Hi Rusty, it's a great honor for "The Road to
Jacksonville" (radio show & webzine") and for the french fans to be
able to get an interview from you, one of the greatest rock'n roll guitar
player ftom the 70's-80's.
First, you may like to know Point Blank is still in the heart of the
southern and texas rock fans. The great albums, "First", "Second Season",
"Airplay" and "The Hard Way" are considered "references" over here.
Thank you for remembering us and we appreciate your wonderful words.
We don't get som many news from Texas. Can you remind us your musical
career, the years in Point Blank, the band split, and the "after Point
Blank" years ?
I began playing guitar at the age of five. My father was a very good
guitar player so the stimuli was there for me very early on. Around
Ft. Worth, Texas I played in many bands throughout my school years and
recorded my first record at 15 years old. I started played professionally
at 8 years of age and that is all I have ever done as a job description
other than owning a recording studio and producing records. This led
me to Houston, Texas where I met Bill Ham the manager of ZZ Top. He
signed me to a solo artist contract in 1972. I worked with ZZ for a
couple of years as a guitar tech while forming what was to become Point
Blank. I had played with all of the guys in Point Blank during those
couple of years that I worked with ZZ when I wasn't on the road. We
became Point Blank on July 19, 1974. We began touring in a big way then.
John, Buzzy, Phillip, Kim and I recorded our first record as Point Blank
in early 1976. It was released July 4, 1976. We had toured for 2 years
wi thout a record deal which was unheard of in those days but we broke
some rules and it paid off. From there we toured relentlessly year in
and year out, one record and then the other. Phillip left the band in
late 1977 or early 78. Bill Randolph replaced him at the same time we
broke free from Arista Records and signed with MCA. We were touring
and touring, doing at least 260 shows a year. It was torturous but the
band was getting very musical and this what we all wanted. We were getting
tired of being "just a southern rock band." We felt much more musical
than that and it became very boring to be limited to music we had already
outgrown. Southern rock was a lot of fun and I wouldn't say anything
bad about it but we HAD to grow. A lot of our fans didn't get the changes
we were going through but if you aren't growing and evolving why would
you want to keep on? I hate anything that gets stagnant not to mention
that I felt our musical talents dictated change. It's like the menu
at a rest aurant, do you eat the same dish constantly year in and year
out or does variety seem infinitely more palatable? We changed musically
because we changed as artists.
Continuing to play the same old music would have been a curse to the
band as well as a compromise to my own development as a guitar player.
I play guitar because of my love for the instrument and for music, I
do it for me first. Then it makes it's way to everyone else. I must
please myself first with the gift that was given to me. Everyone else's
pleasure from my playing will be subjective to me first as I have to
live with it the rest of my life and my only choice has to be made as
I create it. I don't get another chance to like it so I have to please
myself first. You can't go back later after you release a record and
say "oops, I didn't mean it."
In 1982 I had a serious sky diving accident and broke my back in three
places. As a result of this we had to take some time off while I recuperated
from my injuries. During this time some alarming developments with our
management came to light. We sued and a very nasty court battle took
place. We were ripped off for the name that I came up with. That was
the kiss of death for Point Blank. So with that it was over. Money missing,
name stolen, publishing problems and being blackballed by certain parties
in the business all added up to zero. It was done and couldn't be undone.
Since then a few of us continued playing full time as others moved on
to other careers that were more lucrative. I began producing bands as
well as playing for other artists. I had to find myself during life
after Point Blank. It was very hard but had to be done. I played with
Shake Russell (former label mate at MCA) for 5 years and produced 2
records for him from 84-88. I played a short stint with Black Oak A
rkansas in 90. What a huge mistake but one must live and learn. With
that mess behind me I focused on record production.
20 years later, how do you look at your career ? do you have any
20 years later I try not to reflect too much on Point Blank's career
because it can be painful to see your life long ambition destroyed by
greedy people who lie and sneak around ruining lives. It's gone and
Which kind of musical style do you like today ? Who are (or were)
your main influences ?
My influences were: my father Bob Burns, Albert King, Django Reinhardt,
Ritche Blackmore, Joe Pass, B.B. King. I loved all styles of music even
from an early age and my diet of learning was all inclusive. I just
stole licks from anyone I could learn something good from.
Recently, Van Wilks was in France to promote his album. Friends of
mine asked him a few questions about Point Blank.
He answered it was a great band. I believe you know and appreciate each
other. Tell us about how you met ?
Van Wilks is a great guitar player that I met in Austin just as he was
signing with Bill Ham. That was in 1974 I believe. He's a very talented
guitarist. He opened lots of shows for Point Blank and was one of but
a few artists who made it out of his management deal with his life still
intact. Many others were not as fortunate.
How did you create the wonderful guitar parts you and Kim Davis created
Kim Davis and I worked long and hard on tying 2 guitars together hopefully
to create our own signature. We both shared many common visions of how
2 players should work together. We were both influenced to some degree
by Wishbone Ash and their approach. We mainly played what we had flowing
from our hearts as we tried to incorporate melodies and not just licks
as many 2 and 3 guitar bands at the time. We enjoyed the harmonious
approach instead of multiple guitars playing the same lick which was
really boring for us.
I was really sad when I learned Bill Randolph passed away. Do you
have any news from your ex bandmates Kim Davis, Fabulous John'o Daniel,
Buzzy Green, Phil Petty ... ? What did they become after Point Blank
Kim now works for Peavey as a national sales representative.
John is currently playing with Bigfoot Johnson and is a professional
golfer. He's good too. John had a liver transplant in 1998 and is doing
Buzzy is playing with Bigfoot as well. He is the head of the computer
tracking center for United Parcel Service.
Phillip Petty owns his own electronics company and has a bunch of kids.
He is doing great.
Michael Hamilton is a full time musician and plays with Bigfoot too.
Undoubtedly the most gifted player that I know.
As for me, I have been called to the Christian ministry and travel the
world doing mission work with the church. I am a born again Christian
and work locally with a church here in Ft. Worth that feeds, clothes
and ministers to the homeless here and abroad. It wasn't exactly something
I planned but it is the will of my heavenly father and has become the
most important thing in my life. It's strange how things change over
the course of one's life. I have been called by GOD and I am heeding
the call with all that I am. By the way, did I mention that the next
Point Blank record will be gospel?
Is there a chance we might hear you on an album ?
We are recording as time permits but there are a lot of scheduling nightmares
with what everyone is doing. We will get the record out when the time
Can you tell a few words to your french fans ?
France, I thank you for being there for us in the past and in the future.
We never made it to your country to play but life is not over yet. I
hope to see you someday...until then may GOD bless you.
Rusty, I sincerely thank you for answering theses questions and I
wanted to wish you all my best for your carrer.
To you at Road to Jacksonville, thank you for the opportunity to speak
to the French people and for keeping Point Blank alive beyond the music...