Thunder of the Circle
Richard Lee Armstrong Ojibwe music man, was born in 1943 on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. Richard is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. His father Everette J. Armstrong was a singing, mule skinnner. He was killed when Richard was one years old, while serving the Army Air Force during World War 2. His mother Virginia Susan Fairbanks also loved to sing. She remarried a lumberjack, Robert E. Otto. He was quite the entertainer, using his entire body to emphasize a song. Mother, brother, little sister, and Richard would join in when he played his harmonica. Richard came from a very musical family. Richard and his little brother Bob used to listen to the battery operated radio, because they never had any electricity.They listened to the Grand Ole Opry from Nashville Tennessee. Hank Williams, Ray Price, 'Lefty', George Morgan, and Kitty Wells were some of the Great country singers who influenced Richard for the rest of his life. Although Richard was a poor, Native American, Anishinaabeg kid, when he sang in front of the kids in grade school everybody cheered him on. Richard peeled pulp, and skidded logs with a horse and bought his first guitar when he was ten years old. When Richard was introduced to Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley's 'Rip it up', his life was never the same again. Richard took his guitar and hitchhiked to the West Coast when he was thirteen years old. He played in the Honky Tonk waterfront bar in Seattle, Washington. Richard graduated from Big Fork High School in Big Fork, Minnesota in 1961. He was class president junior year, and participated in football, track, cross-country, band, and choir. One of his favorite memories was when he took his guitar across the county line and entertained in a tavern called Peggy's. It seemed as if his destiny was to entertain. For the next ten years Richard drifted around the country doing different jobs, mainly working as a trouble shooter for a sale's company. He was in Portland, Oregon when he started writing songs, and picking a guitar again. It wasn't long after that, that Richard moved back to his home state, where the eagle's fly high. Richard attended Bemidji State University and formed a band and became a weekend warrior performing at night clubs, bars, and honkytonks around the area. After graduating, he kept writing, made several trips to Nashville, and cut some records. 'Excuse Me Pretty Lady', was one of his hits, getting a lot of air time. Richard had a severe heart attack in 1995, died nine times, was in a coma for eighteen days, came back from being unconcious a half an hour before they were ready to pull the plug. During this trauma, Richard heard the music and seen the light. He lost his voice for two to three years. As soon as he could start singing, he danced to a different drum. Diabetes had caught up with him and he lost all of his toes on each foot. At this point in his life he got serious about writing and making music. Through his music he hopes to prevent and help others from experiencing the same troubles. Richard's music includes a blend of country, rock n roll, and Native American music. It is called Bougie Wougie.