INTERVIEW: Rich Kid Express – Rob Richardson
What could be better than to start the year with an interview with the creator of one of the best albums of 2020? Rich Kid Express’ debut long player ‘Psychodelic’ is a great take on the wonderful Rock of the 70’s and 80’s with an emphasis on the latter and the fun we had listening to that music. We said of the album: “This is very good. Listening to the first couple of tracks on this record by Rich Kid Express you feel that you’re at the end of the 80’s on the dark end of the strip, not the Poison end – the end with bands like Faster Pussycat and Junkyard.” We caught up with Rob Richardson to find out all about it.
Mark: Hey Rob, how’s things!
Rob: Not too bad at all.
Mark: I love the new album ‘Psychodelic’, how long was it in the making?
Rob: Well thank you. I put out the ‘Bubble-gum Radio’ EP back in February so between April when I released a single and October.
Mark: That’s pretty impressive going, especially for such a great collection. Take us all the way back where does your love of music come from?
Rob: When I was a kid, I was into whatever was on the radio growing up on the early 70’s. If Elvis was on the radio I listened to that as my parents were big fans, then I started getting into bubble-gum rock and then kinda stumbled across the Glam Rock scene. Then of course when I discovered Kiss in ’78 I lost it! I thought “Oh my gosh, my new favourite band” and that kinda made me aware of music in general, and then from there growing up in the 80’s it was all about Headbanger’s Ball and the Sunset Strip and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal before that, I was kinda into all of that. If they had long hair and the songs sounded cool I was into all of that.
Mark: I certainly picked up on the Kiss with a touch of Ace Frehley, and the Strip sound which you captured so well, the press release really seemed to nail what Rich Kid Express is all about musically with The Sweet and Joan Jett in there too.
Rob: Yeah, those are some of my favourites, and if you add a bit of W.A.S.P. you’ve got it! I love the intentionally cheesy stuff too, the silliness about it can be fun at times. But if that’s what dominates the whole thing, I kinda lose interest, there has to be good songs.
Mark: Yeah and W.A.S.P. is a great band too.
Rob: I really love that band especially the first three albums after which I kinda lost them a bit, I think Blackie Lawless started writing about the same things after that and got a bit deep.
Mark: Your songs are pretty cool too, you mentioned that they were all written in a pretty short amount of time, had any of the ideas been around for a while?
Rob: No they were all pretty much written then, the only song from before that was the title song ’Psychodelic’ but I only wrote that when I was doing the ‘Bubble-gum Radio’ EP and only because the song was a little bit longer ad a bit different to the other songs on the EP so it didn’t quite fit. So I just sort of held onto that and then when I was putting the album together I just thought I’d call it that because I like the name – it’s kinda got that bit of a 70’s vibe and a Twilight Zone sort of theme! That was where I was kinda going with the whole thing.
Mark: It’s cool, a nice concept. What’s the reaction been like to the album so far? I don’t stream anything because I can’t see the benefit to the artist, I’m strictly old school, I was the last person I know to get a Celphone!
Rob: A lot of people don’t (laughs).
Mark: I think I’ll be the last holding out! And oddly enough I’ve seen a few musicians recently stopping streaming. I had a good friend in the UK who stopped and made more money in a month of sales without streaming than he had in the previous year!
Mark: I can see when you’re starting out though that it might be a necessary evil to get the music out there, but to me that’s just a step away for playing shows free ‘for the exposure’…
Rob: I love technology for sending things like promo packages, it saves a lot of money.
Mark: Oh completely. And I know a lot of people who will stream then buy to support the artist. If I get a CD sent and I like it I’ll either buy one for a friend of grab a T-shirt!
Rob: That’s how it should be (laughs)
Mark: My big question I guess is, was the Rich Kid Express project intended to be played live and put on hold for covid or is it exclusively a studio project?
Rob: You know it’s funny I’ve been in bands over the years, I’ve been a drummer in several different bands. Back in the 80’s when the Rock scene was really going I was a little too young and so I kinda missed out on all of that and by the time I really started getting into music the scene was getting ready to change and things were going ‘the alternative route’ if you want to say it that way, so it was a little too late. But with this I’ve played over the years in different bands and in cover bands and stuff but with this one thing I wanted to do was to stay at home! (laughs)
Rob: I mean I know what it’s like to be out in the clubs till 2 in the morning. And I enjoy that… to a point. But once you’ve got a family there’s a balance, you want to still do it and be creative but you also want to be at home and so that was kind of my mentality to keep it a recorded project but that’s not to say I don’t have plenty of buddies that play so i could easily put a band together if there was an opportunity or a reason to go out and play live, but for the most part it was just kinda a recording project. And I say that now, but that could change. I don’t know if anyone wants to see a middle-aged rock and roller get out there and do that stuff!
Mark: (laughs) There are plenty of them out there still doing that Rob!
Rob: (laughs) Oh yeah my favourite band Kiss is still doing it and I’m like why? I mean I like them and I love them but why?
Mark: I think it’s a bit different with Kiss, they’re such a unique band and they’ve always have Dads taking kids, that sort of generational thing going on, but know what you mean. Tome the best thing about your record is the more I play it the more I enjoy it so it’s bound to make my list at the end of the year.
Rob: Thank you that’s cool.
Mark: I love the way the album opens too with ‘Get Out of My Life’ and the track that follows ‘Cross the Line’ – it’s a great opening – where did the inspiration for that come from?
Rob: Well ‘Cross the Line’ was actually written before I had the idea for ‘Get Out of My Life’ but as soon as I wrote that second song I thought “This sounds like an opener” If I was playing the record live that would be what I’d want to start off the show with. That was kinda my thought, “What’s gonna grab people first?” But the song itself can really be about anything whether it be a person you don’t like, or a subject you don’t like, here in America that’s politics right now!
Mark: It is always interesting watching the American elections normally but this one is pretty specially crazy! I hate watching friends from each side fight.
Rob: That’s right I don’t think politics and music mix especially if you’re trying to reach people. Once you take a stand one way or another you’ve alienated half the people who might be interested in what you do! So you know what I’m keeping my mouth shut, I’m gonna ride the fence and not stick my nose out there!
Mark: The safe way to go! Keep it out of music and sport!
Rob: You’re right. And for ‘Cross the Line’ I was trying to write a riff that gave a kinda mid-70’s Zeppelin sort of vibe where the riff kinda repeated and there were underlying keyboards, well to me at least it sounded like something you might have heard Zeppelin play! But that was where I was coming from and the song as a whole turned out a little bit different. You know when it was finished I kinda liked it and I thought it had to come after that opener.
Mark: It’s a great start and I love the fun you’ve injected in there too! There’s some great songs and it ends on a really fun note too. So what’s next? I know chances to play live are difficult at the minute, covid makes things harder and there seems to be a backlog of shows with 2020 dates being pushed into 2021 making it really hard to get a slot at all? Not to mentioned Clubs closing due to the pandemic!
Rob: I know. In our local area a lot of the clubs have to be close by 10 O’clock. They won’t serve alcohol after 10 so friends do play early then call it a night. But it’s tough out there.
Mark: Are there plans for a follow up already or is it too early to think of such things?
Rob: To be honest with you the next project coming up is different, I’m not only with Rich Kid Express but also with another band with a buddy of mine who used to be in a band with me back in the late nineties to early to mid-2000’s – we play in a band called Heaven’s Sake. We did release 2 CDs that are out there floating around somewhere. So David Barker who plays guitar in Heaven’s Sake we put a duo together a couple of years ago called the Bad Somethings and we put out and album together then but we haven’t done anything since, and since I’ve been doing Rich Kid Express on my own I’ve been doing that. But we hope to have an EP or an LP out next year, so we’re gonna get started on that in a couple of weeks.
Mark: We’ll definitely give that one a listen.
Rob: It might be a little more 70’s than 80’s – a bit of early Kiss and Cheap Trick with a bit of power Pop.
Mark: Sounds good.
Rob: Then after that I intend to go back to Rich Kid Express but whether that’s an EP or an album really depends on how many ideas I have!
Mark: (laughs) it’s a sad time for the industry, some great music about at the moment but no one seems to be making any money out of it. Some were through live shows but now all that’s gone. Back to you though Rob, as a first timer on The Rockpit we have to ask you these two introductory questions that we ask everyone – the first is: If you could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ for the creation of any great album just to see how the magic happened in the studio- what would you choose? What would you have loved seeing being made?
Rob: What a question! You know there’s so many great albums it’s hard to just pick one and say you’d like to be there for that. Gosh, I’ll be honest with you just for the chaos I’d probably like to have sat in on the Guns ‘N’ Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction’ sessions. I imagine everything that I’ve read was true and I’d like to see just how chaotic it was!
Mark: Why wouldn’t’ you have wanted to have seen that and the album that resulted out of it! One of those debuts where there’s not a dull moment!
Rob: For sure.
Mark: And we save the easiest for last: what is the meaning of life?
Rob: I don’t know! The meaning of life? (laughs) I’m just going to use a Spinal Tap quote for that one which has to sum it up: “Have a good time all of the time!”
Mark: (laughs) Words to live by from Viv Savage! (The character I Spinal Tap who provided that quote) Always a pleasure to talk to some who has made some great music! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit.
Rob: This has been fun for me, thank you for having me!
Mark: My pleasure Rob. Keep making great music and I’m sure we’ll catch up again!