No strangers to touring Australia, we sat down for a quick chat with frontman Scott Russo to talk about Hits & Pits festival, acoustic albums and what’s next for the Californian rockers.
By Meghan Player
Hey Scott – how are you?
I’m well thank you.
First off, I wanted to talk to you about Hits & Pits next month – are you looking forward to heading back to Australia again?
Yes, absolutely. I love Australia and love coming down there.
It doesn’t really feel that long since you were here last, I think the last tour was with Suicidal Tendencies?
Oh yeah! That was super fun to do. We had the Dudesons with us as well [laughs]. We ended up becoming super good friends after that. They’re great.
I understand for this tour, you’ll be playing your self-titled album for the shows – are you playing the entire album?
It’s not going to be all of them, but it’ll be most of them.
Do you know which ones you’re going to add to the set?
You know what, I haven’t even thought about it yet. I know we’re going to play a majority of them, because we haven’t played a lot of them the last couple of times we were down there – and that was our biggest record in Australia. So, we’re going to figure out which songs are doable and the ones that aren’t for a live environment.
You mentioned that the album was the most successful one you released in Australia – did that kind of make it the obvious choice, in terms of picking which one to play?
Yeah, that’s exactly why [laughs]. Honestly, it was more that the promoters, management and agents discussed and brought to us, and we were like ‘sure, we’ll do it, we haven’t played a lot of these songs in a long time.’ We will play other songs as well, like there are some songs that I just can’t go without playing. It’s going to be pretty dope. I’m really excited about it.
Cool. The album itself is pretty iconic, in terms of Unwritten Law’s history. I mean, you’ve got tracks like Teenage Suicide, Lonesome and of course, Cailin on there. Is it cool to see how long those songs have lasted, or stood the test of time?
You know, that’s a really cool question. It’s an honor, you know what I’m saying. It’s just cool to see that the songs meant something to someone.
You were saying that there were some songs on the album that you haven’t played in a while, are there any that you’re perhaps nervous about playing?
Not really, it’s just music. And if we fuck it up, it’s kind of cute [laughs].
The last time I spoke with you, you were working on an acoustic album of Unwritten Law songs – will we be able to hear it soon?
Yeah, I’m actually mixing it as we speak.
I was reading somewhere that you’ve incorporated a bunch of string instruments into the songs – like violins and such..
Yeah, there are some strings across a few of the tracks. It’s definitely going to be different to what people expect. Everyone is going to expect a rock record, just done acoustically, but it’s not. I wanted to make it new and fresh, and another piece in my discography. Something that I’m proud of and what I want to hear that, when I’m gone, my kids will say, ‘Dude, my Dad was fucking dope’. [laughs] There’s a lot of changes in the songs, I’ve re-written some chord progressions, and put beats on it – some really different shit. I’m super excited for it, and I love it. It’s almost like an acoustic remix of the songs. People will definitely trip out, but it’s fresh.
It must be cool to be able to, I guess, re-interpret those songs and see them take on new life?
Of course, a couple of months ago you announced that Wade would be re-joining the band – is it great to have him back on board and to be working together again?
Yeah, it’s been really invigorating. A lot of times, especially when you’ve been doing this for 20 years, it can get really old and boring and you kind of get over it. But, since he’s been back, I can see his excitement for Unwritten Law, which makes me want to be there a lot more. To make me want to go out there and play more shows and do tours or record more music for Unwritten Law really says something for him coming back. I’m stoked to have my brother back, for sure.
Many thanks to Scott for taking the time to chat to us. Unwritten Law will perform as part of Hits & Pits Festival. Tickets are on sale now.