Rusty Anderson Afternoon Playing Guitar For Home Fans


RUSTY ANDERSON AFTERNOON plays The Coach House Mar. 16 and The Hotel Cafe Mar 17

True, he may hold one of the most coveted band slots of all time, lead guitarist for Sir Paul McCartney, but Rusty Anderson has been a legend in his own right since he was a teenager. With his own namesake Gibson model guitar, guest spots on countless hits, and a professional music career that began before he even hit puberty, the man is one of the busiest guys in show biz. You can catch him with his band, Rusty Anderson Afternoon, at The Coach House Mar. 16 for a night of feel-good rock-n-roll.

Concert Guide Live caught up with Anderson on a rare day off from his hectic schedule to talk influences, being a one-man Wrecking Crew, and of course, Paul McCartney.

Concert Guide Live: Do you ever get days off?
RUSTY ANDERSON: It doesn’t feel like it. I’ve been working on a record (with Rusty Anderson Afternoon) that’s going to be out very shortly. I’ve booked these March shows, and we start up a tour with Paul (McCartney). So, between that and all the things you have to do at home that you can’t do when you’re on the road, it doesn’t feel like I’ve had much time off, actually.

CGL: You’ve played HUGE shows with Paul McCartney like the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, are there any nerves involved, or is it just a pure rush?
RA: It’s funny because in a lot of ways, I feel more comfortable on stage than off stage, which is kind of sad [laughs]. If something gets screwed up or goes wrong, there’s always that worry, but I think the main thing is you try to get everything as organized, prepared, and together, before you go out, and then just have a good time and that’s that.

CGL: So it’s more about preparation?
RA: I did make the mistake once of doing a show with Paul, I think it was in Spain, and I fell asleep back stage. I woke up on this couch, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, we’ve gotta go on soon’.

So, I started getting ready, but all of a sudden I found myself out on stage in front of 30,000 people, like, half asleep, and it’s just not the right mixture of modes. It’s not something I’d recommend for anybody. It’s like going 0 to 100 all of a sudden, you’re not really ready. You want to get in that zone first.

CGL: You’re from SoCal and you’ve played around here since you were a kid. Does it feel special when you play here now?
RA: Oh yeah! I end up knowing a lot of people in the audience. It’s really a kick. Because my schedule is so busy I don’t usually get to play a ton of shows of my own, they’re a little more limited. So it’s exciting! I’m really glad I was able to get these shows between recording and touring.

CGL: You played the solo on New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give,” and you played the solo on Ricky Martin’s “Livin La Vida Loca,” among other things. You’re like the guitar player equivalent of The Wrecking Crew!

RA: [laughs] There’s definitely some of that. You end up getting into a groove with different producers and different artists. The last thing I did was Lana Del Rey, and it’s always fun. My focus lately has been with my own group, and obviously playing with Paul McCartney, which takes up a lot of time. As a matter of fact, we’re going to be doing some recording coming up here soon for Paul’s new record. No shortage of things to do, which is good.”

CGL: You’ve said in other interviews that The Beatles were the reason you started playing music. What influenced you to start writing your own stuff?

RA: When I was five, my older sister was playing Beatle records and I was like, ‘Wow! What’s that?! That’s cool! Look at those guys! How cool!’ That started my whole thing and my focus on music. Then my older brother passed away right at that time, and I think I subconsciously said, ‘Wow, real life sucks, music is amazing.’ Music has this fantastical quality to it. Once you get the bug, it’s something you can’t stop doing. It’s such an expression, such a communication that is totally different from any other thing.

CGL: What would you say is the biggest thing that has rubbed off on you from actually working with Paul McCartney?

RA: In some ways I feel like I was born in a barn yesterday [laughs]. Working with Paul I’ve learned a lot, mostly exercising my social muscles. I’ve certainly spent a lot of time sitting in my room writing or playing guitar, and it’s a very intimate, non-social experience.

That has really changed because there’s so many people on the road. We’re traveling around with 100 people or more. Paul is such an amazing inspiration. He wears a lot of hats. It makes you aware of how important it is to seamlessly go between being the performer, the family person, hanging out with your friends, doing business stuff. That I think, through osmosis, has rubbed off on me.