Unwritten Law have been at the forefront of the pop-punk scene for a better part of a decade. Attributing their Australian fan base to the shared love of the surfing culture, the Californian band are set to return to our shores in December for a run of shows supporting Suicidal Tendencies. We caught up with frontman Scott Russo to talk about surviving their current 7-week tour, becoming a new band and returning to Australia.
By Meghan Player
“It’s a long one. It’s like 35 shows or something,” Unwritten Law frontman, Scott Russo begins. The band have recently embarked on their 7 week tour across the US, and Russo is beginning to see the effects of full-time touring. “My voice has already gone down and I’m a week in. Two days in I thought, ‘I’m probably going to have to quit smoking and drinking'”, he laughs, “The shows have been great so far though, and we’ve really been taking them on with all that we’ve got.”
Undoubtedly, the singer is – as always – looking forward to heading back to Australia for the second time this year – supporting hardcore punk heavyweights, Suicidal Tendencies.
“Yeah, we can’t wait,” Russo explains. “We played Soundwave earlier in the year – for about 6 or 7 shows – but they weren’t headlining sets, they were festival sets, which are cut-down as far as the songs that we want to play. It will be really great to play a full set this time, especially with the album actually being out now in Australia.”
“Australia is my favourite place to play. I want to play down there more. I’d love to tour down there twice a year, every year,” he continues.”Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to has mentioned this is the second time we’ve been to Australia this year – and I just have to say: ‘yeah I know, have you got a problem with that?’,” he laughs.
Consequently, Australian audiences are just as fond of Unwritten Law as the band is of fans here – with numerous venues across the years swarming with capacity crowds. This ‘love affair’ as Russo puts it, can be put down to one very simple word: surfing.
“I think that was the seed in how we all fell in love with each other. That was the moment when the whole Southern California punk rock wave took hold and Taylor Steele‘s ‘surfing videos came out,” Russo explains. “I think it was the fusion of us coming out at the same time as the videos and the surfers watching those videos that made it all happen that way. Since then, Unwritten Law and Australia – you know, we’ve grown up together.”
Growing up together, as Russo mentions – has meant that fans across Australia and indeed the world have treated the band as an extended family, and vice-versa. However, much like a family – relationship differences between band members, saw Steve Morris and Pat ‘P.K’ Kim leave Unwritten Law in 2011.
“Honestly, when PK and Steve left the band, it was the most devastating moment of my life. It was really hard to deal with. I didn’t know whether I wanted to continue on,” tells Russo. “The fact of the matter is, we took a 5 year hiatus before we came back and wrote Swan and there was a reason for that. We had things going on in our lives, families, kids, some people didn’t see eye-to-eye – those things happen in any relationship, whether it’s a band or not.”
“We came back and wrote [the album], we took it on tour once and that was when everyone was kind of like, I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to be on tour. I don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t want to fuck you anymore,” he laughs.
Whilst still a raw moment in the singers mind, his focus has turned to the future of Unwritten Law – with the promise of beginning a new chapter in the bands history and creating something new. A clean slate.
“That goes without saying, for sure. We can kind of do anything we want. What I would like to do is create an acoustic album next time around, with a lot of the new material and just do something different. Have a different perspective and a breath of fresh air.”
“But, who knows what the future will provide,” he concludes,”Right now we’re out here doing what we do best.”
Many thanks to Scott for taking the time to chat to us.
Unwritten Law support Suicidal Tendencies throughout Australia in December. For full tour dates, head to: http://bit.ly/SAdMEx