Russell Jackson grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and now resides in Phoenix, Arizona. He has been playing guitar since 1973. His friend gave him a Kalamazoo SG, (Gibsons’ budget line from the 60’s), and he learned how to play “Proud Mary” with three chords. He also got a free electric amp with an 8 to 10 inch speaker. He started practicing chords with a book and learned bar chords. Russ said he “was more of a rhythm player than a lead player.”
When Russ was a senior in high school he heard the song “Theme from an Imaginary Western”, by the band Mountain. He bought a $100.00 Japanese guitar, which was a Gibson knockoff, and he thought he was “the coolest guitarist in the world.” He later heard his favorite song, “Mississippi Queen” by Leslie West (Mountain). This launched his love of Leslie West that continues today. He is now a collector of Dean/Leslie West Signature Model guitars.
He also is a huge fan of Keith Richards who he calls the “coolest guitar player” who uses open tunings. Her received as a graduation gift a Gibson Les Paul from his mother. He went out and purchased a Fender Bassman and built a cabinet for the 12 inch stereo speakers which didn’t sound all that great, but it was pretty loud. Russ made it a point to tell me that guitar amp speakers are not the same as stereo speakers. Russ is very knowledgeable about the technical side of guitars and amps. He had a Kustom Solid State Amp which was too loud at 100 watts and it emitted a shrill sound. Then he had a Peavey amp with 85 watts which he traded in for a Ampeg SVT all tube bass amp that put out a monstrous 300 watts (the neighbors were not to thrilled). He said the the tube amps have a warmer, more dynamic sound.
He also informed me that the Rolling Stones of 1974 used the same Amp. Their backline was a wall of the 300 watt monsters. They used open G tunings for Brown Sugar and Honky Tonk Woman. He learned these open G tunings much later on, like 15 or 20 years ago.
His favorite bands are Leslie West, Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy and Blackberry Smoke. Blackberry Smoke is a relatively new band which is a cross between ZZ Top, Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He recommended that I listen to “Man of Constant Sorrow” saying its phenomenal.
Russell Jackson collects Dean Leslie West Signature Model guitars. He has a Dean Soltero with a spalted Maple top. He is very proud of his collection. It all started with Leslie West, guitarist for Mountain.
I have enclosed the song Red House, a Jimi Hendrix song, played by Leslie West and Johnny Winter below.