Meet the team behind the newsletter, social media, stage and web.
I am Sue and I compile Russ’s monthly newsletter.
Back when I was a young teenager I was an Adam Faith fan. That is where it all started. When Adam took on a band, the band was the Roulettes, with Russ on lead guitar and vocals, and I became a Roulettes fan. I saw that band so often that I gradually got to know them. When they played close enough to where I lived at that time, in Yorkshire, it was known for my parents to feed them, including the time, still talked about, when they got a full roast dinner at midnight after a gig and before their long drive back to Hertfordshire overnight.
Fast forward to the Argent reunion for the High Voltage Festival in 2010. It was great to see them playing together again but after the event a lot of people on social media, MySpace in those days, said they hadn’t known about it and were sorry to have missed it. The same happened after the Argent tours in 2010 and 2012.
I had just sold my business and had time on my hands so I suggested to Russ that we had a mailing list of people who would like to be informed when something was about to happen. He eventually agreed and the newsletter was started. The newsletter has become much more than we ever intended and is evolving all the time with invaluable regular contributions from Dave Williams, Sven Kramer, readers and Russ himself, of course.
I also organise Russ’s party for newsletter readers, trendily named the RB Experience. We have had two parties to date. This came out of newsletter readers wanting more contact with each other. It is a fun evening with a lot of lovely friendly people and entertainment from some of Russ’s friends including……the Roulettes, still going strong. If you had told me in 1963 that I would be seeing them play again 55 years later…….heaven!
I’m Carole, a forever Adam Faith fan. In 1962 he played a 6 night run at my local theatre in Wolverhampton. School holidays, I hung around the stage door every day. Bob Henrit was his drummer in an early Roulettes line up. They chatted to us, and made a bunch of schoolgirl fans very happy.
Two years later, my mum.took me on holiday to Margate, where Adam and The Roulettes were playing a Summer Season. By then the band consisted of Bob, Russ, Pete and Mod. That is where I first met Russ. I also met a girl from Birmingham, Sandra, who was “Adam mad” too. We became best friends, and went to see Adam and the band whenever we could.
Even going to the Birmingham ATV Studios every few months when they filmed a TV show just to wave as they were driven into the building! In Russ’s words, “We became friends” When they split from Adam, we still went to see them whenever possible. I worked in a Bookings Agency who managed local bands, and got the boys a few gigs Then they split up.?
On to Argent. By now we were all “grown ups”. Weddings, babies, but I still got to see Russ and Bob through the Argent years. Lucky girl. Life took over…years passed, those “boys” stayed in a little part of my heart A chance meeting with Bob on 2001 – OMG he remembered me, gave me his contact details, made me promise to stay in touch. So I did, and went to see him play whenever he came near where I live. He told Russ he had seen me – he remembered too!
THEN 2010 ! Argent, reunion, just down the road from me, I walked into the venue and it was Russ who spotted me! Yes, he remembered. At the 2012 Argent gig Russ and Bob introduced me to Newsletter Sue. They had no idea what they were letting loose! We are great friends, and have a brilliant rapport. 2016 Russ is back down the road at Robin2, and all those years later, so were Sandra and I !
Later, I was asked if I would consider being an Administrator on Russ’s Facebook Page. What an honour! So that is me, the little Adam Faith fan, all these years later putting all the posts on Facebook and hopefully entertaining you.
Born in June 1955, my first introduction to music was when my mother insisted that I attend piano lessons at the age of 7 or 8 years old. I progressed through the usual classical pieces such as Fur Elise and Sonata in C as well as learning all the major and minor scales.
Those half hour practices in the front room seemed to last an age and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. After about 3 years, Mrs Bennett, the lady that was teaching me, informed my parents that I wasn’t focussed enough, and they were wasting their money. By this time, The Beatles were making their breakthrough and I started to enjoy listening to these and other 60s bands including The Kinks, Manfred Mann, The Hollies, The Small Faces and many others.
By 1970 I was heavily into soul music, but once bands like Free and Deep Purple began having hit singles, I started to get into rock. One of the bands that made a breakthrough at that time was Argent. I liked Hold Your Head Up a lot, but it was the follow-up single Tragedy that got me hooked. I enjoyed that guitar riff and the cool look of the guitarist Rod Argent.
Yes, like many others, I assumed the band was named after the frontman. Once I bought the ‘All Together Now’ album, I soon discovered that Rod was the keyboard player and the frontman was in fact Russ Ballard.
Argent quickly became one of my two favourite bands, the other being Rare Earth, the first white band to achieve success at Motown. I never managed to see either of them play. Well, that’s not quite true. I did see Argent in 1975, by which time Russ had left and been replaced by John Grimaldi and John Verity.
However, I made amends on May 8th 1976 when I attended one of only two UK shows that Russ was playing with his new band. It was the start of the famous long hot, dry Summer. I was invited backstage afterwards to meet the great man himself. An unforgettable day, and a scorching hot one too.
In 2007, I travelled to the Childline concert in London where Russ joined The Zombies for a rousing version of Hold Your Head Up. It was the first time I’d seen Rod and Russ perform together and it was obvious they were enjoying it too. This resulted in two Argent re-union mini tours, where I managed to catch shows in Bilston and Leamington. I also travelled to London to attend ‘An evening with Russ Ballard’ in Leicester Square, and I’m still waiting for the video. The icing on the cake was the UK tour in 2016 and the two RB Experience shows in 2018 and 2019.
My first involvement with the newsletter came in April 2015, when I contributed a piece for ‘Your Stories’. This was followed by some album reviews and it’s incredible to find I’m still here four years later. Its been an honour and a privilege. When I’m not writing articles for the newsletter, I’m either working as a development chemist in the surface coatings industry or playing at weekends in a semi-pro band. I didn’t realise at the time how valuable those childhood piano lessons would prove to be.
On 16th September 1973 my Dad decided to take me to my first concert, Argent live at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon. I already had the 7 inch singles, “Hold Your Head Up” and “God Gave Rock and Roll To You”.
I was completely mesmerised by the performance and this signalled my official move away from T.Rex and “Glam” to Argent and “Heavy”. The front man for this band was the coolest guy I ever saw, Russ Ballard. He wore a “Davy Crockett” style jacket which I spent many months afterwards trying to track down along with the Argent back catalogue.
This was also the first time I set eyes on the Holey Guitar… After he left the band, I purchased Russ’s first two solo albums at a vinyl store in Croydon. I didn’t have my credit card to guarantee the cheque but the owner behind the counter said “it’s ok, I trust anybody who buys a Russ Ballard album” and accepted my cheque. Over the ensuing years buying all the solo albums was of course a given as was buying any album where he wrote or even produced a single song on it.
In the summer of 2004 I was told by Paul Meradith (Zombies Merch guy) Russ and Bob Henrit would be attending the Zombies performance at The Aylett Centre in Potters Bar, as guests. It was Fathers Day I recall. I drove there from Surrey in the hope I might catch a glimpse, (armed with a couple of albums for signing of course).
When Russ walked in, I realised I was going to meet him for the first time (see pic). He was so kind to me, gave me time and also told me about some lyrics he had just written for a new song and album, he kept repeating “where do you go when you sleep, what do you see when you dream…”. This was to be a track from “The Book of Love” of course, what an album that is. Many years later I used “The Road That Has No Turning” from that album as a personal motivator for a work promotion assessment course, the song gives you confidence..try it!
The Argent reunion in 2010 gave me a chance to take my late father to Frome for the gig ( I was working in the Middle East but I couldn’t miss that ). We ended up staying in the same hotel as the band.
The following morning, when my Dad knocked on my door and said “Russ Ballard is downstairs at breakfast “, I have never got dressed so quickly in all my life. Russ invited me to sit next to him (see photo) and the next couple of hours are a blur….I do remember however, Bob Henrit taking my business card and asking me for some travel advice in Dubai. That led to dinner in Dubai with Bob and his wife and keeping in regular touch with him and Russ.
Subsequently Russ was out in the UAE with his family a couple of times and my wife Karen and I were fortunate to have lunch with him. Great fun. It was on one of these occasions that I cheekily asked him if I could announce him on stage next time he played in London and he said “why not”. I wrote and practised my dialogue and introduced Russ on stage on 18th March 2016 at Nells Jazz and Blues, London. What a night. I have been lucky enough to do this three times now and who knows, you might see me on stage again very soon….. In 2020 I started together with my partner in crime, Sven, the Voices of Russ Ballard fan forum on Facebook and also the Voices of Russ Ballard Podcast, which you can find on this website.
But where did it all start? Long story in short …well, I try… Back in 1993 Brian May of Queen released his Live at Brixton Academy album and I fell in love with his version of Since You Been Gone and the liner notes told me, this masterpiece was written by Russ Ballard.
Russ who? I’ve tried to get more information about this Mr. Ballard -remember there wasn’t the internet back in the days- with asking friends. Soon after that the 80s milestones Fire Still Burns and Voices-Album were part of my collection and opened the world of Russ to me.
In 2003 I saw him for the very first time live on stage, which took me 600 miles in my car to arrive there 15 minutes too late… Is it too late? No! In 2007 he was back on the road and we shared a lovely memory of that night. It all ‘really started off’ in 2013 and since then, we did some great things together, where I am very proud to be part of this great Team RGB.
This website was -in the first step- planned as a fan page, where more information about Russ and his music was available to the public, as it is hard to find enough in the web. After a short time, I changed my plan and presented the website to Russ, saying “this is it, you’ll have a new website soon”.
Just recently I said to my wife… we are having the time of our lives having such great friends around the globe. I hope this will never end…. Togther with Ian, I started the Voices Of Russ Ballard Podcast in 2020 to give the fans an even better insight into the life of Russ and his related key-persons in his musical carreer plus fans of his music/writing in music industry.
“Some other great people in my life – Wonderful friends – I often wonder what I’d do without them….Sue Robinson, Carole Williams, Sven Kramer, Dave Williams and Ian Street… they’re brill. I’m a lucky man, I’ve had diamonds roll into my life – I wish you all the same in yours. ”