November 17, 2012

Unwritten Law: Playin' Punk Rock Music for the Masses

When we finally get a chance to sit down to sit down with Scott Russo, he obviously hasn’t shaved in a while, he’s frantically trying to figure out something on his phone, and is wearing the same outfit we saw him perform in a few nights earlier in a different city.  He is short and vague with his answers, is not very attentive, and later during the concert professes to have gotten drunk in the bar across the street all day watching football before the concert that night.  He also really, really, really has a bias against one particular Texas city.  (Sorry, Dallas!)  In short, he is everything that we here at LoneStar Outlaw Review would expect from a lead singer in a rock n roll band. 

Though none of the original members of the band are still present, Unwritten Law has remained a thriving force in and around the California scene for over 20 years.  Led by Russo, the rest of the band is comprised of Derik Envy on bass, Kevin Besignano on guitar, and Mike Land on drums.  The hits have been plentiful, with the likes of “Seeing Red”, “Lonesome”, “Up All Night”, and “Should’ve Known Better”, just to list a few.  Their latest album is Swan, which was released in 2011 and produced videos for “Starships and Apocalypse”, “Swan Song”, and “Superbad”.  Apparently running out of songs titles starting with the letter S, the band is contemplating a concept album for the next go around with the entire record being one continuous story.  Neil Young carved out a similar work in 2004 named Greendale, which garnered great critical acclaim and we would be wildly amused to see what a creative juggernaut like Russo would be able to put together.

Any followers of Unwritten Law know that absolutely nothing is taboo.  With lyrics scattered throughout referring to drug use, Scott’s house burning down, and a quick trip to the abortion clinic…absolutely nothing is sacred.  “I sing about what’s going on.  I don’t try and hide it”, Russo told us.  It is with this authentic touch and stellar guitar riffs that have kept the band around and relevant as the ever evolving musical landscape changes.  “We have to hit the road.  There’s no money in just going in, making an album, and releasing it.  Everything’s changed”.  And the live show is where it’s at!  Having seen them perform on many different stages, they always bring their A game.  The banter between the band and audience has gotten wittier and the music still sounds just as good as always.  Russo has the type the voice that sounds just as good live as on record.  He can hit all the needed notes, knows when to let the crowd do their part, and when it’s time to turn up the heat.  He was born to be on stage and be the leader of men.

Though the carousel surrounding the band can seemingly change at any moment, the heart and soul of the band keeps charging along.  Each album is a small evolution incorporating new sounds and ideas and grows upon the previous one.  When asked about the first few albums Scott cringes, but it was that foundation that gave the fans their basis of what the band was and seeing them continue to grow, both lyrically and artistically.  We went to go see Unwritten Law record their live DVD, Live and Lawless, in L.A. back in 2008 and it still remains a pivotal memory to this day.  We grew up with this band, we are still fans, and we can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings.

Article Written By: Matthew Ricketts ~ Senior Staff Writer, LoneStar Outlaw Review
Photography Rights belong to LoneStar Outlaw Reivew,
courtesy of ©KelleyStroutPhotography

No comments:

Post a Comment