By Nicky Baldrian

The new album from singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist Richard James is really great and features everything from finger bleeding guitar riffs to smooth power ballads and hefty rockers a'la Dokken, Vinnie Vincent, Steve Stevens etc.. The guitar licks throughout the songs are really colourful and catchy, James really attacks the strings and builds his songs around lyrics, thus his songs are memorable and challenging such as 'Tokyo Dream', 'Change The World', The haunting 'Don't Break My Heart' a la Guns N' Roses, Whitesnake, Dokken and Europe.

Richard is an amazing guitar player and lyricist and I'm really surprised that he hasn't be singed up yet, I mean if someone like Danny Danzi can get a record deal (and I don't mean that with any disrespect to Danzi) then there is no reason why Richard James cant as he is far more versatile.

From 'Revolution' (which reminds me Dokken's 'When Some Nights' and 'Will The Sun Rise') to the guitar edged Van Halen inspired 'Open Your Heart' which builds itself around a great singable chorus and is structured around an AOR style melody that you may find someone like Valentine or Harem Scarem performing to the cracking melodic charm of 'What You Give' Richard's music flows with many highs of which I didn't find a lot to complain about, thus leading to this interview.

I asked Richard to tell me about his musical beginnings:

"I started off by singing in the church choir at a very young age" remembers Richard who then got into rock music before receiving his first guitar at age of eleven.

"I played in a couple of cover bands in high school and spent a lot of time recording my originals on a 4-track recorder. At age 18 I moved to Los Angeles to go to college and be near the music industry. I have played in a few bands that never lasted very long for different reasons. I did paid session work for various local people. I wrote and recorded three songs for a children's sing along video.

When I got a Tascam 8-track recorder I began improving my producing skills a lot. I have produced demos for a variety of local artists at my home studio. A few years back I released two CD's on JSR Records: "Reflections" and "Hottest Unknown Guitarists". I spent a huge amount of time and effort promoting, advertising, and selling those CD's. They are still available on my website. The past few years I have been writing and recording the best songs I have ever come up with. My singing, guitar playing, and producing skills are better than ever"

And you can't argue with that statement as his new material is surprising diverse and very entertaining, the chorus are hugely singable and memorable so it's fair to agree with the man that the songs are indeed very tasty numbers that'll keep you going back for regular listens.

Richard also has had a degree of experience on the live circuit,

"I was in a local band during the past year and we played a lot of shows. We played with bands like WASP, Ratt, and Union, just to name a few. I have just officially left the band due to differences in musical direction. Other than that I occasionally play solo acoustic shows. Just me and my guitar. My albums have not received a lot of attention here in L.A. because the musical climate is not real open to that style at the moment. Both CD's have received glowing reviews all over the world and the fans love it. They continue to sell well over the internet"

I begin to wonder that with all this self promotion has Richard been taken note of Ted Poley's recent shameless promotion of the Melodica albums on's notice board, he, he, nothing like promoting yourself though, in fact it worked for Ted Poley so everyone should try it, lol!

Anyway growing up Richard's tastes in hard rock music were influenced guitar wise by George Lynch, Paul Gilbert, Eddie Van Halen, John Sykes, John Norum, and Vinnie Moore, whilst vocally he influenced by Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Harnell, Steve Perry, and Don Dokken. Band influences are Def Leppard, Dokken, Racer X, TNT, Van Halen, and Europe, and outside of music he enjoys going to the movies, reading, travelling, surfing the internet and hanging out with his buddies, mm sounds like a typical rocker here.

Richard has just released his new album and I asked him to tell me about the new songs and how they came together and how being an independent artists did he fund the recordings?

"My songs have always come from the way I am feeling and whatever is influencing my life at that moment in time. I actually write and record a wide variety of stuff. Some of it is totally non-metal. My latest batch I guess is a bit more happy sounding with a bit of a pop edge to it. Kind of like the latest Def Leppard CD. But they still rock hard with awesome shredding guitars. As far as financing, I have a day job of course. I have a complete home studio set up, so I record everything here, which is dead handy because I can spend as much time as I need to get it perfect."

As I mentioned earlier Richard first started playing the guitar at the age of eleven and was singing before that,

"I look up to a lot of people. My father and mother... both are wonderful parents and very supportive. People that have a dream and go after it. Like, George Lucas (Star Wars), Jackie Chan, and anyone who has become successful, yet is still a nice person who doesn't walk on/over people."

I found it hard to believe that on such a powerful sounding record that Richard still remains unsigned, I asked him if he has had any offers?

"Yes, I find it very hard to believe too!!!! ( he laughs) You know, I have had discussions with some people, but I guess the right situation has not come up yet. But I really feel the time is right now. Like I said, my latest tunes are by far the best and the fans will love them. I'm going into a bigger studio very soon to record 4 songs with an awesome drummer and bass player, which I will shop around to different record labels. I think this will be the one. Also, keep in mind that the music market here in the U.S. has not been very receptive to this style of music for at least ten years now. Bands that were once huge, can only play small clubs here and they don't sell that many CD's. But the market in Europe and Asia is still very good. That is what I plan to go after first., I want to get a killer sounding recording for the 4 new songs with the drummer and bass player and send it around. Hopefully I'll sign a deal and record a whole album. That's the plan. Other than that, I will continue to write, record, play live when I feel like it. I may even record some more children's tunes and shop them around. You never know. Personally, I may be moving to Japan in June to live for one year. I went there in 1999 and had the best time of my life. Hard rock and metal are still very big over there. Plus I love the people there. Very polite and nice."

Finally is there anything you would like to say to your fans out there who'd be curious to check you out?

"Yes, if you've never heard of me, go to my website to learn all about me. If you've never heard my music, go to the website and listen to the samples... then order a CD!!! For anyone who has ever taken the time to listen, buy a CD, e-mail me, or read this interview, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without the fans we are nothing. And keep watching for something new from me very soon. Thanks!!!"

Richard James