Russ Riapper

Over here at Rock Regeneration we have had the pleasure of taking up some time from Russ Diapper who has just finished touring his latest solo album “No Cure For Curiosity”.

Read on to find out more about Russ and what he is doing…

RR: Where do we start? You seem to have been involved just about everything; stuntman, director, drummer, lead singer, you have a recording studio, composer, actor…

Russ: Hey…start where ever you feel comfortable! That’s what I always do! I like to have my fingers in many pies but if I’m honest it comes down to that childish attitude of, when you ask a kid what color cupcake he wants, he’ll probably tell you “all of them”. I took an interest in so much stuff that I found interesting and wanted to learn more about and then It just went from there. I also saw no reason why I couldn’t “try anything once”, So I did. Some more than once, but I’ve been lucky enough to find some success in nearly all areas, so why quit now?

Russ Diapper

RR: Can we assume that your first love is music? (and if so who/what caught your attention, and influenced you the most?)
Russ: Yeah I pretty much have loved music since day 1. Music and drama, so entertainment really! I just like putting on a show, entertaining people! The first band that caught my attention was The Who and The Beatles. I knew I wanted to be a musician and I wanted to drum like Keith Moon. I always loved singing too, I just never really took it seriously. I always thought singing would be too hard, but drumming looked easy. Now I realize its the other way round BUT as I got older, I matured and realized I should take a stab at everything I liked. I used to play tapes and sing along to them for my dad, put on mini shows for my parents, which is pretty daft and funny when I look back at it all. Music and drama/film was always there for me and I always felt like I belonged there, one way or another.

Russ Diapper

RR: So, how did you get involved in the film industry?
Russ: The film thing was a bit of fun really that got out of control in the best way possible! I made a terrible film that happened to catch the attention of Stephen King and Matt Damon, both of which I still keep in contact with, and it went from there. I picked up my first camera when I was like 14 and with my film making partner Dan Bennett, we just kept going. I’m still learning and a lot of what I do is still garbage (laughes) but people enjoy it and I’m having a good time doing it, that’s what matters. I’m from the fanbase of cheesy 80’s horror, exploitation, ”bad” horror films, banned stuff and real grindhouse slashers…so If I look at a film I have made and go ‘oh my god this is dreadful’….its followed by ‘I love it!’, so there you go. I have no interest in mainstream and hollywood. I make the films I want to make for my kind of audience. and as long as everyone’s having a good time, I’m happy! I grew up idolizing writers like Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe was my first “hero”. When I heard that Stephen King liked the story of my little horror film….Well, I could of quit there and been fulfilled.

RR: Back to music, you have just released your second solo album, Kingsnake, tell us some background to the album? It sounds more mature and considered than “No Cure For Curiosity”, what was the driving force behind the new album?
Russ: Well “No Cure” was a bit of a giveaway in the title. Remember when I likened myself to a kid? Wanting all the cakes? aha, well that was me looking at some of my favorite front men and singers saying “That looks like fun…I’m curious, can I do that? yeah why cant I do that!?!”…and thus, My curiosity had no cure, except making an album of course! and that’s really where the title came from. KingSnake is more mature and considered on every level. I spent more time writing, more time recording. I feel my voice has Improved and don’t get me wrong, I don’t ever think “i’m a singer, I can handle it no worries”. I never “sail” through anything when it comes to singing. I’ve been a drummer who fancied singing for 20 years and this is all new to me. I’m starting to really relax and push myself, but I don’t consider myself one of the best, nor do I take it for granted. The driving force behind the new album was variety! I wanted a change and I really wanted to go on the road as a lead singer. We did a 15 date tour and it was amazing. we played mostly material from “no cure” (we’re saving the new songs for the summer tour) and I had a blast. I proved a lot to myself and I had the best band in the world to back me. ‘No cure’ was such a success and I didn’t expect that at all. That’s what drove me. When I had people actually asking me when a new album was out and I felt comissioned, that was all I needed. “No Cure” sold more copies than any other musical project I’ve been involved with and I felt I had a great time doing it, so lets do it again! Some of the tracks are darker, but some are rather tongue in cheek! I cant wait to get back on the road and play some of the new tracks and I’m really happy with the album, I just hope everyone else enjoys it too!

RR: Do you have any plans for a third album, or do you plan to take a break after the coming summer tour?
Russ: Funny thing is I’ve already written half of what could be a 3rd album but I probably wont get back into the studio until after the summer tour. I’m really happy with “Kingsnake” and I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I did when I recorded it, so I’m going to see what the response is and go from there I’m itching to get back on the road and I’ve only been off-road for 2 weeks! a 3rd album will be much of the same style as kingsnake but hopefully even better. It would be nice to grow and improve with every release, but theres no knowing how it will come out till’ its done! Most people are saying that kingsnake is the better album so far, and I did feel a little of that “difficult 2nd album” blues! When I did “No Cure” there was no expectations. I could do whatever I wanted and just be me and if people liked it thats great and if not, well….I tried! People reacted so well and it was such a big success that it did create pressure for me on the 2nd album. And don’t get me wrong, I’m still a nobody! so its not pressure in a “Wow I hope EMI likes this!” kind of way, its more like “Well I hope I can keep people interested and please them as much as the last album did”. So its a different ball game. I’m just a little guy trying to “make it” and to me “making it” isn’t always about record deals and money…its also a personal commitment, and to me that includes pleasing people and making them proud. So I hope I have.

RR: Having just finished the tour, how easy was it for your to put the sticks down, make the transition to front man? Were you comfortable in the role? I assume for the next tour you will take up the mike again?
Russ: Well you know what it was very weird and still is at times. I’ve been a drummer since I can remember but I always wanted to expand. It took a few gigs to get over the fear and become comfortable with a new persona. I’ve always been in to acting and to me I had to take some of the acting ethics to being a frontman because I didn’t just wanna stand there and look at my feet and sing like some of the guys I have seen, I wanted to really get into it, but it makes a hell of a difference singing wise, now I realize how much drumming AND singing at the same time restricted me in both areas. Some people have struggled to make the changeover and just cant get it into their head that I’m a frontman now. I got a lot of bullshit about giving up drumming which I’m not! I got some negative comments but only jealous ones from people who didn’t understand music! The people who matter and know what they are talking about have backed me and believed in me. It was originally a professional that said I should try being up front…so I take that seriously. I’m working on a lot of drumming projects and I still love it and will never give it up! I just prefer to Sing live and drum in the studio and as for the next tour, I’ll be back with my runaway train so yeah, I’ll be on the mic again.

Russ Diapper

RR: With the up and coming Summer tour, will you be spreading travelling further afield?
Russ: I hope so! there’s always talk of shows in different countries but it depends on the other guys. Every band wants to go further afield, its just making it work and making sure its worth it. I’ve had offers for shows in Finland, France, Spain and even America, but although we have done so well, the band is still in its infant stages really, so we’re not going to jump into anything too soon. It will cost a lot of money to go that far, so we need to make sure we are going to get a lot out of it before we buy our tickets. For now we’ll be sticking to the UK.

RR: How much new material for the third album will you be trying out on the Summer tour?
Russ: Well I don’t really want to do an AC/DC and only give you one track from the new album! (laughs). We wanna be an exiting band to see and not bore you to death with the same shtick every night so probably half of the new album is going to end up in the new set, a long with some new covers, new OLD songs and some new tricks. We’re also going to be joined buy a new guitarist. Nathan’s my hero and he’s not leaving but there may be some dates he cant make due to heavy schedule, He’s working in some films at the moment and I don’t wanna put too much on him. So the new guy is gonna double up with Nathan when he’s here and he will cover for Nath when he’s not! They will both share lead also, they are both monster players and I cant wait to show them off. They both have amazing strengths so we’re gonna focus on those and you’ll see the best of them with the songs we choose. its going to be a fantastic tour and a great year!

RR: Have you managed to meet any of your heroes?
Russ: I have so many heroes it would take a lifetime to meet them all! (laughs). But to answer your question, I’ve talked to a lot of them whilst working in the film industry but only met a couple face to face. But of course that’s going to change if I stick to my plans and ambition, why does anyone else get into ‘the biz’ other than to live out your dreams, meet cool people and rub elbows with the “celebrities” …Ok that wasn’t exactly my ambition but I wouldn’t say no to dinner with some of them. Sadly a few of them are no longer with us as I grew up idolizing a lot of the classic rock band members from the 60’s and 70’s. Although speaking of dinner with “heroes”, Its a strong word to use. I have many “Idols” but I’m lucky enough to have dinner with my one true hero whenever I want, and that’s my Dad.

RR: So, artisticly, what else do you want to try, that you have not yet done?
Russ: I get tagged with being a rock and roll guy but I’m into all sorts. I used to be a nightclub DJ, and I used to perform shows as an electro/jazz/chill outfit believe it or not, so I’m up for anything. I’d love to do something a bit more pure blues, and maybe some country. I’m writing some pretty melodic folky stuff for an upcoming film that I’m pretty exited about, but for now I’m happy being a one trick pony (laughs). I like to think of myself as a pretty cool pony! Aside from that I have had a few Metal bands ask me to join as a singer and drummer…which is rather strange but that’t not likely to happen anytime soon! I value what voice I do have and I never managed to master the “double kick” thing. Drumwise I’m from the mindset of Bonham, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich…no metal style drumming there! I can scream and growl reasonably well but I’m not cut out for that kind of stuff so I’ll leave it to the pro’s!

Russ Riapper

RR: Up and coming projects, any more Gecko?
Russ: Well apart from the new solo album and some film projects, nothing majorly new. There’s a few collaborations floating about at the moment featuring me just as the drummer, which I like. Also might be producing some albums for some rock bands and maybe some music videos. but at the moment I’m focused on my solo material, and a new feature film I hope to start shooting soon. As for Gecko, sadly nothing planned.

RR: So, any collaborations with anyone we might know?
Russ: Well with all the hype and success (so far) of KingSnake, I didn’t expect to be back in the studio so soon! But I am working on a new single for charity. I just got the go ahead from the suits at the office and I’ve written a song for Cancer Research that’s going to be put out in a couple of months hopefully. I’m working with an american Guitarist from Queens called Godfrey Townsend (no relation to Pete!) and he’s a guy I’ve been following for a long time. He’s worked with so many great people, including The John Entwistle Band, The Alan Parsons Project, Jack Bruce (from Cream), Joe Lynn Turner and a number of other solo and side projects of his, including a popular Beatles tribute show! In between his massively busy schedule he’s taking time out to work with me on this as a guest lead guitarist so as you can imagine I’m very exited about this. The song is called “Keep the Faith”, and I can’t wait for people to hear it. Keep your eyes peeled as I’ll have details on where to get it. Proceeds of course go to Cancer Research.

RR: …and one from left-field; what’s your favourite cake?
Russ: Make that one strawberry cheesecake….to go!

Thanks to Russ for giving us some of his time. We wish him well with his projects, and can’t wait to speak to him again!

Three Dead At Sundown
Russ Diapper
No Cure For Curiosity

Red Zodiac Films UK

Time by Russ Diapper
Questions by Jon.

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