Darren Lee Richardson / Blog

Darren Lee Richardson with Dissident Souls

This blog is to supply information and credits for the Dissident Souls project I did in 2013 with Dissident Souls founder, Ron Castia.

Official Buy Links: http://www.reverbnation.com/store/store/artist_506009?item_type=music

Please read on for more...

Ron Castia, founder of Dissident Souls, and Darren Lee Richardson met through Reverb Nation, a popular independent music website in November of 2012. After meeting and getting together to jam, they decided to collaborate on a song that Ron already had most of the music for. Darren wrote the lyrics and together they finished the composition and arrangement of Mental Divergence. Ron is building up his band, Dissident Souls, and we'll be playing out more and more as 2014 progresses. Darren is also featured as singer on the Dissident Souls demo CD due out in early 2014.

Please help support Darren Lee Richardson, Ron Castia and Dissident Souls, as well as all independent musicians and artists around the world.

Ron Castia: http://www.reverbnation.com/musician/roncastia Dissident Souls: http://www.reverbnation.com/dissidentsouls

Songs: Mental Divergence ©2013 by Ron Castia and Darren Lee Richardson

Original music: Ron Castia Lyrics: Darren Lee Richardson Composition and Arrangement: Ron Castia and Darren Lee Richardson

Vocals: Darren Lee Richardson Awesome Lead Guitar: Ron Castia Intro Lead Guitar: Darren Lee Richardson First Guitar: Ron Castia Second Guitar: Darren Lee Richardson Bass: Ron Castia Percussion: produced by Darren Lee Richardson

Produced by: Mozo Studios, Dublin, CA Producer: Darren Lee Richardson Sound Engineer: Darren Lee Richardson

An Unexpected Open Mic at Coffee Ali - Dec. 9, 2011

Apparently this blog is to big for RN, so please go to this link where length is not an issue... Thanks!:




An evening at Coffee Ali - November 20, 2011

It's been a while since I last went to an open mic. Over eight months in fact…

A friend of mine told me that there as an open mic at a new coffee house called Coffee Ali in Pleasanton. You can find them at: http://www.coffeeali.com (There is also a facebook link on this site.) This sounded great because there is nothing in my area that I know about. And it was early as well; fits right into my early riser schedule.

I got there earlier as is my usual habit when I have never been to an event. I like to try to get on the early part of the list in case it is busy. However, today was not one of those days.

This event was hosted by Wish Inflicted; a very cool band that originates from Portland, Oregon. They have excellent vocal harmony, a very cool acoustic sound and great song writing. You can check them out more here: http://www.wishinflicted.com/fr_home.cfm (There is also a facebook link on this site.) They are having a CD release party at the Starry Plough in Berkeley on December 17th. See their site for more details. These guys are well worth checking out.

Anyway, after I got there, I purchased a nice warm beverage from the owner, Ali and checked the place out. This is a great coffee house. Comfortably decorated, cozy couches and plenty of seating in a nice open area. It is a great family environment.

Wish Inflicted was setting up the sound system and testing it out. I decided to walk around outside while I waited for them to get ready for the event. I wandered past a sushi restaurant next door and then by an Anytime Fitness gym nearby. I happened to notice inside a former neighbor and her son, a friend of my son, finishing up their time at the gym. When they came out, I said hello because I had not seen them in some time. Her family still lives across the street from me... small world, right? They live in the area and frequent Coffee Ali. I told them why I was in their neck of the woods and they went in and decided to stay for some music.

When I got back in to sign up, there was only one other person on the list, so I put my name down as second on the list. Wish Inflicted started off the evening with a few tunes from their new CD. These guys are really talented; great stuff. After them, a young lady by the name of Briana took over. She is a growing talent in her own right. She has a very lovely voice indeed. All in all, things were sounding really good and there was a small but engaged audience.

By the time it was my turn, I had some guests that showed up so I felt even more comfortable now. I was able to play four songs that seemed to go over fairly well. I was comfortable enough to say things that caused a few chuckles, so the vibe felt real good. At one point my battery pack in my guitar came flying out which caused a brief intermission. Brian from Wish Inflicted decided to rotate us out so we could play more since it was basically just the three of us at this time. They played another quick set, then Briana sang a couple of more, including an original which was very nice, then I played four more songs. It was probably pretty clear how excited I was to be playing out after so long. My last song really had me holding my voice together so I knew I wouldn't play anymore this night. I think back and hope I wasn't too goofy or strange, but it seemed that the reception was genuine and appreciative. I did have a really nice time.

My guests left shortly after my last set. I stayed for a few more tunes by Wish Inflicted, then thanked them and Ali for having this event. I saw by the pictures posted by Coffee Ali that at least one more person participated at the event.

This place really has a good start going here for a really cool, comfortable place to hear and see good live music and budding talent. If you get a chance you should come by and check out Coffee Ali. I hope to go back again sooner than later. It was a fun event.


An Evening at Panama - 03/12/2011

Due to the ReverbNation size limit, I have provided a link to the full recap of this open mic event.


Take care,


Return to the Essanay Cafe - 03/09/2011

I went back to Niles in Fremont, CA this night to perform a few more songs at this wonderful open mice venue.

This is a really comfortable environment in a nice historical setting. The guests and other participants are quite welcoming and supportive. It is a great place to try out your

talents and get honest appreciation and feedback.

The host, Sean Lightholder, is brilliant talent in his own right and entertained us by starting off the night with some of his selections for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day events he

will be playing at. It was spectacular irony to hear him perform some rap song numbers while playing his bodhrán, an Irish drum.

I decided to sign up later in the list tonight so that I could enjoy more of the other participants before going on. There was a rockin' couple, RJ and Kathy of Sez You and some

awesome poetry by Wolf who is a regular at this event before I went on.

I started with a mellow number called Another Always. I followed this with a straight ahead upbeat bluesy/rock number called I'm Not The One. My scheduled final song was Just A Man.

I was able to play a fourth, The High, because Sean was missing at the time I finished my previous song so the audience gave me the go ahead to play another to give him time to come

back. All in all, the response was pleasing with the best applause for I'm Not The One. This always makes me smile because open mics, from the surface anyway, don't compel you to

play such seemingly harder rock songs. But I am finding that the more I play them, the less true this presumption is. I had no idea I was an open mic profiler... hehehe... So I

plan to rock on into the future... LOL.

After my set, there was a delightful young singer/songwriter by the name of Rob Ray. He played his own well written and well performed material to the delight of the crowd. A large

talent in the making it would appear.

Soon after Rob was a very unexpected surprise. A young man by the name of Jordan Lee brought the house down with his rendition of a Beatles song and a few of his own songs. This

young man has an excellent singing voice and great style in his songwriting. So enamoured with his talent was the owner of the Essanay Cafe, that he offered this young man a gig at

the cafe on the spot. Jordan Lee is already opening doors to what could be a career in music and this was only his second open mic. To his embarrasment and humility, people at the

event were falling all over him to give him his well deserved praise. It's ok to enjoy the moment, Jordan... LOL. If he is not too cool to do it, I am inclined to believe that he

could get a ticket to Hollywood if you catch my drift. I have found videos of Jordan playing on YouTube if you are further interested (Search The River Jordan Lee, there are an

abundance of "jordan lee" search hits otherwise...). When I get links to any pages he has I will share it with you if you are even further interested.

Having said all that, these two standouts were not the only talent at this event. There is an abundance of talented people who come out to share their skills with the public here. I

would highly recommend attending if you enjoy hearing unknown talent and find yourself near Niles in Fremont, CA. Sean holds the event every second and fourth Wednesday of each

month. It is a fun and enjoyable evening for all.

Thanks Essanay, see you again...


Alas... the curse of the broken string is lifted...

Or... how I spent my Wednesday night.

This past Wednesday I did another open mic. I hadn't been to one in a while as I was working on a new song, the holidays came and, well, you know...

Anyway, this time I went to the historic Niles district in Fremont, California. This is where Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops made their movies before Hollywood became legend.

There is a small cafe there called Essanay Cafe. I'm guessing it takes the name of the Essanay Niles Studio where Chaplin made his movies. They have a back room area covered by a large tent structure where they stage their open mic event every second and and fourth Wednesday of the month. This provided a very intimate place to share your music with the patrons of this fine establishment. And there was a reasonable gathering even early on in the event.

The host and MC is a incredibly talented and congenial young man by the name of Sean Lightholder. Appears to be quite proud to be Irish. He also runs The Bay Area Open Mic website (http://www.bayareaopenmics.com/) which is how I have come to know about the many open mics existing in the Bay Area.

Well... his site said it started at six, so I showed up at five-thirty because I wanted to sign up early enough to get home at a decent hour as I am over the hill now and need to get my rest... hehehe... He was surprised it said six and said he needed to fix it because it doesn't start until seven. No worries, though... I helped him carry in his gear and helped him setup where he needed it and got to know him a bit before the event started. And I got to meet and hear about some of the regulars as they came in. So it was well worth getting there even earlier than I had planned.

Just before the event started a couple of friends of mine (one is an old band mate as well) showed up to hang out and support the event... and me, of course. It was great to see them and the band mate came bearing gifts of video of one of our bands from back in the day. I was very excited about that as I have plans for the future with such footage.

Anyway, it finally came time for me to play. I was the first after the host. I was nervous. I usually am at new places. Just normal nerves, not freaking out or anything... lol. I opened with my two newest songs. The first is called "Just A Man", which is the shortest song I think I have ever written. Then the second song, "The High"... as you might remember (if you read any of my other posts), had become notorious for breaking strings at the peak of the song. This is even weirder because it is actually a pretty mellow song, no thrashing here. But the good news is I was able to finish it on this night. I actually saw some people trying to pick up on my lyrics and sing along. The crowd seemed pleased and honored me with applause and some hoots. I was asked to play another song so I closed with "Lucky Man", which is now an older song of mine. Again, the crowd showed their generous appreciation. I thanked them graciously and yielded the floor for the next guest.

I also thanked my old band mate, who was sitting at the table directly in front of me. While I was playing, he was playing the banana. As humorous as this sounds, it was actually really cool as it helped me keep time and took the edge off of my nerves. I thought about it later and realized it was the first time we jammed together in nearly twenty years. Me singing and on the guitar, him on the banana. What memories... hehehe...

This was a really cool venue and event. It is very appropriate for all ages. There was a young girl with a very nice voice who came to the mic to sing along with some of her favorite songs. And there was a lovely ninety year old woman who came up and recited some of her poetry for all to here. And there were plenty of middle aged music moguls such as myself to continue the entertainment on into the night.

I will definitely return to the Essanay Cafe.


And Then There Was G...

Last night (9/27/2010) I went back to the Bistro in Hayward, CA to play a few songs again at their weekly open mic event. This time I was joined by five friends who came out to hang out and hear me play. One who drove over an

hour to catch this event. There was a sixth person who brought a friend, but they didn't make it until after my set. I do appreciate all who came out.

The venue wasn't as packed as the previous week when the local team was on Monday Night Football, but there was

still a reasonable crowd. As the evening progressed the tables started to fill up a bit more.

I was able to get on earlier this evening as there was no featured artist this night. I opened with Another Always

which seemed to be appreciated by those in attendance. The next song was It's All Right which is more upbeat.

Again, the crowd seemed to enjoy it as well.

Then came The High... this is the song that I broke a string near the end of it just the week before. I made a

comment on that fact just before I started playing, stating I'm not sure why it broke on the previous week. The

reason I said that is that is because this particular song is not hard on the guitar. It is a fairly mellow song.

But... in nearly the same spot as the week before... my G string broke. Last week it was the D, this week it was

the G. So, needless to say, my set was cut short... again. Obviously I need to look into this issue.

The irony of the same song, third in the list again, virtually the same spot in the song as the week before is a bit

too uncanny, even for me. Are the cosmos trying to tell me something? Or some deity? LOL... I'll let you decide. There was an interesting turn of events, though. After my set I was hanging out with my friends when a man who identified himself as the brother of Troy Luccketta (drummer for rock band Tesla) complimented me on my set and then asked if I would accompany him on stage. He needed a band to back him up with some blues riffs so he could sing and play harmonica. I was reluctant because I have not played with an ensemble for years, and I usually prefer to know what I am playing so I feel prepared. Despite my reluctance I did it anyway... He pulled together a drummer, another guitar player and a basss player from the crowd to back him up. I prefer to play lead than rhythm, but I managed to play a very basic blues rhythm that the rest of the players could join in on. I kept it really basic and it seemed to go off ok, at least that is what I was told... LOL. Fore me, it was focused fun. We played two thrown together songs for Tony. My friend dubbed us Tony and the Ad Libs. Now I'm an Ad Lib... hehehe... All in all, it was still a good time. I'll do more in the future, but I will try some different open mics around the nearby bay area, returning to The Bistro from time to time. I'm going to take a couple of weeks off of open mic events to focus on some home projects but I will get back out there sooner than later. If I end up in your area when I do, hoep you can come out and say hello and hear some music.

Thanks again to all who came out last night... I greatly appreciate it.


A Room Full Of Strangers

Last night (9/20/2010) I went to my first open mic in over a year. Since I released Project Unknown I have been practicing to get out and play live and finally made it to the Bistro in Hayward, CA, where I grew up.

The Bistro is a mainstay in the downtown Hayward scene. A little club/beer bar that hosts music all week long on its modest stage in the back of the room. Mondays are open mic nights at this venue.

This night was different than any other time I played live in the past. This time, it was a complete room full of strangers. And it was full... For a Monday night, especially. There were no seats available and people hanging around outside.

Perhaps the Monday Night Football game with the San Francisco 49ers, the home team, being shown on the big screen mounted in the corner just to the left of the stage was part of the draw.

The event started at 8, with signups at 7:30. I got there at 7:30 to be sure to signup early as I prefer to get home at a reasonable hour these days... yes, I'm at that age... LOL. I took the time to meet the people running the event, which helped relax me and feel more comfortable about playing in front of a room full of strangers.

I didn't know there was going to be a "featured" artist playing when the event started. I kind of wonder if they were filler to try to get the game over before the guest acts started playing. I played first after the "featured" artist which was around 8:50. By this time, probably 90% of any butterflies were all but gone.

I opened with Lucky Man which seemed to get the attention of several people sitting at a front-center table, in spite of the home team tying the game up with just 1:18 left in the game. I finished Lucky Man with a respectable applause from most of the crowd and excited applause from the center table.

My next song was Sundown Horizon, which was a favorite at the last open mic I did over a year ago. During the song a guy kept coming by the stage and rocked out with me, but this time the overall applause was less enthusiastic. Perhaps that had something to do with the exciting finish to the football game as it appeared more people were glued in the direction of the mounted television. Actually, I was watching as I was playing... the home team lost by the end of this song.

My next number was The High. A new song I wrote since the completion of Project Unknown. I was really excited to be playing this song for the first time. People were now focused on me since the game was over so I really wanted this to go well. ...about two thirds into the song... my D string broke... ":^( ...I laughed, said, "I guess my set is over", pulled this string out of my way, and announced that I was going to finish the song anyway... and I did.

That was met with respectable applause. I had one more song, but obviously I wasn't going to play it now.

As I left the stage and made my way back to my table at the back of the venue, several people kindly commented on what a good job I had done, very passionate was a common comment. One enthusiastic young man made the point to stop me and tell me that her really enjoyed it and found my voice soulful and heartfelt. I really appreciated that and thanked him... and the others that expressed their appreciation for my effort in spite of its untimely demise.

I will go back next Monday and try to redeem myself... hehehe. I have at least two friends that said they would come so it should be fun.

Hope you enjoyed my personal review...


Special Introduction for Risk The Fall - Lonny Foster of Razor Train

The fourth track on Project Unknown is called Risk The Fall. This is a nostalgia track for me as it is a song from back in the day when I played in my hard rock bands.

I was in a band called Aces Wild at the time I wrote this song and shared the stage with a talented guitarist/singer/songwriter/artis by the name of Lonny Foster.

I asked him if he would be interested in playing some lead guitar on Risk The Fall and he enthusiastically accepted.

Although I trade off a small number of riffs within a short section of the song, the bulk of the shredding is the guitar talents of Lonny Foster.

His current band is called Razor Train and you can look them up here:



They play in local clubs around the San Francisco Bay Area. Go give them a listen and go out and see them when you can.

Thanks Lonny, for your ripping contributions!

Darren Lee Richardson

Credit Where Credit Is Due... Project Unknown

Before I release the songs I wanted to give credit to those that helped me with Project Unknown, either directly or inderectly. First, I want to thank my wife and son for their continued love and support of my insane musical desires and drive. You are always first in my heart... Second, I want to thank my friend Joe, of the Joe Yello Band (look him up), for his relentless friendship, support and guidance. Although you are across the country, you helped in ways that cannot and will not be forgotten. You rock, bud. Next, my cousin, Justin Lee Richardson, for his contributions and ideas. Without your help, this project would not have turned out the way it has... hopefully that is a good thing... hehehe... Thanks a bunch, kiddo. And to my old band mate, Lonny Foster (who has his own band these days, Razor Train, please look them up), thanks for your shredding contributions on Risk The Fall. This song has never sounded this good. Obviously, your rock as well... literally. And finally, to my good friend, Les Milton, thanks for your friendship, humor, guidance and loan of your elegant and dynamic background vocals. You really helped lift those songs to new levels in my production. It is truly a pleasure to know you and call you my friend. And let's not forget you, reading this, I thank you for your support of me as an independent songwriter/musician and your support of independent music overall. Thanks so much, everyone... Darren