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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » 707 - 2006 Interview with Kevin Russell
 
707 - 2006 Interview with Kevin Russell
INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN RUSSELL (707 and Solo)

Interview By: Lee Bradfield
Date: March 23 2006

Every so often we catch up with a few artists we've known for a while, and see what is happening in their camp. That includes guitarist Kevin Russell, well known to many of you as the guitarist with the band 707. There has been a lot going in with 707 and Kevin's own solo material. On the 707 front, both 'Megaforce' and 'The Bridge' will get local US releases through Renaissance Records on April 18th, while a brand new 707 CD entitled 'The Fourth Decade' will also be released by Renaissance during the month of June. Not only that there are a spate of Kevin Russell releases which can be read about over at his Kevin Russell website. GLORY-DAZE's Lee Bradfield finds out the latest from the ever-resourceful Kevin..

GD: How did the working relationship with Renaissance come about?
KR: Well, Renaissance re-issued 707/The Second Album as a double set in 1998. Of course it was a surprise to me, as I knew nothing about its release. John Edwards at Renaissance made a direct licensing deal with Polygram. It was met with both a feeling of surprise and gratitude I guess.

GD: It must be great to get that Russell Brothers live CD out - what was it like cranking it out with your bro on a regular basis? Also, the Fillmore is quite a legendary venue - let us know how it felt to rock that particular house considering its legacy?
KR: Playing with my brother Brad is unlike any other musical exchange. Brad is an extraordinary bass player (both upright and electric)! We have that bloodline thing that you just can't recreate with other non-relatives, ya know? We just know where each other is going musically all the time..All the twists and turns. It's hard to explain really. However Brad has been living and playing in New York the past couple of years. He lives on the upper west side of Manhattan. As far as the Fillmore gigs..It was fun.. The vibes are thick in that venue. Man some of the greatest musicians of our time have preformed there. We always had fun at The Fillmore.


THE NEW 'STRIPPED' CD
This was recorded completely live at sound checks in various different venues. Each day I'd run through some songs so the guys could get levels on the sound system for that nights show. I played whatever came to mind on any given day. I hope you enjoy it.

THE NEW 'LIVE & LOUD' CD
Recorded Live June of 9. Kevin Russell: guitar & vocals, Brad Russell: bass & vocals, Ed Michaels: drums. Blues that Rocks!!

'BETWEEN A ROCK AND A BLUES PLACE' CD
This CD is a collection of songs that I recorded in the 90's and includes some special guests. It's rockin' blues! Brad Russell: bass, Andy Doerschuk: drums

GD: Tell us about the new 707 lineup and the new tunes? It must be a great feeling to bring back that legendary moniker but also a great responsibility to the classic '78 to '83 material?
KR: The new 707 'The Fourth Decade' was done over a long period of time to start with. I re-worked some material that I wrote a while back. I did all the instruments myself and vocals. My dear pal Billy Lee Lewis is playing drums on a few tracks as is Denny Carmassi. I also played percussion and did the drum loops as well. Some was done at The Record Plant in L.A. It's more of a melodic rock record for sure with lots of guitar playing. 'The Fourth Decade' will be released on Renaissance in later June.

The 'Live Lineup' will definitely start with Brad and I and then will work it from there.. With regard to the responsibility to the older material? Well, I'm not sure exactly what you mean Lee, but I definitely tried to move ahead. I'm not a huge fan of 80's music to be honest. As far as older material I dig the 70's the most. I am a huge fan of 70's classic soul, rock and jazz. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy some of the music from the 80's, but as a rule it was the 60's-70's. My new favourite artist is Michael Buble'. That cat swings!!! Great singer!! As far as me working under the Moniker of 707, it is really nice. It gives me more freedom musically and also to be able to reach a wider demographic. I am both honored and grateful to be a part of a genre today that is considered to be a classic..'Classic Rock'.

GD: Your new solo album 'Invasion Of Privacy', from what you've hinted previously, is a hard melodic guitar record (sounds brilliant to me!). Tell us about how those songs came together and about the recording/production process?
KR: This record was a blast for me to make! It started off just solely writing music for action video games and ESPN Extreme Sports here in the States. Then I was encouraged from some of my close guitar buddies to keep it going and turn it into a record. So that's what I did! I must say that I dig some of the newer metal bands. I like the vibe! I am a songwriter so I have to write in 'song form'. I left it up to the folks in charge at the various companies to edit the songs and loop them as they see fit. I have no problem with that at all. I wrote melodies and then shredded when I thought it was right to do so. This record is dedicated to all the American Heroes who have sacrificed their lives and well being for this country! My prayers go out the Heroes and their families. The titles of the songs reflect just that and the mood of the songs I hope.

GD: Please elaborate on the Blue Eyed Soul CD - different moods and textures sound very intriguing. Is this anything like 'My Generation' but with vocals?
KR: 'My Blue Eyed Soul' is a collection of blues songs that I wrote over a period of time. I am a HUGE fan of blues and always have been. I still play a lot of blues clubs here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Yes it has different textures. Both acoustic and electric. I really tried to reflect the different sides of blues. I adore Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. While I love Freddy King! As far as it being like 'My Generation',hmmmm.. It is bluesy and it is guitar based and I wrote songs not just blues jams. So in as much I guess it is somewhat similar. But 'My Generation' is all covers and it is a smooth soul-jazz blues record. Biggest difference being that 'My Generation' is all guitar instrumental and 'My Blue Eyed Soul' has vocals.


THE NEW 'OUTTAKES' CD.. NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL APRIL!
These songs are outtakes from past bands & projects I put together from 1978-1988. It really captures the rock-n-roll spirit. It was the early years living in Hollywood. I was writing & recording constantly. These collection of songs have been kept locked away until now! Thanks for letting me share a piece of my history with you.

'INVASION OF PRIVACY' CD
This is a hard rockin' guitar record folks! I wrote a lot of this music for video games & extreme sports! If you dig heavier melodic guitar combined with shred, you'll like this one!!

'MY BLUE EYED SOUL' CD
A contemporary blues record. It has lot's of songs as well as lots of guitar. It has different textures & moods throughout.

GD: Tell us how the idea for the 'Outtakes' and 'Stripped' rehearsal CD's came about? These types of releases are very much treasured by die hard fans who would love a sonic glimpse of the artist at work/work in progress. I reckon it's a great idea!
KR: Well Lee, let's hope it's a great idea.. Ha ha ha.. 'Stripped' was recorded during sound checks at various different venues on my 1999-2000 'Trip Tour'. Sometimes I didn't even know that the guys were recording to be honest.. Nonetheless it was a pleasant surprise. It has taken me this long to sift through so much live material that I decided to call this one 'Stripped Vol. 1'. It's solo acoustic. Just me and my guitar. 'Outtakes' is a collection of songs that were recorded between 1978-1988. This record is from 'projects' that I put together back then. With the sole intention to record some songs and then see what might happen after that. In both of these cases nothing happened.. ha ha ha.. But I do have some pretty cool stuff to share with my fans today as a result. It rocks man!

GD: It's great to see 'The Bridge' and 'Megaforce' both getting a US release. In fact the new Bridge cover looks better to me than the European version. Will it have the bonus tracks (Perfect Lies etc) as well? I'll have to amend my Bridge review on the website to make the readers aware of this new version..
KR: I agree.. Renaissance will release both 'The Bridge' and 'Megaforce' on April 18th here in the States. I also agree that the artwork does look better than the MTM version of The Bridge. I got Rockin' Daddy Graphics to do the layout for me. And oh yes, 'The Bridge' will include all the bonus tracks.. I wanted to remaster 'The Bridge' but a couple of the ex-707 guys resisted me on it for whatever reasons... I guess nostalgia came into play for them or something. 'Megaforce' is the original songs plus all the bonus tracks and outtakes.


707 'THE BRIDGE' CD
Some of you may or may not know, but my band from the past 707 had a couple of big 'Rock Radio songs' in the early 80s'. This record 'The Bridge' was previously unavailable. That is until now.. Renaissance Records is releasing it April 18th. You'll find it at all the usual outlets! This is NOT a re-release.

707 'MEGAFORCE' CD
Renaissance Records is re-releasing 'Megaforce' on CD for the first time here in the U.S. also April 18th. This record yielded the classic rock radio hit 'Megaforce'.

707 'THE FOURTH DECADE' CD AVAILABLE IN JUNE 06
This record is brand new 707 record. I have been working on this 707 record for quite a longtime. I did sign a deal with Renaissance Records this past year. It features the melodic rock styling's we were known for while moving things ahead musically a bit! If you dig melodic rock & classic rock..this one's for you!!

GD: This is certainly an unprecedented assault on the market!! Fans of all your styles of music will find something (hopefully many things) to please their ears. Perhaps some kind of promotion could take place at GD to make the rock community aware of the dizzying array of new titles ?
KR: Oh you bet Lee. I appreciate that! I have a wealth of material.. I guess it's the right time of my life now to part with so many recordings that I have held onto for years. I am ready to share it with the listeners now. It really helps (I think) for people to get a better understanding of the artist, musically speaking. Where I come from, ya know? This is what I know today.. I am a result of a kid growing up in a city such as The Motor City (Detroit) in the 60's and 70's and playing music at such a young age.. I was listening to Jazz, Big Band, soul and r & b, classical, rock-n-roll, boggie woogie, cha cha music, blues etc.. all at the same time mind you! So it's a natural for me to play say a rock/blues lick and then slide right into a jazz chord followed by a soul rhythm funky thing. It's all blues to me Lee. I don't get all the separating of music styles to be honest.. It's quite narrow minded, no?

I have the feel and understanding to play a few different styles of music I believe (no brag just fact). I am not saying that I am a pure 'jazz player' or a straight up 'blues player', but I am informed enough as a player to be able to capture the true essence of a style. See what I mean? There is a difference between a player of just one style and a stylist player. There are a few cats around that can play a few different styles and sound very convincing and I mean from the tone to the phrases to the over all approach. Not an easy thing to do. I live it and play it Lee. So 'My Generation', 'Invasion Of Privacy', 'My Blue Eyed Soul', 'Stripped' and 707 are all me playing the various styles I love and respect. By the way, there will be a 'My Generation II' next year.

GD: Tell us a little about the book you're working on - what kind of 'on the road' and 'in the studio' stories we can expect, and a rough idea of release date?
KR: Ohh the 'tell all' book you mean? ha ha ha.. I am still working on it and haven't made a publishing deal as of yet but I will down the road a bit. The names have been changed (for the most part) to protect the innocent. I do have some juicy stories though.. The road stuff? Oh boy! Like the time back in the mid 80's when I was standing in a mens bathroom stall in a posh Hollywood nightclub snorting coke with a very famous actor (who I had just met after the show) who loved my playing!!He was an aspiring player himself.. Quite well known guy indeed! Nice cat! Crazy stuff in the 80's Lee. Now before I continue I must tell you I have been clean and sober for over 15 years now,..By the grace of God! But the 80's was the all time decade of decadence! More and bigger was the motto! Let's see.. Or the time sitting pool side at a pal's house with one of Hollywood's most respected actors.. One of the giants in the industry.. Well we were partying quite hard...ha ha ha..Funny guy! Great actor too! The time we refused to do American Bandstand! Can you believe that? JEEZ! And The crazy sex-capades? You'll have to wait Lee until it's all finished I'm afraid... ha ha ha..

GD: You've certainly given your fans several reasons to celebrate!! Any new message to them?
KR: Thanks to you all for sticking by me for all these years. I will continue to share the music and my heart! Please pray for peace. God bless.. Kevin

URL: www.kevinrussell.com


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Comments
#1 | 149 on March 29 2006 11:57:44
Great to see that the mighty 707 is still alive and kicking! Can't wait to buy the new CD! I wish Kevin Russell and his mates all the best!
 
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