Russ Ballard Interview Transcript


Russ (00:00.737)

Craig Garber (00:01.354)
Hey everybody, this is Craig Garber. Welcome to Everyone Loves Guitar. I’ve got such a cool guest today with Russ Ballard. I’ll tell you a funny story before we get started. I remember as a kid going to the record shops and I kept looking at the back of the album covers and I kept seeing Russ Ballard’s name. As a kid, I didn’t realize and I wondered to myself, how can this guy be in so many bands?

And I didn’t realize, you know, the difference between songwriters and writing hit songs and other people recording them. And so, I don’t know, three months ago or something, I was like on a rabbit hole in the internet, I saw Russ Ballard and all those memories came flooding back to me. I’m like, holy shit. So, and I never knew what the deal was, but today we’re all going to find out what the deal was. I’m honored and privileged to have Russ Ballard on the show.

I’ll give you the Cliff Notes on Russ. He was the original lead singer and guitarist for the British rock band Argent. He left Argent and went on to have a successful solo career and an incredibly successful career as a songwriter and producer. His songs have literally been covered by hundreds of artists including well-known hits, and we’ll talk about some of them by Santana, Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Three Dog Night, America. He revived America’s career in the 80s, I believe.

Night Ranger, Kiss, Roger Daltrey, who Russ also toured with on guitar, King Cobra, Hot Chocolate, Olivia Newton-John, Ace Fraley. The list literally goes on forever here. And he grew up just outside of London in a musical family. He’s had an amazing career, which we’ll discuss today. Russ, thank you so much for your time, and it’s really a pleasure to have you on the show.

Russ (01:38.061)
It’s a pleasure to be here, see you Craig!

Craig Garber (01:41.943)
All right, let’s get into this. You started playing piano first and then guitar and you were pretty young. Parents got you an acoustic guitar and once they saw you practicing endlessly and your fingers were finally bleeding, they wound up buying you an electric after you pestered your dad a couple of times. You got a Hoffner Club 60 and a True Voice TV 10 watt amp. In reading your bio, it seemed like you felt music.

very deeply and that you knew from an early age that’s what you wanted to do. My question is, is that correct? And is there any chance you still have that guitar or amp?

Russ (02:19.254)
Most of it’s correct. I didn’t start on piano actually. I started on drums because my dad was a drummer. So I started on two knitting needles and biscuit tin, you know. As long as I can remember, when I was a kid I just wanted to… I watched my dad play drums once and I wanted to do that like you do when you see your dad do something.

Craig Garber (02:24.883)
Aha, yes.

Craig Garber (02:32.972)
Ha ha.

Russ (02:45.526)
Then they sent me, they thought it’s more important to send me to piano lessons, which they did do. My brother was already going to piano lessons. He was four years older than me and he was pretty good. And they, you know, they sent me along with him. So that was good. He was a very good reader. He was a better reader than me, but he wasn’t as creative as me, but he was a good, very good reader. So I learnt piano for five years.

Craig Garber (03:01.133)

Russ (03:10.91)
Yeah, then got into guitar. That’s all true. Everything else is true. I don’t have the guitar. I don’t have the guitar anymore. I don’t have the Hofner Club 60 anymore. I don’t have the True Voice anymore. I had two True Voices, a TV 10. Every time I got… I grew out of guitars or I grew out of a new guitar or a new amplifier, it came on the scene.

Craig Garber (03:17.506)
or the app.

Russ (03:37.834)
My mum bought me one, she was amazing, you know, she used to buy me this stuff.

Craig Garber (03:40.61)
That’s great. Yeah, that’s phenomenal.

Russ (03:43.906)
Don’t have them anymore.

Craig Garber (03:46.582)
You’re an incredibly prolific writer and your first original track was an instrumental. What prompted you to start writing songs and what do you think about your makeup or your personality do you think has made you such a good song?

Russ (04:06.801)
It’s hard to say because I only know my history as it’s been.

Russ (04:16.446)
I’m so in love with music to be honest from the word go. I just loved tunes and I love lyrics and I loved, I loved the hit tunes of my time, which were I realized like you, I used to look at the titles, the titles of songs and underneath the title of this on the records, underneath the title used to be the songwriters, Lieber and Stoller and…

Pomus and Schumann and Goffin and King, you know, this sort of… Buddy Holly, uh… and Fats Domino, Bartholomew Fats Domino, this kind of stuff. So I was interested in it and I thought, yeah, I think I could do that. I didn’t do it straight away, but I was making up tunes on the piano when I was a kid. I was more interested in making up tunes on the piano than actually doing my practice. You know.

Craig Garber (04:48.407)

Russ (05:13.782)
Making tunes to me was much more interesting, to make a melody and stuff, you know, sing ideas to my mum. No lyrics at the time, but yeah, you know, then I got into a band and that’s when I wrote the instrumental.

Craig Garber (05:30.35)
So do you think what gifts, I mean, you’ve got many gifts musically, but what do you think particularly or not even gifts, but what, what’s the driver or the, you know, something has to connect all these things in you to create them. What do you think that is?

Russ (05:48.246)
Well obviously I think my mum was a dancer. All her family played, her mum and dad.

Russ (06:02.686)
My grandmother, my grandfather both played piano. In fact, they both played at the same time. You know, one played the bass end of the piano, one would play the tune at the top. My uncle, her brother, Terry, was a professional trumpet player. Her other brother, Ron, was a musician. He played trumpet and sang and stuff. My dad’s side, my dad played piano as well as drums. And he also, his brother played piano.

and he was a great stride pianist, you know, he played like…

Russ (06:39.562)
like ragtime, you play a lot of ragtime and stripe, what they call stripe, which I play as well, I play stripe piano and I still love it, I love the sound of it, you know, so, it’s probably genetic I guess.

Craig Garber (06:41.003)

Craig Garber (06:53.302)
Yeah, yeah, that’s amazing.

Russ (06:56.114)
Although I think your history, you know, once you get into things, you know, once you get into writing tunes, you sort of, or once you get into playing, you develop, you get muscle memory, you get better. You are what you repeatedly do, they say, you know.

Craig Garber (07:14.026)
Yes, for sure. Yeah. Tell the story if you can Russ about your first experience where Cliff Richards and the shadows recorded your song called The Lost City. And your mom gets a phone call about that. I was curious, like did you ever get paid for that? Did you get like publishing writers, anything like that? You did.

Russ (07:32.982)
Yeah, yeah, well, I, yeah, I mean, it was recorded by The Shadows. I wrote it when I was 14. The very first time I’d been into a studio, which was Regent Sound in London, Denmark Street. I think we clubbed together. I wrote this tune. We all wanted to get in my band. I had Bob Hemmer in my band, the drummer, who was in Argent with me, and it was in Unit 4 Plus 2 with me.

Craig Garber (07:56.737)

Russ (07:58.434)
Then he went into the Kinks for like 18 years, you know, but we were very, very close. We’re like brothers. We still are. We went into Argyle together. I think we all clubbed together basically, you know, we put in like a probably 20 pounds each to get two hours in the studio and put down. On one side, we had a tune called Traveling Man, which was a hit tune in England by Ricky Nelson.

Um, I’m a traveling man made a lot of stops all over the world. You remember that song? It was, it was a huge hit. Yeah. Well, I had his years later. This is how life happens. I love Ricky Nils. I love, I loved his tunes and the stuff and all that, you know, and we used to do a lot of his tunes as Richie Blackmore did. He did, you know, he was this, all the English.

Craig Garber (08:32.59)
Oh yeah, I know that’s something, that was a huge hit even over here. Yes!

Russ (08:55.294)
musicians would listen to the same stuff, we would listen to the best of Ricky Nelson, we would listen to all kinds of stuff. Ricky Nelson was very popular in England.

Russ (09:08.367)
uh years later i’m talking about night in the 90s i had his sons over and stayed with me for two months because i had a guy from geffin a guy from geffin records a guy called john colodna at geffin

Craig Garber (09:19.801)

Craig Garber (09:25.31)
Oh yeah, I know his name. He’s a J-O-N. He’s been a, he’s a producer, isn’t he? He’s, he’s-

Russ (09:30.682)
No, John Colodna was head of A&R at Geffen. And John, yeah, yeah. Well, John used to always get in touch with me. He got in touch with me for certain things. He wanted to sign me at one time, and he wanted me to be in a band and all this kind of stuff. It didn’t happen, but he phoned me one day. He said, would you, he said, do you like Ricky Nelson? Yeah, so he said, I love Ricky Nelson. He said, we’ve signed his kids the Nelson twins.

Craig Garber (09:34.824)
Okay, I’ve heard his name and I’ve read about him.

Russ (10:00.13)
They’re both like girls, beautiful girls. And he said, would you help to develop their songwriting if I send them over, if I send them over to you? And he sent them over and they stayed there for, I think it was two months. And they were great, they were telling me stories about their dad, because their dad died in a plane crash, didn’t he, years and years, years ago. And they said, you know, Ross, you remind us of our dad. You’re so much, we were saying you’re so much like dad.

Craig Garber (10:29.39)
That’s so funny.

Russ (10:29.802)
So he wrote a great tune, actually had a great single that he wrote called Garden Party. I went through a garden party. It’s a great tune. Yeah, so John Kolodna was head of A&R and I don’t know if you ever looked at the Cher albums, she used to write his name all over the album. It was John Kolodna, John Kolodna, John Kolodna. She used to scatter it all over.

Craig Garber (10:38.218)
Yeah, they had, yeah.

Craig Garber (10:42.862)
That was huge.

Craig Garber (10:55.246)
How did she?

Russ (10:58.662)
It was meant to be funny, you know. And I think that you’ll find that Aerosmith did as well. All those people, all those bands that he signed. He wanted me to write for Cher. He sent me a telegram years ago and asked me if I’d write on this one telegram. Would you save two months to write with Cher or write for Cher? Come over and write with Aerosmith. This is…

Craig Garber (11:00.523)
That’s funny.

Craig Garber (11:23.103)
And did you, you didn’t do it.

Russ (11:26.422)
No, no, I kept the time free and I phoned him one day and I said, what’s going to happen, where am I going to be staying, John and all this kind of stuff. And he said, ah, he was complaining about, he was complaining about certain things. I won’t go into it. And he was saying, you know, they want to write themselves and all that kind of stuff. So that was cool. That’s what happened. I haven’t seen him since.

Craig Garber (11:45.182)
Yeah, yeah. That’s wild.

Russ (11:49.47)
Yeah, yeah, but yeah, I wrote that thing. I wrote that thing. That’s the first time we’ve been into the studio, Lost City. And it came about, wrote it when I was 14. We recorded it, obviously, when I was 14. Cliff Richard’s brother-in-law used to have a coffee bar. And in the coffee bar used to have a pinball machine and stuff like that. And we used to go down and see him.

Craig Garber (11:51.15)

Craig Garber (11:55.062)
Lost City.

Russ (12:19.95)
because Cliff Lift in the same town, same town as me. And he said, what are you doing? What are you up to? And he said, oh, we’ve been into the studio and Russ is written this instrumental. He said, have you got a recording? I said, yeah, we’ve got an acetate, you know. He said, well, he said, give it to me. I’ll send it to the Shadows Publishing Company, which was Carned Music. And lo and behold, they recorded it four years later.

Craig Garber (12:50.702)
How cool is that? You must have felt like a million. How did you feel when you heard that on the radio or just the whole thing happened?

Russ (12:52.211)
Oh yes, later.

Russ (12:57.566)
Yeah, it was brilliant, because they were the biggest thing before. Before the Beatles, they were the biggest thing around, you know. And everyone, every guitar player was trying to be Hank Marvin. And there Hank was, I used the very first kind of, on the guitar, I was using a, it wasn’t a crybaby wah-wah. It was years before cry, before the wah-wah happened,

Craig Garber (13:00.766)

Russ (13:27.99)
that just turned the signal from bass to treble. It was called a de-armand tone control, but it still made a wah, wah sound, and it sounded really cool. It’s called a de-armand. And lo and behold, Hank used one on his recording. He did exactly the same as me, which was great. Yeah.

Craig Garber (13:39.797)
Oh yes, okay.

Craig Garber (13:51.01)
That is so cool. Did you, cause I listened to that track, I found it online, it was so cool. And it was funny because it’s so like period and specific, you know, for that, for that era. Did you write the guitar solo in there? Was that your, did he like basically take your whole guitar solo as well? Wow. That’s amazing, man. Holy shit. That’s phenomenal. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

Russ (14:00.255)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Russ (14:09.718)
Yeah, yeah, just about the same. Yeah, play the same tune, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it’s brilliant. I did get paid quite too.

Craig Garber (14:20.478)
Okay. So in the mid, yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. In the mid sixties, you’re in your early twenties, your band’s growing in popularity, you’re doing sessions, you’re working in and out of other bands. And Rod Argent, your friend who’s the leader in primary song, who was the leader in primary songwriter for the zombies, he rings you up and he says, Hey, do you want to join me in my new band that ultimately became Argent? Now something happened there that gave you.

an incredible discipline for writing. So you woke up every day at 7 a.m. and you wrote till 2 p.m. no matter how tired you were, how late you were up, and how late you were out gigging night before. And that was a very fruitful time. You wrote Liar, God Gave Rock and Roll to You, and a number of other hits. What prompted you to develop that discipline? Because that’s pretty, you know, that’s very disciplined.

Russ (15:17.322)
Yeah, I think I think more than anything it was the love of doing it a love of doing music Yeah with Arjun, you know from the first album we were touring so we go we drive mainly in the UK So we’re jumping now jumping the car drive to Manchester do a show at the university or a club

and drive home and get home at three or four o’clock in the morning. I’d be awake at seven, I’d be straight on the piano, writing tunes at seven. And then the band would show up at two o’clock in the afternoon and then we’d drive to Birmingham, which was a two and a half hour, three hour drive back in and then I’d get home at two o’clock in the morning and be up at seven. And I did that for two years. I did that like that and weekends. I just, I love writing. I enjoyed.

Craig Garber (15:48.287)

Russ (16:15.498)
I enjoyed the sort of, not only the discipline of writing, I enjoyed the whole idea of coming up with the tune, coming up with chords, trying to find a different bass note to the chord and things like that. Everything was interesting for me, I loved it. And I was always pretty disciplined actually, I’m still disciplined now. It’s a natural thing for me, I enjoy, only because I love it. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t.

Craig Garber (16:38.486)

Russ (16:45.118)
I don’t think I would work anywhere near as hard. It’s not work.

Craig Garber (16:49.162)
Sure, sure, I get it. You know, I read a book, a business book years ago, I think it was called Good to Great by a guy named Tom Collins, this is 20 years ago. And he talked about, they did this survey of all these big companies and the number one thing the most successful companies had in common was discipline. And most of the people I’ve met, I’m super disciplined as well. And most of the people I’ve met,

Russ (17:06.796)

Craig Garber (17:15.106)
that have accomplished a lot also are very disciplined. I don’t see how you can do a lot without being disciplined personally.

Russ (17:24.526)
They say it’s the best life. And I found it to be the best life. You get up and you just do it every day. It’s so easy. If you’re not disciplined, it’s very easy to say, oh, I’m gonna take the day off. I’m gonna take another day off. I’m only gonna work for an hour today. Well, I always worked. I’d always worked from like that time. I was working from seven till around about two in the afternoon, because that’s the time the band used to pick us up. You can get almost anywhere in the UK from two o’clock till.

Craig Garber (17:27.403)

Craig Garber (17:37.276)

Russ (17:53.954)
two o’clock to six or something anywhere. So it was around, I can always remember that time the band would show up and, but obviously you can’t, as much as you love it, you can’t just keep burning the candle at both ends because you are going to suffer in the end, which happened to me, but it does happen. You hear of artists, you hear of bands canceling gigs because…

Craig Garber (17:57.218)

Craig Garber (18:10.783)

Russ (18:23.298)
of, they usually call it emotional exhaustion, don’t they, when they’ve had a bad time, you know.

Craig Garber (18:28.106)
Yeah, burnout, sure. Well, let’s get a good segue. Let’s talk about that. So you did that and you did that for two years and you got burned out and your body started literally breaking down and led you into heading into depression. How did you get out of it? And what was the most important thing you learned from that?

Russ (18:49.614)
Well, before we were in from 1970 to get the band together from late 19th, the summer of 1969, Arjun went to Germany and we did what the Beatles did and what a lot of bands did, you know, we played in a club. So instead of going to Hamburg, we went to Southern Germany, which was another 600 kilometers away. You know, we went to Munich and played in this club called the PN club.

Craig Garber (19:06.498)

Russ (19:18.098)
on the Leopoldstraße and the piano club you played. I mean, it sounds mad, you know, we played for seven 45 minutes spots a night, seven.

Craig Garber (19:31.586)
That’s crazy, man. Holy shit. Would it be the same set, or did you have enough tunes at the time?

Russ (19:33.258)
Yeah, so you’d start, yeah, so. No, no, we rehearsed. We got a bunch of tunes together. We got probably about, all the tunes we could think of, you know, we put together to make it last for seven quarters.

Craig Garber (19:51.678)
Yeah, it’s like what like five hours of music or six, five and a half hours of music or something like that.

Russ (19:55.774)
Yeah, but weekends we did nine. Because we played in the afternoon as well. At weekends we played, you know, we start at two o’clock in the afternoon. We do two 45 minutes sets, go back to the, we called it the doom pad in this apartment. And then we go back at seven and start again, you know, and do a seven.

Craig Garber (20:00.184)

Craig Garber (20:16.066)
That must have been such great training like guitar. I mean, musically to be playing that much. I got to believe it really. Yeah.

Russ (20:22.07)
That’s how the Beatles got so good. That’s how they became so good because they were trying everything. They were trying every kind of tune. That’s what we did, you know. Rod was singing. I mean, we even like, we like the carol king song. We liked…

Craig Garber (20:31.8)

Russ (20:41.066)
You made me feel like a natural woman. Rod said, I’ll sing that. I’ll sing that. And he’d say, I made you feel, I made you feel like a natural woman. He said, he sounds a little bit arrogant Rod. They said, don’t mind it. It lasted four minutes or five minutes, but we’ve put in solos, we’ve put in long solos with all this kind of stuff to make it, you know, to make it. I asked Paul McCartney, going back to 1963,

Craig Garber (20:43.33)

Craig Garber (20:49.526)

Russ (21:09.11)
I was chatting to all the beaters in the same hotel and we were sitting together and I said, I said, when you went to Hamburg, how did you get through those days? And he said, we just make the endings long, make the solos long, make everything, make it all longer, you know? So that’s how you get through. But we found it very difficult because, you know, right after doing, after singing, like you’re trying to get all these songs together.

You find your voice starts to fail. I went to, I said to this guy, I said to Ziggy in the club, I said, how do bands get through this? He said, you go to the apothec, you buy the anion pills. You take the anion pills with the beer.

Craig Garber (21:41.64)

Craig Garber (21:54.702)
What’s anion? What is anion?

Russ (21:56.254)
And I had one, I had one pills, you know, take them with beer. And you still know it’s brilliant. I mean, it’s pure speed.

Craig Garber (22:00.694)
What is that?

Craig Garber (22:04.879)
Oh, speed. Okay. Yeah, right. Right.

Russ (22:06.686)
It’s been sold over the counter in Germany. And it was basically, it was used by, it was used, and I’m talking about 1970 here, it was used by 69. It was used by long distance lorry drivers. It was used also, yeah, basically that was the idea for long distance lorry drivers, want to stay awake or kids studying in the university and stuff. That was the idea, but then they took it.

Craig Garber (22:11.938)
That’s hilarious.

Craig Garber (22:23.473)
Oh, OK.

Russ (22:35.202)
They took it off the market a couple of years later.

Craig Garber (22:40.502)
That’s wild. Take anion pills. What did you get out of that experience where you were burned out and you came, like how did you recover from that? And like, what did you get? Like what was the lesson I guess, or what did you learn most out of that?

Russ (22:42.039)

Russ (22:57.078)
Mainly for people that ever go through depression or whatever, you do get through it.

Now I’ve learned if it happens again, it did happen again. It happened when my dad died, but it wasn’t so bad when my dad, you know, everyone’s upset when somebody you care about, somebody you love dies. So I was very close to my mom and dad. So, you know, that hit me. I learned that sometimes you need medication.

If you don’t, if I hadn’t have taken medication, I didn’t know what had hit me, Craig, because it was something that just happened. And I’d always done what I did, you know, and then I was 20, I was 26, I was 20, I was 26 when it happened. And it’s when I should have been having the best time of my life, because we had a hit record in America with, hold your head, I was number four. We went to the States to start a tour for seven.

Craig Garber (23:43.552)

Craig Garber (23:52.438)

Craig Garber (23:58.722)

Russ (24:03.582)
seven weeks and the couple of days before I just crashed and the doctor said it’s best if you actually go rather than cancel the tour he said because what you’re going to do you know if you’ve got your friends there to support you you’ve got Rod, Jim and Bob they’re going to support you and your team they’re going to support you never cancel the show

Craig Garber (24:23.363)

Craig Garber (24:28.672)
That’s amazing.

Russ (24:30.126)
stayed on the road, stayed on the road and did it. And I felt better when I was on the stage and when I came off the stage. You know, I thought, it was like a long panic attack. It was like a permanent, almost a permanent panic attack.

And I’d never had anything like that. I’d never had a panic attack before, so to me it was all new, you know? But you go to the doctor and they give you pills, they give you Valium and they give you Norbriam and they gave you Stelazine and sleeping pills, pills to get you to sleep, pills to wake you up. So I’m glad.

Craig Garber (24:49.698)
How long did it take you to come out?

Craig Garber (24:55.219)

Russ (26:19.194)
Yeah, yeah, so, yeah, I was on pills for nine months.

Craig Garber (26:21.084)

Craig Garber (26:26.014)
Okay, so it took you nine months to come out of that.

Russ (26:27.902)
It took nine months to sort of come out of it. But you know, once you’ve had that kind of thing, I’m not sorry I went through it, because I was a different person coming out than the person going in.

Craig Garber (26:46.071)
In what way?

Russ (26:48.815)

Russ (26:52.05)
And people would say, I’m sure had I have been a lay person, I would have said something like…

God has spoken to me or something like that, you know what I’m saying? Or that, you know, you hear people say, which they do say, you know, when they have that kind of experience, it’s almost… If I was religious, I would have said it because it was so different from anything. Sky was bluer. You know, everything was more intense. And it never really left me, it was always like that. And it’s still like that now.

Craig Garber (27:27.902)
So you just saw things deeper or you felt things, yeah. Interesting.

Russ (27:30.466)
Deeper, everything was deeper. Yeah, yeah, everything was deeper. It was like, it was almost like growing up. It was a strange thing. It was like going from a boy into a man, you know.

Craig Garber (27:42.614)
That’s interesting. So you sang lead vocals and played guitar on hold your head high, which is to me now, even still today, when I hear that track, it’s one of those things like shush, you know, like this is like hollowed ground. We need to fricking hear this thing, you know? Um, but after you recorded that track, did you know, did you have any kind of sense that like

Russ (27:42.946)

Russ (27:51.287)

Russ (28:06.112)

Craig Garber (28:11.786)
Holy shit, I think we got something here.

Russ (28:14.734)
People liked it. I mean the road managers used to come and we did it at Abbey Road like we did all our albums, but most of them at Abbey Road and the roadies were coming in and they said, ah, this is my favorite. Oh, I love this tune Oh, I know all that kind of stuff, you know So we thought and obviously they thought it at CBS as well. So they released that one Yeah, so we did have that feedback, but we got that idea from Germany

When we were in Germany, you know, we were, as I said before, we were the Leopold Strasser playing in the PN Club. One of the tunes we used to do was a rotschium. We used to do time of the season.

Craig Garber (28:57.55)
Okay, another amazing track.

Russ (28:58.69)
They go, do, ah, do, ah. It’s the time of the season. And we used to play that song. Rod used to sing it. But to make the tune last, we used to get into it. Do, do, ah, do, ah. And you play this long keyboard solo, and then it go into, do, and I go, da, do, do.

Craig Garber (29:26.218)
Oh, so Hold Your Head High came out of that.

Russ (29:29.01)
It came out of that and then we’d go… And you used to get into some magic moments, you know, we’d play this stuff. And sometimes it was a chemical thing. I would play stuff and I got into the middle where I scraped the guitar strings in the middle of… In the middle of… I used to do that live as well, you know, and everybody used to sort of look up and think, what is going on there, you know?

Craig Garber (29:40.801)

Russ (29:58.454)
So we used that on the track. That was a very hooky part of the tune. I would just slide in my ring on my finger down the fretboard, you know? So little things like that, you know, I think that was a hook. Yeah, that’s how that came about. Chris White said, it would be great to write a song around it. Chris White was in the zombies, bass player in the zombies.

Craig Garber (30:08.665)
Yeah, yeah.

Craig Garber (30:23.201)

Russ (30:24.202)
He said, it would be great to write a song around that, you know. And he goes away with Rod and he comes back, they come back with this song that Chris had on a, he’d done it on acoustic guitar and he was singing it to me. And he said, this is what we’ve come up with and it was Hold Your Head Up.

Craig Garber (30:40.71)
such a great track. It’s kind of a, I have to be honest with you. I’m not a guy that gets starstruck, but it’s kind of a pinch me moment talking to you about this track because it was such a meaningful track to me as a kid. And it’s like I said, it’s yeah.

Russ (30:53.014)
It’s a great lyric as well, you know, I mean it’s an intelligent lyric as well, which Chris was a very intelligent writer, you know, I’ve said to him before, he was a great, great writer, great writer, he wrote some good stuff in the zombies, you know. On the first album he wrote, um, Dance in the Smoke, which was a great idea for a song, you know, we will build a giant burning fire tonight, we will build it and dance in the smoke. Everybody’s

Craig Garber (31:06.89)

Russ (31:20.562)
Every branch will tie somebody’s worry to it. We will build it and dance in this. We will burn it and dance in the smoke. Great idea for a song. It was so, so of the time. It was brilliant. It was so, yeah. Yeah.

Craig Garber (31:28.951)

Craig Garber (31:32.322)

Craig Garber (31:35.862)
Uh, so Argent, super popular at a certain point of time, though you said you don’t like the direction the band was moving in, especially in concert, they’re getting into more improv jazzy stuff. So you decide to leave. I give you a lot of credit for that because that’s not an easy thing to do at all, especially with a, with a band that’s on the rise. What was behind your decision Russ and what gave you the courage to sort of know that, you know, everything’s going to be okay.

Because I got that when I read the story, that you had that feeling.

Russ (32:07.986)
Yeah, more than anything, it took a, you know, when we made the first album, we were tougher alive, much tougher than we sounded on record at the time, we were much tougher, but…

which wasn’t too much of a problem but when we played live Rod was stretching out doing a lot of improvisation, you know, a lot of improvisation, you know.

Russ (32:40.298)
And I think once you lose, it’s all very well doing improvisation. I mean, the keyboard players love it that are in the audience, but I used to look at some of the crowd and they’d be sort of them. You see their mind wandering, you know, why you’re doing a three minute keyboard solo.

Craig Garber (32:56.573)
With a band doing songs like Hold Your Head High, yeah, I could totally see that.

Russ (32:59.998)
Yeah, yeah, because it’ll be all improvisation and stuff, you know, at least with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, if you remember Emerson, Lake and Palmer, they always, Keith Emerson always played tunes, always played tunes.

Craig Garber (33:06.866)
Of course. Yeah, I love them. Yeah. Carnival night. But that was their whole thing though. That was their vibe. It was… Yeah.

Russ (33:14.198)
That was their thing. Yeah, but they didn’t improvise that much. It was tunes. They were playing tunes all the time. Da da da. That’s nice, they’re playing that. Which, you know, when people couldn’t hear a tune, but when it’s improvisation, only Rod could hear it. I couldn’t hear it from my side of the stage. I couldn’t hear it. So I wanted to do more tunes. And that’s the reason, the main reason I left, to be honest. And it was going in…

Craig Garber (33:33.483)

Russ (33:43.87)
It was getting more and more proggy, which I wanted to get more. I would prefer to go more rocky.

Craig Garber (33:50.847)

Russ (33:52.21)
Myself, that’s how I was, you know, I was writing those kind of tunes.

Craig Garber (33:56.374)
Was it a, how did you know, like, how did you have the confidence to leave, basically?

Russ (34:04.126)
I don’t know, I just did it because I knew I had to do it. I wanted to do it. I was right, I had Liar, Liar had been out and it was here and give me and I had publishing money so I had enough money in a year from Liar basically and being, Hold Your Head Up was out as well, I had the B side of Hold Your Head Up. I had enough money coming in and it looked, I bought a house,

Craig Garber (34:07.402)

Craig Garber (34:15.724)

Russ (34:33.506)
you know, I bought a house. I put enough money down to buy a nice house and then I still had money. The money was coming in, Three Dog Night did another one of my songs on the next album. So the publisher was well happy. I was going back to the publisher and saying, you know, and they said if you need any more money, they wanted to keep me as a songwriter because I was doing well, you know. So they were offering me money. I thought I could do this.

Craig Garber (34:47.337)

Craig Garber (34:58.434)

Russ (35:03.826)
So, but I think instinctively, I was working every day anyway. I was working every day. I thought if I keep, people were saying, I love your tunes. Play me that tune you’ve sang to me. They play me that tune, they play me on the piano. I was playing all this stuff and they were all different kinds of tunes. Some of them were like show tunes. I was playing, so interested in just finding new things about myself, you know, what I could write. I was doing things like, you know,

Craig Garber (35:03.879)

Russ (35:33.514)
You should see this girl, you know she’s straight from hell She’s Hollywood potential and to be a star you must know it’s essential that you meet her You can find a chick that’s needed, she’s just 16 and I think she’s your scene I bet you will surrender when you see your black suspender, it’s the future Mister, oh mister, mister won’t you help my sister Doing all these kind of, doing all sorts of things, I turned that into a… Yeah, it’s all in the place but I had time to do it, you know, because I had plenty of time I was working from like…

Craig Garber (35:55.63)
It’s here all over the place. Yeah.

Russ (36:04.845)
When I was off the road I was working from 8 in the morning till 2 in the afternoon. So I would try all sorts of things.

Craig Garber (36:15.102)
Okay, so basically you financially you were okay and you said, okay, now I can take a gamble because I know I have XYZ money coming in. I got a place now and it’s all good.

Russ (36:24.926)
And another thing you think, actually Craig, another thing you think, if it all goes the other way, then I’ve got a decent house. I could always sell the house and get a cheaper house and have some money in the bank and stuff like that. I think that was all in the brain, but I had a wife and I had a child. Christian was born then and that was magic. I wanted to go back on the road. I wanted to get a band together.

Craig Garber (36:35.89)
Right, right.

Craig Garber (36:41.89)

Russ (36:54.186)
I was making albums. I was still signed to CBS. I was making albums and people were cutting the songs, so that was good.

Craig Garber (37:03.634)
Um, besides the number of opportunities that existed, what are the biggest differences between the environment for creating music between, let’s say even from the sixties to the nineties, I don’t even want to go in to, you know, to today because it’s radically different, but any, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that as, as a guy who’s been in the business.

Russ (37:27.222)
It was very different in the go back to the 60s and 70s. There were record companies. There were record companies, there was no internet. There were record companies signing bands. And if you made it, it was the, you know, it was a pot of gold basically for the band and for the writers as well as for publishing as well. So it was very, it seemed very, very simple.

You know, you were signed to a three, with CBS, you were signed to a three album deal. And to be fair, CBS stuck with you, stuck with you for three albums, you know. Basically, you went on the road, you built up a following, you released the second album, went on the road, you built more of a following, you released a third album. And hopefully one of those albums would, you would have a hit single, which we did with Hold Your Head Up.

So it was very simple and you sold loads of records. It was so simple, you know, you had a band, you signed, and you put the record out and you toured. Now it’s nothing like that, there’s a million bands all online together and you have to be very special, you don’t have the money to make videos, like record companies used to make videos as well. So you were seen and you get the video out there,

Craig Garber (38:43.17)

Craig Garber (38:51.467)

Russ (38:54.818)
get on television but it’s very different the scene is so different now and as you get older it’s even more different you know obviously it’s very different but it’s all great when you play music it’s all good

Craig Garber (39:03.628)

Craig Garber (39:12.506)
I want to talk about some of your songs for each one of them, Russ, if you could tell me the backstory of the song itself. And also I’m curious how you were first approached by the artist who recorded it or how the track got to them, as well as any cool or interesting stories about working with them. So, and this is just amazing that you wrote all these songs, to be honest with you, man. Winning.

from your album of the same name, Santanari did that. How did, you know, backstory to the track, how did you guys hook up and all that stuff?

Russ (39:45.043)
Yeah, yeah.

Russ (39:50.574)
I’ve never met him. I’ve never met Carlos. Never met him. No, I’ve never met him. He’s done two of my songs. I had another single with him, which was Nowhere to Run, which worked out really well. It wasn’t as commercial as winning, but I wrote Winning for myself. It was the story of my life. It was talking about my history of that.

Craig Garber (39:53.48)
You’re kidding! That’s amazing.

Russ (40:17.59)
being low and then being high, you know. One day I was on the ground when I needed a hand, couldn’t be found, I was so far down that I couldn’t get up. One day I was one of life’s losers, even my friends were my accusers, in my head lost before I begun. Had a dream but it turned to lust, to the dust what I thought was love, must have been must, I was living in style when the walls fell in, when I played my hand, looked like the joke could turn around, fate must have woken, cause lady luck, she was waiting outside my door.

I’m winning, I’m winning. The whole, each verse, each verse was, each verse, Keith Urban’s just done a version of it. It’s really, really good. It’s really good. He’s done the best version of it, actually, I think. He’s done a fantastic version of it. It’s very country, but he’s done a really good, great guitar, and he sounds more American than Louis Armstrong. Does he sound American? I think he probably does, but…

Craig Garber (40:51.376)
It’s such a good track.

Craig Garber (40:57.501)
Oh, that’s cool.

Craig Garber (41:01.958)
Really? I have to check it out.

Craig Garber (41:16.355)

Russ (41:19.344)

Craig Garber (41:19.934)
So how did Santana get a hold of that song? How does that work? Do they approach you or they approach your company?

Russ (41:23.126)
Well, I did it. Yeah. No, no. Basically, I did an album in the States in 1977.

Russ (41:35.766)
I’m just trying to think, no, that album, I recorded the album in 75. Remember in 77, I made an album in America that Keith Olsen produced. He said, I love that song winning on your album. I love that song winning. Then Santana did it, but I’m sure Santana did it before. I always thought Keith played it to Carlos because he produced.

Santana album. I’ve got a feeling that… yeah I think so. I never found out how Carlos did it actually. I never found out but I know that Keith produced their album and he loved winning so I assumed it was Keith.

Craig Garber (42:07.694)
Okay, so that’s, so that’s how you think it got.

Craig Garber (42:25.294)

Russ (42:26.25)
It was recorded before Carbis actually, a guy called Michael Quattro did a version of Suzy Quattro’s brother.

Craig Garber (42:34.69)
I was gonna say is that Suzy? That’s the only quattro I’ve ever heard. Suzy quattro. Yeah.

Russ (42:38.282)
Yeah, yeah, Susie Crotterow’s brother recorded it first of all, and that must have been 76, 75, 76. But I did that on my album. My album was called Winning. That was my first single. That was my first single from my album, which didn’t happen. My second single from the album was Since You’ve Been Gone.

Craig Garber (42:51.134)
Yes. Yeah.

Craig Garber (43:01.906)
Yeah, let’s go. Let’s talk about that one next. So I mean, that’s like when a rainbow is greatest songs that era of rainbow, you know, I mean, it’s just how so tell me the backstory to that track. And then how blackmore got his hands on it.

Russ (43:09.427)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Russ (43:16.482)
Well, I recorded it, I recorded it, Muff, yeah, Muff Wynne would produce my version, and I played it to him on piano, you see, I played it, ga ga, ga ga, ga ga, played it on piano, so we did it on piano, which was much, made it much, much softer. Soon as you do a thing, and I played moog on it as well, which is added, so it’s very, very tender in the verse, it’s very, very tender and very pretty.

Craig Garber (43:33.119)
Yeah, very different.

Russ (43:44.274)
instead of this real, if I’d have thought about it, I would have done it with overdriven guitar, you know, if I’d have thought about it at the time instead of… Anyway, the first band to record it after were a band called Head East.

Craig Garber (43:58.987)
Yeah, sure.

Russ (44:00.258)
They recorded it before Rainbow. And then Rainbow recorded it. And then a girl band called, they were Clout, South African band, did a version like mine, very similar. Yeah, and then Sherri and Mary Curry did it, yes. They all got in the charts, they all got in the American charts, that I think was in there four times altogether.

Craig Garber (44:17.974)
God, your memory is phenomenal, man.

Craig Garber (44:23.775)

Russ (44:31.098)
with four different artists.

Craig Garber (44:33.954)
How did Blackmore get ahold of it?

Russ (44:36.586)
He heard, he had, Rayba went on the road having head East support them. They heard the song. Yeah, they heard the song. They heard the song. And Richie said that that’s how they heard the song.

Craig Garber (44:44.222)
Okay. Oh, they played it.

Craig Garber (44:54.934)
from their opening act and then they said, we can do that better.

Russ (44:57.886)
Oh yeah, we could do this, we could do this, yeah. And they had a much bigger hit with it, but yeah. Then Heddy’s did the next one, he did I Surrender as well.

Craig Garber (45:01.686)
That’s… That’s crazy.

Craig Garber (45:10.11)
Yes, did they? I didn’t know that. That’s that’s so they did too. And then rainbows did the same thing. Blackwood is the same.

Russ (45:12.222)
Yeah, they did I surrender, yeah.

Russ (45:18.468)
And had a bigger hit, Rainbow had a bigger hit with that.

Craig Garber (45:21.322)
Yes, yes, for sure. Okay, I want to talk about New York Groove. I didn’t even know that was Ace Frehley until like literally about a year or two ago. I know the song, but I didn’t even know who it was Ace Frehley. And I read your story that came about when you were on a trip to the city one day and you said, oh, this is a New York Groove or something like that. You said, that sounds like a good title.

Russ (45:34.972)

Russ (45:47.83)
Well, no, in 75, when I left Arjun, I played on Roger Daltry’s first solo album. I played guitar at his house. For the second one, he said, Russ, will you produce my next album? Can you write some songs and produce my next album? So I did that and recorded at the Who studio at Ramport in Battersea.

I wrote three songs, played them to him, he said, oh great, great. I wanted to go on the road really, I wanted to get my own band together, go on the road, which I did do in 76. But you know, Roger said, have you got any songs? I played him the songs, he said, yeah, that would be great to do, I’ve got this song I’d like to do, I’ve got this song I’d like to do. I said, right, that’s five. He went, yeah. I said, right.

uh, do you want me to write some more?” Well, I’m gonna go on holiday for six weeks, he said, I’m going to Carrabin for six weeks. I said, no! He said, well, put anything down, put anything down, put anything you think would be okay. He said, I’d like to do Walking the Dog as well, do a different version of Walking the Dog. So I said, I do now. And I said, but I won’t know what, I won’t know what P you’re gonna sing in.

Even I could sing in any key.

Craig Garber (47:20.021)
Let me tell you that guy is so he’s one of the best his voice he’s I mean just classic voices

Russ (47:23.122)
Yeah, yeah, so, yeah, he became a very good friend. So, uh, yeah, that was, that was cool.

Craig Garber (47:34.434)
So you, how did you, so then when did you go to New York that gave you this whole idea?

Russ (47:38.586)
Yeah, I went to master his album.

Craig Garber (47:41.553)

Russ (47:43.134)
Everybody, I tried it, I tried it at the master room in London and everybody was saying to me, you get a louder cut if you go to New York. I go to Stirling Sound. Yeah, Stirling Sound, Bob Ludwig at Stirling Sound, so I arranged to go over there. I flew over there on my own. I got on the plane and I hadn’t been to New York for about 18 months. So…

Craig Garber (47:55.362)
Sterling Sound, yeah, that was a big place back in the day. Mm-hmm.

Russ (48:10.915)
I was quite pleased to go out there, you know, and just chill basically.

Russ (48:18.955)
As I got on the plane, I thought back in the New York groove, I don’t know why I was always thinking of titles. I like titles, you know, I thought that’s a great title for a song, New York groove. I thought of…

Russ (48:32.31)
Bow diddley, da you know that kind of idea. And I was thinking of lyrics going over there we’re just thinking, you know, and it was all very vague, all the lyrics. I didn’t write the lyrics down. I only wrote the title down. Then my brother, my brother who was, you know, he was doing functions. He was playing this club in Enfield and they came, he said this.

I watched this band playing with us last night, he said they were 16 years old, these kids. And he said, you ought to sign them, you ought to go and write some songs for them. He said, because they’ll be brilliant, you know. And this was the time when we were doing, we were going around doing TVs for Hold Your Head Up.

But anyway, I went to see the band. I spoke to, he got to know them. He gave me their address. I went to see their mom and dad. And they set up in their living room and they played many status quo tunes. They were playing status, and they did really well. The singer looked like a million dollars. You know, he looked amazing. They’re all kids, small kids. And I took them into the studio and I thought, what can I do with them? I took…

I do New York groove, made up in the studio, made the whole thing up, wrote the song in the studio and they would tell you, wrote the song in the studio and I knew I had a super vampa harp. So it sounded like a bow diddly thing. Ah, ah, wah, kind of idea. Been a year since I was here on the street, I’m just.

Craig Garber (49:56.718)
So you wrote the song in the studio.

Russ (50:21.634)
Just made up, you know, I’m just thinking about being in New York and thinking a fictitious story. I even got the, I even, I know I got the streets wrong and all that kind of stuff. People have told me that, but it just sounded right, you know. Stop at 3rd and 43, exit through the night, there’s gonna be ecstasy. This day was made for me. Here, first rap, Craig. Here I am again in the city. Dantcha didda, danta didda, with a fist full of dollars. And baby, you better believe I’m back.

Craig Garber (50:33.943)
Yeah, yeah.

Russ (50:50.942)
in the New York groove. You know that was the idea of the tune. But it worked you know. Got a medial with Arista and it was a hit in England. This is for a band called Hello.

Craig Garber (51:03.29)
I’ve heard of them. I’m almost positive I’ve heard of them.

Russ (51:04.722)
Yeah, yeah, it was a hit. And I had about four, four or five hits with them in Germany. They were huge in Germany. And so they were, I don’t, the next one, it was glam rock time. The time of the glam rock thing, you know, and my next one was called Star Studded Sham, Gold Played It Cheap, Diamond Studded Fake, you know, it’s all that kind of stuff. It was fun, you know, it was fun. Then Let It Rock, a song called Let It Rock. This is 1975, 76, 77.

Craig Garber (51:24.726)
Yeah, yeah, sure.

Russ (51:33.767)
and uh…

And then Ace Freely did it in 78. He did it three years later.

Craig Garber (51:43.494)
How did he get a hold of that? If you know.

Russ (51:45.182)
I don’t know. I don’t know. I know it was the guy that produced him at the time. He was the engineer, wasn’t he? He did Henrix as well. He did Henrix. I spoke to him. Eddie. Yeah, Eddie. Eddie Kramer.

Craig Garber (51:53.266)
Oh, um, Eddie, uh, Eddie Kramer. Yeah.

Russ (52:00.682)
I spoke to him on the phone, yeah, he produced that and he got a great sound on that. Yeah, big hit and then Kiss used to do it as well, on occasions.

Craig Garber (52:13.986)
So you don’t even necessarily, like these are like little sort of assets almost floating around out there. And then someone says, hey, I wanna like use this asset. And it’s like unbeknownst to you even at the time necessarily.

Russ (52:30.454)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, things, the great thing is, you know, they used to talk, my manager said to me when he knew I wrote, he said, you’re in the right business, you know, doing what you’re doing. I said, what? He said, writing tunes. He said, it’s the real estate of the music industry. And it still is, even though there’s not the same amount of money in it now, because, you know, songwriters get a rough deal now. They used to get a really good deal. Now, they’re still…

Craig Garber (52:47.822)
Hmm. Yes.

Craig Garber (52:57.005)

Russ (53:00.658)
You know, it’s still a good… it’s a great thing to do anyway to write tunes. It’s a great thing to do. To be out there playing is a great thing to do and Yeah It’s not the same as it used to be financially, but I still do well. I still do well and you know tunes are still played in elevators that’s still played in shopping malls movies movies, yes, you know

Craig Garber (53:05.024)

Craig Garber (53:18.796)

Craig Garber (53:25.738)
Movies, TVs, yeah.

Russ (53:30.593)

Craig Garber (53:31.106)
talk about liar because that was a massive hit by with three dog night.

Russ (53:37.386)
Well, I wrote that, it was a quick one as well. You know, that was a very quick tune. I was still writing that going to the studio. I went with the road manager and I knew we’d put down the track, Liar. We’d put down the track and I said, look, if tomorrow I’ll come back with the lyrics. And I came back the next day, we recorded that at Sound Techniques in Chelsea. And I was sitting with the road manager who was driving in the truck.

I was writing, you know, writing the lyrics. And I was thinking of it as a blues, you know, a blues tune, you know. I won’t ever leave while you want me to stay. Nothing you could do could turn me away. Hanging on anyway, believing the things you said, being a fool. You’ve taken my life, so take my soul. That’s what you said, I believed in it. Ain’t that what you said?

Ain’t that what you said?

Craig Garber (54:41.579)

Russ (54:43.602)
The whole idea, the thing that thrilled me about it was the element of surprise, which to me is so much an important thing in life, in art. The element of surprise, Hitchcock had it with movies. He put something that’s, I even put that in that shadows tune, I put the surprise going double time in the middle section. Because it was a beautiful flowing tune that gets into the middle of the section, it goes into double time, and I thought.

Craig Garber (54:49.056)

Russ (55:11.718)
Even then I thought, it’s a nice kind of thing to have, element of surprise. Even in a joke you say something you end up with a surprise, you know.

Craig Garber (55:17.89)
Yeah, it is. Definitely.

Craig Garber (55:24.226)
Totally. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So do you know how like Chuck Negron or Three Dog Night, any of those guys, how they came across the tune or?

Russ (55:35.09)
No, I don’t know. I don’t know. But they did another one of mine on their next album, didn’t they? They did Chained on the next album. Yeah, that was on our second album. They took Chained from our second album.

Craig Garber (55:49.782)
That seems pretty common. Like if someone does one of your tracks, they have a hit. It’s like going back to the well, like, well, let’s try another one.

Russ (55:57.446)
Yeah, but that was never written, that was definitely, that was definitely another blues kind of tune. I guess they were trying it again, but it wasn’t as, it was a good tune, but it was very kind of down, you know, it was kind of, I was treating that, it was called Chained, but I was treating it as like a gospel tune, you know.

Craig Garber (56:17.09)
Hmm. Is there any? Sorry. No, God. No, you go. But the chain.

Russ (56:18.59)
and it had like, yeah, sorry, go on. Well, it had a nice lyrical idea, you know, it said free as a bird when it flies, free like an old man that dies, just like a stream or a rose growing wild. Somewhere there’s someone walking the road, someone who carries a load. Don’t be too far to see somewhere there’s a man who’s, chain, chain.

God, why don’t you let them go? Same sort of kind of surprise, that was the idea, you know.

Craig Garber (56:47.362)
So it had that same surprise.

Craig Garber (56:54.878)
Is there any other, are there any songs that were recorded by someone else that have some sort of meaningful or sentimental value to you? I mean, I’m sure there’s dozens, but one or two come to mind.

Russ (57:04.582)
Oh yeah, the old circling… Songs always do, you know, people talk about the songs as being their babies. Well, I don’t know about that so much, but you know, it’s a part of your life that you spend… The quick ones are always the best ones, to be honest. They are always the ones that seem to click. When you spend two or three days trying to think of another verse to a song, they never seem to happen, it’s always the quick ones.

They just seemed to happen in a burst of energy, you know. I wrote a song years ago called, it was a hit in England. It didn’t happen in America. It was hit in England. It was by a guy, Connie Blunstone, the same lead for the zombies.

Craig Garber (57:49.368)
Yeah, yeah, sure.

Russ (57:51.114)
And it was a song I wrote called I Don’t Believe in Miracles, which was, again, was a very negative kind of title, very negative, and people said, oh, God, this is a beautiful song, you’ve got to change it to I Do Believe in Miracles. And I said, because I was down at the time, you know, I said, no, it’s got to be I Don’t Believe in Miracles, that’s the thing that’s the key to it, you know? That’s the key that it’s I Don’t Believe in Miracles, but I thought you might show your face or have the grace to tell me where you are.

Basically it was like, again that was like a spiritual song, I walk along the road and pass your door and I remember things you said, I know in time it could have been so much more but if you wanna come back home, go right ahead. But I don’t believe in miracles, I don’t believe in miracles, but I thought you might show your face or have the grace to tell me where you are. And I believe I was your game, your bull. If you threw me up then I would fall. And so you’ve won again, you win the maw.

I believe I’d run to you if you should call, but I don’t believe in miracles, but I thought you might show your face or have the grace. But I believe that somewhere, I believe that somewhere there’s someone who’s gonna light the way when things go wrong. The bullet that shot me down was from your gun, the words that turn me round are from your song. But I don’t believe in miracles, I don’t believe in miracles, but I thought you might show your face or have the grace.

Craig Garber (58:55.562)
Wow. It’s heavy, man.

Russ (59:18.754)
To tell me where you are, do do. It was urgent, we played on it and Colin sang it. And we did the backing vocals, Rod and I did, and Jim did the backing vocals. Sound like the zombies actually.

Craig Garber (59:33.494)
Was that something from a personal experience? Because that was pretty heavy.

Russ (59:36.774)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I cried when that… I put my head on the keys and cried like a baby.

Craig Garber (59:44.054)
But it was a breakup, he had a breakup.

Russ (59:46.71)
Oh no, it’s much, much worse. My friend who had the studio, he had a demo, his father had a demo studio so I used to do my demos there, but he was my friend and very highly intelligent guy. He went to Manchester University to study computers in 1964. And while he was in this, in Manchester, he met a girl called Carol who was around about the same age. I think she’s a bit older.

They fell in love and all that kind of stuff, whatever love is. And he came back from the University, they married, very close, they’re great friends of mine, you know. And then I was involved with my lady, who was to be my wife, and we were friends. And Janet, my wife, and I went on holiday and I spoke.

Craig Garber (01:00:22.487)

Russ (01:00:44.963)
I went to Spain on holiday and on the plane I said to Jan I should have phoned Nick. You know, Carol’s not well. He said Carol isn’t well. And I know, you know, he didn’t know really what was wrong. He thought it could be cancer. So all the time I was thinking the first thing I’ve got to do when I get back to England is phone Nick to see how Carol is, you know.

It was just amazing. When I got back from the holiday, I phoned the studa. First thing I did, put the cases down, phoned the studa to see it. I said, there was an American engineer there, Richie Gold. His name was Richie Gold. And I said, Richie, is Nick there? He said, Russ, haven’t you heard? No. Carol died. And she’s, it’s her funeral today. Is it the funeral?

Craig Garber (01:01:34.661)
Oh, wow.

Craig Garber (01:01:40.074)
Oh my God.

Russ (01:01:42.578)
Yeah. And I went upstairs, not the same day, the next day, and went and wrote that tune.

And it was Richie that said to me, you’ve got to change the lyric to I do believe in miracles. He said, no, no. But it touched such a nerve. When I play it in England, everyone goes mad when I play it because it was a big hit. Everyone loves it. It touched a nerve in England and Tony Black made it his record of the week on Radio One. It was a hit. It wasn’t a big hit because I think because it was a negative title, but everyone loves that tune. And when I do it, everybody…

Craig Garber (01:02:18.37)

Russ (01:02:19.714)
they all go mad and they say what are you going to do I don’t believe in miracles are you going to do uh… but the chords are beautiful I mean they sound they sound really sweet in the but they’ve got great bass notes on there the bass note shouldn’t be there you know and it sounds makes the song sound uh… different you know

Craig Garber (01:02:40.414)
Wow, that was heavy. I’m going to have to go listen to that. Are you still is your buddy still alive? Are you guys still friends or?

Russ (01:02:42.24)

Russ (01:02:48.158)
Nick died, no Nick. Nick lost a lot of um, he was, when she died he was 20, he was 20, 27 or 28 when she died, she was 28, 29 when she died and uh Nick died, he died, oh he died 23 years ago, he died 48.

Craig Garber (01:03:01.102)
That’s terrible.

Craig Garber (01:03:09.142)
Oh, sorry, that’s terrible. Sorry about that. That’s tough.

Russ (01:03:10.494)
Yeah, 48 when you die. Yeah.

Russ (01:03:16.606)
No, no, it’s one of those things Craig, it happens, you know, my brother was 51 when he died. You know, as you get older you find your very good friends are here. So it’s one of those crazy things, you know, but that’s how it is. That’s the life, you know, that is life and that’s your journey. You know, you’re going to make the journey great. You get up every day and enjoy it. You can’t waste journey. You can’t waste this journey.

Craig Garber (01:03:23.207)
Oh wow.

Craig Garber (01:03:32.78)

Craig Garber (01:03:37.334)

Russ (01:03:42.934)
When you’re in music, you don’t waste it, you know. Every day you’re playing the piano, playing the guitar, in the studio, writing songs. World makes sense. It doesn’t make sense if you go into it. Most people do a job they don’t wanna do, to pay the mortgage, to pay the bills. So they settle for a job and they go, oh God, I’ve got this job I don’t. And they do it all their lives, not following a passion. Passion is the key.

Craig Garber (01:03:57.643)

Russ (01:04:11.146)
and it makes the world make sense.

Craig Garber (01:04:11.602)
I agree with you. 100%. Yeah, I totally agree.

Russ (01:04:15.402)
You know, this is Denny, this is Denny Craig here. Denny, she’s just won me a class award. Thanks, Denny. How did you know? She’d won me a gin and tonic, it’s great.

Craig Garber (01:04:23.594)
of no gin and tonic.

Craig Garber (01:04:29.686)

Craig Garber (01:04:33.13)
I recognize it. When Ann goes over there, yes, that’s why I know this, because my wife drinks it. Ann, A-N-N-E, Ann. Absolutely. And when she goes over, her mom and her sister get her this gin that they only sell over there. I don’t know what, off the top of my head, I can’t think of it, but, and it, yeah, it really is.

Russ (01:04:36.758)
You know the lemon, the lemon and the ice. This is very English. What’s your wife’s name? What’s your wife called? I bet Anne has a gin and tonic.

Russ (01:04:58.282)
It’s a big, yeah, gin is a big thing in this country. It’s crazy.

Craig Garber (01:05:02.514)
Yeah. Water. Hey, I was born-

Russ (01:05:07.026)
I said to her, I said to her, I said to her, in an hour’s time then, can you bring me gin and tonic? Ha ha ha.

Craig Garber (01:05:13.47)
I knew that wasn’t what, hey Russ, I was born at night, but not last night. This is a tough question. Just give me your knee jerk reaction. Top three musical experiences you’ve had.

Russ (01:05:20.567)
Yeah, that was pretty cool, that actually, the sus, that,

Russ (01:05:35.65)
The top three music experiences. I wrote something down here actually. I wrote something. I’ve got it here actually. I wrote down something for this here.

Craig Garber (01:05:40.51)
Oh good.

Russ (01:05:49.974)
Oh God, I’ve had so many. I tell you, I tell you, no one’s had the, I tell you, I don’t care who they’re, no one’s had the life that I’ve had. No one has had the life that I’ve had. It’s just in its music. I loved football when I was young. I was good at football and I had the accident and so the football was out the window. Everyone said, you’re going to be a professional footballer. But I had an accident when I was 12 and that was out the window. Their music.

Craig Garber (01:05:53.139)
I know, tough question.

Craig Garber (01:05:59.778)
That’s beautiful man.

Craig Garber (01:06:03.842)

Russ (01:06:19.254)
What a gift. They’re only two things I’ve ever done. Only two things I’m really good at. Top three. When I used to look, get these, I used to get records when I was young. I used to look at the song title and the names of the songwriters.

Russ (01:06:37.49)
So I sussed it same as you. Who’s Lieber and Stoller? Oh, they write for Elvis. Pobis and Schumann. Oh, they write for Elvis. They write for, you know, Ray Charles. They write for the Drifters.

Poulos and Schumann, I idolize these people in a way, never met them, didn’t even know what they looked like. But I said, you know, Poulos and Schumann wrote a lot of hit songs. Do you know their songs? Do you know Doc Poulos?

Craig Garber (01:07:03.402)
No, I don’t. I know Lieber and Stoller songs. I don’t know Pumas and Schumann.

Russ (01:07:06.462)
Yeah, well they were the same, basically the same publisher, the same… I think they were in the Brill building as well. With Neil Sedark, and Carole King and all those people. You might be too young to remember. Teenager Inn, love? Why must I be a teenager inn each time we have a quarrel?

Craig Garber (01:07:15.454)
Yeah, probably all those guys were at the time.

Craig Garber (01:07:27.518)
Yeah, I do remember that. It was before my time, but I know the song.

Russ (01:07:34.47)
It almost breaks my heart, cause I am so afraid that we must have to part. Each night I ask the stars up above, boom boom. Why must I be a teenager in… Polus and Schumann. I get a call from… I know, Mark Schumann moved to England in the mid-60s. He loved England, he moved to the 60s. I never met him.

But he wrote a song for the small faces, but it was a hit, got to number one. While he was in England called Sha La Lee. He phoned me and said, Russ I’d love to write with you. Who is it? It’s Mark Schuman. Ah, fantastic! I followed your career for years, you know, kind of thing. And we wrote this…

Craig Garber (01:08:22.061)
You must have shit yourself when you get that call. Ha ha.

Russ (01:08:25.102)
Yeah, he said, yeah, he said, he said, Russ, I’m a big star in France. I’m a big star in France, you know, and he said, I want you to write for my album, write with me for my album, you know, sort of thing. So they turned up at the house. I didn’t know then he had been a big drinker and he had liver problems and stuff. He was only like 50, 56, 57, I think.

Craig Garber (01:08:31.63)
Oh my God, who says that?

Russ (01:08:55.587)
But he was about 10 years older than me and we wrote four songs for his album and it was magic. It was magic because I knew his history. Apart from writing with him, I wish I’d have known him for longer because we wrote together for six weeks. He was there for six almost every day during the week.

and he wasn’t drinking anymore, I’d drink two bottles of wine from his cellar every day and give me two bottles of wine and stuff and uh… he was magic to be around, he was just so chilled he was a New Yorker and uh… and I said I know most of your repertoire, Mort and he said yeah you know them, and I said yeah but how many did you write for Elvis, Mort?

I sat in the kitchen with him, you know, how many songs did you… These moments are just magic, you know, you should have spoken to him, you know. I said, how many songs did you write for Elvis? He said, about 30.

Craig Garber (01:09:50.902)

Craig Garber (01:09:57.496)

Russ (01:09:58.262)
He wrote 30 songs for Elvis. It’s a lot of them all crap. I wrote for the movies. I said, yeah, but you wrote Little Sister. Little Sister, what a song for Elvis. Latest Flame for Elvis. You wrote Messer Blues, Viva Las Vegas. All these songs you wrote for Elvis. You wrote, for Drifters, you wrote

Craig Garber (01:10:14.059)

Russ (01:10:28.062)
saved the last dance for me. Can’t get used to losing you for Andy Williams, all these tunes, you know. He had, I said, what was Elvis like? What was Elvis like? I wanna know what was Elvis like? I don’t know, I never met him.

Craig Garber (01:10:31.278)
major hit.

Craig Garber (01:10:43.618)
Wow, that’s, that’s shocking.

Russ (01:10:45.034)
How about that? He said, if Freddie Beanstock is publisher, who I am at, I signed a song over to Elvis that he never did, but I signed it and I signed it to Freddie Beanstock at Carlin and so I met him, you know. And Lieber and Stoller walked in, so I spent an hour chatting to them about Elvis, you know. They had no idea Elvis was about to die. This was in 77, you know.

Russ (01:11:12.402)
I said to Freddie, I played this song to Freddie Beansdale, I said everyone said this song would suit Elvis. So I’ve got permission, Ireland Music said they would give 50% of their publishing to Elvis music, or Whitehaven Music, or Gladys Music, these publishing companies. Elvis didn’t do it unfortunately, but you know, Freddie said, this song would suit Elvis, it would suit Elvis.

He said, but Elvis hasn’t recorded for two years. You know, he comes into Nashville and he records for four or five hours, five songs. You know, and he was doing all that, you know, and so.

Yeah, that was magic. Being with Mort was magic. Uh, I’ve done so many other things, you know. I started to write with a friend.

I started writing with a friend. I heard this guy’s a guy called… Do you know Robert Hart? A guy called Robert Hart? No, he’s a great singer. He sings now in the Man for a Man Earth band.

Craig Garber (01:12:19.991)
I didn’t know they were still around even.

Russ (01:12:21.682)
Yeah, yeah, they play all the time in Europe, all the time. Robert’s a fantastic singer, but he’s a good friend of mine. And you know, and he told me about this guy called Chris Winter. And we became very, very close friends. Chris, you played me this song that Chris had written from the viewpoint of animals. Written this song called Mankind, you know. Oh, oh.

Craig Garber (01:12:44.802)
That’s pretty cool.

Russ (01:12:48.974)
break broke my heart when I heard it and Robert had recorded it you know you should hear the song called mankind what’s the sound I heard my mother

Craig Garber (01:12:51.413)

Russ (01:13:00.098)
What’s the sound? You know, and he talks about being a deer, and then talks about being a seal on the ship, you know. Is mankind playing God again? He’ll destroy us in the end. Maybe he’ll feel better then. Is mankind playing God again? He’ll only… He’ll something… He’ll only… He’ll somethings he’ll win today. He’ll only lose the day. Uh… But we play…

Craig Garber (01:13:12.97)

Russ (01:13:29.45)
mankind playing God again it was beautiful then he played with his tunes

Craig Garber (01:13:33.698)
I’m a huge animal lover, so I’m gonna listen to that.

Russ (01:13:37.182)
Yeah, well I’m vegan. I’m vegetarian. I was vegetarian. I’ve been vegan for, I’ve been vegetarian for 40 years. But hey, but…

Craig Garber (01:13:46.062)
That’s cool. You know what, man? This is my first year. Next month, I switched to Pescetarian. So yeah, I just switched and I feel so good, man. It’s like incredible.

Russ (01:13:51.967)
Oh really, okay.

Russ (01:13:56.758)
Yeah, yeah, I think you do. Yeah, yeah, I think you do. I think it’s a different… You are basically what you repeatedly do and I think if you… That’s how it is. He also wrote a song, a beautiful song called A Little Love is Overdue, which is a bit of a Stevie Wonder-ish, but it’s absolutely stunning. So I phoned him when I heard these songs. I’d never met him and we became friends and started to write together, you know.

Russ (01:14:26.094)
great chorus writer. But I thought I wrote choruses. He writes good verses and stuff and writes great ideas. So we got together. Do you know, we get together. And we get together. It turned out, he lived in Bristol, so for me it was like two and a half hours away. It turned up on a Thursday.

Craig Garber (01:14:33.472)
Yeah, yeah.

Russ (01:14:49.038)
He’s just one of those magic people that you meet in your life and you say, I’m so lucky to have him as a friend. And I think he felt the same way, but we’d sit and write, he’d sit down at the piano and I played, always played the piano, but he’d sit down, you always want to sit down at the piano. And I’d stand and go, change that to a, change that chord to a B flat. Now, yeah, okay. Put another bass note, put an E on that, on that B flat. Put an E, now an A seventh, you know, and that kind of stuff. I used to do that stuff.

Craig Garber (01:15:06.71)
Ha ha.

Russ (01:15:19.682)
So we got in so well, it turned up on a Thursday, we’d write from the midday onwards and in the evening we’d go out for dinner and then we’d write on the Friday, go out for dinner on the Friday evening. Right on the Saturday, it’d be there on the Sunday, we’d go for a Chinese or something, or a Thai meal. And then you’d go back on the Monday, go home, and then we’d come back four weeks later and we’d do it again. We did this for about…

10 years. I mean, right. Yeah, he was so great. Yeah. Oh, God. He has Parkinson’s disease now.

Craig Garber (01:15:50.922)
Oh wow, so that’s a long, that’s a lot of friendship. That’s a long friendship. You know, that’s a lot of time to spend with somebody.

Oh man, I’m sorry to hear that. That sucks. Terrible.

Russ (01:16:03.195)
Oh, it’s such a beautiful man. It’s such a beautiful… He wasn’t made for this world.

Craig Garber (01:16:09.902)
Wow. And number three.

Russ (01:16:15.114)
Yeah, so we started to write, no, we started to write these tunes, and we were writing all kinds of tunes, and we were writing, what, into musical tunes, you know, and he’d come down with ideas, he’d say, we actually represented England in the Eurovision Song Contest. Out of 2,000 songs, the publisher sent in one of our tunes, and it won, the Chris and I had written. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:16:41.806)
That’s so cool.

Russ (01:16:44.298)
And we did it like a queen kind of tune. And we did it like that, but it ended up like a dance tune. No Dreaming Possible. No dreaming possible, no dreaming possible. Hello, you’re living with hope in your heart. In dreams we’re invincible. Da da da. It was a beautiful tune. It was really good. It didn’t win, but Britain never used to win.

So, we wrote this other tune, we started doing musical tunes. And we wrote the song, Chris came in one day and he said, I’ve got this, he said, driving down, I’ve got this, got a title. I said, what’s the title? He said, Hope.

Russ (01:17:32.162)
great title and I said yeah let’s write something really sort of classier kind of a I don’t know either a gospely kind of tune or Whitney Houston kind of tune you know and it turned out to be no prayer sounds more beautiful than your name you bring the voice of hope to me again and when you rise to find your dream

I will be your wings, see your journey through. You need hope, there is always hope, when you have a dream. Nothing’s quite as bad as it may seem, when your spirit’s low, with nothing to show. Look inside for love, and you’ll find hope. For there are times they’re filled with

And there’s always one thing that will last. And when you find the vineyard real. Yeah, that’s what it was, you know. It was a beautiful tune. Well, it’s just another tune that we did. About five years later, we get a call from the South African embassy, or somebody from, associated with South African embassy. So we’ve heard this song of yours. We want to use it for the South African.

Craig Garber (01:18:35.32)

Russ (01:18:57.334)
Football World Cup? World Cup!

Craig Garber (01:18:59.254)

Russ (01:19:01.89)
This turned into the most amazing thing, you know, but this, what happens in your life? Sony, Sony said, we found this guy, we want to sing it. It’s a black, a black tenor. They sent me this, they sent me this DVD of this guy singing, singing Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, singing, you know, Nessun Dorma, Nessun Dorma, you know, singing this stuff, and he was singing this stuff, and they said,

Craig Garber (01:19:28.663)

Russ (01:19:31.266)
They want him to sing the song. In South African, Nelson Mandela loves his voice. So he said, I went to my house, comes to my house, we do the demo at my house. He sings it. I engineered it. Chris was there, so we did it together. And then it gets bigger and bigger, and then we put strings on it. We put like a 60 piece string section on it.

Craig Garber (01:19:42.83)
That’s so funny.

Russ (01:20:01.418)
it ended up Trevor Hall producing the thing he produced it in the end because it became this big thing they came back to us somebody suggested Nelson Mandela should say a few words in the middle

Craig Garber (01:20:06.158)

Russ (01:20:21.991)
So Nelson Mandela said, would you ask the writers to do it? So I sat down, wrote all this inspirational stuff in the middle. Ooh, we had this South African choir on it as well. Da da da, da da. The generosity of the human spirit can overcome all adversity. With care and compassion, together we can create hope.

There is always hope. So we’ve got him.

Craig Garber (01:20:51.898)
Uh, so you wrote, you wrote, you wrote Mandela’s, you wrote that speech for Mandela.

Russ (01:20:58.203)
Well I wrote the words and he came back. I’d written these, not those words, I wrote different words, but Nelson Mandela, he was very ill at the time, he came back and said, I want to write them. So we’ve got to let the great man write them, haven’t you? So he wrote his own words and he put it down and sent it to us. That’s on the song. It’s called, now it’s called Mandela’s Hope. But the idea, you see, Sony had this idea.

Craig Garber (01:21:17.166)
Wow, that turned into a whole big…

Russ (01:21:28.353)
Mandela’s book was called

Hope. His book, his autobiography is called Hope. It’s all basically, you know, it’s one of those things that happens. It was at the time, who was president of the American, it was Obama. Obama’s autobiography is called Audacity of Hope, which is very strange and so CBS had this thing.

Craig Garber (01:21:36.61)
Okay. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:21:58.286)
Okay. Yeah, that is.

Russ (01:22:04.23)
They had this link up with Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela, Obama, had a link up, they were gonna do it on their Oprah Winfrey show, and said, would you go on the show as the writer, as a writer of it? I said, yeah, I’d do it, of course I will. There was already.

Russ (01:22:31.034)
He had made, Sipiwo had recorded the album of like old songs and stuff and it was all ready to go. CBS was all ready to go. Sipiwo went into hospital. He wasn’t feeling well and went into hospital and died. 38 years. The singer, the singer, yeah, he died. He died and so it was all finished. Didn’t have a singer.

Craig Garber (01:22:48.002)
This is the tenor.

Holy shit.

Craig Garber (01:22:56.322)
So the whole thing was, wow.

Russ (01:22:58.422)
They still used the song at the opening ceremony, but they had no singer in the end, you know. Everything was… Shelled. They played it, yeah, they played it. They played it. And somebody sang it.

Craig Garber (01:23:05.09)
So they just, they played it. They played it. Yeah. Wow, that’s tragic. That’s tragic.

Russ (01:23:13.73)
You’re very sad.

Craig Garber (01:23:15.434)
Yeah. And what would be the third top musical experience?

Russ (01:23:23.502)
I had so many, you know. I was going back for a few years, when I was 20, when I was in the band The Roulettes, we were doing sessions and things like that, a lot of sessions and whatever, and a Frenchman came over to London to… We were asked to do this TV series called A Tale of Two Rivers, where French artists…

would come to London and sing by the Thames. I mean, this was a typical 60s thing, you know, magazine program. The French, you had Richard Anthony. Marion Faithful did a song, Lulu did a song, but they went over to Paris and sang by the Seine, and the Frenchman came up. Richard Anthony was a famous French singer in the 60s, came over, and we backed him. And…

You know, after we’re back to him, he said, he said, I’m going to France, I’m going to tour in France for, it’s going to be like four months. He said, would you come and back us? I’d love you to back us, you know. So we said, you know, where are we going to be? He said, well, we’ll be based in Saint-Tropez. But, obviously, keep you in a hotel in this room. Be based in Saint-Tropez.

Craig Garber (01:24:43.982)
That’s miserable, eh? Ha ha ha.

Russ (01:24:48.982)
but we travel all over with all the casinos of Europe all the best casinos which is what we did, you know, we played in Spain Italy, we went to Corsica we went to Via Reggio, Rimini and we flew everywhere on his plane, you know, his own plane, he flew his own plane yeah, this wasn’t a jet, it was a prop it was a piper, a piper Aztec actually so, but he was getting a jet, he was getting a beach craft

Craig Garber (01:25:07.275)
Private jet, yeah.

Russ (01:25:21.471)
That was magic, I’ve got to say. They were just magic times, just 20 years old. You’re travelling all over Europe and it was just, I remember that as a magic time. The first tour of the States was great though. That tops it. The first tour of the States in 1997. Yeah, that was three months. That was magic.

Craig Garber (01:25:30.806)
Yeah, I can’t imagine. God, yeah.

Craig Garber (01:25:40.458)
With Arjun. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:25:47.502)
Thank you for sharing it.

Russ (01:25:49.442)

Craig Garber (01:25:57.672)
I went through your catalog, we talked a little bit about this before we started recording and I was listening to a lot of the tracks and reading all the lyrics and you appeared to me to be someone who’s definitely more looks at life as a glass half full than a glass half empty. You’re very positive. And even in our brief email exchanges, you came.

across life. In fact, I noted it because that was, it was, you know, it was like that came through, you know, I pay attention to stuff like that. And I was, yeah, you just would, it was just like really like, oh, you know, it wasn’t like, you know, just normal, like correspondence, it was just like really positive. And I appreciate, I appreciate that, you know.

Russ (01:26:29.278)
Yeah, yeah.

Russ (01:26:45.778)

Craig Garber (01:26:47.21)
I was curious if you’ve always been like that and if so, where did you get that? How did that evolve or did you work to become like that?

Russ (01:26:59.054)
Again, I think it’s probably a lot to do with genetics, because my mum and dad seem pretty positive, you know. They’re positive people. And I think that gave me a great start in life, being around that atmosphere. I had a great family, a great family thing.

Craig Garber (01:27:15.17)

Russ (01:27:21.574)
I think really, to be honest, I became more and more positive as I said before, as I came out of depression.

It was like, you know, I think I’m so glad to be alive.

I thought every day when I was depressed, I thought, am I going to die today? Am I going to die tomorrow? You know, when I wake up the next day, you know. And it was one of those sort of things. When you come out of it, you just come out of it. The other end, it’s like you just… I stuck to it, but it was…

Craig Garber (01:27:53.306)
But you stuck to it. You know, it’s like, it’s like a lot of people say, I’m never going to drink again, you know, and then like it’s Friday there in the pub, right?

Russ (01:28:02.643)
I have one gin and tonic, one gin and tonic every week. I’m allowed that, Greg. Ha ha ha.

Craig Garber (01:28:04.758)
Yeah. No, no, not you. No, no, not you. No, I’m saying how, no, I’m not saying, but you know how some people say, oh, I’m going to never drink again. And you said, oh, I’m going to look at everyday positive, but you stuck with it. That’s what I’m saying. That’s what that was unusual. You didn’t take it for granted.

Russ (01:28:18.07)
Yeah, no, I do, I do, I do. I do, yeah, no, I thought… No, no, isn’t that weird? But I was… And it reflected in my songs. In my, I did a lot of things. It did reflect in my songs. I wanted to say to people, you know, it’s something about saying, I was able to do it. The idea of being able to put…

Craig Garber (01:28:28.946)
Well, it’s unusual. Yeah, it’s it’s.

Craig Garber (01:28:34.826)

Russ (01:28:46.486)
You can say something to somebody and it doesn’t mean a lot, but you can sing the words to somebody and it means more. If you say, thunder and lightning is striking you down and you feel in your head there’s no one around, kick out the trouble standing in your way, look outside, it’s a brand new day. You know the moment, you know the sign, there won’t be a mountain that you can’t climb, you know what it is when it comes inside. Could be any time of the day or night. Get up, get up, get back on your feet, bang the drum and start the beat.

Get out, get out, get out on the street, dance away your troubles out on the street. It’s your time to win. Your time to break out. Your time to take out. All you put in. Your time is gonna come! Da da da. Your time is gonna come! Da da da. And I wanted… It made me feel good. If it makes me feel good, you’re the same as me, you’re not separate from me. If it makes me feel good, you tell a joke, somebody laughs. You tell something, say something sad.

Craig Garber (01:29:30.316)
Yeah, totally different when you sing it. Right.

Craig Garber (01:29:40.706)

Russ (01:29:43.31)
and the other person feels we are related as human beings. We’re related, so say something good, say something, make people feel good. Tell them this is how I feel. You can feel the same way, you’re not gonna feel indifferent. Just, you know, but this is music that’s done this to me. It’s music more than anything, it’s music that, I go in the studio, you know, and every day is gonna be blissful.

Craig Garber (01:29:46.762)
Yeah, totally.

Craig Garber (01:30:02.669)

Russ (01:30:12.766)
Not every day not as blissful as maybe that day, but it’s gonna be blissful. I come in, you know, you’re either gonna have an idea for a song, you put down the drums, you put down a few chords, you come in feeling great at lunchtime. You’ve got this to look forward to, to go back in there and develop, and you just write some words to it. You write some wild words to it, you put down the chords, oh, this chorus is so good, it’s such a good chorus. It reflects in what you’re doing, you know.

You realize spirit, there’s a spirit there that’s undeniable. For me, it’s undeniable. And you’re, cause you’re the same as me, you’re not separate from me, nor is the guy in Russia actually. If they just put on a different head, you know, and the idea is finding the passion. It’s finding that passion, I realized the passion, with passion, our education in the world should be passion, should be something you should find everybody’s passion.

Craig Garber (01:30:48.109)

Craig Garber (01:30:54.062)
Correct, I agree.

Russ (01:31:11.302)
follow it, follow that passion. Everybody, that should be the education, not following loads of history and geography and science and you follow this and you follow that. You should follow that, find that passion and go with it. Everybody should have the passion that they can follow and they wake up every day looking forward to every day. You don’t go through a life saying, oh god I don’t want to do this today. I never feel like that when I’m doing music.

Craig Garber (01:31:19.958)

Craig Garber (01:31:37.906)
Right. I learned that from doing this show, from talking to hundreds of artists like you, and it’s changed my life.

Russ (01:31:42.486)
You don’t, you know, it’s a whole different ballgame. You speak to Roger, you speak to musicians, and they all say the same stuff, you know, they say.

when you’re around them, you know, I’ve never written with many people, but now I’m writing with people that are 25 years younger than me, and they are just the same. There’s no generation gap when I’m writing. They will tell you. If you speak to space elevator, you speak to fugitive and the guys. There’s a guy called Marley Davidson, who’s a very talented kid. He’s 30 years old, and he’s phoning me all the time, you know, he’s writing his own, he doesn’t need me to write with him, he’s a great writer.

Craig Garber (01:32:05.578)
Yeah, for sure.

Russ (01:32:25.142)
Marley Davidson, it’s a Scotsman. It’s great, I mean these kids are great, you know, you’re writing with them and there’s no separation. It’s magic.

Craig Garber (01:32:28.256)
It is a great name.

Craig Garber (01:32:37.026)
Well, you crawled out of a hole and your life became blissful, but you kept it like that. And I think that’s what’s really, you know, I think that’s a choice. I mean, I know it’s a feeling, but I think there’s a choice involved. I mean, like everything else, you have a choice. How you’re going to look at today, is it going to be half full, half empty? Is it going to be, you know, I, I have developed the mindset that anything that happens to me is good. And I never had that as a younger person. Like if, if it’s, even if the outcome’s bad,

Russ (01:33:03.154)
Yeah, maybe.

Craig Garber (01:33:05.674)
it’s going to be good because I don’t know where that bad is going to take me next. I don’t know it at that moment, but you know, eight months down the road, I could say, Hey, thank God that happened because X, Y, Z, you know? And so, yeah, I think it’s, I think, I think you have to, I think that’s a conscious, a daily, almost conscious decision, you know, that you have to make. How are you going to take things?

Russ (01:33:17.379)
I agree.

Russ (01:33:25.466)
It’s funny as well, Craig, it’s funny when you speak to a like-minded person, you know, you’ve got that sort of higher qualities of the mind kind of thing going on, you know. You do go, yeah, but it’s a higher kind of conversation as well, innit, when you get into it, you know, and it’s such a positive conversation. And you find it with a lot of musicians that they’ve thought about it, especially…

Craig Garber (01:33:36.499)

Craig Garber (01:33:46.431)
Yeah, it feels good.

Craig Garber (01:33:52.214)

Russ (01:33:52.31)
especially songwriters and all that, you know, they understand, musicians understand, you know, when you talk about, you know, other stuff, you know, and I just wish politicians, I wish politicians, if they found music, they wouldn’t wanna go to war, you know, and I say, before you decide to be a politician,

Craig Garber (01:34:04.866)

Russ (01:34:21.166)
put your own house in order and then be a politician. Put your own house in order first because they haven’t, you know, they’ve got this blind ambition, they wanna get somewhere. And they obviously wanna become, what’s the number one for them? What’s being number one? Number one is not being on the top of the charts, it’s being president or it’s being prime minister. And they get there not knowing what they’re doing and they don’t have any higher qualities of the mind. They don’t think like this, they don’t think about.

Craig Garber (01:34:23.454)
Yeah, right.

Craig Garber (01:34:27.863)

Craig Garber (01:34:40.822)
Yeah, whatever their thing is.

Russ (01:34:50.87)
you know, they don’t think, they think about… Yeah, yeah, it’s different, it’s a different thing, you know. It’s very, very sad because people are suffering because you haven’t got, you don’t get, you don’t get really spiritual people being heads of countries, really, they’re all different. You know, when you look at it, if you don’t…

Craig Garber (01:34:52.174)
I think it’s priorities. You know, they have different priorities. I don’t know.

Craig Garber (01:35:12.682)
Ah, no. It doesn’t appear that way. I mean, they may talk a good game or like, well, I’m in church every Sunday. That’s got nothing to do with freaking spirituality. To me, it’s to do with spirituality. Yeah, I agree with you on that.

Russ (01:35:25.138)
Nothing, nothing, nothing to do with it. Nothing to do with it, it’s nothing to do with it, you know. So, and you wouldn’t go to war anyway, you wouldn’t go to war, so I mean, it’s…

Russ (01:35:39.043)
It’s a whole different mindset, you know, it’s a big question and it’s going to require a big answer somebody greater than me

Craig Garber (01:35:51.615)
Well, you know, I just want to tell you, you mentioned Jerry Lieber. I had his son Oliver on my show recently. Very successful songwriter. I could send you the, you mentioned how this other guy was an alcoholic. Jerry was a raging alcoholic.

Russ (01:36:00.954)
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Russ (01:36:10.167)
We’ll see. Yeah.

Craig Garber (01:36:11.874)
And his kids were not allowed to see him unless they called his secretary and made an appointment to come down to, I swear to God, I’ll send you Oliver’s interview. And unless he made an appointment to come down to the studio and then they could sit outside while he was inside producing. But they couldn’t go by. Yeah.

Russ (01:36:23.198)
You are kidding. Wow.

Russ (01:36:40.785)
Really? Well, I went to one of his sessions, you know, in New York. I went to a Jerry Lieber session.

Craig Garber (01:36:46.046)
Up in the Brill Building there?

Russ (01:36:48.486)
No, no, this is an actual session at the, um… Yeah, what’s the studio in… what’s one of the famous studios? No, no.

Craig Garber (01:36:52.028)
Oh, in a studio. Okay.

Like CBS, maybe? There was so many in the city. That’s what I was thinking of the power station.

Russ (01:37:04.99)
not the power station, not the power station no not the power station, it was um it’s one of the others, I saw Gary Brooker, he was in the same hotel as me Gary Brooker, this is when I was doing, in 1975 when I went to do um I went to do Rogers the cut of his album

Craig Garber (01:37:15.209)
That’s wild.

Russ (01:37:24.11)
I saw Gary because I knew Gary from 1965, this is 10 years later, you know. Gary went, Ross! We were in the same, I said what are you doing here? He said what are you doing here? I said what are you doing here? He said, he said I’m putting some, Jerry Lieber, I think Lieber and Stoller actually produced their album, Procal Harem. They produced that album, they did produce an album for them, you know, and he said Jerry Lieber’s putting…

Craig Garber (01:37:30.551)
That’s crazy.

Craig Garber (01:37:38.114)
That’s crazy.

Russ (01:37:52.194)
Jerry Lieber’s put in this brass section on one of the songs. They were doing a Lieber and Stoller song. They were doing, I keep forgetting. Do you remember I keep forgetting? You’re too young to remember this. You say, I’m too young to remember it really, to be honest. I keep forgetting you don’t love me no more. Da da do da. Keep forgetting you don’t want me no more. Da da do do. And he put a brass section on it. And I went along with Gary.

Craig Garber (01:38:05.504)

Craig Garber (01:38:11.298)
No, I don’t know that one.

Russ (01:38:22.202)
Oh god, I can’t remember the name of the studio.

Can’t remember the name of the studio, but it was in New York, yeah.

Craig Garber (01:38:30.882)
That’s wild. But yeah, I’ll send you that interview if you wanna check it out. I wanna talk, to whatever extent you’re comfortable, Russ. You released in 2020 an album called It’s Good to Be Here. Beautiful album, great songwriting, vocals, guitar. Excellent on there. The first track though is pretty heavy. It’s called My Awakening. And I was curious, again, to whatever extent you’re comfortable, between the title of It’s Good to Be Here and then the lyrics of My Awakening,

I was curious if that song or the album was written in response to something going on in your life at that particular time.

Russ (01:39:10.015)
Well, at that time, I started to write for an album, I thought, and I just signed a new publishing deal with BMG. I set up my own publishing, but I…

I signed this deal with them and I went to the head of BMG at the time and said, you know, if I make an album, would you release it? He said, yeah, of course. So I felt really inspired. It’s one of those moments that I’ve gone to in a new album. And at that time, I’ve never stopped doing it, Craig. And that is the thing, you know. And so, you know, what you repeatedly do.

to keep the muscle memory and stuff like that, you know, and I’m still writing every day. I was in the studio before I came in here, so I’m doing it every day still, you know. And this is my awakening, that was the idea, and I thought, it’s a nice idea for, I wrote down a few little things here, yeah, they offered me a deal, a record and publisher, I felt very inspired. Yeah.

I said I’d work with a title or a lyric and that was the idea. I had the title and I thought this is going to be my new album. And so, but now I’ve got some great ideas. I’ve done another album since then. I’ve got another album that I did in the lockdown that’s not been released. So I’m trying to find, I’ve got two albums need to be released. I’ve got one that I did in the lockdown 2020. Got some great tunes on there. The people have heard them.

Well I think they’re great anyway, I think they’ve worked out really well. They will come out sometime.

Craig Garber (01:40:59.574)
You know, it’s funny. You remind me I, you’re like the guy you can never retire because like you have so much things you need to accomplish. Yeah. You know, and I, yeah.

Russ (01:41:13.431)
Yeah, I want to keep going. I want to be 110, 120 if possible. I run every day. I have a trainer on Fridays, Friday morning at 7.15. I run every day, and I’ve always done it. I run in the morning. I get up and run. And then I go in the studio. You feel alive because you get the endorphin serotonin rush. So I do that. And then in the.

Craig Garber (01:41:28.482)
That’s great.

Craig Garber (01:41:37.27)

Russ (01:41:40.222)
I come out, have lunch, and then I go for a run in the afternoon. And so twice a day. I run twice a day, yeah. I run twice.

Craig Garber (01:41:44.246)
Oh, so you run twice a day. Oh, that’s good for you, man. Well, you’ve always been really fit and really slim. I noticed that in all the photos that I was looking at. And yet you always take care of yourself as things like.

Russ (01:41:52.542)
No, no, yeah, I want to live, I want to live as long as possible. My brother died at 50, my dad was 60, whatever, his brother was 60 something. My mum was 89 and so I’m hoping I’m going to, I’ve got her genes, I don’t know, maybe, I don’t know, but her brother died at 98. He fell over basically, unfortunately.

Craig Garber (01:42:10.654)
Yeah, seems like it.

Craig Garber (01:42:19.422)
Oh my god.

Russ (01:42:20.542)
I thought he was going to lift to 102, 103, I said to him, what’s the secret? What’s the secret? And he said, I don’t think, I worry Russ. And he was 98, you know, he was in the hospital. I don’t think I worry. But you know, I breathe, I spend a lot of time breathing.

Craig Garber (01:42:31.85)

That’s awesome.

Russ (01:42:40.318)
And it’s the biggest gift you might say, how do you breathe when you speak so much? I didn’t think you could breathe. I thought you were thinking.

Craig Garber (01:42:48.662)
You mean, you mean, what do you mean you spend time breathing?

Russ (01:42:55.158)
Conscious Breed.

Craig Garber (01:42:55.402)
Like you meditate and you conscious. Okay, yeah, yeah. You breathe through your nose, right?

Russ (01:42:59.65)
It’s the-

Russ (01:43:03.202)
Breathe through my nose, yeah, breathe through my nose, but conscious breathing, as long as you’re concentrating on the breathing. And it’s the biggest gift that we have that we don’t use, you know. And I’ve done it for years. I did it with the first Dan Millman, when Dan Millman put out a set of basically Peaceful Warrior sort of meditations. And it was like cassettes. And I found them the other day, I’ve still got them in there.

Craig Garber (01:43:27.415)

Russ (01:43:32.21)
It’s got to be 35 years ago he put these things out. And they were wonderful, you know, and meditation was part of it.

Russ (01:43:45.366)
and it does something to your head, it just does something, it changes your psyche. It’s amazing. You realize you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it, but it takes, you’ve got to treat it like you’re learning the piano or learning the guitar. You’ve got to study it the same. And you realize the first thing you do when you’re born is you breathe. The last thing you do when you die is you breathe, your last breath. And you realize that

Craig Garber (01:43:50.786)

Craig Garber (01:43:59.411)
Yeah, I could see that.

Craig Garber (01:44:09.912)

Russ (01:44:15.434)
If you make it habit and turn it into a muscle memory kind of thing, you know, because you have these… You can find these things online, they’re good, you know, things like Calm. Calm is very good.

Craig Garber (01:44:29.354)
Yeah, yeah.

Russ (01:44:31.914)
and they’ve got these… Jeff Warren does a great thing on there as well, he does a great thing but they all say the same thing, it’s the breathing it’s the actual thing about breathing you consciously breathe in

consciously breathe out.

Russ (01:44:52.374)
and you’re going to get thoughts come, you’re going to get thoughts, mind-wandering, daydreams, all this kind of stuff, they’re going to keep coming, because that’s part of being human. The key is to get rid of them.

Craig Garber (01:45:08.298)
Yeah, clear out the clutter.

Russ (01:45:09.882)
because I found them to be destructive. You know, you often have those kind of thoughts. Get rid of those. Get rid of, just get rid of those. So every time you have a thought, mind wandering, a daydream, anything like that, you breathe. So you make that a habit. But anytime you get something like that, a daydream will come in, breathe. It’s what people do when they smoked a cigarette years ago. When they smoke a cigarette, you’re sitting there, that would give them…

They feel comfortable, but it’s not that, it’s the actual act of breathing.

Craig Garber (01:45:43.63)
You’re probably right on that, yeah.

Russ (01:45:45.81)
I used to say to my wife, stop doing that Janne, just breathe. But she was so hooked on the nicotine, obviously she was hooked on it. But just breathe because you get the same kick, you get this…

Craig Garber (01:46:01.122)
Yeah, I used to smoke you’re 100% right. It wasn’t this smoking. It was the peaceful exhalation, the peaceful exhaling.

Russ (01:46:10.37)
That gets, Craig, that gets better and better and better. It will change your life. It will change, do it. It will change your life. You’ll come back to me in a year, and I’m saying, Russ, you don’t know what you’ve done telling me that. I promise you. But, and don’t worry if you lose it, you haven’t lost it. You think you’ve lost, ah! Then you realize, you go back to breathing, you realize it’s all still there, and it gets stronger and stronger. You feel more cool, chilled.

Craig Garber (01:46:14.503)

Craig Garber (01:46:18.903)

Craig Garber (01:46:23.21)
Yeah. Okay.

Russ (01:46:41.61)
and you get deeper.

Craig Garber (01:46:41.822)
I do meditate periodically and I’ve noticed now that I automatically like if I’m stressed about something, which thank God doesn’t happen very often, but I do start breathing right away and I’m like, okay, first of all, let me just chill out immediately and like settle myself and then usually everything goes away. But yeah.

Russ (01:46:54.094)
That’s it.

Russ (01:46:59.778)
Well that’s the key, that is the key, it gets deeper and deeper. You will, you, I didn’t realise as an organism how you can change so much from this person that could get angry or could get so on. In the end you just, nothing chills you, nothing, you’re chilled about everything.

Craig Garber (01:47:21.374)
You know, I also have a viewpoint of how other people think of me or how what other people do is none of my business. So I don’t really get bent out of shape about it. You know, if someone leaves a nasty comment on a YouTube, I don’t really care. That’s not

Russ (01:47:29.377)
That’s good.

That’s good. Yeah, but that’s very common for humanity. That’s very common. Most humans are worried about what does he think, what does she think about me? What does da da? And you know, they don’t give a monkeys about you. They say how it affects them. That’s how it affects them, because we’re the same, we’re not separate from each other, but we have the potential to be chilled. Everyone has that potential. This is why they’re making, I think probably in the States as well, they’re making a big thing about.

Craig Garber (01:47:45.586)
No, I don’t give a shit. No. I don’t care.

Craig Garber (01:47:55.735)

Russ (01:48:01.482)

Craig Garber (01:48:03.459)
Oh, it’s huge here. Yeah, it’s huge here.

Russ (01:48:04.81)
It’s huge, it’s huge, you know, and I know it’s been like this in LA for a long time, this kind of, there’s been that, but you don’t know how much of it is really…

Craig Garber (01:48:15.818)
pump in circumstance. Yeah, yeah. LA is not really the rest of the Yeah, it’s

Russ (01:48:17.37)
Exactly. You don’t know, you don’t. It’s a nice sound to say, it’s a nice sound to say, meditate. I don’t say, I don’t say meditate, I usually say breathing because it sounds more.

Craig Garber (01:48:27.606)
No, I like, I’m gonna do some, I’m gonna look at some YouTube videos on that because I do enjoy that and I do get a lot. Okay.

Russ (01:48:32.5)
Look at Jeff Warren, he does a 30 day course.

Craig Garber (01:48:41.31)
Okay. I will check it out for sure. Cause I do like it.

Russ (01:48:42.442)
and he does it from the beginning. He does it from beginning to end. And there’s a great one when he gets to, there’s one, the Cosmic Burpee, which is about three from the end. It’s about day 20, out of 30 days, it’s about day 28, something like that. And he talks about, he said, here I am. He said, you know, basically awareness, the idea, when you get these thoughts,

mind-wandering daydreams come you get them you know the idea is to give them bigger it’s like training it’s like training sheep or cattle you give them a bigger grazing field so you give your thoughts mind-wandering things you give them a bigger grazing field so you keep them further and further getting further and further away from you so they go further the more use you breathe when they come

You breathe, they come, you breathe, they go further and further away, and in there you notice they’re not there anymore. That’s the key. That is the key. When they’re there, you keep doing it until they’re not there anymore, worrying you.

Craig Garber (01:49:48.766)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Craig Garber (01:49:56.03)

Russ (01:49:57.354)
And so you’ve got so much more, you go deeper into yourself and then something happens, you become more sane, you became more friendly, it all changes, everything becomes less egotistical and everything. It’s just a different life and it’s a wonderful life. And so that’s what you do. So, and he says in Cosmic Burpee, he said, you know, he said, and he talks about…

Every meditation, it doesn’t last for 10 minutes, 10 or 12 minutes, every day lasts for 10 or 12 minutes and it’s on to the next one. It’s on to the next one. So, but you’ve got to do it every day. Do it every day if possible. You will want to do it every day anyway. So, yeah, you’ll do it every day. With mind wandering, with mind wandering and awareness, he does a great one. He says, you know, it’s awareness. He said, there’s only one awareness.

Craig Garber (01:50:27.778)
which is perfect for me.

Craig Garber (01:50:38.274)
If I commit to it, I’ll do it every day, I assure you. Yeah, if I commit to something.

Russ (01:50:52.874)
He said it’s not your awareness, their awareness, and mine. There’s only one awareness. And that’s the universe.

And the universe, you’re part of the universe, we come from the universe, we’re not separate from the universe, we’re part of the universe. The Big Bang, and we turn into, from the Big Bang, we turn into you and me, and eyes, skin, nose, talking together. Think about that. But it comes from the universe. The universe is awareness, and the universe is, listen to me, part of the universe.

Craig Garber (01:51:18.295)

Russ (01:51:30.83)
talking to you, listening to me, power of the universe. It’s a, you call it, this is a cosmic burpee, it’s wonderful stuff. It’s mind blowing, it’s mind blowing, but you know, when you get into it, it’s wonderful. It really sort of enhances your life and friendliness as well, you know. I think I’ve always been friendly, actually. I tried to be a bit moody when I was younger because I thought it was cool.

Craig Garber (01:51:40.398)
I’ll check it out because I yeah.

Craig Garber (01:51:58.322)
I didn’t suit you. Hey, let me, I wanna ask you about your guitar, your holy strat, because I know you mostly played Les Paul’s and then you got this holy strat. I’d love you to share the story about that.

Russ (01:51:59.638)
But I was never happy doing it, you know. But I was pretty friendly anyway, you know. Ha ha ha.

Russ (01:52:12.941)

Russ (01:52:20.998)
I had to strap first in Arjun, I used the strap, I used the holy strap with Arjun and then I got him to Les Paul.

Craig Garber (01:52:26.986)
With the ho- with the holes in it?

Okay, so good at Russ’s website, was it russ

Russ (01:52:37.994)
Yeah, that’s Sven’s. That’s Sven’s. That’s music. Yeah, yeah. That’s the one that Sven… Sven stays at… But Sven runs my… He runs that website for me.

Craig Garber (01:52:43.132)
Okay, well, what’s the…

Okay. Yeah, but it’s a pretty extensive site. There’s a lot of information, but I’ve never, I’ve never ever seen a guitar like that ever in my life. I mean, it’s, it’s what, tell the story about it. It’s really weird almost, you know?

Russ (01:53:04.534)
Yeah, well, I had that cut around. I was in a band then called Unit 4 Plus 2. That’s before Argent, you know. Yeah, that was Unit 4 Plus 2. That Bob hitman, Bob, yeah. I was a guitar player, Bob was a drummer. They didn’t have a guitar player and a drummer. So basically we started going out. They said, will you join us when the roulette split? He said, will you join us? We did a tour with them. Then we started Argent. But…

Craig Garber (01:53:10.154)
Mm hmm. Right. I read about that. That was the plus two is you and Bob, right? Yeah.


Russ (01:53:35.53)
Yeah, with the Unit 4 Plus 2, they had another guitar player called Buster Meikle. He was a good singer actually, Buster. He was a rhythm guitar player, you know, he had a black strap. And he said to me, I’m going to sell my guitar, do you want to buy it? Black strap. I looked at it, I pulled it off of him and I thought…

I tell you what was happening at the time, I don’t know if you remember, you’re probably too young to remember this, but at that time in the 60s, in the late 60s, they had those, a lot of furniture had holes cut in it, like you would get those aluminum chairs, so you’d have holes cut in them and things, and they were very light as well. You could pile chairs up and you’d have a dozen chairs all in a pile, you could move them around.

Craig Garber (01:54:15.651)
Oh, like retro sort of, yeah.

Russ (01:54:30.198)
It was very clever and aluminium, aluminium. And they would, yeah, yeah. Yeah, they would pile the chairs up and walk around with these different chairs and stuff. And I thought, I’d like the holes cut in my guitar. I said to my friend, Jim Wilkinson, who was, he was at the Royal College of Art, I said, Jim, get.

Craig Garber (01:54:33.61)
Aluminum here. I’m just gonna translate for you

Craig Garber (01:54:51.746)
Is that the same Wilkinson, Wilkinson Bridges? And is that the same guy? Okay, there’s a Wilkinson like a, it’s like a Whammy bar, Wilkinson like a whole unit. I was just.

Russ (01:54:56.26)
No, I don’t know him. No, no.

Russ (01:55:06.35)
Oh right, okay, a wamby bar on the guitars. No, no, no

Craig Garber (01:55:09.427)
Yeah, it’s a Wilkinson. Okay. Different guy.

Craig Garber (01:55:21.346)

Russ (01:55:35.798)
make it look like it’s metal. So he did it and yeah, that was it. So that’s how that came about.

Craig Garber (01:55:43.614)
He just randomly cut like, how did he know? Like he just randomly cut those holes. But it’s really smooth. It’s it’s like, it looks really smooth in there, like kind of like those retro, you know, era sixties stuff.

Russ (01:55:49.182)
Yeah, Daugherty’s got one, you know.

Russ (01:56:00.382)
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, I know. He did it pretty well, he did it, yeah, he did it pretty well. It’s funny, I did a video with Roger when we did his album at Shepparton and Roger said, I really like that guitar. And because it was at Shepparton, yeah, it’s Roger Daltridge, because it was at the film studio, there were carpenters there, chippies, you know, electricians and things there, and he said to the chippy, he said, he said, can you cut…

Craig Garber (01:56:16.022)
Roger Daltrey you’re talking about now. Yeah.

Russ (01:56:27.89)
somehow like they see it see his guitar can you cut some holes in that like that and it came back and half an hour later all these holes cut in the guitar and that was a Les Paul somewhere there’s a Roger Daltrey guitar with holes in it like that but it’s a Les Paul I don’t know if he’s still got it he might

Craig Garber (01:56:42.23)
That is so funny. No. How did that change? Did it change the sound or

Russ (01:56:50.654)
I don’t think so. I used it on Hold Your Head Up. I used it on I used it on Go Gay Rock and Roll to you.

Craig Garber (01:56:59.923)
It’s such a beautiful, it’s like a, it kind of looks like something you’d see on the wall, hanging on the wall.

Russ (01:57:00.319)

Russ (01:57:06.751)
Stay there just a sec, just a sec.

Craig Garber (01:57:08.584)
Yeah, man.

I hope he’s bringing back his guitar. You guys gotta see this. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Russ (01:57:16.898)
This is a different neck now. It’s a different.

Craig Garber (01:57:21.302)
Oh, this is, I mean, that is so cool. Look, now, Ibanez has something like, but it’s nothing like that. It’s just a whole hand. Yeah, that is phenomenal. And what year is that?

Russ (01:57:29.404)


This is 65.

Craig Garber (01:57:39.638)
That is so cool, man. I have, can you show that one more time, please, Russ? Can you show that one more time? Oh, man. And it always had the humbucker in there, did you put that in?

Russ (01:57:51.946)
Now I put the humbucker in there. I bought when I first in 1970 we went to the States

Craig Garber (01:58:00.182)
Beautiful man

Russ (01:58:03.013)
uh and in 1970 they put the hambuckers in but whereas this is yeah i bought two hambuckers they were 35 dollars each 35 dollars each and uh

Craig Garber (01:58:16.93)
That’s amazing.

Russ (01:58:19.194)
I had… I forget somebody put it in for me. I’m not good at that kind of stuff. Somebody put it in for me. Yeah, yeah, but it had a different… sorry.

Craig Garber (01:58:27.214)
That’s really cool. What a beautiful guitar, man. Is that your number one? Like your number one guitar? Yeah.

Russ (01:58:36.638)
Yeah, yeah, I still, I’ve got it in the house fun enough. So I’ve been using, I’ve been playing it in the house. So it was there fun enough when you were talking about it.

Craig Garber (01:58:48.418)
That’s so cool. And do you still play Les Pauls?

Russ (01:58:52.702)
Yeah, I’m doing a tour of Germany, of southern Germany, in April and I’m doing a rock classic tour and Midgeur is doing it as well. If you remember Midgeur, he’s doing it, I’m doing it. A couple of famous Germans are doing it, a couple of Supertramp are doing it as well, but I’m special guest artist.

Craig Garber (01:59:10.574)
That’s wild. Yes.

Russ (01:59:20.246)
very special guest artist actually, they’ve got on the bill, which is quite nice. Doing, I’m only doing like five songs each, which is quite nice, you know, with a 60 piece orchestra. Now that’s gonna be interesting. So they’re renting me, they said, are you going to bring a guitar? I said, yeah, well, I hope I can, I hope I’m allowed. And they said, yeah, of course. Do you want us to rent anything? I said, yeah, rent me a Les Paul as well, will you?

Craig Garber (01:59:22.764)
Of course.

Craig Garber (01:59:32.716)
Oh wow!

Russ (01:59:50.806)
so basically I’d be able to change around or if I break a string I can change rather than do anything else so uh… yeah they’re getting all the gear for me Robert Hart’s doing it as well

Craig Garber (02:00:01.646)
That’s cool. Oh, the guy who wrote the mankind.

Russ (02:00:05.15)
yeah no he didn’t write it no he didn’t write it was chris winter wrote it was robert told me robert told me about chris winter he told me about chris yeah and that’s how we got together no robert he sings from man from man

Craig Garber (02:00:12.575)
Oh, okay.

Craig Garber (02:00:16.308)

Craig Garber (02:00:23.207)
Right, that’s what you told me.

Russ (02:00:24.779)

Craig Garber (02:00:26.154)
Russ, tell me the funniest or most embarrassing thing ever happened to you on stage or in the studio.

Russ (02:00:33.206)
Well, showing that guitar up for a start.

Craig Garber (02:00:39.81)
That’s Bawzy.

Russ (02:00:39.822)
I used to do, we used to do, we used to do, we used to do hold your head up and then with the hold your head up woman hold your head up woman hold your head up woman hold your head up woman. And I used to spring the guitar around like that and throw it in the air. And the idea was the guitar comes down, grab the guitar, lights go out, finish.

Craig Garber (02:01:00.906)
Holy crap.

Craig Garber (02:01:06.775)

Russ (02:01:08.278)
This time I threw the guitar up, the lights went out and it just landed on my nose. That was a good one. And blood went whoosh, broke my nose. And that was a strange one. What else? There was a strange one. The worst thing that we ever did that was painful. When I say I love music, I love doing music. Do what you can do, but don’t try and do things you can’t do. You know what I’m saying? Years ago when we were in the roulettes.

Craig Garber (02:01:15.909)
Oh my god.

Russ (02:01:38.05)
this is going back to the 60s, we thought we could actually earn some good money doing cabaret because there was a band called the Barronites, they were very funny, they could sing songs and be very funny, they have hit records as well, there’s a band called the Rockin’ Berries, they used to do cabaret, they could do cabaret and do entertaining stuff doing everything, you know doing humour and all that kind of stuff.

We thought we could do it. Somebody said if you could do the humour…

In your set, you could earn big money for a week, a week in the miners’ clubs and places like that. So we got this set together and it was embarrassing. We weren’t funny. We could play rock and roll, which was what they wanted. We were trying to do tap dancing and sort of humor. That was embarrassing. We were doing Me and My Shadow and the bass player was tap dancing on the…

you know, on the stage. It was embarrassing.

Craig Garber (02:02:47.062)
Didn’t work well for you guys.

Russ (02:02:49.011)
No, no, that was a bad one.

Craig Garber (02:03:03.222)
This is a tough question for someone like you especially, as such a music lover. Tell me your top three Desert Island CDs.

Russ (02:03:07.467)

Russ (02:03:17.839)
Oh god.

Craig Garber (02:03:19.574)
Just for this moment, you know, because that changes every day.

Russ (02:03:21.442)
For this moment, um… For this moment… Uhhh

Russ (02:03:28.638)
I love Iris by Goo Dolls.

Craig Garber (02:03:32.182)
Really? Okay.

Russ (02:03:34.334)
I love that song, yeah I love it, I love it. Something about that song, I think it’s magic. Errrr…

Craig Garber (02:03:40.514)
pretty really pretty song.

Russ (02:03:42.222)
That’s beautiful, yeah. Um…

Russ (02:03:47.238)
I loved, there was a thing, there was a thing called…

I’m just trying to think what his name was.

Russ (02:04:02.886)
I loved Drops of Jupiter by Train. That was a great tune. Do you remember Drops of Jupiter?

Craig Garber (02:04:11.146)
I don’t know that song, but I do know Train. I had the guitar player on here a while back.

Russ (02:04:17.22)
Yeah, that was a great song.

Russ (02:04:26.175)
I’m left, uh…

Russ (02:04:29.986)
There’s some classical things. I love Nessun Dorma, I love that song, I love Beethoven’s…

Russ (02:04:39.21)
Moonlight Sonata which is a beautiful tune, you know I mean there’s four there, isn’t there, there’s four

Russ (02:04:50.951)
There’s just too many, you know, there’s just too many.

Craig Garber (02:04:53.106)
I know. It’s a very tough question.

Russ (02:04:55.694)
That’s just too many.

Craig Garber (02:04:59.042)
Just a few more questions, Russ, and I really appreciate it. This has been a lot of fun, and I really appreciate your time, man.

Russ (02:05:04.395)
Yes, good, yeah.

Craig Garber (02:05:07.158)
You mentioned your accident. You had a childhood accident that left you blind in one eye and your doctors tried to save your vision through 10 operations over three years, which I can’t imagine how stressful that was, but it didn’t work. Tell me about that accident and how it impacted your life and your outlook on things.

Russ (02:05:16.118)

Russ (02:05:25.834)
Yeah, it’s a strange one. I can only… I don’t know what I would have done had I not have had the accident. Maybe the accident was a catalyst for me to be so disciplined. Maybe it was the accident that did that. I don’t know. I don’t know what I was like before. I know I was like mad about football before I was hit. Now when I was…

When I was young, I was very extrovert, Craig. I was very, very extrovert. I was like standing on my head in restaurants and things on the table or something. When I was six, when I was seven, you know, I must’ve been the most precocious kid. My mom and dad used to let me do it, you know, which was dreadful. They must’ve thought, what a precocious brat. But I used to do it.

Craig Garber (02:06:00.834)
Ha ha

Craig Garber (02:06:04.174)
That’s hilarious.

Craig Garber (02:06:13.36)

Russ (02:06:18.626)
but trying to get my train of thought here, you know. I just remember, I liked fun. I liked a lot of fun with my friends. I used to knock at my door, like in the summer holidays. And this was a big particular summer holiday. The kids knocked at my door and said, do you fancy coming out? We’re gonna go up to the woods. There were woods very close to where we were. They were called Temple Bar Woods, which was about a mile.

mile and a half from my house and as we were walking along the road there were about seven guys all about my age probably a little bit older 14 15 and as I was walking I was 12 nearly 13 as we were walking along the road I noticed they had slug guns pellet guns and they had

Russ (02:07:15.33)
It scared the life out of me, you know, I just knew something bad was going to happen. I was hit, you know, they started shooting these guns around. And finally a slingshot, it was a slingshot, hit me in the eye. And it was one of those, bang, you know, and I don’t know how I survived it to be honest, but I was rushed after about two hours because I walked home. I was carried half the way home.

Craig Garber (02:07:24.494)
When you say catapult like a slingshot, that’s a slingshot over here, right? Yeah, yeah.

Russ (02:07:44.906)
and my mum and dad didn’t realise how badly I was hit. You know, I was trying not to… I remember my dad playing the piano and I was saying, dad, don’t play, don’t play, that’s killing me, that’s killing my head, you know. You shouldn’t go and play, you shouldn’t go out there with catapults and guns and things like that, you know. It’s like guns. But I did, and then I was rushed to hospital. I had both my eyes covered up for two weeks in an eye hospital, Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

both eyes covered up, which was a strange experience as well. That’s enough to slow you down.

Craig Garber (02:08:19.955)
Yeah, I can’t imagine how creepy that must have been.

Russ (02:08:21.494)
Yeah, both eyes covered up for two weeks. They had to let, they were trying, it would be very different. People have told me, I’ve spoken to doctors recently, you know, and they said it would be, it would have been very different had it had been now. They would have saved the eye. They would have, da, you know, all these things. It wouldn’t have been the same, you know. So, that’s what happened there, you know. I just started to play the guitar, the acoustic guitar.

Craig Garber (02:08:34.99)

Russ (02:08:51.03)
like a Spanish guitar at that time and mum said you know if you keep doing well I’ll bet get you an electric guitar. I mean I’ll buy you an amplifier and she was so upset what happened to me.

Russ (02:09:11.626)
Yeah, I mean, it made me very introverted. But what I used to do is when I came out of hospital after three weeks, I really got into playing guitar and I wouldn’t go out. And I was always playing football before. I was always active, you know, and kids were knocking at my door saying, is Russ coming out to play football? Is Russ coming out, you know, I mean, we’re definitely, get out there and play.

Get out and play with your friends. And I just, all I was interested in was sitting over this fire playing the guitar. And that’s how my life went, you know. I did that for about three years, just sitting over a fire playing guitar. I was just so embarrassed about myself, embarrassed about my life, embarrassed about what I looked like as well. And I mean, it’s stupid to say, but…

You know, I just became completely introverted into this. I wanted to do this, which is be a guitar player, you know. That’s how it was.

Craig Garber (02:10:22.77)
Do you think we talked earlier like about spirituality? Do you think, or have you ever looked at this that, hey, that was, you know, your higher power or whoever it is, is way of putting you towards music because you probably wouldn’t have hit it as hard, you wouldn’t have been sitting home every day for hours and hours a day if you’re still running around outside playing.

Russ (02:10:50.667)
Do you know, I think you might have something there, yeah, I’m sure there was, I’ve said to people recently, there’s something going on that, there’s something going on that we don’t understand. There’s a lot more to it, you know, people, as human beings, we look at life, we look at being born, living a life, and then…

popping off and doing whatever we do, but there’s something, something going on. That day when I was hit, it sounds crazy to talk about this like this, but something happened that I knew I was going to be hit. It’s almost I brought it on myself. I knew I was going to be hit. And I’ve never said, never said this before like this to anyone online or anything. I’ve never said this. I’ve said it, I’ve said it to a couple of people, people I’m very close to.

I knew I was going to be hit.

I remember people, about four guys with slug guns, we called them slug guns, yeah, we called them slug guns. They said pellet guns, but they were dangerous, you know? Especially get hit in the eye, but I got hit in the eye by a catapult, stunned from a catapult. I could hear bang, and I’m, God, I’m gonna be hit, I’m gonna be hit. I know I’m gonna be hit, I know I’m gonna be hit. Bang, and I was hit.

I knew I was going to be hit, that fear, I’d never felt that fear before, like almost, I brought it onto myself, I was hit, and I just fell down. I didn’t, I wasn’t unconscious, I couldn’t believe that I didn’t become unconscious. It’s almost, I stayed, I stayed, it broke a lot of bones in my eye as well. It was just a mess of, and that’s what happened, but I mean that is life, that’s what happens. I love my life.

Russ (02:12:47.422)
I mean, thank God that… Thank… you know…

Craig Garber (02:12:47.69)
Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. That’s what I’m saying. Sometimes it seems like a bad thing happens at the time because I’ve had things like that. And at the time I will. Yeah.

Russ (02:12:56.89)
I’ve thought about it a lot Craig, I’ve thought about that a lot as you’re saying it and I think you might be right.

Craig Garber (02:13:04.37)
Yeah, and it’s a bad thing. Yeah.

Russ (02:13:07.611)
My mum went to a faith healer later, because I was going backwards and forwards into hospital, I had another operation. So after the first 10 months or so, they let the eye of the cataract come on my eye. So basically they said, you know, when the cataract, it would take a long time for the cataract to come. So after about 10 months or a year, I went back and they took the cataracts off the eye, then I went back in and they tried to put a lens inside the eye and this kind of stuff.

which they couldn’t do. And I’m just getting terrible headaches. They would give me CODIS tablets four times a day because I’d wake up with these terrible headaches. Really, really, really bad. Really, really bad headaches, yeah, because as it, as the eye settled down, but it was almost, you know, it was suffering. And…

Craig Garber (02:13:48.258)
couldn’t imagine.

Craig Garber (02:14:00.694)
Yeah, you got all that inflammation in there. That’s gotta pound on your head, on your brain.

Russ (02:14:02.986)
Yeah, the inflammation, they were saying the same thing. They were saying the same thing. They said, you know, it was congealed stuff and whatever in there. Anyway, my mum, I was having these headaches every day and I became so depressed and I didn’t realise it was depression. It was just, I was stuck in this, for eight weeks I was stuck in that hospital and my mum and dad were coming up every day into London, sitting either side of the bed.

And I was saying, you might as well go home. You might as well go home. I’ve got nothing to say. I’m stuck here and I’ve got nothing to say to you. And it was wicked what I was saying to my mum and dad, but I did. Realise it just upset some more, but they were brilliant. And they, every day they would come up for 25 minutes. We only had half an hour of visiting. They come for 25 minutes. All the way up to London and then go back on the train.

Craig Garber (02:14:50.242)
Sure, yeah, well you love your kids.

Russ (02:15:02.54)
but they would be there. This particular day I woke up

Russ (02:15:09.618)
free, free of any pain.

was amazing. From out the blue I was free of pain and I thought all day I thought I can’t wait to see my mum and dad and I was pacing the floor and you know it was coming up to seven o’clock and my visit in time was 7 to 725 basically and they came in and they looked at me like oh how’s he gonna be today and I said I could come out I feel good.

And she said to me, my mum said to me, are you wearing perfume? I was 15, remember. Are you wearing perfume? I said, no, no. Where am I gonna get perfume from? I got no money anyway. And I’ve been in it for eight weeks, seven weeks at the time, you know. And she said, are you not wearing perfume? She said, no, she could spell this perfume around the bed, spiritual perfume. And she looked at me and she said, I was so worried about you.

Craig Garber (02:15:54.937)
Yeah, right.

Russ (02:16:12.786)
I found a faith healer.

And the guy was very well known where I was. He was very well, and I didn’t even think she would have done that, but she phoned this Ted Fricker. Now this is a strange story. She phoned Ted Fricker, who I’d never met. She had never met. She just knew he was a famous faith healer. He was in the papers. He was very, very famous. He said, Mrs. Ballard.

I can’t visit him. I’ve got so much I’m trying to do. I’ve got queues of people outside my house. Howard Rode Tottenham, he lived. He said, I’ve got queues of people outside my house and I can’t go and see him. I’ll give him absent healing.

I won’t see him, I’ll give him some healing. So that’s what he did apparently. That day I woke up feeling, I woke up feeling I was free. She said, I don’t believe this. She said, I’ve phoned Ted Fricker. Well, I knew who she meant. I’d never seen him, but I knew it was Ted Fricker. When she said faith heal, I knew it was gonna be Ted Fricker. 18 years later, 18 years later, you know, this is.

Craig Garber (02:17:16.171)

Craig Garber (02:17:25.678)
So you’re like 30 at the time.

Russ (02:17:29.138)
I was actually I was 18 years later. No, I was it was 20. I was 28.

Russ (02:17:41.014)
I’ve just been on television, I’ve just done a pop quiz on television with Chas Hodges from Chas and Dave. You know Chas and Dave? They’re famous in England, your wife would know them. They’re famous in England. Chas has died now but we did it together. Errol Brown from Hot Chocolate. They were all on my side, Hot Chocolate. You know, I had to get a team together to do this on television.

against Paul Gambaccini, American, Alvin Stardust and Lindsay DePaul. And I was driving home. I was driving, I had Chas with me in the car because we live close to each other. And I said, do you fancy an Italian meal? Because we go past, in Palmer’s Green, we go past this El Faro, which was a place I used to go to, and I was very friendly with the owner. He went, yeah.

Craig Garber (02:18:12.782)
God, what a memory you have, man. That’s phenomenal.

Russ (02:18:36.106)
It was a double-fronted restaurant, quite big, not many people in there. I go in there, into this side, and suddenly this guy’s looking at me, he’s my friend, who’s about 25 years old in the meat, and he went, Russ, it’s a businessman, he said, Russ, he said, I didn’t realise you were in here, I said, yeah, I said, this is Chas, blah, this is Reg, he’s a good friend of mine, and he said, Russ, I’ve got to go, I’ll see you, I’ve got to go.

only because I’m with a couple of friends. I said right. He said yeah, he’s a faith healer actually. I said what’s his name? He said his name is Ted Fricker.

Craig Garber (02:19:12.886)
Holy shit.

Craig Garber (02:19:19.859)
Holy crap.

Russ (02:19:21.266)
I said, you’re kidding. He said, no, why? I said, he healed me years ago, Reg. He went, you’re kidding. I said, no, he said, I’ll go and get him and he brings him in. And he looked at me and he went, I said, you healed me years ago. We never met. You gave me absolute healing. He said, when was this? I said, God, I was in Moorfields Eye Hospital in London 18 years ago. He said, I said.

My mum could smell perfume around the bed. He said, that’s clare essence. He said, that’s my spiritual smell. It’s actually my aftershave, believe it or not. I said, whatever happened? He said, have you read my book?

I said, no. He said, you’ve got to read my book. We became friends. He was about 84 then. He was about 84. We became really good friends. He endorsed me for the Wine Society in England and stuff. And we became really big friends. We had lunch together. And we sat together.

Craig Garber (02:20:09.71)
How weird.

Craig Garber (02:20:16.75)
It’s so random.

Russ (02:20:29.91)
We had lunch and there was about six of us, eight of us, having lunch in the same restaurant. And he gave me his book, it was called, God is My Witness.

Russ (02:20:41.25)
and in this book, Prince Charles got in touch with them. Well, it was now King Charles of England, right? King Charles and Princess Di, right? You know, he said, oh, it’s all in the book, you know? It was Prince Charles then. He got in touch, his secretary got in touch. He said, Prince Charles would like to meet you.

He gets very similar feelings to the feelings that you suggest in the book. He said he’d love to meet you because he gets very similar feelings. So he said, yeah, he said it was great. He said, I went to a stag party. We went to the wedding. This is him and his wife Grace. They went, it’s all, you know, he healed King Khalid.

King Khalid at the time, I think Saudi Arabia or whatever, he was in the Middle East. All these various people, these people from, celebrities from England, he healed them, healed them all. And King Khalid gave him a gold watch.

and it’s all in the book, you know, and later he said to me, have you, do you know about my latest book? Why, Why Are We A Pot On Earth? I said, no, I don’t know that. And he gave me a cassette, it’s all in narration. It was never written, but I’ve got, still got the cassette and it’s narrated, Why, Why Are We A Pot On Earth? So we became great friends. I went to Reggie’s mother’s 90th birthday when he was there.

Craig Garber (02:22:16.566)
That’s crazy.

Russ (02:22:27.338)
And you know, it was all going on when we got into the restaurant and I walked up to him. He was sitting there and…

I went, Reg, Ted, how are you? And he held my hand and he wouldn’t let it go, you know. He just held my hand and I sat down. It was so embarrassing, just holding my hand. And I thought we’d had a stroke, you know, just holding my hand for about 20 minutes. And I was sitting there, and he wasn’t speaking to me and I was speaking to him, but he couldn’t answer. Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:22:55.818)
Oh my god.

Craig Garber (02:23:00.522)
Oh, he was just holding her hand while he was talking to other people. That’s weird.

Russ (02:23:04.666)
No, no, and he couldn’t talk. I thought he’d had a stroke. So I said to Reg, after he had died, years later, I said to Reg, he held my hand, Reg, at your mother’s 90th birthday, and he wouldn’t let it go. He said, really? I said, yeah. I said, after he’d had a stroke. He said, had a stroke? I said, yeah, he said he’d never had a stroke. He was pissed.

Craig Garber (02:23:27.062)

Russ (02:23:30.882)
But he said to me, Ted said to me, he said, you can heal. Well, I sat next to him at this thing.

Craig Garber (02:23:36.023)
That’s interesting.

Russ (02:23:43.338)
No, it was another one. I’m sat with him. I’m sat with him next to him, you know, and he said to me You can heal this is a different time. He said you can heal And I said, why do you say that? He said the person you are. He said you can heal But that’s all he said to me. We became good friends and then I did play the song. I’d written a song called the healer That I did record actually and it was written about Ted, but I changed the gender Because

At the time, it wouldn’t have been appropriate, you know, you think about she, she is the healer, but it should have been he is the healer, because standing at the crossroads, which one do I walk down? One road goes to your door, the other out of town. There’s a haze in front of me and it’s clouding all I see. There stands the healer, the healer. In every road I play, she is the dealer, he is the dealer.

When I call her name, there stands the healer. There’s someone that I know, and where troubled waters flow, he will abide, step in the tide, and lay the waters low. He is the healer. And when I’m scared, I shout, where are you now? How much pain will you allow? I sweat, I wait, and then somehow, there stands the healer. That was for Ted.

Craig Garber (02:25:07.01)
How the hell do you remember all these lyrics from songs that you’ve written? I mean, it’s not like you just wrote 20 songs in your career. Uh, it’s phenomenal.

Russ (02:25:16.155)
Now I’ve written 500. I’ve got 500 published.

Craig Garber (02:25:20.606)
Yeah, which means you’ve probably written 2500 at a minimum.

Russ (02:25:24.246)
Here’s one from Book of Love for you. This is from Book of Love. This gets to the end of the Book of Love, this my album, when it’s talking about humanity and how we’re similar. We’re not separate from each other.

Russ (02:38:04.066)
This is a true story. As we’re going through the story, we’re getting towards the end, you know. And I’m getting to know different aspects. First of all, I’m on the road. You might be able to feel au fait with this. You might feel, yeah, and understand what it’s about. She looked great in HIP HUG IN SILK that time of the night, the wine.

the seductive light. I kissed the mouth, it’s then we made love, or something like it, or maybe not. I said, I’m sorry, I gotta go. I could still hear her crying from the stairs down below. And as I walked into the night, not feeling good, not feeling right, I said, onto the next valley and hill, the newest fashion, the next cheap thrill. I thought, give me time, I’ve got plenty still, but time waits in silence.

and moves in for the kill. So I tried it, chewed it, swallowed it now, always looking at the stars after falling to the ground. I thought, this is it, this is it, this has gotta be it. But no, on to the next. I played love and made love and thought, is this it? Is love so cheap, a game, a small affair, or is there something deeper we could share? I found the priest, the monk, the rabbi.

so secure they know the way. Won’t even listen to what the other has to say. Still I tried it, chewed it, swallowed it down, always looking at the stars after it falls into the cup. This is it, this is it, this has got to be it. No, on to the next. That’s one, and then it goes further forward. As it gets too close to the end, I’m sussing things out and whatever, you know, I’m realizing that love’s much, much bigger. This is a true story.

I met a… I met a girl from China.

Russ (02:40:07.018)
I wonder if I play the guitar. No, I can’t play the guitar and do this actually. You won’t hear it anyway. I met a girl from China. She became my friend. When I learned to understand her, there was much to comprehend. I sympathized with the stories. She laughed at my jokes. So many things about that time her memory evokes. I said, just like me you get angry, like me you get mad, just like me you’re happy then you’re a little sad.

We could blow smoke rings from the same cigarette. We could write a song, maybe a little duet. She said, eyes that are shut, they will never see. If you want the fruit, you gotta shake the tree. Everyone in the world’s playing blind man’s buff. Just like me, you’re looking for love. Then I met a man from Africa, Dakar Senegal. Apart from the color of his skin, he was like a man I knew from Montreal. I said, do you get scared?

So do I. Think there’s nothing there? So do I. And then he said, have you ever faked love? Me too. Give not enough? I do. Do you state your case? Well, so do I. Then close your mind to the reply. Have you said there’s no God? Then prayed at night. I have, I do, and again I might. Do you get so angry you can’t understand? You do, I do, so does every other man. In France or Spain or Timbuktu, what’s inside of him is inside of you and inside of me is in every other.

Craig Garber (02:41:19.022)
Thank you.

Russ (02:41:35.49)
Whoever you are, you’re my mother, my father, my sister, my brother. Just like me you get angry, like me you get mad. That gets towards the end of the album.

Craig Garber (02:41:45.794)
Wow, that one line, time waits in silence and moves in for the kill, that’s pretty heavy. That’s good, man.

Russ (02:41:55.294)
Yeah, yeah. Well, it does, it does. But the things that we can’t see, I mean, a lot more than things we can see. Like with water, you see through water, and what they call it, we see through it, basically. Air that we breathe, that we breathe in and out consciously, the air that we can’t see it.

atmosphere, we can’t see it. What’s inside atmosphere that we can’t see? What is inside this atmosphere that’s keeping us alive?

Craig Garber (02:42:30.914)
Did you ever figure out the answer to what is love?

Russ (02:42:34.922)
But it’s love. Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:42:40.959)
Take care to share it.

Russ (02:42:43.114)
It’s the act of extending oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own and or someone else’s spiritual growth.

Craig Garber (02:42:52.558)
That’s a great answer.

Russ (02:42:56.33)
So it’s always action, it’s not feeling, it’s not this sex, it’s not… No, no, no. So you can love a stranger, you can… While you’re acting it out, while you’re not acting it out, it’s an action. It’s not acting it out, it’s an action. So if it’s not an action, it doesn’t contain love. Not for me, it doesn’t contain love. So if, you know, you help someone across the street, you don’t even know who he is or she is, but you’re helping them.

That’s love.

you care for someone? No. No, it’s a feeling. That’s a chemical thing, I think.

Craig Garber (02:43:29.282)
Don’t you think it’s a feeling too? You don’t think it’s a, really?

Craig Garber (02:43:36.885)

Russ (02:43:38.038)
The thing about, you know, if you listen to a lot of Krishna Moti, which I have done in my life, a lot of stuff, you know, it talks about the difference between the brain.

Russ (02:43:50.014)
And he talks about mind. He talks about mind and brain. They’re two different things. I know it’s dualistic, but it’s two different things. And David Bohm’s speaking to him, and David Bohm says, so what is mind then? He said, well, the mind is a computer. It’s a computer, basically a computer.

and it works on its own program and it’s always in the past, it’s always from the past. He said so what is the program it’s working on? He said it’s thought.

Thought is always the past. When you think, you can never live in the now while you’re thinking, because everything you’re bringing into now is from the past. Our language comes from the past, our memories comes from the past, everything comes from the past. There’s nothing that is.

Russ (02:44:50.822)
So basically it is a computer, it works on its program which is the past. So when you think, you have a thought, it’s always from the past. You can’t think about the future because it happened. If you can project the now, you can project the past, bring it into the now and project it into the future, but it’s not the future.

It’s an interesting one, isn’t it? It’s an interesting one.

Craig Garber (02:45:13.759)
Yeah, it is.

Russ (02:45:19.362)
But, you know, when you do something for mind…

Russ (02:45:27.958)
got it, you’ve got the answer, you’ve got the answer, but you’re not thinking. So thought screws it up, because you thought screws it up, you know, it’s like a footballer that plays by instinct. If you think it’s a thought, it’s a length of time, it’s a length of time, so when you think it takes that long, it’s that long to think.

But when you work from mind, it’s there, it’s there, it’s there, it’s there, and it’s there, and there. It’s immediate, it’s immediate, you know, you’ve got the answer. Don’t you think when people come up with, you get somebody like Einstein, they won’t. I know Einstein worked on calculations and stuff like that, but when you get the answer, it just happens, doesn’t it? You know, this…

Craig Garber (02:46:17.646)
It just happens, yeah, it happens to everybody, yeah. Something just happened to me yesterday and I don’t know how the hell I got the answer to it.

Russ (02:46:20.65)
It’s instant, you know. You get the answer, you get the answer, but it’s mind. Thought, I mean you can work on thought and you can come up with, but it’s, there’s some, they are different. Thought and…

Russ (02:46:41.228)

It’s interesting. It’s very interesting, but um…

Craig Garber (02:46:48.63)
Russ, I wanna ask you one more question.

Russ (02:46:50.926)

Craig Garber (02:46:53.462)
biggest change in your personality over the last 10 years? And has that been intentional or just a natural part of aging?

Russ (02:47:01.618)
I wrote this down actually, I wrote this down, I thought this was um, I did write this down for you honestly.


Craig Garber (02:47:15.946)
I appreciate you putting all that thought into these questions.

Russ (02:47:19.206)
Now, I was interested, I wanted to get it right because you can say things and at the end of the day you think, I should have said that, oh I should have said that.

Right, okay, yeah, I’ll put this stuff down here.

Russ (02:47:41.77)
Yeah I’ve put a few things down there.

Russ (02:47:50.486)
Are you saying what is the biggest change?

Craig Garber (02:47:52.894)
Yeah. What’s the biggest change in your personality over the last 10? Yeah.

Russ (02:47:55.282)
Over the last ten years, this is what I wrote down, I’m doing more live shows than I’ve done in the last 40 years. I’m working all the time doing gigs and things, I’m telling you I’m doing this rock classic thing. After it I’m doing the Casino in Portugal, then I’m doing a festival in Sweden, and then I’m doing another Handel show with a huge orchestra, it’s just me and a huge orchestra.

They have a Handel, you know Handel the composer. Yeah, it’s in Leipzig I think, Halle in Leipzig. And they have a festival the whole week. It’s a little bit like the Austin Festival. In Texas they used to have that festival didn’t they? I think they still have it. Yeah, South, but this is all about Handel. So I’m doing that for one day.

Craig Garber (02:48:27.958)
The composer, yeah. Classical.

Craig Garber (02:48:42.902)
South by Southwest, yeah, they do. Yeah, South by Southwest.

Russ (02:48:51.398)
over the last 10 years I’m doing more live shows than I’ve done in the last 40 years. I have two new albums recorded, I’m playing classic rock shows, I’m writing some great songs as I said, and I feel really good. You talk about any words of wisdom I’ve got here? Well I’ve already told you my words of wisdom, when I go by it I still stick by it. Find a passion.

Craig Garber (02:49:14.111)
Yeah, tell me.

Russ (02:49:22.058)
I would say to anybody, find a passion and the world would be a better place. People won’t go to war when they’ve got a passion. They won’t need to. You know, find a passion. It’s a different world. It’s a different, you know, it makes sense. This world makes sense when you get up every day and look forward to it. Not when you don’t look forward to it, you know, when you say, oh, I’ve got to go to work today. Do something I don’t want to do. This is supposed to be fun. This is a gift.

Craig Garber (02:49:50.446)
was. I so agree with that. I was literally just talking with my wife about this last night, how important it is and how just watching some program about a scientist and I was like, God, this guy was so passionate about this. And he just got involved in this. And I thought that was so cool. He’s now

Russ (02:49:58.51)

Russ (02:50:06.218)
Well, that’s it, isn’t it? That’s it, if you listen to people that are passionate about something. I did a thing with Brian May, and he was talking, he said, you’re into, he said, you’re into, you’re into the cosmos and stuff like that. You’ve written songs about it. I said, yeah, I’m into it. Not like you are, I mean, he’s a doctor. But I mean, he’s so into it, you know, and you see, it changes your life when you do something, find something that you really love.

And I’ve got here tell other people how to… Oh yeah, find a passion. I’ve got for politicians before you tell other people how to live, get your own house in order. Passion will change your life. The world will make sense. Book of Love, 2007. Labour of Love, not a labour.

Craig Garber (02:50:52.65)
Yeah, talk about, talk about book of love. Cause I know that’s important to you. It’s a, an album that you released Germany, Austria and Switzerland, hopefully be coming out here.

Russ (02:50:57.562)

Russ (02:51:02.098)
Yeah, but these things were not planned, you know, these things were not planned, they just happened through music.

I’m talking about Mandela now, this is Nelson Mandela, this is when I thought about Hope, to talk about Hope. That wasn’t in Book of Love, that was a thing on its own, but I thought, you’ve got to talk about these things, they just happened, and through music, and suddenly I’m working with Nelson Mandela, you know, we’re sharing the royalties, he’s got a third of the royalties, and basically we’ve given, now the song is called…

Craig Garber (02:51:35.252)
Just for that little thing he did.

Russ (02:51:37.646)
It’s just a thing he did. But it’s got a foundation. He asked if he could have a third, Chris wrote a third, I wrote a third, and Nelson Mandela wrote his thing in the middle. So it’s now called Mandela’s Hope.

Craig Garber (02:51:43.358)
I was going to say, yeah, I figured this.

Craig Garber (02:51:57.01)
That’s cool.

Russ (02:51:58.31)
Yeah, and it’s out there, I mean it’s had, there’s a Russian guy who recorded it. It’s not bad, it’s not bad. Sip Ewo’s was really good. It got to number one, it got to number one in the classical chart in England and then he died. He was put out, it got straight to number one because he went on TV, was singing on TV, then he died.

Craig Garber (02:52:21.246)
Right, right, yeah.

Russ (02:52:24.456)
He had meningitis 38 years old.

Craig Garber (02:52:27.702)
Young guy. Yeah. Russ, I can’t thank you enough for all your time, man. And you shared some amazingly cool stories. And I really appreciate it. It was really enjoyable, not just to talk with you, but to meet you because like, I swear when I when I used to see your name all the time. And it’s so funny how life works, you know, and here we are having a conversation.

Russ (02:52:52.43)
Well I felt the same you see when I, yeah it’s great meeting you, it’s great meeting you but things in my life I said through music all this stuff you know I get Malt Schumann phoning me, I idolized Ricky Nelson you know when he was young I had his kids living with me you know talking about their dad you know you accept it because you’re in music you know and you realize but they were telling me stuff in another way another strange way you know they were saying because

Craig Garber (02:53:04.108)

Craig Garber (02:53:14.21)

Russ (02:53:21.974)
When Ricky Nelson was young, a bit like the Osmonds, but bigger, actually bigger than the Osmonds, when he was young, he was in a family series on TV for years. It was called Ozzie and Harriet. Ozzie and Harriet, they had his brother David, his older brother David was in it, so it was a family, it was a family thing and they sang songs and things. And he became this heartthrob, because a great looking kid.

Craig Garber (02:53:32.959)
Right, right. It was Ozzie and Harriet.

Yeah, that’s before my time, but I remember it.

Russ (02:53:52.11)
And they were saying, you know, Dad was telling us, Dad was telling us, they did a lot of this at…

What’s the… What were the studios in LA? Not Universal. What’s the studio… The TV studio… No, the TV studios. What were they called? Burbank!

Craig Garber (02:54:06.542)
MGM? Oh, I don’t know. Okay, yes.

Russ (02:54:12.818)
up at Birdman. Elvis was making his, he was making his movies up there and Ozzy and Harriet were doing their things, you know. And because Elvis had grown up watching Ozzy and Harriet.

And apparently Elvis was saying to everybody, they were saying next door they’re doing Ozzy and Harriet next door, you know. And he was saying, God, is Ricky Nelson there? And they said, yeah, yeah. And he said, I really want to meet him. Can I meet him? This is Elvis saying, can I meet him?

Craig Garber (02:54:43.458)
That’s so funny.

So everybody has these feelings, it’s so funny.

Russ (02:54:49.478)
We’re not separate from each other, you know. What happens to you, what happens to you as you’re growing up, it’s happening to everyone else as well, you know. So, I mean, I met Michael Jackson, and I saw Michael Jackson. I met, you know, I met Noel Coward, I met all these various people you meet, all you work with. And, you know, you meet them, you still get this thrill, you get this kind of thrill, you know. And Elvis met him and he gave him a belt buckle, you know, taking care of business, belt buckle.

Craig Garber (02:54:51.283)
Yeah, totally true.

Craig Garber (02:54:57.311)
Yeah, yeah.

Russ (02:55:18.762)
and he gave them to everybody that he met apparently, but he said he was thrilled. He met and he’s got a picture, they had a picture of Elvis and Ricky Nelson together. Ricky was excited about meeting Elvis and vice versa. It’s a strange one, but we’re not separate from each other. That’s the amazing thing. If you take away all the things that divide us.

Russ (02:55:43.25)
And it’s things we’ve made up, things that humans have made up, things have told you that why we’re different from him, why we’re different from her. We get back to natural. Language is a big problem. Language is a big problem. Just words are a problem. And we need words, but you know.

If you take away, you know, just as human beings, we are the same. We’re not separate from each other. We all have periods, we can have periods of anger. We can have periods of aggression. We can have periods of, you know, one moment we’re all crying, the next moment we can be laughing when somebody says something, you know. That’s common to everybody. We all laugh when we tickle, when we tickle and whatever, we all laugh. And yet we think we’re so different. It’s mad.

Craig Garber (02:56:08.014)
Then I agree with you.

Craig Garber (02:56:24.086)

Craig Garber (02:56:30.814)
I agree with you, man. I totally agree with you.

Russ (02:56:33.662)
It’s very, I’m going to keep writing songs about it because we need to, you know. Book of Love needs to be out there just because it’s from the heart, you know. All the songs are from the heart. If I hadn’t have put such a big rock backing behind it, I was thinking about doing it again or taking the big rock backing off and putting an acoustic guitar, just like an acoustic guitar or maybe very, do it very, so you listen to the lyric. It starts off.

Craig Garber (02:56:42.73)
Yeah, man, get it out here in the States.

Russ (02:57:03.318)
Before you open up the door, do you know what you’re looking for? Someone’s arms to… this is Beremem’s book of love. Before you open up the door, do you know what you’re looking for? Someone’s arms to have around you? Or a stage, a battleground where you play out your wildest fantasies? Or is it deeper? You fear the reaper, so you look for something. Call it love and invent the Father up above. I want to know, are you a believer? You’ll have love, still you’ll leave her. Because love works in strange ways. If I knew then what I know now.

If I could turn back time somehow, but love works in strange ways. We choose one above another. What turns a friend into a lover? Chemistry or attraction? Your body calling out for action? Or is it not that at all? Are you just answering a call? This is not enough. I must know more about what waits behind that door. I want to know, are you a believer? You will have love, still you’ll leave her, because love works in strange ways. Love works in strange ways. That’s how it starts. That’s how it…

Craig Garber (02:58:00.11)
That’s awesome, man.

Russ (02:58:01.45)
When you get into the bulk, into the journey, that’s the first song in the journey. The other stuff is being on the psychiatrist’s couch and stuff, and this kid, this is me, when I’m on the psychiatrist’s couch, I’m dreaming. And in this dream, there’s a kid, and it’s me, and it’s a kid when I’m young, and the kid says, people say you’re a wise man, where can I find love? And the wise man says,

Craig Garber (02:58:05.912)

Russ (02:58:30.998)
You must look for a great light known by many names. Where’s the great light? Well, that’s for you to find out. You might search your whole life and never find it. But you are in the book of love with everyone. And when you open the book, the great light will be shining. And it goes in, before you open up the door, do you know what you’re looking for?

Craig Garber (02:58:58.774)
I just don’t know how you remember all this stuff. That is just brilliant, man.

Russ (02:59:01.274)
I don’t know how I remember it, probably because it means something to me.

Craig Garber (02:59:05.502)
Yeah, but you remember word for word of something that you wrote so many years ago, even.

Russ (02:59:10.634)
Yeah, yeah, there was one little part I missed out on.

just like me, you know, there’s no God in prayed at night, I have other doing, there’s another part of that I missed out, I realized I missed that out, that was a nice part.

Oh yeah, that was an odd name. Anyway, it’s been great, you are chill. Sorry.

Craig Garber (02:59:33.138)
We got to wrap up. Hang on. Once we go ahead and finish, we got what we decided.

Russ (02:59:39.146)
You are chilled, Crate. You are chilled and it’s great. You’re chilled. You’re chilled. You’re chilled.

Craig Garber (02:59:42.958)
Thanks. Well, I’ve had a work at it. So thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Russ (02:59:49.541)
Keep practicing the breathing if you possibly can. This time next year, this next year we’ll chat and you’ll say, God, it’s changed my life, mate. It’s changed my life.

Craig Garber (02:59:52.682)
I’m gonna look into it. Yeah.

Craig Garber (02:59:58.154)
I would love to. I may be coming over there next year. So I’ll give you a ring.

Russ (03:00:00.85)
Yeah, well when you do, look us up and we’ll get together. I’ll take you for an Indian. And you’ll what? I’ll take you for a curry.

Craig Garber (03:00:05.238)
That would that would be for a curry how British. Thank you for a curry how British can’t get more British than that, can it?

Russ (03:00:13.046)
When the night before last, or was it last night? Last night, the night before, I had Mexican last night, the night before. Whether it’s good, I love Debbie’s Mexican. She makes Mexican. But when she was making this Mexican, either last night or the night before, I said, Mexican. She said, yeah. I said, well, I love your Mexican. And it was magic, but Indians, our thing over here, really.

Craig Garber (03:00:19.634)
Do they have good Mexican there? I would be curious about that.

Craig Garber (03:00:41.354)
Yeah, big time. Every time I go over there.

Russ (03:00:42.694)
Italian, I love Italian as well. Yeah.

Craig Garber (03:00:46.518)
Well, hang on one second, Russ. I’m going to wrap this up and stay here. We’ll chat for a bit. Once I just wrapped this up. Thank you so much for everything. It’s been a real pleasure and a treat to meet you. And I really enjoyed our time together. Thank you.

Russ (03:00:56.478)
It’s lovely, I enjoyed it Craig.

Craig Garber (03:00:59.182)
Good. I’m really happy about that. Everybody. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoy this, please share it on your socials. Appreciate your support. Thanks a ton to Russ Ballard. If you haven’t explored any of Russ’s catalog, I would highly encourage you to do so. Just go look on Wikipedia and your mind will be blown how much music he has created for himself and others.

You know, most important as always remember that happiness is a choice. So choose wisely, be nice, go play guitar and have fun till next time. Peace and love everybody. I am out Russ. Thanks for everything. Hang on one sec.

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