for russell…
Posted in music, personal May 21st, 2009 by piablog

When I was a little girl, I looked up at the wall of gold and platinum records I’d pass in the living room of my best friend’s house and wonder what they were for. I’d pass the white piano and wish her gold-record-owning dad might just play a tune while I was visiting. Then, when I was a teenager, I played the cassette tape of his musical compositions over and over again, swimming in the fabulous beats, rhythms and lyrics. When I was an adolescent I loved going to his local gigs to hear him play. At my 21st, I was beyond words when he came out of the crowd to drum and sing me a song. I danced my heart out to that song.

I hoped this man would be a part of my future for as long as he has been a part of my life. I hoped we would laugh some more, drink some more, dance some more, and enjoy life some more. I hoped this man would grow to be an old fuddy duddy.

This is a hard post to write. So I am not going to write much at all. I will save my words for another time when my heart has not swallowed them and instead, I will give you some legendary. australian. music.

Below I have compiled a collection of music videos spanning the early musical career of Russell Dunlop – legendary Australian drummer, record producer, and dear family friend. Please click on each and every video, be cast back in time, and please enjoy and celebrate Russell’s life with me…

Country Road, 1973 by the band mother earth, featuring renee geyer,. Russell is the drummer – this was before I was born, and also when he had dark hair!

Pressure Sway on the album “Esteem” by the Machinations, 1983. I was 5 and going to kindergarten. I made a friend – my very first friend in fact. Her and I were inseparable. Her name was Kane, and our parents became best buddies too. Her dad was Russell, and I thought he was the coolest dad on the planet (excluding you of course, dad). Russ produced this album.

space invaders.1980. what a bloody brilliant song!! Russell was the drummer in this band.

I LOVE THIS SONG. Mental as Anything with their hit single If you Leave Me. 1981. from the album Cats and Dogs which Russ produced.

and then there is this song which is one of my all-time favourites and still gets me jumping around the place – Mental as Anything with their hit single Too Many Times. 1981. from the album Cats and Dogs which Russ produced.

Here’s to you Russ. Thank you for keeping it real. We miss you.


**this just in (june 2009): Russell was not just the drummer for the song Space Invaders – he sang all the parts as well, even the falsetto. See? legend. Thank you Glen!

And thank you everyone who has emailed me and told me your connection to Russell, and how much he meant to each of you. You are so very missed Russ. Can you please come back for an encore. px

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  1. Kimberly says

    Sweet Pia,
    I am so sorry that you have lost someone who sounds so incredibly full of life at such a young age. The story behind it sounds even sadder, and I hope that his family will find the strength to get through this difficult time. I can’t even imagine.
    Thinking of you~

    May 21st, 2009 | #

  2. liza says

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family and Russell’s family, Pia. What a lovely tribute you have created. Thank you for telling us a bit about him.

    May 21st, 2009 | #

  3. trupeach says

    my heart goes out to you and the many others who russell befriended and loved. in his honor, i bopped and rocked to the songs above.

    May 21st, 2009 | #

  4. pia says

    thank you so much for your thoughts trupeach, liza and kimberly.


    May 22nd, 2009 | #

  5. the paris apartment says

    What a wonderful body of work and tribute to him. I’m so sorry for your loss but am glad we will get to discover someone so special.

    May 24th, 2009 | #

  6. Minnie says

    Pia, That was beautiful. I hope you, his family and other loved ones find comfort in your memories and knowing that he shared with the world what was in his heart because that’s what life is all about. I’m from So. California and, unfortunately, this is the first time I’ve heard of this artist, but I listened to everything you shared with us from YouTube and loved it all. I’ll be looking to add some of his talents to my iPod. Thank you for sharing such personal memories. A hug from California, Minnie

    May 24th, 2009 | #

  7. Barb says

    Such sad news, Pia.

    My thoughts are with you.

    May 24th, 2009 | #

  8. Judi says

    Thank you Pia xxxxxxxxxx

    May 31st, 2009 | #

  9. Victoria says

    I am thinking of you all and thank you for introducing me to Russell’s music and talent, you see I believe people come alive in our memory and hearts, so he will be around as long as we shall live!
    I love your blog!

    June 6th, 2009 | #

  10. Kirk Lorange says

    Hi, Pia, a friend sent me the link to this.

    I am an old friend and cohort of Russell, in fact I thought I was going to be working with him in a band the day I heard the news. I met him in 1975 when I moved to Australia and spent countless hours in recording studios with him. More recently, I’ve had the pleasure of playing in a wonderful band with him. I’m still waiting for it to sink in, perhaps it never will.

    Thanks for compiling all these videos together in one place, I will now watch them and remember.

    Kirk Lorange

    June 15th, 2009 | #

  11. Andy Tainsh says

    Hi Pia, thank you for this tribute to Russ,I’ve had the pleasure (and fun)of working working with him lately,which also included detailed and hilarious accounts of the backroom shennanigans involved in the making of these (and many other tracks).Like Kirk,I just can’t fathom that he’s gone.But wow!! what a legacy. Andy Tainsh

    June 20th, 2009 | #

  12. pia says

    Thank you so much Kirk and Andy for adding your thoughts and memory of Russ.

    Victoria – I agree, people come alive in our memory and hearts and will stay for as long as we live. Russ is still here with us.

    Judi – xxxxxooooo, for you from all of us.

    June 20th, 2009 | #

  13. Glen Moffatt says

    I play in a Brisbane band called the Smokin’ Crawdads, whose drummer is an ex-Sydney studio veteran named Doug Gallacher. Dougie still does a bit of work in Sydney and isn’t always available, so we have to get a reserve. When he couldn’t do a couple of gigs about 18 months ago, he suggested an old Sydney mate who’d recently moved to Lismore called Russell Dunlop.

    Our band leader, Mick, rang Russ, but he wasn’t keen to play for a Brisbane country/blues band. That is until Mick mentioned that Doug was our regular drummer, then it was, “Well, if Dougie plays for them, they must be alright.”

    I had no idea of Russell’s pedigree until we were all lying in our beds in a motel unit after a gig, sipping red wine, and Russell started telling us some old stories. We got to talking about novelty hits and Russell mentioned he had been involved in one. When I asked what it was, he said “Space Invaders”. I was blown away. I was about nine when this song came out and it was a huge favourite!! After this I would always greet him with, “Hello, Player 1” (the band’s name) and he would greet me with, “Hello, Player 2.”

    What your post doesn’t mention is that Russell was more than merely the drummer on this track. He, in fact, sang all the parts as well, even the falsetto. An extraordinary piece. Of course, there were other stories about more serious work, such as with Jon English, Ayers Rock, etc, but “Space Invaders” struck a chord with me.

    I never knew Russell that well and would have done less than 12 or so gigs with him, but it was always great to hear his stories and share his company in the van, at gigs and in the odd motel unit. He was also becoming a great cook, after recent lessons. The thing about Russell was that the moment you met him he would treat you like one of his oldest friends.

    The day after his death, the Smokin’ Crawdads had a Sunday arvo gig where we shared memories and laughs about Russell and sang him a few songs.

    We miss him.

    June 20th, 2009 | #

  14. Kane says

    Hi Pia… I know its long overdue as I heard ages ago that you had put this together for Dad, but couldn’t take a look at that stage. I finally did today and its really beautiful! Thanks so much for this and speaking so fondly and highly of him. I will miss him always… nice to know others will too.

    February 12th, 2010 | #

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