Rusty Apper

A little while back we got a copy of a new charity EP called “Keep The Faith” by Rusty Apper – who might be familiar to some of you out there, having performed and recorded (and reviewed here) under the name of Russ Diapper. Not only did we get the chance to listen to the EP, we also got the chance for a chat with the man himself…

The title track “Keep The Faith” opens with his trademark sound, you wonder if it will be as blues influenced. Then the harmonica kicks in just to give you that nudge to tell you that this is good Southern Rock ‘n’ Roll. With a solid thumping sound, it reminded me in places of some of the more recent ZZ Top – but only just! In case you are wondering the track bears no resemblance to the Bon Jovi track of the same name. This is followed by “Cry of the Wolf”, an interesting blend of electric and acoustic guitar, when compared to some of his other work has his signature vocals and the expected horror leanings, with a nice little sample giving the listener a warning. Opening with gentle acoustic guitar work it blends in electric guitar work without being in your face. Throw in the relaxed rhythm and background howls and this is a surprisingly laid back track. Closing the EP is “Girl Is A Tease”, acoustically a great track, with minimal trickery. I Like Rustys’ work-the sleazy sound and thumping rhythms, not to mention he is an all round nice guy. But it is tracks like “Girl Is A Tease” that help pull it all together and subtly show the capabilities available. “Tornado” by Gecko is still one of my favourite tracks, if only because that is also understated.

Keeping this review intentionally short, we found out more about the track, from our chat with Rusty…

Rusty Apper

What have you been working on since we last spoke which was around Halloween with your single “Stuck Inside”?
Well since Stuck Inside, I took some time out. Had to deal with some emotional stuff and what with problems within my band The Runaway Train, I felt a bit burned out and needed a break. I still kept busy writing songs and preparing ideas, but nothing came of anything worthwhile and I felt like I was going in circles. A lot happened that turned into nothing, sadly. I got asked to perform some charity shows which I could not fulfil due to band issues, I was asked to be Paul Rodgers in a ‘Free’/’Bad Co.’ tribute band which was insanely flattering but way out of my league, so that didn’t work out either. I also tried to kickstart a “Rock and Roll Jukebox” tour which was going to be myself doing a string of dates performing standard classic rock covers, while also trying to get my charity EP finished too. Out of all that, I only got the EP finished but I wouldn’t change that for the world-its a great EP and I’m really happy with it. The time out has given me a chance to come up with new ideas, and have a breather and re-think what I’m really all about.

Your new EP is for charity, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research. What drove that decision?
Well it’s important isn’t it? People are dying all the time because of it and what can I do as one man? Not much but with the message of music, I think I can help be a significant part of something that could be a solution. I’m very realistic about it, and Cancer is in my family which is a terrible thing, and something that I wont lie is quite scary for me. I’m not scared of death, but I’m scared of being taken before I have the chance to do all the things I want to do in my lifetime, so the main song “Keep the Faith” deals with that. The title track was written specially for Cancer Research and its a message to all the survivors and victims or any sort of cancer. Don’t get me wong it’s not a sad song; but its a bitter-sweet track that should be touching, but ultimately a good message of strength. More of a song that says “come on guys be strong, we can get through this!” That’s my message to the people who are suffering from the disease and also to their families and friends. As the chorus says “Hold on tight, don’t let go. Life goes on! (and so does the show)”. So there are double mixed meanings in there, but ultimately I think it is an upbeat track that lots of different people are going to take differently. The b-side “Cry of the Wolf” is a song I’m really pleased with. It’s all about being alone and dealing with lonliness. It could be a sort of, dark “part 2” of the first track. The final track on there is a stripped down, re-worked acoustic version of “Girl Is A Tease” from my first album. Me and Richard Brewer recorded this a while ago and I finally finished mixing/mastering it and stuck it on as a bit of a “softer note” 3rd track.

Rusty Apper

What else has been happening in the world of Russ? There was talk of collaborations, but you were tightlipped at the time. Any chance of revealing any of those projects?
Well yes there were some very exciting collaborations, but sadly it didn’t work out. “Keep the Faith” had 2 other guitarists originally attached to play lead, the first being Godfrey Townshend who used to tour with John Entwistle and also played with Alan Parsons live show and the Sons of Cream. He’s a good friend and he was game for it, but sadly with the Sons of Cream Tour and other projects, he just couldn’t find the time. He said he’d be happy to work with me in the future so thats fine, time can be a pain in the ass! The other guy attached, as a replacement for Godfrey was David Lee Roth’s old highschool pal and session/studio guitarist who played on “Your Filthy Little Mouth” and some of Roth’s other stuff, Terry Kilgore. Terry is a pal of mine and he was very complimentary of my stuff and was game for it and he’s also a monster of a guitarist. He also went to school with Eddie Van Halen and inspired him and taught him a lot of his tricks. Sadly though, he did not have the capabilities to record his parts and he also had a nasty accident with a coffee machine which set us back. In the end I had to put a stop on time and bring someone else in, but we talk regularly and we’ve both kept the door open and he’s going to be appearing on my next album, fingers crossed! At the time, I was frustrated, but things happen for a reason and I have Richard Lawrence playing lead on the EP now, and I wouldn’t change that for a thing, because he really tapped into the track and ‘got’ what it was about, and for that it sounds really cool. No other collaborations at the moment, I’m a lone ranger as we speak but me and Rich Lawrence are working hard and putting together another tour very soon, hopefully with new songs and a change of gears. Dave Wells who played in my last band will hopefully join me again on the drums and we’ll be ready to take over the world again.

Knowing you are very busy not just musically, what other work have you been involved in? Stuntman of the year? An Oscar?
Hardy Har Har! An Oscar I ain’t neva’ gawn’ get! But I wont cry about that. I have all-but quit acting to concentrate on music and the more “behind the scenes” aspects of film, but I have made a pact with myself that 2013 will see my return to stunt work which I’m really excited about. I’m hopefully going to be performing stunt work in my friend Bill Little’s next few features. If anyone knows stunts its him! Former hollywood stuntman, he’s worked on plenty of films (Big Fish, Braveheart, King Arthur to name a few) so hopefully he can tell me if I “still got it”. Its been a while since I threw myself down a flight of stairs or off a roof, but I’m more than happy to get back to it again (laughs). Other than that, I just finished up the score for a thriller called “The Dossier”. So watch this space and hopefully you’ll see me on tour, on fire and on a roll, one way or another.

What tour plans do you have this year?
My plan really is to give the charity EP the biggest push I can, raise some cash for those less fortunate and then go back into the studio to record my next album. But I don’t want to “Steal the Thunder” of the EP, so me and Rich Lawrence are putting a set together that has some material from “No Cure” and “Kingsnake” and also a few new tracks and some covers, and hopefully hit the road quite soon! The new band will not be the Runaway Train, but something a bit different hopefully. If you make sure you go check out you can keep up to date on all the shows, new music and you can buy yourself a copy of ‘keep the faith’. To be honest though, I just want to get back on the road as soon as I can and have a good time playing some kick ass shows! Its been almost a year since I last played a gig, I’m not sure where that year has gone but it has gone fast. Keep your eye out for me and if you see me playing at your local, be sure to stop by and say “Hola”.


Review, and quizzing by Jon.