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Richard John Oakes was born on 1st October, 1976 in Perivale, West London, the son conveyancing lawyer and a linguist. He grew up in Poole, Dorset(he moved there when he was five). Richard had "a quiet childhood, with no crap to deal with. All the crap's happening now". He spent most of his life playing his guitar. He was good at playing by ear, which was "useful when I had to learn Dog Man Star in two weeks, to go on tour".
In 1994, Bernard Bulter left Suede. The 17-year-old Richard grabbed the chance and wrote an extremely confident letter* to the fanclub with a four-track demo tape of him playing some Suede songs including My Insatiable One to apply for the audition. Soon, he was invited to an audition(his parents were away on holiday at that time, his cat was the first to know of his success) and not long after, in September 1994, he played with the band for the first time in a secret gig, as the new guitarist. At that time, he hadn't been playing the guitar for more than 5 years. His reputation as a guitarist started building from then on, touring around the world for Dog Man Star, finally, co-writing** his first album, Suede's third album Coming Up, also the latest album, Head Music.
Richard is the only one in Suede who is not a vegetarian and a smoker, though he is quite a drinker. Same as Simon, he enjoys punk music. Richard wears glasses normally, except when he's on stage or shooting videos(he wears contact lenses then.) He used to dye his hair black to "fit in" the band's image, he doesn't do that now.