Sir Richard Bishop, a bravado wielding improviser on all things electric guitar, recently plugged in at the Williamsburg music cafe Zebulon.
This stream contains explicit lyrics.
Before You Press Play:
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
The Facts: Sir Richard Bishop is the Juan Ponce de Magellan of the guitar. He’s become a seminal character of the craft with an obsessive internal quest for an ethereal cognizance of his instrument (his Fountain of Youth) and he's got a firm grasp of global navigation of the field. In Sir Bishop’s words: "...for guitar music to have value, it must remain new and on the move. There shall be no safe or sacred ground. To take risks and to challenge one's self and one's listeners is the only way to maintain any worth."
In 1979, Bishop founded the spoken-ethnic-jazz-rock-improv outfit Sun City Girls with his brother, Alan. The band's topics of discourse ranged from mysticism to paranormal happenings and religious cultish activities, while the live shows had a performing arts leaning. Over a 26-year run the group produced an extensive discography of more than 50 full-length albums, 20 one-hour cassettes and a dozen 7” records. In 2007, the band called it quits following the death of drummer and vocalist Charles Gocher. In 2005, Bishop charted solo waters, exploring multiple genres on tour with Will Oldham, Animal Collective, Devendra Banhart, Bill Callahan and others.
The Sound: Pure electric guitar. With influences as far-flung as India, the Middle East and North Africa, and a deep penchant for improvisation, Bishop meanders seamlessly along these edges for the first 45 minutes of the set, expertly sprinkling his personal touch to the soundscape. At the (46:40) minute mark, he opens up the lyrical vault with a song about incest and follows it up with a crowd-pleasing cover of the 1972 Looking Glass hit “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl”). Before Bishop touches back down on the electric-only side of things, he, in good taste, warns the WNYC audio archivists to edit out the profanity he's so unabashedly unleashed. It's still in there, though, so be warned. The set ending grand finale begins at about the 72-minute mark as Bishop grinds out a six-plus minute cascade of electric bliss in ultimate guitar hero fashion. Enjoy.
He Said, She Said: "Bishop is a splendid acoustic guitarist with a sure touch and an impressive vocabulary gleaned from the Spanish flamenco and North Indian classical traditions with a bit of Belgian Django Reinhardt's gypsy swing jazz mixed in." – Bill Meyer (Ink Blot Magazine)
"Bishop's music has an austere and pristine quality to it that makes him an absolute pleasure to listen to." – Nick Hennies (Foxy Digitalis)
Set list: We didn't get a set list, but did you? Please post it below!