Eric Sampson: The Gunslinger

by Traci Nubalo

They are known as gunslingers.

Obviously, this is a throwback to the early western US where being a “hired gun” was a way in which a man handy with his weapons could be employed. In the contemporary musical context a gunslinger is a person so proficient on guitar that they could be called upon to bring their expertise into action for session or live work. They are highly respected not only by their fans, but by other musicians, as well.
This gunslinger image is what comes to mind for me when I think of EricSampson Swansong, one of the bright new stars on the Second Life musical horizon.

We first ran into Eric a mere few months ago when he appeared as a live sideman at the then-new CraigLyons Writer’s live concerts here. Even with the focus rightfully going to Craig and his songs, my attention kept drifting a bit to what else was going on musically. Being the good support artist that he is, Eric was always very careful to never overshadow Craig with his playing; his role was that of the careful, thoughtful side man, selecting and playing his tasty parts with an attitude of reserve and respect for the featured performer. However, I made a mental note to do some investigation when the time was right.

Upon my return to Second Life - having taken a well-needed break - I found Craigmania in full swing. I also found a note from my publisher asking if I’d be interested in an interview with - who else? - Eric Sampson! I soon found myself chatting with Kalli Birman who manages both Eric and Craig (and who will for sure be finding herself on every smart “Manager of the Year” list this season). She made the necessary contact, I started to hang out at Eric’s shows, and the result is this article.

I found Eric to be a warm and personable young man, seemingly secure with himself and actually a lot of fun to interact with. He was quickly able to relax and get into the “interview flow” - a feat that not every musician finds possible. Within minutes we were laughing and bouncing ideas off one another in a most enjoyable way. He’s very intelligent and though he claims difficulty with words and their usage, he a writer of excellent lyrics, and very much holds his own in the conversation department. As I often do in my interviews, I kicked things off talking about stage and studio gear:

Traci Nubalo: So, let's warm up with some tech talk. What guitar(s) do you use in SL?
EricSampson Swansong: In SL, the avatar guitar that I play is a Gibson Hummingbird which I am a fan of. However in RL, I use a guitar from a small little company called Thompson.
TN: The Thompson is mic‘ed right?
ES: Yes. It's mic'ed with a room microphone, and I have a mic for vocals as well.
TN: Any special mic for guitar and for vocals?
ES: Until recently, I was using an AKG 114 for the guitar, and a Shure Beta 87A for vocals. However recently I've just been using an Audio Technica AT4033 for the guitar, because we no longer have the 114 here at the studio.
TN: Your sound is so clean and present. Do you use any effects on the guitar?
ES: Just a little reverb. I try to keep it on the dry side, however it's tough. After the sound is compressed so heavily through the stream, everything usually sounds pretty thin.
TN: Yes, but you're getting a nice rich sound overall. By SL standards, anyway.
ES: That's good. I'm never sure exactly what it sounds like till I can listen to the show afterwards.
TN: So, pre-Second Life what was your background and training?
ES: Well, I started playing guitar when I was about 14 I think. I was a freshman in high school, and I remember going over to my friends house and his father was playing a Gibson 335. Just simple blues stuff but I thought it was just about the coolest thing I'd ever seen in my life. So, I just got bit by the bug. Started playing a little cheap guitar that my parents had. I’d play everyday, usually three to four hours. After it was apparent that that's what I wanted to do, my parents finally broke down and sent me to music school after high school.
TN: The school in Hollywood?
ES: Yep! I attended Musician's Institute.
TN A very well known and excellent school.
ES: It was a real eye opener for me. I didn't realize what I real musician was till then.
TN: How so?
ES: I grew up in a town of population of around 300 or so up in Humboldt County, CA. It wasn't exactly the music capital of the world, if you know what I mean.
TN: LOL I sure do.
ES: So I had never been around that class of player until I moved to L.A. Oh, I got my butt kicked again and again. But more than anything, the school introduced me to lots of people, some of whom I work with today.
TN: Very cool.
ES: I started playing in blues bars by the time I was 15 or so. That was when I was still up in Humboldt. That's where I first got my introduction to the main guitarists that would be the cornerstones of my style: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page were the big three. I didn't actually start with the singing and writing until a bit later. At first all I wanted to do was play guitar.
TN: I think that comes through in your act. I can feel the lead guitarist in there.
ES: Yeah, it's tough to get that out. But I still have plenty of opportunity to play every week. I do a lot of session work, along with playing guitar for many local artists. And gospel gigs. So I guess you could say the singer/songwriter thing is my night job, and playing the guitar is the day job.

In this part of the discussion, Eric begins to reveal the gunslinger aspect of his career prior to coming to SL music. It’s been my experience that players who engage themselves in such varied and difficult forms of work often become the most exacting, hardcore players of all. So, let’s bear in mind that this is the reality that Eric was involved with when we first met him here in SL. It’s important to recognize that although he was new to us, he had already passed through a tough initiation at the Musician’s Institute and had been making a living day-to-day as a hired gun in L.A.’s tough and demanding music scene.

TN: When did you arrive here in SL?
ES: Let's see, I was introduced to SL through Craig Lyons. If I remember correctly, he had been doing shows for quite awhile before I even created an avatar. But I would play guitar for him at his shows. Craig is a wonderful musician, and great to work with.
TN: Yes. And it’s a good match for you both, musically. One thing I admire about your work here, though, is that you are clearly holding your own as a solo act; not just living in Craig's world.
ES: Thank you! Well, I was hoping that my live show in RL would translate to SL.
TN: It totally does.
ES: I think it took me a little to sink in. But I think I'm getting more and more comfortable each time.
TN: Yes, that's obvious. If you don't mind, I'd like to discuss a few of your compositions for the readers out there.
ES: Sure!
TN: One of my personal favorites is “The Traveler.” I love the story line - ships passing in the night, etc.
ES: Yes.
TN: What was the inspiration for that one?
ES: Well, funny enough it was partially inspired by Craig. I was thinking of the relationship between him and Taylor, his fiancĂ©e. I was searching through quotes. I very much enjoy quotes and poetry. Robert Frost is one of my favorites, and so I was looking for a Robert Frost poem I hadn’t seen and I came across a big list of types of quotes. You click on the link to see all kinds of quotes about that subject - quotes about love, life, death, happiness, etc.
TN: Yes. A great writer's tool, by the way.
ES: Yep. And then a column of quotes about jobs; lawyers, quotes about doctors, artists, etc. And I had a conflict because I knew I wanted to write a song about a relationship. It started as a relationship between an artist and a musician. That's when I started to think about the relationships around me including Craig and my friend and producer, Dan McMains. I remember thinking about Dan's relationship at the time, which was where the line, "She was the activist, who couldn't let anything go" came from. But at the same time, she was also an artist. And when I started to think about it, there were times when Dan was the activist, and she would be the clown. The same with Craig. That's were I got the line, "She was the poet." At any given time, one of them always seems like the driving artistic force, while the other is the down to earth.
TN: Yes. Now musically, in that song you are using one of my favorite guitar motifs - the G - C ascending splits, as in “Alice's Restaurant” or “Blackbird.”
ES: Ha! Yep!
TN: It has so much energy and it defines that song perfectly.
ES: I've always been a huge fan of that style of music. It's stripped down, and personal. I've always felt that if you have a good song, all you should need is a voice and a guitar. It's very easy nowadays to make something sound good. People have gotten away from the basics of writing.
TN: Another fave is “32 Miles.” How did that come about?
ES: Well, “32 Miles” is based off a script for a film. The writer had asked me to write some music for it, and the basic premise of the song is very loosely what the plot of the movie is about.
TN: I see. Is the film in development?
ES: Yes. I have to wait till a couple more contracts are signed before I can say anything about it, such as who's gonna be in it, the name, etc.

One for the more exciting aspects of seeing and hearing Eric Sampson live is that he is totally unafraid to “go off the page” and improvise. Of necessity, this entails stepping out into unknown territory and Eric walks that line with the best of them. On the night that I wrote this review his improv work led him to a closing medley of songs that I can assure will never be strung together again!

TN: So last night you played a SL benefit gig and pulled off one of the best sets I've seen you do. I'd like to discuss the medley you did at the end - lawdy mamma!
ES: Ha! Sure!
TN: “Space Cowboy“, “Hang On Sloopy“, “No Woman No Cry“, “Fifty Ways“, “Faith.” wtf?
ES: Well, I don't really plan ahead on those. Just like I don't ever have a set list. I like to play what I feel like playing right then. So what ever comes to mind is what comes out.
TN: I could tell it was off the cuff - and off the hook, too! Out. I think this really tore the crowd up. It was reminiscent of some of the stuff I'd seen David Bromberg do live years ago - story-telling from the heart.
ES: That's what I love about playing live. The ability of going wherever you feel live, taking things musically, from moment to moment. I go crazy if I have to do things the same each time. That's why most of my backup players hate me I think. Every time I'm trying to get them to do something new.
TN: Keeps them on their toes.
ES: Yup!!
TN: On your website you've placed a couple of very cool George Harrison photo montages. Are you a big George fan as i am?
ES: Hey, you can never go wrong with George Harrison. Actually when I'm in a session, I almost guarantee during some point in the session you will hear me say, "Why don't we put a super-melodic part down like that part that George Harrison plays in that song (insert song name here)." He wrote some of my favorite songs of all time.
TN: Yes. And he sure did grow as a songwriter, didn’t he? I think that the Harrison/Jeff Lynne record “Braindead” might be one of the most underappreciated records of our time.
ES: Yes! I remember driving one day and I turned on the radio and they had just released the Anthology from The Beatles and that version of Harrison doing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with just him and an acoustic guitar came on. I had to pull the car over and just listen and I was in tears by the end of the track.
TN: Yes, that track was so beautiful; so honest. *long pause* I'm sure you've heard of Desert Island Disk. If you were stranded, what three disks would you want to have with you, and why?
ES: Wow, okay. They will be completely different in a couple hours from now, but at this moment - "Sail Away" by Randy Newman. He is one of my favorite writer and composers.
TN: Super-good choice!
ES: "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkle. And the last one. Hmmm. For this instant, I'd have to go with "Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor.
TN: Very insightful choices Eric. It's a tough question but sometimes very revealing. Hey, in your SL screen name, is the "Swansong" a tribute to Led Zeppelin?
ES: Yup. It took me awhile of resetting the names to find that one.
TN: GreyWolf, my publisher, nailed that one.

There’s just not much that can be said about EricSampson that is critical. He’s pretty much rock-solid in every department - musicianship, composition, showmanship, personality. I once heard Bruce Springsteen say in an interview, “All I know is that tonight when my boots hit the stage, I’ll know what I’m doing and how to do it.” One could easily apply this comment to Eric, as well. And confidence on that level is just downright thrilling for an audience, even if they are not really sure what it is that they are liking so much. All told, this is the confidence of a true gunslinger.

TN: So, winding down, what's next for Eric Sampson?
ES: Well, I'm almost done writing material for the next album. This next one is going to be quite a bit darker and stripped down than the first one, with more on an emphasis on the songs instead of the production.
TN: Awesome. Do you have the title yet?
ES: Not yet! I'm going to wait till I hear it near done so I can name it what it feels like it should be named. Other than that, I just wrote a song for a documentary about battered womens' shelters. It is currently in production, and it's such a joy to be a part of.
TN: That's a gesture that very few artists would take on. I applaud your courage in doing that.
ES: Well, I have some individuals in my family that have been in that situation so it's a personal subject, and it's great to be able to help out.
TN: So, one last thing. This is your opportunity to speak directly to your fans, old and new. What would you like to say to them?
ES: I would say, “Hi. Hello. Have you eaten yet?” Na, but really, I would say, “In the end the love you take, is equal to the love that you make.”
TN: *smile* Classic. And oh so true.
ES: Yes. They already said it best.

Russell Eponym: The Truth According to Russell Eponym

by Traci Nubalo

So, there I was at Twill’s Muse minding my own business (not exactly true: I was there to see the great Russell Eponym perform) and as I wandered around talking to people I suddenly got an idea I couldn‘t resist (slightly false: I knew when I went there what I was going to do). I had written about Russell once before and was nervous about what I could say in this article so I was procrastinating a bit (well…no: I LOVE Russell and his music and will talk about him at the drop of a hat).
After that introduction you probably won’t believe anything else I say but I SWEAR that in the crowd at Twill’s that day I saw a tiny dragon, a polar bear, a mermaid, and a couple dancing together while they mopped the floor. (All true: Twill’s is that kind of place. And it’s also where one might find some of the most interesting music on Planet Second Life).
And that brings us to Russell Eponym. The idea that I had for this this interview was that I would ask some of his many fans to anonymously contribute THE question that they had most always wanted to ask him. I would then slip the questions into the interview author unnamed. More about that later.
During the first article about Russ (which appeared in this blog before it had been picked up by VIRTUAL TIMES) I made the point upfront that Russ and I are good SL friends and that I am a huge fan of his work. He is the consummate professional, a total gentleman, and just a good guy to hang with. He also happens to be one fierce musician and writer. He - at one point in time - performed more than 1,000 shows on Second Life within a one-year period. This speaks directly to both his popularity and to his durability as a performer. He also has formed around him one of the very best fan groups in Second Life, which is called his Eponymous Family. It’s truly extended family in every sense of the term, and my respect for this group caused me to try to do this interview with them in mind.
Russell met me on three occasions in the brand new VIRTUAL TIMES office building where we shared a fascinating and informative couple of interview hours. I was so pleased with the results that I decided to not write a lot of prose but to try to let the interview speak for itself.

Traci Nubalo: You've been at this Second Life music thing a long time Russ. Five years is it?
Russell Eponym: Yes, in my 5th year now. In January I had a huge four-year show at my sim The Still Point of the Turning World.
TN: Wow! Has a lot changed in that time period?
RE: Yes. First and foremost the quantity of musicians has increased. There was just a handful of us in the early days. We were hot property. Then of course, the number of venues has risen exponentially. Also, there’s a greater variety of events which have now become firmly established.
TN: Are you not hot property now?
RE: You would have to ask my family. I do after all belong to them.
TN: Are you referring to your online fan group, the Eponymous Family?RE: Yes. But in another sense I am not property at all because I have remained my own master. I’ve managed my own career with a great team
TN: Yes you have; very artfully, I might add.
RE: Well, it has been very hard work, Traci. It’s not an easy thing to become successful in SL, and in many ways I have been successful. It is something which people do not always understand. The work ethic is important. I am here to fulfil a professional obligation and in so doing, I enjoy the most fulfilling job I have ever had - earning a living through playing live music. It does not get better than that.
TN: Well said.
RE: I am told constantly by other musicians that that is what they want. I know it is a good experience for me.
TN: I'm glad you brought up the Eponymous Family so early. I wanted to bring them into this as well. You have arguably the most fascinating and effective online group in SL.
RE: Yes, what can I say about them except that they are what keep me going everyday.
TN: Yes, I know this is a deep issue for you.
RE: It really is; they mean everything to me. They have autogenously created a community in itself - a place of exchange, a place for sharing and caring.
TN: Even healing.
RE: I always feel that a good show has been a corporate effort - all of us together. You just saw something of that at the show earlier, and you’ve seen many examples over the years that you and I have been friends.
TN: Russ, what I've seen in the family has amazed me. I’ve watched the group interact through marriages and births, passings and celebrations; suffering and joy.
RE: Yes, and always with a genuine sense of caring and as you say, of healing. The music is going well; the shows are at times spectacular. But most of all the energy is enormous. Over the long time that I’ve been watching Russell’s progress in SL music one of the things that has impressed me most is the extremely creative and progressive form that his online fan group has taken. The Eponymous Family has grown far beyond the typical “When are you playing?” info source that’s prevalent here. They truly have become family in every sense of the term.Several times a day the group chat window will open and members of the tribe will gather to share gig info as well as to chat about whatever topic happens to be on the table that day.The group seems to have evolved into extended family, celebrating - and sometimes commiserating - whatever life changes they share. I find the exchanges to often be very real and touching - one of the very best examples of positive online communication.
TN: So, on behalf of the family members I’d like to go back in time with you a little.
RE: Okay.
TN: How did this music thing begin for you? What were you doing prior to SL?
RE: It started when I was a twelve-year-old. I fell in love with the whole acoustic sound, the poetical possibilities of song, the political significance of music, the open door to creativity through music and song. It was enormous! The effect of hearing Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and all the characters of that era. I wanted to do that, and I had my first harmonica when I was twelve and soon after I had my first guitar. I was overwhelmed in hearing the delicious artistry of Bert Jansch and John Renbourne. I went to see them play in London coffee houses, and raced home trying to keep a mental image of what they did to make those guitars speak the most wonderful language. I watched players like a hawk watches its prey - always considering, absorbing.I also I played in various types of bands - heavy rock, folk, punk, jazz.
TN: How were you employed?
RE: I was a teacher throughout my working life, and used music endlessly as a teaching aid.
TN: Ahh the Sting Syndrome.
RE: Yes I suppose so. My students sang. We wrote together; we sang together. It was a great journey. I practiced the art a lot and played when I could in clubs or pubs. Did some decent gigs, and the songwriting became an important new avenue. I had always been a writer - short stories, poetry and an unpublished novel so writing was in my blood.I also had the good fortune to know some excellent musicians - people I knew at school who later became important players in music. Classical musicians, jazz players.
TN: Such as…?
RE: I was lucky enough to have been the best friend of Julian Lloyd-Weber - arguably the finest cellist in the world and brother of Andrew. We were at school together. I also knew some and rock musicians who went on to tour with Al Stewart. Another good friend named Nico Ramsden ended up as Mike Oldfield's second guitarist for the live Tubular Bells performances. Another friend - Robyn Sylvester now plays bass for the Grateful Dead spin-off called Ratdog. I was so lucky to have had associations with these people. It was great knowing these musicians.
TN: And so at some point SL appeared?
RE: Yes. I had just moved to the USA and using another online program. At some point we heard about SL, how great the sound quality was and so we made the transition. We were all streaming on Day One.
TN: Are there others of that original group still here
RE: Yes, Frogg Marlowe was the first musician I met in SL. He was so helpful and so good at showing us the ropes. Also Neil Morrison; UFS Hyde (now deceased); Mel Cheeky; Cylindrian Rutabaga - I brought her into SL; Edward Lowell of course who owns the Stream Team; and DimiVan Ludwig who now owns the Hummingbird. We all had met in RL too - and then it all took off.
TN: *smile* And now, here we are - years down the road, still growing.
RE: Yes, the growth has been considerable, and it continues. We have to be careful. It can implode. At the moment we rely on courtesies and goodwill and trust. There is always a danger of the darker side of greed rearing its ugly head.
TN: What is your vision and hope for the future of SL music?
RE: I would like to see a full infrastructure in place which gives the musical community more stability; more systems and policies. I would like to see a policy of remuneration in place. But I do not think the answers are simple. And I have no intention of trying to address those now.
TN: Shifting gears - let's play "Desert Island Disk".
RE: Okay.
TN: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three albums would you want to have with you?
RE: I would take “The Magic Flute” by Mozart as one. *thinking* I’d also take “Flat Baroque and Berserk” by Roy Harper; and the first and eponymous album of Bert Jansch.
TN: Great choices. Not the typical "Freebird" response.
RE: Thank you. There are three things I look for in music. I want some genius, some poetry, and some skill. My disk choices cover those - the genius of Mozart, the poetic passion of Roy Harper, and the skill and precision of Bert Jansch.
TN:'s a tough one: where do you see those aspects in your own compositions?
RE: In terms of the genius, I aspire to mediocrity.
RE: In terms of the poetic passion I am learning the necessary skill of leaving more out than I include. And my dexterity is there through hard work and perseverance. There is not a huge amount to commend me, really.
TN: Well, I might argue. I believe that there are large amounts of those three qualities in your writing and playing. And I know I speak for many in your family in saying so.
RE: Maybe there is; it is not for me to say. Thank you for that. I have learned something important: sincerity and authenticity are the keys to writing good songs. Also having a capacity to listen to the sounds of everyday which envelop us; to use nature and its energy and rhythms. I try to incorporate my own experience. Does that make sense?
TN: Total sense. Thank you.
RE: I am entranced by the wonders of nature and I use that as much as is feasible in my own composing to draw hearts and minds in.I have varying degrees of success. Much depends on the receptive capacities of my audience. My audiences are astute and very receptive - actively so.
TN: Yes indeed they are. I’m interested in something of a technical nature but I’m not sure how it will translate into the printed words. But let’s try. Recently you've been discussing some "tricks of the trade" in concerts. For example, the use of various capos, etc. Can we discuss some of these techniques? Or is this not such great topic?
RE: No, no. It’s of huge interest.
TN: Well, how do you use the various tools at your disposal? In other words, we are "watching" you play, what are we seeing you do technically? I’ll issue a TECH ALERT for the readers just in case things get too techie here! lol
RE: I use a number of different capos. Full capos of course, and partial capos.
TN: For the reader, what is a capo?
RE: A capo is a device for altering the pitch of your strings. In other words, it effectively shortens the strings by clamping a rod across all strings at any fret. So if you play a C chord without a capo you are playing in key of C. But if you put your capo on fret 1, that same chord would be in key of C# (c-sharp), and so on. I often play C G D chords with the capo on 4th or 5th or even 7th fret. It enables me to use familiar chord families but at a higher pitch getting those beautiful high tonal effects. With the partial capo I can cover some of the strings, enabling me to play in DADGAD type tuning or open G tuning DGDGBD without retuning the strings.
TN: Leaving, for example, the deeper bass strings open?
RE: Exactly - allowing the droning effect suitable for celtic style music. My favourite trick is to use multiple capos.TN: *smile*
RE: …a full capo and a partial capo at the same time, or a full capo and two partial capos.
TN: Jeeez, really?
RE: Yes. I am writing a piece at the moment using a full capo on fret 2, a drop E capo on 4, and then on 6 a DADGAD capo - each capo getting progressively shorter.
TN: Wow. So this all gives you more tonal coloration?
RE: Yes - exactly. I use two capos on the banjo. I have a full capo for main four banjo strings and a sliding capo for the high G banjo string. Many musicians here ask me about my use of capos.
TN: These are not commonplace techniques, are they?
RE: No these are specialized techniques. I’m currently experimenting with two new capos. One is called the Third Hand Capo. It enables you to clamp down any combination of the six strings - one string to all six.
TN: Realllyyyyy.
RE: Yes. And the piece de resistance for me is the Voice Capo. I just received this - it covers the first four frets enabling you to hold down any chord shape so you can set it to be clamped on say D chord enabling you to improvise all the way along the fret board. It’s perfect for the player wishing to be more adventurous and creative. It is not a substitute for being able to play the chords; it is really for advanced use.
TN: Now that you and I have discussed it I think the readers will be as fascinated as I am.
RE: I hope so. I actually gave a lesson on using the capo yesterday during a concert. People were very interested. And some engaged me in conversation about it long after the show.
TN: You also mentioned it at Twills the other day.
RE: Yes I did. I find any tools or devices for developing and discovering new horizons so valuable. Some players say a capo is a cheat device.
TN: pffft! It all serves Conscious playing.
RE: Exactly. I like the freedom to get my left hand secure and safe and allow my right hand to do the talking. It’s all in my right hand, Traci.
TN: Yes, you've told me that many times.
RE: It’s true. So when people ask me for twenty minutes to show them how to finger pick I smile.
TN: Excellent. Thank you for filling us in on that. End TECH ALERT here.
The flip side of this is that there is obviously a lot going on in a non-technical sense. Would it be fair to say that your impact on the audience has a spiritual component as well?
RE: Well, yes. I am playing a style which involves a huge amount of warmth and embrace. I am playing and tuning in with the sense of presence, of people - conscious people. I am feeling an energy, a sense of anticipation and elation; of mutual entrancement.To varying degrees I sense people are zoning in, if that means anything.
TN: Yes.
RE: I am playing rhythms and arpeggios; sometimes repetitiously, sometimes not. They are often in accord and harmony with my own bodily and organic functions. So heartbeat, cerebral rhythms are part of it. A sense of movement “from and towards” as T.S.Eliot says in the Four Quartets; a sense of the “Still Point of the Turning World.” “Neither flesh nor fleshless.” - all Eliot lines.It comes from a sense that the world is absurd but that this is one way of making some sense of it; a kind of ephemeral order. LOL I’m not sure the readers will want to read this.
TN: Oh yes. They absolutely will.
RE: Musically it falls into place.
TN: Russell, this is why you are called the “Music Whisperer.”
Your Listeners Want To Know:
TN: I promised a little surprise.
RE: Yes. Everything is a surprise to me anyway, Traci.
TN: I wandered among the Eponymous family a bit and pulled a few of them aside.
RE: And you found?
TN: I solicited some questions for you from them. *smile* Things they might never ask otherwise.
RE: Okay.
TN: No names involved. Ready?
RE: I sense a white knuckle ride looming - sure.
TN: Have you ever played with or for someone who is very famous?
RE: Yes
TN: I can't let you stop there. LOL
RE: LOL My first public performance ever was with Julian Lloyd Weber in a school performance. We played Sweet Little Sixteen by Chuck Berry. I played guitar and Julian played double bass (he is arguably the world’s greatest cellist) and some other boys played drums and guitar.I also played for a punk band called The Buzzcocks before they became the legendary new wave band fronted by Pete Shelley. He and I were original members of the Jets of Air - later to become the Buzzcocks.
TN: Awesome.
RE: Next?
TN: Okay. If you are done with that one we'll move on.
RE: Well, plenty of others but not as significant.
TN: Okay, next. If you could perform in any venue or location in the real world, where would that be?
RE: That’s a tricky one - there are so many wonderful venues. I do think Wembley would be a great place to play but probably too big for my kind of music. Something smaller. How about the Newport Folk Festival? *smile*
TN: Okay...just one last one from your family. What are you favorite foods? - and meatballs do not count.
RE: I like fresh food that tastes like real food; fresh fruit; vegetables freshly grown; seafood freshly caught. Pasta and mushrooms; pineapples and enormous plump pink grapefruits. Shrimp and lobster. Asian spices and rices. French red wine. I could go on.
TN: Yummmm. Yes, but perhaps it's time for lunch.Thank you so much Russ; the family had fun playing Three Questions.
RE: Thank you, Traci. You make a job into a pleasure.
TN: The pleasure truly is mine. And that IS the truth!

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