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Unwritten Law's Scott Russo Takes Us on His Mushroom-and-Tequila Disneyland Adventure

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Unwritten Law left their high-water mark on commercial music charts in the early 2000s with their subsequent LP singles "Seein' Red" and "Save Me," and while the band hasn't appeared in the mainstream limelight since then, a devout fan base has kept them alive and well.

The end of this month will mark the fourth anniversary of Unwritten Law's last album, Swan -- the last time the rockers released any new music. For a band that has already seen a hefty number of lineup changes in its tenure (19 different musicians have come and gone from the band over the years) Swan brought yet another transition for Russo, the one constant member of UL. After a fight broke out between Russo and then-guitarist Steve Morris during the US tour for Swan, UL essentially disbanded. Russo admits that with his heavy work schedule producing other acts, he would have put down UL indefinitely were it not for the formation of his current lineup.

Unwritten Law has yet to tour extensively together with this latest lineup, unless it is what Russo refers to as "vacation touring" when the band can go overseas and play shows part-time and relax for the remainder of the trip. They do, however, have a new double acoustic album in the hopper ready to release this summer called Dubwritten Law.

For me, UL has a special place in my mental catalog. Their music spent its share of time on the soundtrack to my past, but even more so, one of the most memorable live performances I have seen was a UL show in Tempe, AZ several years ago when Russo informed the crowd partway through the set that his mother passed away the night before. She requested that he still play that show and the song "Rest of My Life" for her. It was a night that Russo, who is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, remembers well, and those in the crowd will not soon forget.

Now, after a long wait, UL is finally going to reappear in Phoenix when they take part in Viva PHX, the monstrous downtown festival this Saturday, March 14. UL is scheduled for the 11pm slot at the Monarch Theatre that evening, and prior to their performance Up on the Sun had plenty of questions for Russo when we caught up with him.

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When Caleb isn't writing about music for New Times, he turns to cheesy horror movies and Jim Beam to pass the time.
Contact: Caleb Haley