Counting Blue Cars
J.R. Richards is most famous as the lead singer and songwriter for the alternative band Dishwalla. The band released four studio albums and one live album before taking a break from recording in 2006. They have had five singles on the Billboard charts: “Counting Blue Cars” (1996), the band's highest charting and only hit on the Hot 100 (#15, also #1 Modern Rock), “Charlie Brown's Parents” (1996, #24 Mainstream Rock), “Give” (1997, #26 Adult Top 40), “Once in a While” (1998, #17 Mainstream Rock) and '”Somewhere in the Middle” (2002, #25 Adult Top 40 ). Outside Dishwalla, Richards has collaborated with other musicians, including Jason Koiter and Trace Ritter (The Glorious Love), Ryan Rossi (Califas) and Michael Carey and David Walsh from the band Exie. His debut solo album, “A Beautiful End,” was launched in 2009. Also an occasional actor, Richards has appeared in the films “Almost Anything” (2001), “Morning” (2001) and “2:13” (2009) and guest starred in an episode of “Charmed” (1999).
Father of 1
Childhood and Family:
J.R. Richards was born John Robert Richards on April 30, 1972, in Santa Barbara, California. He is married to Shannon and has one child.
A Beautiful End
J. R. Richards began his music career with the Santa Barbara based band Dishwalla in 1994. With the lineup of Richards on vocals, Rodney Browning on lead guitar, George Pendergast on drums and Scot Alexander on bass, the band launched their debut studio album “Pet Your Friends” on A&M Records on August 22, 1995. It peaked at No. 89 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers. The album produced the successful single “Counting Blue Cars,” which Richards co-wrote. The song rose to No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1996. It also peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks, No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, No. 4 on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream, No. 5 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay. “Counting Blue Cars” won a 1996 Billboard Award for Best Rock Song and two ASCAP Awards for Rock Track of the Year (1996 & 1997). The next singles, “Charlie Brown's Parents” (1996) and “Give” (1997), peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 26 on the Adult Top 40 single, respectively.
With the addition of Jim Wood on keyboards, Richards and his band resurfaced with their sophomore effort, “And You Think You Know What Life's About,” on August 11, 1998. The single “Once In A While” went to No. 17 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 20 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.
Dishwalla recorded “Pretty Babies” for the soundtrack of the motion picture “Blast from the Past” (1998), a comedy starring Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverston. The song “Find Your Way Back Home” appeared on the hit teen comedy “American Pie” (1999), which was directed by the Weitz brothers and starred Jason Biggs, while “Stay Awake” was featured in the David Koepp thriller “Stir of Echoes” (1999). Still in 1999, Richards appeared with the band in an episode of “Charmed” called “The Devil's Music.”
With new drummer Pete Maloney, who replaced George Pendergast in 1998, Dishwalla released a limited edition tour EP called “Gems (EP)” in 2001. The third studio album, “Opaline,” followed on April 23, 2002. It was the band's debut with Immergent Records. The album, produced by Gregg Wattenberg, generated “Somewhere in the Middle,” which peaked at No. 25 on the Adult Top 40 charts in 2002. The song “Home” was featured on the 2002 comedy film “The Banger Sisters,” starring Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon.
Meanwhile, in 2001, Richards was cast as Derek Scott in “Almost Anything,” a romantic comedy written and directed by Raymond T. Asante. He also played a supporting role on the independent drama “Morning” (2001), opposite Kieran Mulroney, Annabeth Gish and Darren E. Burrows.
Richards was reunited with Dishwalla for the release of the live album “Live... Greetings from the Flow State.” The album was released on August 12, 2003, with Immergent. 2003 also saw the launch of the band's self released EP titled “Santa Claus Lane.”
After “Santa Claus Lane II” and “Southeast Asia 2004” (both 2004), Dishwalla released an eponymous album on May 15, 2005, under Orphanage Records. Bassist Scot Alexander left the group later that same year and in 2006, the band went on a hiatus from recording. Drummer Pete Maloney quit in 2007 before the band returned to touring in 2008 without Richards, who at the time was busy working on his solo project. The band employed singer Justin Fox as a special guest vocalist.
On May 12, 2009, Richards' debut solo album, “A Beautiful End,” was released via iTunes worldwide. Also in 2009, Richards was featured in the thriller “2:13,” which starred Mark Thompson, Mark Pellegrino and Teri Polo. Richards next collaborated with Jason Koiter and Trace Ritter under the name The Glorious Love. Their first song, “A Dark Safe Place,” was released digitally on May 4, 2010. Richards also created music under the name Califas with Ryan Rossi. A 2010 World Cup theme song, “A Beautiful Game,” became available through digital download on May 18, 2010. He also joined forces with Michael Carey and David Walsh from the band Exies to create the songs “Monday Came,” “Sunlight” and “Sugarville,” which were released in June 2010.
Billboard Award: Best Rock Song, “Counting Blue Cars,” 1996
ASCAP Award: Rock Track Of The Year, “Counting Blue Cars,” 1996 and 1997