Guitarist is an online video star

Richard Kingston, a guitarist, talks about his struggles with music and how he’s overcome them, with Emily Paget. 

After a turbulent rock and roll lifestyle in his early years, Richard Kingston took some time away from his guitar. But has now returned to sharing his music, only this time online.

“I overstepped this boundary in my confidence by posting a video on Facebook and when that got a decent response, I thought I should put more up,” Richard said. “There’s people who remember me, from performing years back, they’ve messaged me since so it’s good to know you stick in people’s minds more than you realise.”

His online return follows years away from the music scene, away from the alcohol and drugs that have tempted him in the past.

”Things took over, obviously the music side of things started to slow down a bit,” Richard explains. “But over the last few years, when I’ve played, it’s been for personal entertainment.

“I’m a bit of a living room rock star these days, but it’s nice to produce something and make it sound good, even if it’s just to a living room full of people.”

Despite only sharing his talent online now, it wasn’t difficult for him to get used to performing again.

“Well it’s like riding a bike, you never forget how, you get rusty at it but you don’t forget,” Richard said. “The thing is about being able to play guitar and sing is that nobody will be able to take that from you.”

Over the years, Richard has faced many struggles as a musician, he’s been forced to leave bands and set aside his dream of finding fame as a rock star.

“I suppose when I was younger, I was in a rock band and I thought I was going to be famous,” Richard explains. “I did an open mic night with a band at The Clarendon Club once, and there were old ladies throwing themselves at me when I walked off the stage, I was so embarrassed but I felt like a rock star.

“I thought that this was it, this was going to be me, but when you get to my age now, you think, ‘no, it’s not’, so you just accept it and move on, you just get happy to entertain people as well as yourself.”

His dream of being a rock star started from a young age, when he was 13 years old, he joined his first band, and by the age of 14, he started gigging in pubs.

“We went to high school together, and both our dads were musicians who encouraged us to form a band,” Richard said. “When we got better, we started playing in pubs, even went to a studio and made a cassette back then.

“We used to play shows in a field in Nuneaton. They’d get articulated lorries down, put two together and open the sides for a stage, we used to headline there.”

However, his successful time in the band as a lead guitarist and frontman would be short lived.

“Puberty kicked in so my voice started squeaking when I sang, I used to get so embarrassed over it as I was just a teenager,” Richard explains. “I left the band but after my voice carried on developing, I just started doing open mic nights after that.”

Although his voice improved over the years, Richard carried on as a solo artist instead of joining another band because the ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ lifestyle became too overwhelming.

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Richard Kingston performing

“I think it’s the general lifestyle that went with the music, the drugs, the drink became hard to separate [from the music] for someone like me who struggles with anxiety.

“For me, I enjoyed performing but it got me very anxious, so I think drink started to feed its way in because of the confidence boost it gave me and it escalated from there.” Richard said.

His addictions that came with the rock star lifestyle meant that Richard’s step away from the band over his voice helped him battle those addictions.

“I think if I’d have become famous when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t be here now,” Richard explains. “But my life’s a bit different now, I don’t do booze or drugs, I’ve got kids and stuff to focus on.”

After coming off of the drink and drugs, Richard not only focused on his family but his music as well. At the age of 19, he started performing in folk clubs like he did with his dad when he was younger.

“I only had my own worries to think about then, it was only material that I wanted to do,” Richard explains.

Now as a solo act, Richard performed in clubs that he performed in as an 8 year old, along with his father.

“My dad would play guitar and I would play guitar and we used to do Tom Paxton’s What Did You Learn in School Today,” Richard said. “There was this great back and forth between us during the song, it incorporated the fact that we were father and son, I look back at that and have fond memories about it.

“We’ve moved different ways now though, you know musically,” Richard adds. “But I always liked the idea that one of my children would be musical and I could do it again and pass that on like the way my dad did it.”

Despite not making it as a famous musician, Richard is still continuing with his music by posting videos online of his covers for people to enjoy until he can finally pass on his musical talents to the next generation of rock stars, his children.

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