According to Rich's mother, he's been singing since before he could talk and he's been sharing that with live audiences since not long after. He graduated to fronting bands when he was eighteen, and has carried on performing pretty much uninterrupted across the intervening twenty-five years. Sometime around the mid-point of this journey he found he'd actually learned enough to do it quite well.
Rich has performed with bands as diverse as prog throwbacks, Heart of Gold, space rockers The Allnight Chemists, serious progheads Sane, post-grunge guitar duellists Hangman and early noughties rock revivalists Twisted, and has notched up a wide variety of live experiences, from the dingy cellars of Bristol, to venues small and large across Europe, and some TV appearances, including performing an entire gig to an estimated 6 million Mexicans, wearing nothing but a ripped Rush t-shirt and a pair of Mickey Mouse boxer shorts (there was no aircon!). Somehow he found himself at one point in the not too distant past being frontman for four Marillion tribute bands, each in a different country - people just kept asking and he loved the music so much he found it very hard to say no!
Whilst he'd love to spend all his time writing and performing, he writes computer programs and builds websites to earn some money. He also spends his spare time, when he has any, paragliding and motorcycling. Erm, well, perhaps not the motorcycling any more...
Acoustic guitar amp for live work
Marillion, Muse, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Rush, New Model Army, SImple Minds, The Associates, ELO
I'm one of those who doesn't really like labels - and the term "prog" in particular. I find it conjures up images of a set style, which is the antithesis of what "progressive" means. I love all truly progressive, open music, where the musicians are unconstrained by perceived boundaries of what they should play and how. My first love was the ELO, searching back in time from the late-seventies bombast to the wonderful abandon and experimentation of the first few albums. There's a huge wealth of ideas there, all tied together with superb song-writing, appreciation of structure and so on. Although I've sung for some fairly heavy bands - indeed my voice sits very well in that arena - I'm not particularly into straight down the line heavy, preferring the nuance to be found (in different ways) in the likes of Marillion, Porcupine Tree and Rush. But my tastes are much more varied - I'm a huge fan of a lot of early eighties stuff, in particular - and my two greatest inspirations and influences have always been the haunting, operatic and, well, just "other" Billy Mackenzie and the incisive yet fragile Hazel O'Connor.
Don't tell the rest of the band, but I don't really like Yes or Genesis ;)
Blade Runner, Diva, Split Second
15 gigs in 18 days on a tour of Central America with the Allnight Chemists in 1989, including a full live show on Mexican telly.
Dick Hardon and The Erections
Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar and Additional Keyboards