Travelers: Johnny "Chops" Richardson

Born into a musical family in Lubbock, Texas, Johnny “Chops” Richardson lives and breathes music, in particular, the craft of writing songs, which he’s successfully been doing for the past two decades. Influenced by Tom Petty, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, and Social Distortion, he’s landed several songs on albums by the Randy Rogers Band, whom he’s played bass with since 2002. His contributions include “Ten Miles Deep,” a staple of RRB's live show, “Last Last Chance,” which garnered a Texas Music Chart #1, “Shotgun” a cinematic, hard driving country rocker from the acclaimed Trouble album and “Wicked Ways,” which was chosen for the band’s appearance on Late Night with David Letterman

Johnny’s new video for "Hope Is Contagious Too" helps to raise money along with the song and accompanying merchandise (including a “Hope Is Contagious Too” facemask) for The Orange Dot Crew, a local Austin canine rescue group that rescues “naughty” shelter dogs (whose files are labeled with an orange dot) from the Austin Animal Center and trains them to adjust to life outside the shelter in foster homes in preparation for adoption. 

Travel on with ConciergeQ's interview series TRAVELERS, featuring singer-songwriter Johnny "Chops" Richardson.

ConciergeQ: What is your first memory of traveling? 

Johnny ''Chops'' Richardson: When I was 9 or 10, my family and I drove from Lubbock, Texas to Vancouver, British Columbia piled into a small Nissan pickup truck with a camper shell on the back and some improvised carpet covered “bunks.” We stopped at Yellowstone, went fishing in Puget Sound and visited Victoria and Seattle. I felt like a nomad or a pilgrim, on a great voyage for a higher cause, even though we were just sightseeing. 

CQ: Share a favorite travel memory. 

JCR: Visiting the Alhambra, Spain and spending an evening at a Gypsy Flamenco dance performance in the caves above Granada are two of my absolute favorite memories. In 2011, my wife and I travelled to Andalusia in southern Spain. I had always dreamed of visiting Europe again, after doing a short tour to Italy and France with my band, and Spain had always been on my list. This time I wanted to go purely as a tourist, with someone who would appreciate the culture in the same way I do. We had an amazing time and found out that we travel well together, which is a strength of our relationship. 

CQ: Tell us a travel tale… 

JCR: A few years ago we rented a retro-fitted Winnebago and drove from Austin to North Carolina for Christmas. We packed up our two Basset hounds and headed east, having never really driven that large of a rig before. We almost bottomed it out trying to park in Houston, had beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, played an acoustic show in Birmingham, Alabama, and finally made it to Wilmington, North Carolina a couple days before Christmas to see some family. On Christmas morning the toilet stopped up and I read somewhere that pouring boiling water into it would unclog it. This didn’t work, but did cause it to explode in my face. While we enjoyed the camping part of the journey, driving that giant shoebox was a white knuckle ride for sure. When it came time to head home, we hightailed it as fast as we could through South Carolina, Georgia, and the Florida panhandle, being careful to avoid the bears and smoke fog (Yes, those exist there), with a quick stopover in Louisiana for Cajun food. We covered about 3,600 miles in 10 days. I have a new appreciation for the endurance of long haul truckers.

CQ: Which film has inspired you to travel?

JCR: James Bond. Any of them. He’s always in an exotic place, usually several in the same movie. Who wouldn’t want to be like him? 

CQ: What is your favorite travel song?

JCR: Right now, I’d have to sat Tom Petty’s “Time to Move On.” I’ve been stuck at home since early March and every line in that songs speaks to me. 

CQ: Where would you like to visit in the near future? 

JCR: In the near future, anywhere outside the five miles between my house and the grocery store would be an adventure! Bucket list: If I can work up the courage, I’d like to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.

CQ: Which TRAVELER should ConciergeQ interview next?

JCR: Carlos Calvo.

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