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

Page 4 of 5

Speaking of the song "Cailin," about your daughter, as you grew older and became a parent, how do you balance the two lifestyles of parenthood coupled with a music career in a genre aimed at a youthful audience?

Well, there are two answers to this question. One, I was a baby when I had my baby -- I was 19. And the second is that I always had this trick up my sleeve that as they got older I could tune in to their interests because they are very hip kids. They have their finger on the pulse of what is dope. I can go back and forth with them on if something is cool or if it's not, and they keep me youthful in their own right. At no point did I ever regret that; my glass is always half-full.

What can the fans expect from the Unwritten Law show at Viva PHX?

That's such a difficult question, because I think one of the cool things with Unwritten Law is that you never know what the fuck you're going to get when you see us. Fuck, we might not even make it there [laughs].

Wade [Youman] is back in the band, which is good. I don't know. Weird shit has just always happened with our band on stage like getting in fistfights or getting arrested or getting in fights with the bouncer. You never can tell with this band. I do know that if we're in good form that we'll be throwing down, and I think that is what Unwritten Law is known best for is our live set.

We will play songs that we like to hear, and obviously we will be playing some of the fan favorites. Again, at this stage in my career I don't like to play any songs that I don't believe in. I like my set to be filled with songs that I'm passionate about. That way I can push that energy out.

I'm really excited to see Andrew WK, and Coolio. Also, Fishbone, I grew up on Fishbone. However, I just saw a picture of the band playing somewhere and I didn't see Angelo [Moore] in the band. Do you know anything about that? Is Angelo still in the band?

I don't know one way or the other [I researched it later and yes, Angelo is still in the band]. You better make sure that Unwritten Law makes it out here and then you can question those guys in person.

[Laughs] Right? We're a bit more mature now -- a very little bit -- and we're going to come out a day early to make sure that we make it to the stage.

We will all appreciate that. You mentioned that Wade Youman is back in the band, along with Jonny Grill and Chris Lewis, who are both new in the last few years. Has it been difficult to kick start the band again with new members? It's a combination of several things. We'll start with Wade. So, Dylan [Howard; Unwritten Law's former drummer] had gotten a gig with Trapt because he is so good. For me, I'm thinking, "ah fuck, I've gone through two drummers, and I can't do it again."

Wade has always been my brother, but he was heavily addicted to drugs for a long time to the point that it made him insane, and he had to leave the band.

When I decided I wanted to still [play], I only wanted to do it with Wade. I love Unwritten Law, and I will play for as long as people want to see it, but I have five other acts that I participate in, and then I produce and ghostwrite. So, I have my job, and Unwritten Law is my baby. So if I was going to still do it, my thought process was this: By bringing Wade back into the band, the fans will be super stoked. He's my brother, and I made him a deal that if he can continue to stay sober and pull it off, I will bring you back into the band and we will continue on.

Sure enough, he got clean. He's more passionate than I've ever seen him, or anyone for this band.

As far as Jonny and Chris go, again it goes back to the vacation touring that I explained earlier. I mean, I'm fucking old and I have a great life here [in California], and I make all kinds of music that I really enjoy doing, and I don't have to leave the house to do it. That being said, when it comes to a tour, I'm going to go tour with people that want to be there and that I want to be with. So, I have my brother, Johnny, and Chris Lewis who is the greatest fucking guy. If it was any other group of people, I would have put it down for sure. Now I get to travel the world with my brother and make memories, and it's a very blessed situation to be able to do that.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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