Richard Oakes (guitarist)

Richard Oakes (born Richard John Oakes 1 October 1976, Perivale, West London) is an English musician. He was formerly the guitarist, songwriter and occasional pianist and backing vocalist of the English band, Suede.

Early life

Richard Oakes was born in London and raised by his parents in Poole, Dorset, in the South-West of England. His first contact with a guitar came when he stumbled upon a Spanish guitar owned by his sister, Katy. The record that influenced him to pursue a career in music was "The Story of the Clash", which he heard when he was 12. Before he joined Suede, he played in a band called "TED" along with his friend, Peter.


Oakes' first gig was one of Suede's. He then heard that Bernard Butler — Suede's former lead guitarist — had left the band, and knew he could do something for them. He recorded a demo using a Yamaha keyboard as backing and sent it to Suede along with a letter saying, "Take me or leave me," which the band really liked. While Brett Anderson was listening to the demo, Simon Gilbert walked in and thought that it was a long forgotten Suede recording, such was the quality of Richard's playing. In his first audition, he played "Heroine", and in the second, he performed "The 2 Of Us", as a result revealing that he could also play the piano. Richard was convinced that he'd got the job, even though the band members told him to return the following week. "Their eyes were saying that I'd got the job", he said. So, he returned home and told his cat that he'd got it.

At the age of 17, and after beating thousands of candidates, Richard officially joined Suede on September 17 1994 (exactly 2 weeks before his 18th birthday), replacing Bernard Butler. Oakes first played with Suede on Top of the Pops, while his first full live appearance in the UK was at a secret fan club gig at London's Raw Club on October 10 1994. The first song he performed live, and the first video he appeared in, was "We are the Pigs".

In his early days with Suede, he solely played covers of Bernard's material. Eventually, he was forced to write a song by the other 3 members (Brett, Mat and Simon), who locked him in a bedroom while they went out for a drink. Richard came up with the B-side "Together" which is included on the album, Sci-Fi Lullabies.

As the band continued, he co-wrote songs with the other members, some of which proved to be big hits in the UK. By the time of Suede's split in 2003, Richard had managed to outstay Bernard's tenure in the band.


  • Richard is the only band member who isn't a vegetarian.
  • He doesn't like playing songs which are not co-written by him, to Brett's irritation.
  • He uses a Red Gibson guitar.
  • He co-wrote the bulk of Coming Up.
  • Richard and Brett contributed guest vocals on Strangelove's album, Love And Other Demons. They appeared on two songs: She's Everywhere and Living With the Human Machines. Richard also played strings on Living With the Human Machines, Beautiful Alone, Sway, and Spiders & Flies.
  • Richard's favorite Suede song that he recorded was Filmstar.
  • His favorite Suede song to play live was Together.
  • Favorite Music Artists: The Clash, Longpigs, The Fall, Strangelove, Magazine, Supergrass, Portishead, Manic Street Preachers, etc.
  • He wears Dr. Marten's.

Notable Quotes

"Have I not mentioned his name? Oh, all right then: Bernard. We don't really talk much about him. I've never even met him. All I can tell you is what other people have told me, that it's a change for the better. I hope everyone thinks so when we come to Canada."

--Richard on Bernard.

"The day you have to believe what British weekly newspapers have to say will be a bad day for mankind, in my view. If Brett were a drug user, he'd be sitting in the corner at the moment dribbling or something, and he's not. He's dancing around looking very happy."

--on Brett as a heroin addict.

"I'm great. Let me join. You'd be foolish to say no."

--on his letter to join the band.

Co/Written Songs

Most songs are co-written with Brett Anderson.


New Generation (January 30, 1995)

1. Together

2. Bentswood Boys

Trash (July 29, 1996)

1. Trash

2. Every Monday Morning Comes

3. Have You Ever Been This Low?

Beautiful Ones (October 14, 1996)

1. Beautiful Ones

2. Young Men

3. Money

Saturday Night (January 13, 1997)

1. Saturday Night

2. This Time

3. Jumble Sale Mums

Lazy (April 7, 1997)

1. These are the Sad Songs

2. Feel (Anderson/Codling/Oakes/Osman/Gilbert)

3. Sadie

Filmstar (August 4, 1997)

1. Filmstar

Electricity (April 12, 1999)

1. Electricity (Anderson/Codling/Oakes)

2. Popstar (Anderson/Gilbert/Osman/Oakes)

3. Killer (Anderson/Oakes)

She's in Fashion (June 21, 1999)

1. Bored

Everything Will Flow (September 6, 1999)

1. Everything Will Flow

2. Leaving

3. Crackhead (Anderson/Osman/Gilbert/Oakes/Codling)

Can't Get Enough (November 8, 1999)


Positivity (September 16, 2002)

1. Positivity (Anderson/Oakes/Gilbert/Osman/Codling)

2. One Love (Anderson/Oakes/Osman/Hoffer)

3. Superstar (Anderson/Oakes/Codling/Gilbert/Osman/Lee)

4. Cheap

Obsessions (November 18, 2002)

1. Obsessions

2. Cool Thing (Anderson/Oakes/Osman)

Attitude (October 6, 2003)

1. Oxygen


Coming Up (September 2, 1996)

1. Trash

2. Filmstar

3. She

4. Beautiful Ones

5. Picnic by the Motorway

6. Saturday Night

Head Music (May 3, 1999)

1. Electricity (Anderson/Codling/Oakes)

2. Everything Will Flow

3. Down

A New Morning (September 30, 2002)

1. Positivity (Anderson/Oakes/Gilbert/Osman/Codling)

2. Obsessions

3. Beautiful Loser (Anderson/Lee/Oakes)

4. Untitled

5. One Hit to the Body (Anderson/Oakes/Codling)

6. Oceans (Anderson/Osman/Gilbert/Oakes/Lee)


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