Share a Cuppa Tea with…

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Mar 2019 Share a Cuppa Tea with…

RUSTY YOUNG, founding member of Poco, songwriter, vocalist, et al, chats about Ann-Margret, sleepwalk, tap dancing, and more.

By Jane Quinn

RUSTY joined us on Planet Earth in 1946 as Norman Russell “Rusty” Young.
He is, of course, the original POCO-man and the master of the pedal steel guitar; but did you know Rusty Young once played ping pong with Ringo Starr?
Aside from all of that, Rusty released something like 25 albums with Poco, as well as one solo album (“Waitin’ for the Sun”) which is a dazzler. As if that wasn’t quite impressive, as of 2013 he has been a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.
Rusty Young and I have one very important thing in common. The first record Rusty bought is the very same as the first record that I bought! “Sleepwalk” by Santo and Johnny. That is a phenomenon that will link us for eternity, or at least for this lifetime.
So now I plan to enjoy a cuppa and a chat with the Poco-man himself. Here we go…

  1. Ukulele, guitar/steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, or dobro or something else?
    I started playing steel when I was six years old and have always believed it is what I was destined to do. It’s my gift.
  2. Do you ever Google yourself?
    No, I’ve never done that. But I have checked Wikipedia and it’s so far from being even remotely accurate, I don’t waste time on those things.
  3. My first record was Sleep Walk. What was yours?
    Sleep Walk was a turning point in a lot of steel players lives. As a young teenager I learned all of Santo and Johnny’s catalogue. It was a big hit in junior high school!
  4. Who was your childhood celebrity crush?
    Ann-Margret…anyone who Elvis liked was OK by me.
  5. Do you prefer writing songs or books?
    I’ve learned that songs come much quicker, and when the words and music work together, it’s something very special.
  6. If you could have invited anyone, living or dead/famous or not, to our wee tea party who would it have been?
    That’s a tough one. I had a mentor on steel guitar growing up. His name was Donnie Buzzard. Donnie taught me almost everything I know about playing music and a career in the business. From the time I was 14 until I left Colorado for Hollywood in 1967, we worked selling guitars, giving guitar lessons, and jamming when things were slow. I wish he could see how far life has brought me. We never could have dreamed I’d play Carnegie Hall one day, or the Hollywood Bowl or Red Rocks. I think he’d be proud…
  7. Who or what is Poco?
    Poco is a group of musicians who love playing music together.
  8. Have you ever had a broken heart?
    Hasn’t everyone?
  9. What is your favourite Poco album?
    That’s tough! Legend was the most important album, but Legacy is probably my favourite.
  10. What is the meaning of life?
    The Meaning of Life is a Monty Python movie.
  11. Do you have a tattoo?
    No. My parents always told me it would be something I’d have to live with the rest of my life. So I’m planning on getting one just before I die.
  12. Did your dreams come true?
    I’ve had a great life.
  13. What’s new?
    It’s time for me to slow down and enjoy life. I have two wonderful children and three grandsons I want to spend more time with. Who knows, maybe I’ll take up a hobby like tap dancing or pole dancing!
    I am left thinking that if the translation of Poco is “a little bit”, then perhaps the band should really have been called Mucho. And so we have run out of tea and time but not conversation. So very much more to say…

Check out Rusty Young’s solo CD “Waitin’ for the Sun”, in all the usual places including Amazon and www.rustyyoungmusic.com.
©Jane Quinn
www.mightyquinnmanagement.com