"I just love singers & frontmen who have made an impact, guys like Roger Daltrey"Today we welcome musician Russ Diapper into the Fit4Talent interview room, welcome Russ.
So tell me more about your up-coming December tour.
Well the winter tour kicks off in Southampton, of course! We're in hometown on the 1st of Dec at the Oasis Bar, 15th at Guava Bar, 18th on my radio show live at spitfirefm.com which goes out live from Southampton and then back at the Oasis Bar on the 22nd. Other than that we're at Dusk Till Dawn in London on the 9th of December and after the new year, it's the Victoria Biker bar in Leicester on Jan 7th and then the Railway Inn in Winchester on Feb 5th. So there you go, we're keeping busy. This is just a mini tour to get the band started; mind you, we have some big things we want to do in 2012. Keep your eyes on the Facebook page/website as it is in this business, dates are always subject to change!
Which venue(s) are you looking forward to playing the most?
The Dusk till Dawn and Biker bar are looking to be a lot of fun. I just love that atmosphere. Plus any bar that's named after one of my favourite films (from dusk till dawn) immediately gets my vote! It's all about the atmosphere. Guava bar will be a lot of fun; I've done that before with 2 other bands I've been in. Oasis I have just jammed as a drummer and it was great, so we'll see. We're set to play the Stage Bus at the Biker bar somewhere near march, and that's an outside gig at a biker rally, so that will be a lot of fun!
I look forward to every gig though, it's all rock and roll.
Is there anything you're not looking forward to when you tour?
There's always s**tty shows... I just want to get them out of the way and there is always complainers... I'd like to get rid of them too! aha. No... honestly there's not a whole lot that I'm dreading. This is my first tour/set of shows as a frontman and not a drummer/singing drummer so... it's going to be a little bit scary but... Hey I'm an actor I'll hide all that and give you nothing but pure confidence... ahh I'm not supposed to admit to that. Aha... but really, it should be a lot of fun so hopefully, nothing too bad that I'm not looking forward to. I'm a very pro-active and optimistic guy and in this business... it's the only way to be. So I try to keep a lock on that negative s**t.
How are you planning to promote this tour?
Well... The first solo album I released sold more copies than any other album I've ever been involved with and that was a shock and a pleasant surprise... so quite a few people have followed the album, bought it and now want to see shows. So really it's all the usual ways... posters, email, Facebook, websites, promoters hopefully doing their job and us doing ours. A few classic covers in there to get the people dancing, we hope to gain a lot of live fans too who haven't heard the album. Like any band starting up and making their name, you do what you can! As a solo artist I'm signed to Purpular Records also so, in essence, so are the band as they are my band now. The label will do a fair bit of promotion just like we will. You know how it goes.
So what is this tour in aid of?
What is any tour in Aid of? just promoting ourselves, getting the music out there. Promoting the album, which I have a new one out soon. So yeah the usual reasons really but the first album was titled 'No Cure for Curiosity' because...simply put, I've been drumming since I was 5 and I've always been interested in singing, now I've become really curious if I can pull of a solo album, a solo tour... being a frontman you know? I have a hell of a lot of fun doing it and it doesn't phase me but..I still don't know if I can cut it. I'm not the world best singer by any standard. So my curiosity was killing me... you know 'maybe I could do this'. So I did it... so the only cure was to give it a shot. So really that's one of the main reasons, I've wanted to do this for so long just to see if I could. If I fail miserably... I can always be a drummer. but I'd probably still do it just for the fun of it aha. I've been an actor remember, I'm fully used to making a pratt out of myself. That's not exclusive to acting either ;-)
Have you got anything already recorded for your Album?
The Debut album came out back in July, but for the new one... about 80% of it is complete. I'm just tracking the guitars in my studio at the moment. I wish I could say it was me on guitar because I have some really talented guys on it. But on guitar I've got Rhys Harries, who is a local guy who has worked in more or less every musical instrument store in Southampton, He plays on a couple of tracks and he is on fire! Nathan Bellows from my Live band is also set to make an appearance as he is a really talented blues inspired player who is up and coming. I'm really hoping our band will get him noticed because he deserves is. Also I have a Scottish player called Nicky Cotter on the album. Me and him did a David Lee Roth cover a few weeks back and his playing impressed me so much, he can wail like Steve Vai man!! Smoking hot guitarist so he's playing on a few tracks also. So far the album is sounding great and I think its going to be much better than 'No Cure'. I hope I can crush those 'difficult second album' Vibes y'know? I'm hoping to release this in Limited Leather-bound edition also. Watch this space! But yes, we're nearly there and I can't wait to get it out there. Rich Brewer also plays bass on a couple of tracks and he is in the live band too. I hope to shoot some music videos for this album too. I never got round to it with the other album sadly, but now is the time!
(If so) Did you encounter any problems whilst recording?
Recording this album was a breeze because it was so much fun. the tracks where fun to write and fun to sing really. Writing the music and sometimes the lyrics can be hard because you often get a block. Sometimes I don't want to write about all the same stuff that's in my little brain! But on this album I think there are some great tracks. I can tell you though, on my last album, there was one day where I planned to lay down a couple of vocal tracks and I was feeling a bit nervous. Y'know it's my first Album solo and I wanted it to be good, So I had a few drinks... dutch courage. So many shots of Jack Daniel's Later I was all over the place. Thought to myself 'yeah this is rock and roll', Played back the recording the next day and it was un-usable. My voice was fried crisp and I was laughing and getting it all wrong... What an Idiot I thought aha. Oh well..live and learn! Dutch courage is great... it's when you drink a gallon of it that it starts to become a problem. No massive problems on this album though! The only problem is that it can't be finished fast enough!
How do you think the fans will receive it?
Well I hope. I think if you like Gecko and (or) the 'No Cure' Album... or any of the influences those have, then I think that you will enjoy it a lot. And as Dave Lee Roth says 'If you like it tell a friend and if you don't... tell an enemy!' So I'm really hoping it will open a lot of doors for me and my band. Its classic rock with a bluesy and hard rock edge that gives you a trip back to the 70's hayday of that kind of stuff. There's a few tricks and surprises thrown in also.
How will this Album vary from your previous works?
I must admit I haven't strayed too far from what I love best so its in the same vein. but that's who I am. I write/sing/play about drinking, cars, women and all that kinda fun stuff. You know, Americana, live experiences and the fun of being a rocker! All my songs are drawn from life and then some, so its really fun to do that stuff. I think this new album will be better than the first. My voice has improved I hope, I really pushed it on this album. The overall quality will be better I'm hoping too. Plus a better album cover. the overall release of 'No Cure' was rushed a fair bit and that includes the cover, I'm not too happy about it and it should of been better but, you live and learn! Get the new album when its out and tell me how it varies, I'd love to hear what you have to say! It should be available on www.russdiapper.com and iTunes, Spotify, Napster etc. The title at the moment is 'KingSnake'... I think its staying.
How are you planning to promote the Album?
Similar ways to the tour y'know, same as any person would. Word of mouth, posters, radio play, touring etc. I do what I can but plugging goes a long way! I'm hoping the tour will get a lot of people listening. I'm hoping to sign a deal with a bigger company sometime in 2012 if I work hard enough at it, that way we can be put in the right places where we will get the listeners that are perfect for us. We know there are so many potential fans out there... it's just finding them. A lot of music these days is mismanaged.
So how did you decide that you wanted to start a solo band?
Well... Like I said I had a curiosity for being a frontman and I've been interested in singing for so long so, I just had to do it. A lot of it comes with a bit of frustration with other bands too and other band experiences. Plus as I said I've been drumming for a long time, I fancied something different, as anyone would. I don't play guitar so I can't do the whole acoustic thing, So I figured I'd round up some of the best I could and then play them my material... get them to learn it if they liked it and then take it on the road. So far so good! 'Russ Diapper's Runaway Train' is the name for the solo band. Bit of an odd thing because I have to promote that it's my solo project and we're playing all my material... yet I want the band to be as big a part of the show too, so it's not like its all about me. its as much about them as it is me and we're very much 'as one' as a band. So its like 2 names... when you buy the albums, for the time being it's going to be just my name with a lot of guest/session players..but live it's the whole band experience. So Its almost like Russ and the Runaway train. I'm me and they are the awesome band that they are... here we are together mixing my material with their talent and a few covers to make one awesome show. That's how I look at it anyway! But yeah... to put it simply, I've just wanted to do this for a while. I guess I'm the epitome of 'inside every drummer is a frontman gagging to get out' kinda cliché, I love being a drummer and I'm happy doing it, but When I'm playing live at big gigs... I love to sing. I can't do half a good job at either when I'm doing them both at the same time so... I figured it was time to step up off the kit and try something new. I'll never give up either though; I'm a musician in and out. its in my blood. So I'll keep going with my Solo material, drumming, gecko and all that stuff as long as I can pull it off... before I keel over from exhaustion that is!
Who are some your main musical influences?
I just love singers and frontmen who have made an impact, guys like Roger Daltrey from the Who, they are my favourite band. Sammy Hagar is a big hero of mine, along with Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, Steven Tyler. All the greats, man. Musically I love that sort of hard rock, larger than life, in your face kinda stuff like Chickenfoot, AC/DC and guys like Pearl Jam are great in that area too... Lemmy and Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Mike Patton... the list never ends! I just started getting really into Harmonica and now I'm not drumming at these gigs I can play that too so I have a lot of influences with that as well. Again I'm sure that any of the influences I have are shared with many other artists of the same ilk.
If you had the opportunity to play with one of those, who would it be and why?
I'd love to play drums for Chickenfoot or Sammy Hagar because it just looks like fun and they play all the stuff I love. My biggest dream would be to play drums for the Who Because Keith Moon is my hero and the Who are the band who got me into music. Keith Moon is the reason I play drums. I've come so close to taking up bass too because of them. You have to have dreams, they keep you going! I'd love to jam with ZZ Top and support guys like Motorhead and stuff like that. I'm your average rock fan, anything thats close to any of that, if thrown my way, I'll be happy!
Where would you like to be in 5 years' time?
Touring the world with my band, supporting my heroes and having lots of fans and people listening to my music and having a kick ass time at the shows we play! Still drumming and still kicking! Definitely just doing what I'm doing now but on a much bigger scale. And hopefully all my band are still happy and comfortable and enjoying it all. That's really all I could ever ask for.
Any last words for the fans?
Thanks for your ever-growing support. Please keep an eye on things at www.facebook.com/TheRussDiapperBand or www.russdiapper.com.
The new album Kingsnake will hopefully be out mid-dec, so please pick up a copy! Keep the rock and roll dream alive, and never let anyone tell you that you cant! If they do, prove them wrong.
Thanks for reading, peace and love.
Interview by Robyn Lees