Primary Instrument: Guitar
Born in Alice Springs, a small town in outback Australia, to violent and abusive parents, Richie's first years as a guitar student were far from simple. His parents were against him playing guitar at all, and labeled his efforts a waste of time.
His formative years were on a diet of Slim Dusty, Johnny Cash and the like. Country music was just about all there was for about the first eight years of his life, and he became a fan of a well-told story, and some good guitar pickin' - which he loves to this day.
Richie's family didn't have television until he was 9 or 10 years old, so the radio was everything - until Richie was given a guitar. Richie's neighbour moved to another town and gave Richie his old guitar. It only had two strings on it, and Richie made the most each of them, - as he has done ever since!!
Richie took every moment possible to get away from his parents so he could play and learn. As time went on Richie found the old Rock n Roll stations on the radio, and typically began to work out those Deep Purple and Doors songs.
By his teens, he had moved to the city, and was working as a live musician. He also had studio gigs with local label Caliber Music, writing and playing guitar parts for local artists to shop overseas. Richie worked consistently to learn to play rhythmn and supporting roles as well as lead guitar. At the age of 16, his dedication to the instrument led him to write a modal harmony course for guitar which he taught during the day at various centres around the city.
As curiosity gets the better of many of us, Richie's curiosity led him to dabble with acting and the film industry. For a time he worked as an extra on the legendary ANZAC movie Gallipoli with Mel Gibson and Mark Lee. By the age of 18 however, Richie chose his path as full-time player and has not looked back since. Despite his humble beginnings, and his on-going humble attitude, Richie soon became one of the most employed guitar players in the country.
Working with a select few professionals, Richie has spent as much as 40 hours a week onstage on a regular basis, and has remained a professional guitarist all his adult life. Richie has toured Australia, played overseas. Along the way, has picked up songwriting awards, and become a published artist, writer, & producer.
Currently, Richie records most of his projects in his custom built home studio, producing artists from around Australia via his publisher. He works live as a guitar payer with a number of Australian performers.
So far, Richie's humility has largely kept his name from the public eye, prefering to work namelessly in most professional situations. Most recently however, Richie has taken on management, and plans are in the works to have much of Richie's musical history made available on CD, and to give Richie a much deserved boost to his profile both in Australia and overseas.
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Productions & Live Acts
Various Studio Productions - Session Musician - Guitarist. Richie began his recording career as a teenager. Working with local label Caliber Music, he played on sessions with various local original artists. The recordings were 'shopped' overseas by the label.
The James Brothers - Live Band - Guitarist. Richie worked with the James Bros for a number of years. The founders, Joe and Carmine, are said to be the most successful duo in Australia. Playing the top venues in Australia for market, this jet-setting band held seasonal residencies in Adelaide, Far North Queensland, The Gold Coast, the Northern Territory, and took on shorter residencies in various other tourist centres around Australia.
Snapshot - Live Band - Guitarist. Richie joined this band for “out-of-hours” extra work. They held residencies at various nightclubs around Adelaide and Australia.
The Circular Sound - Studio Band - Guitarist/Producer. Molly Meldrum and Andre Barralon of Melodeon Records received the recordings warmly. Plans for video and club release where in the works. The band split up before a deal was signed, the know-how has been re-applied and Richie is getting current productions released overseas.
The Buzz Boys - Live Band - Guitarist/Bandleader. Richie put together this club & blues band, which worked mostly as a three piece, playing locally and interstate. The band worked full time, and achieved some notoriety with cram packed audiences even spilling onto the stage!
Jazz Kats for Kids! - Live Production - Guitarist/Musical Director. Richie took his regular jazz gig at the time and produced a show for kids featuring the madcap singing scientist Professor Elliot Gnash . The show was an event at Adelaide Festival Centre, as part the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and featured jazz versions of popular children's songs.
Rainbow Soup - Radio Show Series - Music Producer/Director. Richie takes on role as Music producer for local kids radio show Rainbow Soup. The weekly show helped raise the profile of Michael Mills, who later became a regular on the national television show The Bookplace.
Snorkel Simpson Spleenwart - Live Comic - Guitar/Vocal/Character. When Richie was a boy he was constantly pulling faces in the mirror and playing the fool (not much has changed!). With a constant need to see the lighter side of life, and to not able take himself at all too seriously, Richie loves to make kids laugh, and achieves that through roles such as the singing gardener. Richie's goggling eyes and stupendous guitar feats have been seen on television, and in person by countless children in South Australia. So far this lighter side of Richie's character has been reserved for kids, but currently, an outlet for grown ups is being developed in the duo, Johnston & Mr B
JC and the Buzz Boys - Live Band - Guitarist/MD. JC and The Buzz Boys was a combination of the old Buzz Boys, with new singer JC (Julie Crowther). As well as a solid run with the Buzz Boys, JC worked with Richie in the popular duo Acoustic Soup.
The Buzz Show - Live Production - Guitarist/Producer/MD. Richie develops The Buzz Show as an outlet for his love of doing character work. The show was fairly short-lived due to intensive energy requirements, but was all the same, a hoot! (It seems that Richie liked the Buzz word, as he used the name constantly for three completely different shows from 1990 to 2003!) The highlight of the Buzz Show in it's short life span was sharing the bill with singer of pop idol fame, Sophie Monk.
Live Jazz - Jazz Kats Band - Guitarist/Bandleader. Richie's celebration of his heroes and peers sees it's live aspect in twice-weekly shows in Adelaide. Lining up an ever-changing array up of musicians to take on the concept of not knowing how the song will go until it has started, was an daunting task, but created some memorable musical moments! Line ups featured some fabulous musicians, and some of the most respected players available. More
Acoustic Soup - Pop Duo - Guitar/Arranger/Producer. Using a variety of female vocalists, Acoustic soup worked at a relaxed pace of three shows per week, doing a variety of shows, from pub bars, to corporate and dinner/dance.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” - Pit Band - Guitar. Richie took on a season as guitarist for Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Catherine Lambert played a leading role in the show, and it was just one of the many that Catherine and Richie have done together.
Catherine Lambert Band - Live Band - Guitar. The band plays mostly jazz, and a busy schedule took in performances for all sorts of major functions and festivals. High profile audiences included many dignitaries such as the Governor, Sir Eric Neal, and the Premier John Olsen - See Catherine Lambert
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Awards & Credits - (Continued)
Songwriting Award: Songwriting Award - first place - demo section - Festival of Original Music final -Songwriters Composers and Lyricists Association - for “Wings” - 1994 - Checkout the winners , and profile at the SCALA site.
Songwriting Award: Songwriting award - space section - Australian Songwriting Association - for “http://www.cybersex” with Waiting for Venus - 1999
Award Recommendation: Richie was recommended for national award in Guitar Performance by the Australian Guild of Music and Speech during guitar studies, before attending university to further his jazz education.
No1 Debut: The debut CD from Waiting for Venus “Anomaly” enters the SAFM chart at No 1. It stayed in the top ten for a number of months in 1999.
Runner Up Teenage Jazz Guitarist: Richie was runner-up on Bert Newton's national television show New Faces, as a teenage jazz guitarist. This was a commendable effort! In an era where being a vocalist is very much the requirement as an entertainer, he was upped only by a vocalist who had been a professional for twenty years!
Elder Consevatorium: Richie attends the University of Adelaide to study jazz. A full-time performer since his launch into the industry as a teenage jazz guitarist some 14 years before, studies acted as a refresher course as well as to further his knowledge.
Orchestral Arrangements: As well as studio production arrangements for release and airplay, Richie's orchestral arrangements have been played by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, as part of the children's musical play “Jeremy and the Whale”.
APRA: Richie became an APRA Full Writer Member in 1994.
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Disadvantaged Children's Program 2000: Richie implements the Disadvantaged Children's Program as an extension of his production facility - Audio Lab Productions. The program brings affordable professional production and guitar expertise to high schools in disadvantaged areas. Having overcome many hardships himself, Richie has a genuine empathy for disadvantged youth, and he is living proof for attendees that success on many levels is possible for all walks of life. This is another in a growing number of programs that Richie has successfully funded himself in order to help disadvantaged youth.
Role Model 1999: Richie's brainchild Waiting for Venus is targeted as a positive example and a model for up-coming bands, during music industry education modules at the South Australian Music Industry Association.
Assisting Young Bands 1997: Richie creates, organizes, and funds the Adelaide Young Bands’ Challenge; an educational challenge for high school bands to build a following and prepare for professional performance (thanks to assistance from members of Waiting for Venus).
Environmental Issues 1997: Waiting for Venus supports various environmental issues, which includes shows with John Schumann, and other notable Australian artists.
Best New Band 1997: Waiting for Venus is hailed as best new band of 1997 by local radio.
Industry Advisor 1997: Richie acts as industry advisor for “Back To The Wild” A very successful fundraiser for rock wallaby introduction at the Adelaide Zoo, featuring many notable bands - including national chart-toppers The Mark Of Cain.
Music Video 1990: Video clip for So This Is Love is filmed in Adelaide, South Australia by talented students from the Media Arts Production Skills (MAPS) course at Hamilton College.
Stevie Wonder Band 1986: Richie is invited to play with Stevie Wonder’s Band when they came in to play with the James Brothers in Lipsticks Nightclub after an Adelaide concert. They jammed till the early hours of the morning, Richie took home with him lasting insights from working so closely with one of the Grand Daddys of Mowtown, bassist Nathan Watts. Stevie himself went and had a jam with John Farnham.
Full Time Touring 1986: Richie's first full-time national tour was with The James Brothers, promoting the release of the single Nothing’s Gonna Change. Richie continued touring full-time for a number of years afterward, the 300 plus shows-per-year schedule often kept band members away from home for up to nine months a year.
James Morrison 1985: James Morrison and his brother John asked Richie to join the band ontage for a jam during a gig at the Saracens Head Hotel in Adelaide. The most notable house guest on the day was the petite Kylie Minogue. Her energetic dancing was a buzz for the musos and patrons alike! (Richie must get to one of her gigs sometime - ed.)
Short Tours 1980: Richie began his first week-end tours on the pub rock circuit. Tours often went iinterstate to packed houses.
Mel Gibson 1979: As a boy, Richie worked alongside Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, and a wonderful cast and crew in Peter Weir’s Gallipoli.
First Original Gig 1978: A dedicated and enthusiastic songwriter from the age of ten, Richie's first all original gig was to a packed house at Adelaide Town Hall with his three piece band.
Guitar Harmony Course 1978: At the age of 16, Richie was very much Inspired by guitarist Mickey Baker and brilliant jazz pianist Bruce Hancock. After doing a course with Bruce Hancock, Richie developed a jazz harmony and improvisation course for guitar, which he then tutored to small classes at a number of city establishments. Today, some thirty years on, the course holds its own, and is still in regular use as a tool to rapidly familiarise students with the guitar.
Publisher 2004: Richie signs with publisher Blue Pie Productions.