Inductee Biography for WALT RICHARDSON
Walter A Richardson II was born at the Eglin air force base in Florida. The oldest of eight kids. “I knew he knew where he was going in life when he was born simply beause he was born with his eyes open, staring me”. Stated his mother. With his father’s influence, a performer in the Tuskegee Airman Operation Happiness that performed with Bob Hope in the USO shows, Walt bought himself a guitar from Spiegel’s catalog from money earned by selling seeds when he was eight and soon put together a mock band with his sisters as go-go dancers. “Down In The Valley” was the first song Walt learned to play.
During his high school years, in the Philippines Walt put together his first band Counterclockwise Predicament. It was made up mostly of military kids playing at a lot of high school events.
After graduating high school he attended Pensacola Jr College, and then moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University.
Walt started as a solo act playing at Mill Ave Arts Festival and in front of Moons cafe in Tempe where he had a little hat and people would throw change into it. Around this time he met up with Hannis Kvaran with whom he started writing and performing their acoustic/folky sound at “Hooters” in Tempe. Living in a warehouse setting at Farmer and 1st Street in the mid-seventies he met Aziz Chadley who introduced him to the Reggae sound and soon they put together the band Driftwood (Ronnie Scott, Rudy Chavez, Calvin Lewis, Vinnie I, Aziz Chadley).
Eventually Walt started working with his sister Lillie forming “The Musician and the Storyteller” which he took into schools helping to develop programs on music and performance. With his belief music is a means of healing for humanity he also reached out to the City of Tempe to create festivals raising money for any nonprofit organizations. This idea soon became “Songwriters Showcase” and “Walk In Wednesday” hosted at the Tempe Center For The Arts. Giving artists of any age or style of music a chance to be heard along with a place for the public to just sit and listen to music.
Walt continues to this day performing, teaching, encouraging, and donating his time. His popularity in Arizona continues to grow with the advisory council overwhelmingly voting him into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.
by Hans Olson, Lillie Richardson, Linda Jane Brown