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Exclusive Interview with Unwritten Law's Scott Russo

Scott Russo talks with Disarray about being back on Warped Tour, a new album, and the comforts of booze.

DM: So this isn’t your first stint on Warped Tour, right?

Scott: No, we’ve been a band on Warped Tour since 2000, but before 2000 we did the only European Warped Tour, the only Australian Warped Tour, and we did two American Warped Tours.

DM: So what has the fan reaction been on the tour this year? I know we’re only a few stops in, but what do you think so far?

Scott: The fans have been great. Obviously, the demographic is a lot wider than it was 10 years ago. People that are 30 are listening to us, and people that are 14 are listening to us.

Photo Credit: John Thomas Rose

DM: Yeah, so what is it like performing for kids that weren’t even alive when you guys started up? Are they listening for some of your deeper cuts?

Scott: I feel like they are tuning in to the older singles, like “Seeing Red” and “Save Me,” whereas the older fans really know more of our catalog.

DM: So with the new album, “Swan,” MTV picked it up the single, “Starships & Apocalypse” as their indie featured artist video?

Scott: Yeah, the “Starships” clip did pretty well. It was picked up on MTVU, in high rotation.

DM: So how does this album, “Swan,” differ from some of your previous albums?

Scott: We’re a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and we’ve been crafting songs for 20 years. That being said, anything you do, when you spend a lot of time doing it, you’re gonna get good at what you’re doing. On this record we’ve gone back to some of our more self-titled and “Elva” roots, keeping songs more stripped down as opposed to a lot of electronic over-dubs and stuff like that. So, the songwriting is better and it’s more stripped down. A sleeker engine, ya know?

Photo Credit: John Thomas Rose

DM: You guys are now with Suburban Noize Records. Is there any oversight in making this album or is it more like, “just go and do your thing”?

Scott: They really gave me the freedom to write and record at my leisure. It took me about 14 months to record “Swan.” So it was pretty good.

DM: So I see you had the “Hit List” and another DVD/CD combo, but it’s been almost six years since your last studio album. Have you just been banking songs, touring, what have you guys been doing?

Scott: No, not really. We kind of took a hiatus. When our label went down we stopped playing shows, just kinda stopped doing anything for a while. I went on to produce and write for a lot of other artists: Big B, Swayze, me and Danny Way have a thing going, I did my own solo project, had another side project called “Scott and Aimee.” Then Suburban Noize approached us to do a record, and that’s what pulled us back together.

DM: With all your fans sticking by you through the years, can you perform some of the deeper cuts for them in this Warped Tour format, or is it singles and the new album tracks?

Scott: Well, it’s thirty minutes sets so that is a bit more difficult. We do, obviously, have to play fan favorites. So, we’ll play a couple tracks off “Swan.” It is a total of eight songs, thirty minutes, over six records so, it’s tough.
Photo Credit: John Thomas Rose

DM: So you guys have been around a while and you play with a lot of younger acts. Anyone coming up to you on the tour, on the side, and asking for advice or anything like that?

Scott: I haven’t gotten a lot of advice questions, but I have gotten a lot of “I grew up listening to you,” or “thanks for all the musical inspiration.” I’ve gotten that quite a bit, so I’m pretty stoked because that means I’ve done something well with my life.

DM: Is there anything on the Warped Tour you couldn’t leave home without? Is there something you’ve just gotta have?

Scott: I’m pretty resilient. I’m here to play music. What I do miss is showers and all I need is alcohol. So if I can get a shower in every once in a while and get my hands on some booze, I’m pretty happy boy.

DM: So are you guys doing the whole tour?

Scott: Not the whole tour, just until July 25th.

Photo Credit: John Thomas Rose

DM: So what is next after the tour? Where can people see you, any projects?

Scott: Another headlining tour. We’ll be doing another lap of the country and then we’ll be in Japan in October and Australia in November. Other than that check the website for show dates, I’m the worst at that stuff. (laughs)

Thanks to Scott of Unwritten Law taking a few minutes to chat with Disarray Magazine. Check out their website for upcoming show dates and look for “Swan,” their first studio album in over five years, which was released on March 29th featuring the hit single “Starships & Apocalypse.”

All Photos by John Thomas Rose

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About the Author

Wesley Bauman, author of Doggy Paddling in the Deep End, is a writer/photojournalist originally from Oregon who makes his home in Ventura, CA. He's contributed to the VCReporter and maintains an active blog ( where he writes on political and social satire regularly. Follow Wesley on Twitter @myownfalseidol


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