Born in Bordeaux, France in 1946, Grech was a versatile, accomplished, and sought after British rock musician. He originally gained fame in the United Kingdom as the bass guitar player for the progressive rock group Family.
Grech joined the band when it was a largely blues-based live act in Leicester known as the Farinas; he became their bassist in 1965, replacing Tim Kirchin. Family released their first single, "Scene Through The Eye of a Lens," in September 1967 on the Liberty label in the UK, which got the band signed to Reprise Records. The group's 1968 debut album Music in a Doll's House was an underground hit that highlighted the songwriting talents of Roger Chapman and John "Charlie" Whitney as well as Chapman's piercing voice, but Grech also stood out with his rhythmic, thundering bass work on songs such as "Old Songs New Songs" and "See Through Windows," along with his adeptness on cello and violin.
Released in February 1969, Family Entertainment, the group's second album, was a major turning point for Grech personally. In addition to playing excellent bass and violin lines on Family's signature song "The Weaver's Answer", he wrote three of the album's other songs: "How-Hi-The-Li," "Face In the Cloud," and the exciting rocker "Second Generation Woman," which was first released as a single in Britain in November 1968. This song featured Grech on lead vocals, leading Family through a cheeky lyric about a woman who "looks good to handle from a personal angle," with an arrangement that recalled the Beatles's "Paperback Writer" and owed an obvious debt to Chuck Berry. Tellingly, however, all of Grech's songs contained obvious drug references - "How Hi-The-Li" wondered aloud if Chinese premier Chou En-Lai "gets high with all the tea in China" - and drugs would eventually plague Grech throughout his career.
In the spring of 1969, former Cream guitarist Eric Clapton and former Traffic frontman Steve Winwood formed the supergroup Blind Faith; in need of a bassist, they immediately recruited Grech, whom they'd both jammed with when Clapton was in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Winwood was in the Spencer Davis Group. Unfortunately, Grech failed to give Chapman and Whitney adequate notice, and Family was due to start a U.S. tour with Ten Years After. Grech agreed to go on the tour until Family could replace him, but he proved to be unreliable when Family played their first American show on April 8, 1969 at the Fillmore East in New York. Though that show is remembered for Roger Chapman throwing a microphone stand at Bill Graham, Grech contributed an indignity of his own; he was so disoriented he could barely play.
Returning to England, Grech recorded the first Blind Faith album with Clapton, Winwood, and drummer Ginger Baker, a former bandmate of Clapton's in Cream. Their eponymous debut album was regarded as a disappointment by critics, but Cream and Traffic fans in America enjoyed it, and the quartet toured the U.S. to support it. Clapton was disappointed with the quality of the music and the performances, and Blind Faith called it quits. Grech and Winwood stayed with Baker to form Ginger Baker's Air Force, a marvellously unwieldy supergroup which also included Denny Laine (ex-Moody Blues) on guitar, Chris Wood (ex-Traffic) on sax and flute, and several other musicians; when that group collapsed under its own weight, Winwood reformed Traffic with original members Wood and Jim Capaldi, and Grech soon joined as their bassist.
In October 1969, between Blind Faith and Traffic, Grech recorded two tracks for a failed solo project, "Spending All My Days" (which he sang) and "Exchange And Mart" (instrumental). Among the participants in the session was George Harrison. These tracks were released as bonus tracks on a 1986 CD reissue of the Blind Faith album, and incorrectly credited to the band.
Grech remained a vibrant musician as a member of Traffic. As in Family, he lasted two albums with the band, Welcome To the Canteen and The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys. Grech's bass playing on the title song of the latter album was stirringly moody. Along with drummer Jim Gordon, Grech co-wrote the minor hit "Rock N Roll Stew." Drugs, however, remained a problem, and Winwood and his bandmates eventually decided they had no alternative but to dismiss him.
Grech remained active in session work, playing with Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane, and Muddy Waters. He also worked with Rosetta Hightower, the Crickets and Gram Parsons. In January 1973, he performed in Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert, and he even reunited with Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney when the duo recorded an album in 1974 after Family's breakup. Grech was one of many special guests on that record, which led Chapman and Whitney to form the group Streetwalkers. Grech, however, was not in that band.
Grech made at least two reported attempts to start a new rock group in the seventies; he hoped to start a new band with fellow Family alumnus John "Poli" Palmer in 1973, but that plan fell apart. This group was to be Ric, Poli Palmer, Mitch Mitchell, Alan Kendal (Bee-Gees) and Jimmy Stevens. They got together at Ric's Little Cansiron farm in Sussex. Because of drug problems they were never in the same room together at the same time. He also planned to start a new group with former Jimi Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell around Joe Jammer, a guitarist they'd both discovered. That group was in fact never formed, and Jammer went on to form his own band, the Olympic Runners.
In 1973 RSO Records released the only album under his own name, credited to 'Rick' Grech. The album was titled The Last Five Years. It contained songs that Ric wrote and recorded with Family, Blind Faith, Traffic, Ginger Baker's Airforce and others between 1968 and 1973.
In 1974 Grech finally hooked up with another supergroup, KGB. Consisting of Grech on bass, Michael Bloomfield (ex-Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Electric Flag) on guitar, Carmine Appice (ex-Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Beck, Bogert & Appice) on drums, Barry Goldberg on keyboards, and Ray Kennedy (co-writer of "Sail On, Sailor") on vocals, the group released its homonymous debut that year. Grech and Bloomfield immediately quit after its release, stating they never had faith in the project. The album was not critically well received.
Eventually Grech grew tired of the rock scene and retired in 1977, returning to Leicester to sell carpets. He eventually developed a drinking problem, and in 1990 he died due to a brain hemorrhage.