Richard Pleasance

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Richard Pleasance
Birth nameRichard Arnold Pleasance
OriginMelbourne, Australia
Occupation(s)singer-songwriter, musician, producer
Instrumentsguitar, bass guitar
Years active1980-present
Associated actsGovernment Drums, Serious Young Insects, Bang, Boom Crash Opera

Richard Arnold Pleasance is an Australian rock musician and producer. He was a founding member of Boom Crash Opera on guitar, bass guitar, vocals and as a songwriter in 1985; they released three albums before Pleasance left in 1992. Their hit Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) singles, "Great Wall" (No. 5, 1986) and "Onion Skin" (No. 11, 1989) were co-written by Pleasance, who also co-produced their second album, These Here Are Crazy Times (No. 10, 1989). His debut solo release, Galleon received four nominations at the ARIA Music Awards for 1992. Pleasance composed the theme music for Australian television series, SeaChange (1998–2001), for 2006 feature film Kenny and more recently he composed the theme music for the prison drama series Wentworth. Pleasance is married to Michelle and, as from May 2009, he was living in Hepburn Springs, Victoria where he has a recording studio.

Early years[edit]

Richard was born in Park Orchards and attended Mitcham High School. His nickname at school was Polly. He was the founding guitarist for Melbourne-based band Government Drums in 1980 with Steve Bell, Michael Davis, Barbara Hogarth and Willy Zygier. After they disbanded in 1982, Pleasance joined Serious Young Insects in 1983 when founding bass guitarist, Michael Vallance left. Alongside Pleasance were Peter Farnan on guitar and vocals and Mark White on drums but the group soon disbanded. Pleasance then formed Bang in 1983 which included Karen Ansel, Carol Hitchcock, Laurie McRae, Tim Rosewarne, Nick Seymour, Ren Walters, Oleh Witer and Sherine Abeyratne, and disbanded in 1984.[1]

Boom Crash Opera[edit]

Pleasance teamed up again with Farnan in 1985 to form rock music group Boom Crash Opera with Dale Ryder on lead vocals, Peter Maslen on drums and Greg O'Connor on keyboards.[2] The band signed to Warner Records Australia and in 1986 released their debut single "Great Wall" co-written by Ryder, Pleasance and O'Connor.[3] The single reached No. 5 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart.[4] Their self-titled debut album, Boom Crash Opera was released in 1987, and featured follow up singles "Hands Up in the Air", "City Flat" and "Her Charity"—all co-written by Pleasance.[5][6][7]

In 1989 they released "Onion Skin" which peaked at No. 11 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Singles Chart in June.[8] It was released ahead of their Top 10 album, These Here Are Crazy Times which was produced by Pete Smith and Pleasance, and mixed by Nick Launay.[2] The album spent 40 weeks in the ARIA Albums Chart and achieved double platinum sales. "Onion Skin" was followed by Top 30 singles "Get Out of the House" and "Dancing in the Storm".[8]

Boom Crash Opera released Look! Listen!! in 1990, it featured remixed versions of songs from their first two albums plus two new songs and peaked into the Top 50. Soon after its release, Pleasance was diagnosed with tinnitus and while he took time off he was replaced on bass guitar by Mick Vallance. During his break from the band, Pleasance released his debut solo album, Galleon in 1991.

In 1991 the band released an Extended Play (EP), Dreams on Fire, with both Pleasance and Vallance on bass guitar. The EP reached Top 50 on the ARIA Singles Chart and featured the track "Holy Water". In 1992 they travelled to Los Angeles and began work on the follow-up to These Here Are Crazy Times. Soon after they began writing and recording Pleasance made his decision to leave the band. He was temporarily replaced by Dorian West and then Ian Tilley.

In 2002 Robert Doyle the Opposition Leader of Victoria used the Boom Crash Opera track "Dancing in the Storm" as his theme song at the Liberal Party State election campaign launch in November. The band wasn't asked their permission, and would have refused according to Pleasance. The campaign failed, and Steve Bracks of the Australian Labor Party won the election.

Boom Crash Opera recorded an acoustic album entitled Dancing in the Storm in February 2009 with Pleasance guesting on bass, guitar, mandolin, sitar and Oud; he also produced the recording as part of the Liberation Blue series which was released in May.[9]

Solo years[edit]

Pleasance had solo success outside Boom Crash Opera, his 1991 album Galleon featured the singles "Sarah I Miss You" and "Don't Cry". The album's personnel included Paul Hester and Deborah Conway. Galleon was critically acclaimed and went on to earn four nominations at the ARIA Music Awards for 1992.[10] Pleasance then toured the album, as a support act for Elvis Costello.

Also in 1991 Pleasance co-produced and performed on the highly successful debut album for Conway, String of Pearls and co-wrote, "King of Jordan", with Conway. Pleasance has also produced, arranged, played and written with other acts, Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Suzanne Vega, James Reyne, Jon Stevens, Nick Barker, Seven Stories and Augie March.

In 1996, Pleasance formed Felt with fellow singer-songwriter Wendy Morrison on piano and they released the self-titled album, Felt, on Gotham and BMG Records. Pleasance supplied vocals, guitar, bass guitar and keyboard and produced the album.

Pleasance wrote and produced the theme for the popular Australian television series SeaChange (1998–2001). He started a band, Pleasantville, which included his wife, Michelle, which released their debut album Hill of Beans in 2004.[11] He composed the theme music for 2006 feature film Kenny.[12] As from May 2009, Pleasance was living in Hepburn Springs, Victoria where he has a recording studio.[9]


APRA-AGSC Awards[edit]

The annual Screen Music Awards are presented by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC).[13]

  • 2008 Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie win for Emerald Falls composed by Richard Pleasance.[14]
  • 2008 Best Original Song Composed for the Screen nomination for "Episode 14" of City Homicide composed by Pleasance.[15]


Boom Crash Opera albums

  • Boom Crash Opera (1987)
  • These Here Are Crazy Times! (1989) (produced by Pleasance)
  • Look! Listen!! (1990)
  • Dancing in the Storm (2009) (guest musician and produced by Pleasance)

Boom Crash Opera Extended play

  • Dreams on Fire (1991)


  • Galleon (East West 1991) (produced by Pleasance)
  • Colourblind (Gotham/BMG 1995) (produced by Pleasance)
  • Felt (Gotham/BMG 1996) as by Felt (duo with Wendy Morrison, produced by Pleasance)
  • Hill of Beans (2004) as by Pleasantville (with Michelle Pleasance, produced by Pleasance)

Engineer, producer or session musician[edit]

Pleasance has been an audio engineer, record producer and/or session musician.[1]


  1. ^ a b Holmgren, Magnus; Warnqvist, Stefan. "Richard Pleasance". Australian Rock Database. (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'The Triffids'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  3. ^ ""Great Wall" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  5. ^ ""Hands Up in the Air" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  6. ^ ""City Flat" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  7. ^ ""Her Charity" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Discography Boom Crash Opera". Australian charts portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  9. ^ a b Cashmere, Paul (7 May 2009). "Review: Boom Crash Opera – Dancing in the Storm". Cashmere Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  10. ^ "ARIA Awards 2009 : History: Winners by Artist: Richard Pleasance". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  11. ^ "Deep End - Richard and Michelle Pleasance". 16 December 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  12. ^ "Kenny - Production Notes" (Rich Text Format (RTF)). Cinematic Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Screen Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  14. ^ "2008 Winners - Screen Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  15. ^ "2008 Nominations - Screen Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 29 April 2010.

External links[edit]