We connected with Mother as we talked with Rusty Brown
Bluesdoodles chatted to Rusty Brown of Electric Mary as the Australian rock band announce the release of their fourth studio album ‘Mother’ on Friday 15th February 2019 via Listenable Records. Electric Mary are a five-piece comprising Rusty Brown – Lead Vocals; Pete Robinson – Guitar, Vocals; Alex Raunjak – Bass; Brett Wood – Guitar, Vocals; and Spyder – Drums
BD: Rusty thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with Bluesdoodles about your fourth album, Electric Mary and Australian Rock
Rusty: No problem hope the connection stays good.
BD: Electric Mary will be a new rock name for many. How did the band form and to quote you how do you ensure you deliver rip-roaring rock that delivers a punchline?
Rusty: We formed on 14th April 2003. The name it was while I was in New York visiting Jimi Hendrix Studio, I was shown around by Mary Campbell who had the most amazing stories and there was I standing right in middle of rock history. When I left Mary gave me a card and said stay in touch that’s me Electric Mary. I said immediately that is a great name for a band as I was standing in Jimi Hendrix studio in New York I was at that moment forming a band so the name was from that moment Electric Mary. I had met Pete Robinson, a guitarist who is the only member other than myself that has been with the band since Day 1. I asked him if he would be interested in being a member, in a band that played like we were sixteen years old. It would be all about playing music, not worrying about logo’s/ deals etc. We had connections on so many levels. I have always been a Deep Purple Fan. Pete and I both love Status Quo, Queen and Sweet there was this instant connection through music so we gave it ago and 16 years later here we are. Basically all the band heard Deep Purple, Free, Sweet, Quo etc. I actually met Andy Scott in the Black Country where we were playing at the Robin II near Wolverhampton and Andy travelled 200 kilometres to hear us. The venue was awesome I remember a huge painting of Roy Wood that was painted by an Australian painter.
BD: I have read that music and relationships are closely entwined. What do the songs selected on Mother tell us about relationships, love and other emotions?
Rusty: Laughing they tell you I am not very good at it! Think of unfinished business. Afterwards, I need to say what I did not have the ‘balls’ to say to the person. Some of the tracks are scathing some are very positive. How Do You Do It is about being a prostitute whilst Its Alright, is about Depression and anxiety which I suffered from for a short time. Now I understand and this is a positive song, we will be there for you when you are back feeling positive out on the other end.
BD: Do you do all the songwriting?
Rusty: I have done the majority all the way through. On Mother, our latest album Peter started four of the tracks, I started 4 and even more so this time the band finished the music. We did two weeks pre-production with the best idea winning how the track would be played and lyrics used.
BD: Mother follows your previous milestone Album III which was critically acclaimed. How does Mother build on the standard laid down in 2011?
Rusty: That seems a long time ago. We did do an EP and live album since then and our third drummer joined us and Brett joined us in 2012. Sometimes being in a band is self-combustible. Everyone seems to like what we are playing on Mother, everyone we talk about the album says it is our best one yet. There is definitely more depth to the songwriting it matters to make it the best. I have this rule would I play the song in ten years if it is a yes then it is a go. We are basically a Blues based rock band After Deep Purple, Black Sabbath & Led Zeppelin there was not much left for people who came after. We are not trying to re-invent what has gone before. There are many brands of tyres, we are a new brand of tyre, so take us for a spin, and every band has its own unique DNA. We cannot sound exactly like each other, no band can sound like the original. I find it very hard when bands play a Beatles number for example and they change the melody.
BD: You have talked about your influences how have they shaped your vocals on Mother?
Rusty: More than ever on this one I listened to a lot of Deep Purple, I am a huge fan of Coverdale and Hughes. My car was out of service when recording the album at a studio in Riddles Creek. So I took the train which was 1hour 10 minute train journey each way. So I listened to Burn and Stormbringer. The journey also gave me time to think about and write lyrics. This gave me more opportunity to think about and change them. Normally this only happens if I really hate the words. I am not comparing myself, but Paul McCartney said when talking about songwriting I just play guitar and I say something that would be what the song would be about. I noodle on guitar and say something I get inside myself in a line that has to come out for a reason and this becomes the chorus. Then I explore what does this mean? I love that journey. I am not a prolific writer, I do not carry a notebook with me at all times to jot down lyrics. A couple of members have said the lyrics are a bit deeper they do have more depth and I am really proud. Getting positive feedback from your own band is really cool.
BD: Early in the conversation you said you were a Blues based rock band. Rock N’ Roll has been revolving and evolving what does Blues bring to the Electric Mary rock party?
Rusty: The Blues it is the authenticity. We are never going to 1920’s bluesman sitting by the river sing about his baby in the Deep South. No longer in that time or place. But there are snippets from them that have gone into everyone’s DNA. You may have found it through Free and Paul Rogers, who heard it when Muddy Water sang the DNA of the blues which connects us.
BD: What is for you the standout / special track on Mother?Rusty: Yea! It is Sorry Baby. I had my first wife in mind when I wrote it. I am saying I am sorry for you. Not sorry for something I had done. You made the wrong decision not me. My daughter had a child and she wanted her Mother and me to talk to each other. So I had to make a decision it had been yes I had missed out on so much and wasn’t missing out on my grandchild. We spoke on the phone, she said you have missed out on so much. I thought yes because you made it like that. My favourite bit of Sorry Baby is when Brett’s guitar brings back my vocals with a little lick – I dropped a tear when recording. It shone out I was really astounded it was a Wow! moment. This is so good it is real. This is the second that this has happened to me last time was a track Sorry. This was not about a man a woman but man and dog. It is about my dog dying I was lying by the dog on my drive he was really old and the vet euthanized him and I whispered sorry. ‘Sorry’, must be a trigger. Sometimes if a title of phrase is repeated in other songs I will change it. But if it is right spoken in my language then I will say it again and leave. I feel this is an authentic edge of the lyrics.
BD: How did the band decide on releasing the track Woman as the first single from the new album?Rusty:/strong> We decided that this was the right song, the first to be recorded and finished on the album it left us feeling really good. It is about Woman equaling strength and power. The album title came from this Mother’s run the family, Mother Earth etc.
BD: Do You have any plans to tour the UK/Europe with your latest album?
Rusty: Yes, later in 2019 November time, we would love to play HRH for the third time.
BD: Final question, a new one for 2019 – so you are the first to answer it. Your house is on fire you can only save three albums what would they be?
Rusty: That is Easy Deep Purple – Burn Deep Purple – In Rock: This was the first Deep Purple album I heard that is what got me in to the music Deep Purple – Stormbringer: My Favourite record. May have generally least favourite but real fans love it and it was Blackmore’s last.