Johnny “Chops” Richardson has been throwing down bass lines for Texas music big boys The Randy Rogers Band since 2002. It continues to be a great gig and affords him the ability to pay the bills while honing his songwriting skills. His songs “Last Last Chance,” “Wicked Ways” and “10 Miles Deep” have become staples on RRB set lists over the years. However, when he’s not touring with his RRB bandmates, Richardson fronts his own group of rock ‘n’ roll misfits, Johnny Chops and The Razors.
Richardson says he started a band because of the large collection of songs he had written.
"I enjoy writing new music and had amassed a fairly large group of songs in my time off on the road," he says. "Rather than have them collect dust in a notebook, I decided to put a band together to see what they would sound like fully realized. It's an outlet for me to try new material and see my own artistic vision come to life. Plus I like playing guitar and singing."
The Razors' sound is a mashup of fuzzy, guitar-driven rock mixed with Delta blues, R&B and country influences. It’s a fun listen, as Chops often interweaves supernatural themes with western motifs to create a Wild West death vibe. If Tom Petty, Muddy Waters, Clint Eastwood and Tim Burton formed a band, you might get a song like “Believer,” an edgy rock ‘n’ roll tune bathed in superstitious rituals.
Perfect for a post-Halloween hangover, Johnny Chops and The Razors play Sundown at Granada this Saturday and will bring tunes off their self-titled sophomore album, which released in March. Over the summer, the band toured the West Coast promoting the record and they’ve finally landed back in Texas just in time for election season. Their latest single, “Ten Cent Talkers,” seems more than appropriate if you’re tired of all the talking heads and BS that’s flooded television the past few weeks.
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This final cut from The Razors, “Taking a Chance On Me,” gives you a taste of those mellow Memphis R&B influences, though the song didn't originally head in that direction.
"Our original arrangement sounded more like the Black Crowes," Richardson says. "Then when we tracked it, our studio guitar player, Eric 'Ebo' Borash said, 'You need male backup singers to take this thing to the house.' He was right, so I tracked down the Gospel Starz and they really took it to a new level."
If you can’t make it to see Johnny Chops and The Razors this Saturday, you’ll be able to catch them Dec. 6 in Fort Worth at Magnolia Motor Lounge during their soon-to-be-announced “Lone Star Holiday” run. In addition to their typical set list, you’ll likely get a couple of bluesy Christmas tunes for some holiday fun.
The show is at 10:30 p.m. and tickets are $10.