While at school, Richard played guitar with various school 'pop' bands and through being a very musical person met Hugh Hopper. Via the Hopper connection, he joined Wilde Flowers and when they split up, he went on to play bass with Caravan.
In 1972 Richard left Caravan to form his own band, the woefully shortlived Hatfield & The North. The Hatfields dismembered themselves quite painlessly in 1975, after two superlative albums.
Slightly disenchanted, the Howard Devoto on the 9/8 bass line spent 3 months holidaying on the continent and all points exotically east, before returning to London and starting his own business building musical gear.
THEN ! Camel, much enamoured of Richard's playing, rang him up (reversing the charges, naturally) in the summer of '77 and asked him to take the place of the departed Doug Ferguson on the 'Rain Dances' album and tour.