Spotlight Then and Now: Rusty Anderson

June 4, 2013

BY THE TIME RUSTY Anderson appeared in the June 1985 Spotlight column, he had already enjoyed a lengthy career on the L.A. circuit, attracting the attention of fans and fellow players alike. None other than George Lynch dropped Anderson’s name in his May 2009 GP interview. After mentioning Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads as being stalwarts of the SoCal guitar scene, Lynch offered, “Another guy who was really good was Rusty Anderson. He was in a band called Eulogy and we did a bunch of shows with them when I was in Boyz.”

Anderson’s chops, melodic sensibilities, vocal talents, and love of many different types of music would serve him well, as he added tons of sessions to his resume, including records for Carole King, the Bangles, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Willie Nelson, and many others. Along the way he played in Animal Logic with Stewart Copeland and Stanley Clarke, released albums under his own name (including Born on Earth, for which he was profiled in the 13/10 issue of GP), and in 2001 got a little sideman gig with Sir Paul McCartney. With the former Beatle, Anderson has recorded studio albums and toured the planet, playing the riffs and singing the vocal parts (even covering John’s parts on “I’ve Got a Feeling”) that inspired him to start playing music in the first place.

“When the Spotlight article came out years ago,” says Anderson, “although it was a relatively small piece, it was a concrete affirmation that something was working. It was an acknowledgement that I wasn’t just making the whole thing up. Eventually, thanks to press like Guitar Player magazine, lots of live shows, and some key people in the music biz believing in me, I went from playing clubs and high schools to jamming on hit records and in the world’s largest venues with Paul McCartney and other artists. A little OCD and time can pay off!

“The guitar absolutely saved my life—though not necessarily my hearing— growing up. With so much expression and range, it’s always held my interest and it inspires me to write new songs, motifs, riffs, and textures. My fourth record, a collaboration with bass player/ vocalist Todd O’Keefe, will be out this year. Cheers to sweet music…gift of the gods!”

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