Equipped with his 5-string Warwick bass, Hartke amp, and looping pedalboard, bassist Brad Russell has released his latest work with a cover of Elton John’s classic “Rocket Man.” Russell also takes on John’s vocal parts in this impressive performance.
Born in Detroit to a multi-talented family, Brad Russell (aka Russo) was raised in an musically diverse household.He recalls,,” my brother Brian listening to James Brown and the Temptations, my brother Kevin jamming to Grand Funk Railroad or Aerosmith and my mother spinning her favorite Bill Evans record. And this was all before dinner!”
At the age of seven, Brad joined his two older brothers,a duo featuring Brian on drums and Kevin on guitar. The Brothers Russell played the Detroit club circuit featuring “little Brad” on vocals.” By day I was a regular seven year old kid who went to school and played with the other kids, but at night I was fronting a band in nightclubs!
Five years later, Brad gave up the microphone for the acoustic bass and began playing with the school orchestra. Private studies with Detroit Symphony bassist Maxim Janowsky and virtuoso Gary Karr followed. In high school, Brad won numerous solo bass competitions and scholarships to the Interlochen music academy in northern Michigan. Also, upon recommendation from “American Idol’s” Randy Jackson he received a scholarship to the highly acclaimed University of Miami. While living in Miami, Brad ‘cut his teeth” on everything from symphonic music to rock cover band gigs.
After being featured in Guitar Player magazine’s “Spotlight” column, Brad moved to the San Francisco area and began playing with his brother Kevin and Journey guitarist Neal Schon. Word spread quickly and within a short time he was recording for producers Mike Varney (Shrapnel & Blues Bureau Records) and Narada Michael Walden(Columbia & Arista Records). Tours with Bruce Springsteen saxman Clarence Clemons and auditions for rock frontmen David Lee Roth and Ozzy Osbourne followed. Brad later served as a session bassist/sideman for Pat Travers,Ric Derringer, Greg Allman and Jeff Watson. He also focused on the Russell Brothers Band (a blues rock power trio which often featured drummers Steve Smith and Narada Michael Walden). Brothers Kevin and Brad relentlessly played the San Francisco club scene, opening for the likes of Huey Lewis, Steve Morse and blues legend John Lee Hooker.
Eventually, Brad’s love for education led him back to school earning a B.A. and a Masters in Music. While in residence at the University of Miami, he recorded and/or performed with the University of Miami’s Concert Jazz Band, Jack DeJohnette and organist Lonnie Smith.
Upon graduation, Brad briefly moved back to California and began working for various musical theater productions.After playing for the west coast production of the broadway musical” Caroline or Change”, he decided to relocate to the east coast and currently lives in New York city. At one point,Brad auditioned and was hired for guitarist Joe Satriani’s world tour.Currently,he is freelancing in NYC on such Broadway hit shows as Grease, Jersey Boys , Memphis, Fun Home and On Your Feet Also,look for an upcoming solo cd featuring Brad on “lead” rock bass guitar and guest appearances by Joe Satriani,Kevin Russell and drummers Gregg Bissonette & Aquiles Priester.
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