Richard Bivens (born August 26, 1979) is an American musician from Orange County, California. He has performed as a solo artist and has been the frontman for Richard Bivens & Foreign Press and Regrets and Brunettes. He currently resides in Oakland, California.
Richard began writing songs at the age of 10, mostly of the R&B and hip-hop variety. His focus began to narrow in on rock music as he got older, and at the age of 15 he taught himself how to play guitar. He developed a unique style of playing a right handed guitar upside down and for the majority of his early career strummed without a pick. He attended Aliso Niguel High School and graduated in 1997. After high school, he delved more into music and began recording songs on a four track cassette tape machine.
As a child, Bivens' was strongly considered for the lead role in the 1993 film Free Willy. He also appeared on an episode of VH1's Rock and Roll Jeopardy! at the age of 21, and became the show's youngest winner ever.
Richard Bivens & Foreign Press:
Up until 2003, Bivens only performed his songs in front of friends. A couple of these friends took their admiration for Bivens seriously enough that they learned how to play music just to be in Bivens' band. Consisting of high school friend Robert Pavlovich on bass guitar, Ali Ghanavat on rhythm guitar, and Richard Rizk on drums, Bivens formed Richard Bivens & Foreign Press in 2003. This incarnation of the band was short lived however. After Rizk's departure Pavlovich's childhood friend, Dylan Kato, was recruited to play drums. With this lineup they recorded their first and only album Absolute Beginners in San Francisco, CA at Lucky Cat Recordings with producer Tony Leong. The album consisted of 7 tracks and was recorded on analog tape. It was the first official recording that Bivens ever released.
The band played about 30 gigs in and around the Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego area. The reception exceeded their expectations at first, but interest in the band waned when their day jobs got in the way of their musical endeavors. The band never formally broke up, but stopped playing shows altogether in late 2007.
Regrets and Brunettes:
After Foreign Press, Bivens began to work on new material in early 2008. He rehearsed the songs with Pavlovich and Kato and from there realized that he wanted to start up another project. The trio settled on the band name Regrets and Brunettes and swiftly entered themselves back in the local live music scene. For the first few shows, the band auditioned a plethora of musicians (including keyboardists) before rounding out their lineup with guitarist Anthony Chu in the Spring of 2008. With Chu, the band took their songwriting and musicianship to a new level.
At Night You Love Me:
With this new lineup, Bivens and company spent nearly 12 months in their rehearsal space called the Rec Room in Anaheim, CA recording new material. The end result was the 2009 album entitled At Night You Love Me (the name came from Bivens' love-hate relationship with a traffic light near his apartment) released on Campaign Set Records. ANYLM was well received by local and foreign critics alike. Whereas Absolute Beginners was more raw and warmer sounding, the band took their time to craft each song with ambient guitar and keyboard parts and more detailed arrangements. The album certainly fit the indie-rock mold, but its hard to deny the older and more pop-driven influences of Neil Young, Spoon, Pavement, and Big Star - all artists that Bivens idolized throughout his career.
Although the band achieved mild success with the album and played shows with the likes of Delta Spirit and The Henry Clay People they found it hard to balance lives as musicians and lives as professionals. Pavlovich gained more responsibility working for his father's business and Chu became a full time medical student. The difficulties in scheduling time for the band caused enough friction that the band broke up officially in August 2010. They posthumously released their final song called "Facts & Figures."
After Bivens formed Regrets and Brunettes, guitarist Ali Ghanavat decided to reset Foreign Press, without Bivens on vocals. He recruited singer Juanita Mankuleiyo (who performed backup vocals on Absolute Beginners), bassist and childhood friend Jeff Basin, as well as Foreign Press's original drummer Richard Rizk. Foreign Press revitalizes songs that Bivens has written over the past decade, as well as performing new songs written specifically for this new incarnation of the band. Bivens also continues to write new material for himself, and plans to release demos of his upcoming solo project in the Fall of 2011.