpredictability of it, where most people don’t .


Rick O'Keefe:

Out here in Athens I don’t do songs as much as I do boogie woogie and stuff like that. It’s not about songs. And the later it gets and the drunker people get the less they care about… the more they respond to fast and loud and that is true anywhere any kind of music, fast and loud gets people’s attention.

Dancing, singing, fun, songs boogie-woogie and put it all together, its all right here. It’s the best place in the United States. It’s my niche, niche market. This is my musical niche, here in Athens. Best kept secret in the United States.

Dancing Girl:


Harmonica Player:

Nice Job Rick.

Dancing Girl:

Love it Rick, Love you Rick.

Harmonica player:

That was good.



Piano Man