An Ode to Russ

Some mornings social media is brutal. You wake up. Spy your phone. See what’s going on and ……………….. BANG!!!!!!!!!

Russ Taylor’s Dead

I first met Russ when we played North West Calling (https://www.songkick.com/festivals/2645484-north-west-calling/id/39132816-north-west-calling-2020) in the summer of 2018. Not long ago but it seems like a lifetime. Russ years must be like dogs’. One is worth seven.

We had played our set and retired to the merch stall. In terms of shifting product things were going swimmingly. But financially: it was a disaster. Our table was directly in front of the bar. Everytime a CD, LP or shirt was sold, whoever took the money swivelled 180 degrees and spent it on a round of jaegermeister shots! (Don’t ask. It’s pretty much de rigeur in Powersland).

Things were messy.

Russ had the table next to us and was both impressed at the demand for the records and amused at where the money was going. We talked. Clearly here was a music nut. He explained he had a vinyl label, Crocodile Records (https://www.discogs.com/label/120995-Crocodile-Records-3), and gave me a pile of releases, enthusing about each and every one.

“Let me put a single out for you”, he said, and I pretty much decided there and then through the Jaeger haze that I would. What I didn’t realise while we spoke, with Russ sat behind his table, was the huge effort required for him to get up and move just 5 yards. Russ was heavily disabled, but with his cheery demeanor there was no inkling of the extreme effort it took for him to get through the day, until he had to get up and get through it.

Russ put out the single of “Kelly’s Gone Insane” for us (featured here: https://duncanreidandthebigheads.com/2019/06/17/the-story-behind-the-song-kellys-gone-insane/ ) and over the past months has worked tirelessly to get it promoted all over the world.

Whenever we’ve played in the North West he’s been there via a combination of crutches, busses and trains. Exhausting just to watch. But always with a smile, always with an encouraging word, always brightening the day for those of us for whom life is a doddle compared to the barriers he had to overcome to achieve what he did.

So, I’ve lost a business partner (for want of a better phrase) and friend. The world has lost a battler and a ray of sunshine. The music we love has lost a hero it can ill afford to lose. And everyone has lost an example we should all aspire to.

Good bye Russ. I’m honoured our paths crossed.