@ Willie Boys, Saturday, April 25. Tickets On Sale Now!

by Lisa Morgan

Who is Johnny Richter? Based on my recent conversation with the founding and former member of the infamous Kottonmouth Kings, the world and Richter are primed to find out. After 20 years with the self-described “psychedelic, hip-hop, punk rock” band, Richter set sail on his own in October of 2013, amid accusation and bitter social media posts from his former band mates. For this artist who hasn’t slowed down since asserting his independence, those voices are growing ever fainter in the distance behind him as he pushes forward.

While he has made efforts to not respond to the angry/hurt, public accusations and dismissals from the crew he spent more than 2 decades of his life with, Richter’s EP, FreeKINGout speaks for itself. There is no room for doubt about how this solo artist feels about the decision that may have seemed sudden, but was a long time coming. “I let the music speak for itself. I wasn’t going to get involved with the ‘he said, she said’ bullshit battle on the computer. I don’t choose to air it that way (on Facebook and Twitter). That’s just stupid to me. I wasn’t going to even write that album to tell you the truth. I had a whole different vision. That album is just a product of all the crap they were talking and it just came out that way. I had to get that out so I can move on to the next thing.” And moving on he is.

The five song EP, released on Suburban Noize Records (a label Kottonmouth Kings left just prior to Richter’s departure) is hard driving and explosive in comparison to his more, dare I say, “commercial” work with Kottonmouth Kings. It delivers with an extremely tangible sense that the long time coming decision to launch on his own, resulted in hinges being blown clean off the doors that were holding him back. “Freeking Out”, “Richter’s Back” and “Won’t Break” are all songs whose title and content reflect the honest expression of an artist obliterating the chains that once bound him, and shaking off the dirt that has been thrown. An incredibly sweet collaboration with the lark-like voice of Mina Fedora on “Let Me Win” and “Talk About It” add a compelling and alternatively passionate nuance, making this a very edible and credible first project.


A midst an incredibly busy touring schedule, Richter has also contributed to projects with Canadian hip-hop giants, Swollen Members and Suburban Noize Records artist, Kali Connect. I asked him if he had a title for his highly anticipated new EP. “It’s a bombshell,” he laughed. “I have to wait till it’s ready. I was golfing with a buddy and I blurted something out, and we were all ‘Damn, that’s it!’ I’ll probably play a couple of the new songs, “Way Out” (aka Shooting Star) and “Conflict”. The new show will be one hour of rap with a couple of Kottonmouth songs that they hardly ever play. I’ll be playing with a DJ and my drummer, Trevor Thomas (nickname “TT”). Thomas has a full kit up there and is amazing. He works really hard to keep it tight.”

“Everything is giving me a sense of freedom. There’s a huge weight off my shoulders; a lot of headache gone. I don’t have to go through all kinds of channels to do things, or wait around for anybody. They were negative with me when I left the group, but it wasn’t like they just turned negative that day. There was always something, depending on what they were aiming at. All that negativity is gone. I’m not into this nitpicking crap, picking fights.”

“We had a great run. I’m not ashamed of anything I did. Some of Snoop Dogg’s “Tha Eastsidaz” came over to my pad and saw that I had some old Kottonmouth Kings skateboard decks still up. They asked me, ‘You gonna cover your tattoo?’ Some of the best times of my life were spent during those years. I’m not going to run away from the fact that I was with them for 20 years. I’m always going to be Johnny Richter from the Kottonmouth Kings. It’s just time to move on.”

Tickets for this show can be purchased online ($10), but they are going fast. Johnny Richter will be joined by CV Weekly’s Best Punk Band nominee, Spankshaft. The show will be held Friday, April 25th at Willie Boys Dance Hall and Saloon located at 50048 Hwy 62, Morongo Valley, CA. The venue is one of the best venues for live music around. Only 25 miles from the center of the Coachella Valley, pool tables, classic arcade games, two huge fully stocked bars and it also rocks a killer BBQ and full menu. Willie Boys will even get you home safely with their limo style shuttle that round trips to the 29 Palms military base.