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Welcome to Sir Richard Bishop fan page
Richard Bishop, stylized as Sir Richard Bishop, is a guitarist, composer and singer from Phoenix, Arizona. He writes experimental music that changes in flavor from album to album. You’ve reached a fan made page that honors this great man who makes amazing music, music which leaves you wanting more. My name is Robert Dyball and I’m a huge fan of Sir Richard Bishop. I’ve started listening to his records in the early 2000s and haven’t stopped since.
My day job is that of an electrician. In my spare time I like to play the guitar, or at least try to. I also fiddle with electrical gadgets like Nintendo Wii, FPV drones, tablets, hoverboards, etc. I’m too old to be doing it for my own pleasure entirely. My grandkids are crazy about such gizmos, so by proxy, I am too. Back to Sir Richard. Music published by him almost always centers around the acoustic guitar and that’s why I love it. Experimental part of the equation comes in when he mixes in sounds from the Middle East, India, Africa, South America. Each new album is a unknown mystery because of it.
Recently I was playing with my grandson Matt and his new toy, an electric skateboard, I didn’t even know that they make those. Or drones, who would expect those mechanical birds will became so popular? Everyone is flying drone today, I don’t understand what’s happening. Should we be happy or afraid because many new cheap drones that have camera are hitting market? Anyway I fell, hurt my back and now I must rest until I heal. Since I like to keep busy I decided to create this website for my favorite artist.
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Sun City Girls – the beginnings
Before his successful solo career, Sir Richard Bishop was part of a critically acclaimed group “Sun City Girls”. Group was formed way back in 1979 and throughout its existence mainly consisted of Sir Richard Bishop on guitar/bass/piano, his brother Alan Bishop on bass/guitar and Charles Gocher on drums. Grouped named themselves after a retirement community in Sun City, Arizona. During their long career, they released some 50 albums, and many other recordings, some of which on cassettes. I actually have a couple of cassette recordings of their that I picked up in thrift shops during the years. Similarly to the solo projects of Sir Richard Bishop, groups music was highly experimental and is very difficult to pin down a particular music genre. They mainly played experimental rock, but with emphasis on the experimental part. They would frequently mix jazz, esoterica, oriental beats and even spoken word performances into their music. Their song lyrics mainly focused on mysticism, religion, paranormal and other spiritual topics. Live performances were frequently prone to free improvisation and audience participation. Their concerts were more similar to performance art then they were to band events. The group gathered a faithful following and produced critically acclaimed music. In 2007 Charles Gocher died after a long battle with cancer. Bishop brothers went on a farewell tour in his honor and decided to continue their their individual careers thus ending Sun City Girls after 26 year long career. One of their most famous albums is the “Torch of the Mystics”.
Sun City Girls discography
Covering the entire discography of Sun City Girls would take a while since they published an exorbitant amounts of music. Like I already mentioned, the band penned and played 50 albums, plus numerous other singles, LPs, DVDs, etc. What we can do is focus on their studio albums, since large number of the albums that they released were live albums, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Their first album was called “Sun City Girls” and it was released in 1984. Soon after that in 1986, the band released “Grotto of Miracles”. Next year, in 1987, “Horse Cock Phepner” was released. “Torch of the Mystics”, perhaps the bands most famous album was issued in 1990, and reissued in CD form in 1993.
Following their yearly release cycle, the band released “Dawn of the Devi” in 1991. They then took a two year break only to come back with two new albums in 1993, “Valentines From Matahari” and “Kaliflower”. Next year in 1994, the band released “Jacks Creek”. In 1996, they released Dante’s Disneyland Inferno. Last album where all three members were together was “330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond the Rig Veda” in 2001. After the death Charles Gocher, the last album released by the band was a collection of material that they produced before his death named “Funeral Mariachi”.
Beginnings of a solo career
With the end of Sun City Girls in sight, Sir Richard Bishop turned to a solo career. He actually started working on his own personal projects during the last years of Sun City Girls. A couple of the albums were released while the group was still together, in other words before the death of Gocher. Officially he began solo tours in 2005. While on tours, Sir Richard closely collaborated with musicians like Bill Callahan, Will Oldham, Devendra Banhart and the music group Animal Collective.
Solo music of his continued down the experimental path that the Sun City Girls were on. Guitar, mostly acoustic and sometimes electric, is still the primary focus of his songs. They are featured prominently, but with an even bigger mix of folksy sounds from southeast Asia, north Africa, west Africa and Middle East. Initial albums released by Sir Richard featured only him and his instruments. It wasn’t until the “The Freak of Araby” album in 2009 that he engaged the help of a full band of musicians.
Sir Richard Bishop discography
Solo career of Sir Richard was as fruitful as the career of Sun City Girls, if not more. Total of 10 albums were released from 1998, the year of the first album release. First album was titled “Salvador Kali”, a wordplay on the name of the famous painter Salvador Dali. It wasn’t until 2004 that his second album “Improvika” was released. Like the album name suggests, music there was the product of on the spot improvisation. In 2006 two albums were released, “Fingering the Devil” and “Elektronika Demonika”. Same thing happened in 2007 with “While My Guitar Violently Bleeds” and “Polytheistic Fragments”. 2008 was another “double release” year. This time it was “Earth/Sir Richard Bishop” and “God Damn Religion” which was actually a DVD. “Freak of Araby” is a cover album that features songs written by the Egyptian guitarist/composer Omar Khorshid. Album was released in his honor. Latest albums include “Intermezzo” which was released in 2012 and “Tangier Sessions”, released in 2015.
Each of his albums explores a different musical blend and each of them is an adventure of its own. That’s the thing when listening to experimental artists, they are always straying from what you thought is the usual, but then again that’s why we love them. With Sir Richard one thing is for sure, there’s going to be guitar involved, you can count on that at least. My favorite album out of the bunch would be “Elektronika Demonika” which brings heavy sounding, disturbingly haunting songs with lots of bass. Themes are again mysticism and demonic possession. Second prize goes to an album released the following year after “Elektronika Demonika”, the one titled “While My Guitar Violently Bleeds”. This album brings medieval guitar sound, lighter songs, a complete contrast to “Demonika”. Almost all songs from Sir Richard himself are instrumental only. Sun City Girls did have songs with vocals but that is not the case with Sir Richards music. All in all a very rich discography, which takes you all over the world, musically speaking of course.
Lastly, something that you definitely need to checkout are Sir Richard Bishops concert performances. I’m probably boring you by now with constant praise of the mans guitar playing ability. Reason for this isn’t just because the songs themselves sound great. Watching the mans technique is mesmerizing to me. Then again I’m not at all good at playing the guitar, so I’m just probably easily impressed. My favorite performance of Sir Richards would be the Live at Pickathon show, which can be found on YouTube. I’ll embed it down below for your viewing pleasure. I guess that’s it for now. I’ve probably bored you enough. I’ll try to fill out this website with content on a regular basis, post news from Sir Richards, new song/video discoveries, etc. If you have any kind of suggestions don’t be shy and send me a message. I’ll you in the good hands of Sir Richard. I hope I’ll see you again sometime soon.