Richard James & The Name Changers hail from the north shore of Boston, Massachusetts. The band released their sophomore record on September 8th, 2012 at The Port City Music Hall in Portland Maine after successfully performing at two of Boston's best showcases at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin. They head to California in January 2013 for their first West Coast tour.
"Every show is its own life force, with a diverse and carefully crafted batch of originals endlessly flowing through witty cover selections (much like that band that changed the name of that animal that swims in the sea). It’s a jam band in certain places, but a psychedelic, funk-laden rock experience all around the edges. No two shows are alike for this band. What evolved out of a drum and keys duo much like the real Duo (Benevento/Russo) gained steam by adding more arms and legs. The current six-strong grouping, complete with a pair of horns, is locked and loaded with a deep bag of tricks—Zappa, Floyd, and even touches of the Ben Folds Five get their moments. There’s a lot of room to run in this group." - My Secret Boston
"Richard James is a Brilliant up and coming songwriter! The cynical lyrics over the eerily fun and flapper-inspired melodies is a hallmark of Richard James’ style." - Ourstage.com
"They wear their Beatles influence on their sleeve, from the overall McCartney vibe to the more obvious La La's in the song, "I Tried". I like the sound here, it's nice and clean without being clinical, the band sounds solid! The vocals have a nice natural sound to them, as do the backgrounds. You make it all sound very easy, which is a good thing, especially because we both know it's not..." - Taxi
"The second band to take the stage was the memorable psychedelic indie rock band Richard James. With an ever-growing fan base, Richard James has been helping Boston release that crazy side of them during their shows. Hosting exhilarating and vibrant performances, these musicians execute more than the average show. With a kickin’ brass section, badass guitarists, playful piano harmonies and dynamic vocals, the soul of this music seeps into its listeners and makes them groove to the energy of the music and the band. The trumpet and trombone capture the spirit of a standard ensemble and replacing it with brass ecstasy.
Richard James is an entrancing voice to watch, and clearly a leader of high caliber on stage. Every song emanates rich tone and lyrical freedom. As Richard James sings his voice adds a harmonic and rhythmic level to each song; his music is technically and blissfully pleasing to the ear. With the entire band adding funk, soul rhythms and free improv; the band unleashes a vital energy that pushes their music to the edge and then snaps their listeners into a swinging groove. - Performer Magazine
"Richard is classically trained but has chosen to go a more bluesy route with their music as the head songwriter. They get experimental with the rock 'n' roll format by drawing influences from Herbie Hancock, Elton John and King Crimson. The guys had a blazing set. Truckloads of energy and bucket loads of action.
These guys have a lot of scrap to them, and not just in their beard. Mixed with all sorts influences like a whole barrel of blues, a peppering of jazz, a smack of funk, and waterfalls of sweat. Shaking Richard's giant mitt of a hand was like taking a steam bath... toweless... but the kind that builds male comradery. He could have used James Brown's wingmen to escort him off. The spirit they put into the performance was potent. I got a brief contact high, case of the dizzies and some hot flashes. Richard, a bear of a guy (no homo), was stomping on the ground while literally shaking the floor as he was striking the keys. I would have been cool with ending the set in a pile of rubble. When each instrument took control during a solo there was a real improvised vitality to it, but the song sections themselves were meticulously arranged. It also thrived on catchy vocal lines to keep the listeners coming back for more.
As I was interviewing the guys, I asked the age old question, "So, if you could pigeonhole yourselves into a really confining stylistic box, would it be Pop, Rock or Ernie and the Automatics?" I even may have mentioned that I heard an undercurrent of Phish (pun sadly intended) in there by calling them, *gasp*, a jam band... I am such an amateur. Why must I make myself a glutton for all bands to punish? It actually resulted into an engaging discussion about the sensitivity over artists labeling themselves into a particular genre and the stigma behind the term "jam band." I always ask what style a band identifies with but I welcome the unexpected directions the conversation may lead. Jam band just makes a group seem generic, copycat and wicked lame. These guys have way more "je ne sais quoi." I will give myself a deep laceration anytime I think of Trey Anastacio to repent for my sin. I think Rick described it best by saying, "It's not the band's job to determine a genre, it's the public's opinion." He's probably right but it's so much easier to just ask and receive tolerable verbal abuse (and lacerations).
So.... We arrived at Sheep Rock because who is offended by sheep? And the guys kind of look like sheep." - UNregular Radio
Tickets for Richard James and the Name Changers, The Big Sway, and Make The Rules on Friday, December 7th 10PM at the Iron Horse in Northampton are available HERE.