"Monica Richards is the Original Riot Grrrl and the Fairytale Queen all rolled up into one unbelievably talented artist. She belongs in the Avante Garde of today's music, forever changing, evolving, true to herself." - J. Tomkins
Monica Richards is an uncompromising Artist in the broadest sense of the word: singer, songwriter, composer, painter, illustrator, writer, philosopher, and poet. Considered as a nonconformist by independent critics, Monica Richards surpasses current fad and fancy, expressing instead her personal truths and life's path through her music and art that reaches fans throughout the world.
Music: In over twenty years as a front woman in Underground music, Monica Richards has a well-deserved reputation of the highest respect for her powerful voice and theatrical stage presence. An old school punk rocker who began writing songs at the age of 15, her sharp, intelligent lyrics and musical talents are the highlights of Faith and the Muse, and her new solo project.
Monica began singing in her early teens, fronting a number of bands (Hate From Ignorance:82-'83, Madhouse: 83-'86) during the heyday of the Washington D.C. hardcore punk scene. She performed at the same time as other well-known D.C. Punk bands - Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and SOA (Henry Rollins' first band), and was one of the earliest female singers in the harDCore scene.
Her early days are well documented in books that chronicle the harDCore scene: "Banned In D.C." [Connolly/Clague/Cheslow] and "Dance of Days" [Anderson/Jenkins], which can be found on Amazon.com, Tower Records, and any bookstore that sells Independent publishers. See Monica's Musings on her early days for mp3s and more photos.Monica formed Strange Boutique in 1987 with the intention of exploring a more art-driven style of music. With Daniel Ingram (Ex-Untouchables/Youth Brigade/Madhouse), Ex-Beefeater guitarist Fred "Freak" Smith, and the addition of bassist Steve Willett in 1988, the band's first EP, "Easter Island" was released in the Spring of 1989, showcasing Monica's more refined voice and the band's diverse musical talents.Strange Boutique released 3 CDs on their own Bedazzled records label, performed throughout the U.S. and even in the UK in support of for Killing Joke before the band broke up in late 1993. Monica Richards reunited with Strange Boutique for a Reunion show in Washington D.C. on July 3rd, 2004, and a 'Best Of' CD of Strange Boutique songs was released on Metropolis Records, entitled Strange Boutique - The Collection: 1988-1994.
In 1993, Monica created Faith and the Muse with William Faith, (Ex-Mephisto Walz/Shadow Project/Christian Death) with the purpose of having no boundaries to their music, reaching across historical genre and cultural style. Amidst a diverse musical background ranging from Dark Alternative Rock and Electronica to World Music & Neo-Classical, to Jazz, Avant Garde and Folk, Faith and the Muse allowed Monica to combine her love of art, theater and music.
With the release of five albums and one double CD live/remix album, along with extensive touring throughout the U.S. and Europe over the last 11 years (more than 250 performances), the band has managed to gain the attention of a vast assortment of music fans, owing to their constantly evolving sound: indefinable but unmistakable.Faith And The Muse have been called “an art band with a pop sensibility”; artists in the truest sense, refusing to conform to current fads in music, a high caliber of musical output in their wake - integrity without question. Well-known and widely respected in the Underground community, Faith And The Muse have already made their indelible mark on Independent music and culture. Monica's theatrical side and penchant for costume are released full force, allowing her a larger-than-life presence on stage.
Monica is currently at work on her new solo project, the InfraWarrior album.
Visual Arts: Monica Richards is a creative multimedia artist whose paintings and illustrations have graced CD covers, commercial posters, magazine articles, and gallery walls. Her talents run the entire spectrum of the visual arts, from graphic design and imaging, Pen & Ink, Colored Pencil, Sculpture and traditional Fine Art paintings. She is best known for her larger-than-life expressive mythical symbolism, and her intense use of color and contrast. Monica's artwork is centered around world-wide Matriarchal mythological themes, and all the different faces and seasonal personalities they possess.
As an artist, she got her start in Washington D.C. in the early 1980’s music and business circles, designing for a myriad of entities, from punk rock flyers and album covers, to local business logos and house drawings in the Washington DC Historical Society Tourbooks.
Monica's first Art Gallery showing was at the Ghostwriter Studio in Georgetown, Washington D.C. in 1989. That year she also showed works at Fifth Column and The Biograph Theater. From 1990 through 1992, she showed her work in group shows throughout Washington D.C. and Maryland. In 1993, before moving to Los Angeles, she had her own showing at Planet X, which was written up in the Washington Post.
Gaining a thorough knowledge of computer graphics in the mid-90's, Richards merged her original artwork with computer imaging to enhance her illustration and design. Highly regarded in the Underground music scene, she designs for other music artists, and clients also include magazines, pet food companies, and local businesses. Monica's designs have been featured in the artwork of Strange Boutique and Faith and the Muse: her artwork can be found on SB's Charm, and F&TM's Annwyn and Vera Causa CD covers. Recently, her work has been licensed to the KBD caseline, which is sold throughout the U.S. in gift stores, museum shops, and selected Nordstroms Department stores.
In 2001, she had her first West Coast Art showing at Rocco's in Hollywood, CA, attended mainly by fans of her music; included in the show were the original paintings to Faith and the Muse album covers. In 2003 and 2004, she took part in the Rawk Show in Austin, TX - a group art show featuring the works of musicians, including Mark Mothersbaugh, Exene Cervenka, Penelope Houston, and members of groups such as Hole, Atari, and L7. She is easily available for gallery showings, go the the Art Galleries to view some of her work.
Books and Poetry: Monica is a self-published writer and poet: a graduate of the American University with honors in Literature, and a minor in Anthropology. Her poetry, lyrics, and prose often intertwine with the same themes as her art, the feminine mythological view that guides every creative aspect of her life. She has been asked to write and/or comment about music, mythology, literature, and art for numerous periodicals.
She released her first book, "The Book of Annwyn", in Spring of 1998. The book was a fully realized creative work, packed with her poetry, essays, and re-workings of Welsh-Celtic tales, as well as art and graphic work. Please go to Books for more on her self-published work.
Currently, she is working on a new graphic novel, based on her short stories, entitled Anafae.