You might not know who Luther Russell is. And fair enough; he’s not exactly a household name. But I’m willing to bet some of your favourite musicians know him. The L.A. singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer has played and worked with a laundry list of great artists over the years. He’s written songs for Weezer. He fronts Those Pretty Wrongs with Big Star drummer Jody Stephens. He’s toured with Robyn Hitchcock. He’s produced a slew of albums. And, of course, he has his own long-running solo career, including his most recent release, the excellent 2019 album Medium Cool.
Speaking of cool, that brings us to another one of Russell’s credits, and the main reason we’re talking today: As a teenager, he was in a band with Jakob Dylan. They were called The Bootheels, and they also included guitarist Tobi Miller (who would later form The Wallflowers with Dylan) and drummer Aaron A. Brooks (who has gone on to play drums for everyone from Moby to Lana Del Rey). The Bootheels, fronted by Russell on bass and lead vocals, only existed for a few months and a handful of shows. But during that time, they wrote and recorded more than a dozen songs — which have just been released on the album 1988: The Original Demos. For a bunch of kids, they sound pretty impressive — kind of like The Replacements, but with a dash of cowpunk twang in Dylan and Miller’s guitars.
A couple of days before the album release, the easygoing Russell Zoomed in from his L.A. home to chat about The Bootheels, his other projects and a whole lot more. Enjoy. To read more about the band and listen to 1988: The Original Demos, go HERE. To read my 2019 interview with Russell, go HERE.