First things first, an introduction…
Rusty is currently on tour with Razorlight..playing keys and backing vocals…when not busy touring the world with this superstar band he found time to set up Doctors of Love with David “Biscuit”, Dom Fahey, Alex Knell and Simon Reed…here he talks exclusively to Glasswerk about what hopes he has for DOL…..
Hello Rusty, Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us, firstly how is America treating you, the last I heard from you it was snowing in Boston?
Yes, indeedy. There was snow the day after we landed in Boston which looked kind of pretty. America is enormous and not just in a geographical way and some of the people here are sooooo “extreme,” wow! They tried to make me eat the yellow snow but I said no!
So how did the Doctors of love come about….and the name?
Me and Dom (our singer), ended up living together in a house sometime in 2004 and soon realised we wanted to make some music together. He was always singing round the kitchen table till four in the morning and it was pretty obvious that he had this amazing voice. If I remember correctly we went out drinking on new years day 2005 because we'd both had really shit new years eves the night before. We got drunk and swore we'd start up the band and both get girlfriends. A few months later we'd written six or so timeless masterpieces, Dom had a girlfriend and I was still starring at pictures of Holly Valance on the internet.
We took our name from an occasion we both had on an internet dating site (also known as the “casual encounters” section). We were kind of pissing around at the time by flirting with girls on the Craigslist site and found a posting from a couple of girls which read something like: “two naughty nurses need two saucy doctors to prescribe us some loving.” Thus, we wrote back as the Doctors of Love (though we unfortunately never got a reply nor met up with the Nurses)! Thank you Nurses, whoever you are!
Tell us a little bit about each of the band members.
Dave (our drummer), has a beard longer than the hair on his head and was taught to drum in a Tibetan monastry from the age of 4 till 5, where he studied under Lui Jing and the monks of the drumming destiny. He now lives in Pubs, mostly in South London.
Al, (bass), I met at university and is an artist who used to work for an anti whaling charity, fending off illegal whalers in the Pacific on just a small rowing boat and a diet of figs, air and meditation.
Simon, (our guitarist) is an old school friend of mine and used to model for Dear Deirdries' photo case book in the Sun before he changed career. These days, if he's not practicing his Dorian and Mixolodian scales he's probably translating ancient Egyptian texts from the walls of archeological sites.
And, you've probably got the picture with me and Dom already. We all have a burning desire to put on some suits and play some good old school rock n roll and soul music.
Your songs have very romantic edge to them, is this experience and do you all have girlfriends who influence the content?
I would imagine each song on our album was written as a direct result of some kind of mishap with certain members of the opposite sex yes. Some of the girls those songs were written about won't have a clue they were written about them but it's quite nice to remember moments you had with someone that way. I remember thinking I should write a tune for Holly Valance (after spending so long having one way chats with her on the internet) but the rest of the band weren't into that one.
In an ideal world, who would you choose to support during a tour?
We'd have to borrow Doc Brown's Delorium time machine (Back to the Future's car) and go back to support Elvis, or James Brown. That's what we're all about with the Doctors, looking back to that Golden era of showmanship where musicians were virtuosos. We don't get enough of that stuff anymore. Failing that, we'd have to go on a tour of pub toilets with Derrick and Clive.
What are your plans for 2009.
Well, it's proving hard for us to get together at the moment. I'm on tour with Razorlight for too much of the year but we're looking into playing some of the festivals over the summer and might get offered some support shows. Other than that, you've always got to keep writing and interestingly I've just bought an authentic Honer D6 Clavinet (think Stevie Wonder's Superstition) which may have an influence on new tracks.
What made you want to become a musician?
Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, the Stones, beer, drugs, girls and virtually a short attention span.
Are you trying to get a record deal and if so why? Do you think bands can still get worthwhile deals from labels or should they try to do it themselves.
I think we'd all love a deal of some nature. It means people are working with you to promote your music and that means you're more likely to forge a career out of it. Of course it's getting harder but at least these days technology allows that you can do a lot yourself.
What is your favourite doctors of love song and why?
The most popular seems to be “Rio,” it's a pretty unusual song and, Devil's Angel's got particularly a strong sentiment for me personally but it's Dom's lyrical creativity in a song like Sophisticated Lady which still makes me chuckle;- “Sophisticated Lady, I know I'm being used, but you can walk all over me in those Jimmy Choos.”
How do the doctors write their music, what is the process you go through
Doctors of Love Songs Recipe: wait for your love life to throw up some kind of interesting scenario, drink a load of beer with your mate around a piano, try and remember to record the stream of madness that comes out your mouth and fingers and wear a suit the next time you sing it.
How did you manage to get such excellent debut album recorded and produced? What advice can you give to other bands who want to make an album.
It almost didn't happen. Our much loved old guitarist, Ian, left us last year and after three odd years, we still hadn't got any finished material and that's been our only downfall. We'd got support on a couple of Mark Ronson gigs off of him seeing us live and got a great following going, but never managed to successfully put a collection of good recordings together. After Ian left the whole thing could have petered out into nothing but I knew we had to string these songs together with the all the instruments we wanted or else I'd literally die unhappy. Ideally we would have recorded the whole thing in a totally analogue environment but we were working with our own budget so our means were limited. In the end we did the best we could and I'm pretty happy, but I guess perfectionism is something you always strive for as a musician.
So, my only advice is go and do it, there are always obstacles, but they're only there to walk over.
What has been your best gig ever and why?
For me, saturday night, 1 am, The Bimble Inn festival, Glastonbury 2007. We were on top form and put on one of the best shows you can imagine. Mark Ronson came down and said we were the best thing he'd seen all weekend and all our fans (one in particular) were there loving every note and word.
Like most people in bands, they have to hold a day job..we had a little bird tell us that you play the keys and backing vocal for Razorlight. You also know Alan McGee and used to drive, the Libertines around and set up their stage, rehearsals, recording, plus drive carl and pete and their girlfriends about. What’s it like knowing those sets of high selling recording artists?
It's very good practice for where I want the Doctors to be. All those guys have been really good to me and it's showed me what you do and don't need to do to make a band work.
Especially now you are a session player for razorlight, how does that affect doctors of love, and what do your other band members think of your jet set life style, playing at venues like wembley stadium – and then playing in pubs like the ones in peckham or cheltenham?
They're very patient with my scenario thankfully. It's a bit tricky trying to combine the two and I guess we all wished the Doctors were a profiteering operation. Thing is playing a massive venue is one thing, and playing a sweaty pub in Peckham where you can dance with the audience is another. They're both brilliant and I get the best of both worlds. Hoorah.
Who are your musical hereos?
Springsteen, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, the Stones, and anything which ozzes Soul.
Do you have your own record label and do you manage your selfs? If so, where did you learn about how to DIY it as they say?
You just have to pick it up yourself, and you do, and then you learn as you go. It's not hard. We haven't set up a label yet, but should we do so it would involve exactly the same process. Thing is, all you really want to do is write and perform, but so often you really have to do more and show your own initiative.
And finally who would select to do open heart surgery on your heart?
Great question. I've mentioned Holly (Valance) already but I'm not sure she's into gingers. Hmmmm, can we use the time machine again? Faye Dunnaway, coming off set from Bonnie and Clyde? Hmmm, anyway keep Qunicey on call and I'll work it out soon….
You can check out Doctors of Love here link and when Rusty returns they will be playing at a London venue near you!! We'll keep you updated 🙂