Russ Buchanan is a still-breathing refugee from the 70s, 80s and 90s pop-rock-country scene who has emerged as a multimedia political malcontent — proof positive that old musicos never die, they blog.
Buchanan was a member of Sugarloaf (“Green-eyed Lady”), Player (“Baby Come Back”) and the pies de resistance of über producer Mike Chapman (Blondie, Pat Benatar, Exile, the Knack, Suzi Quatro, Sweet, etc.), a rock and roll band called Thieves (you wouldn’t know any of their songs, but they did manage to put a few record companies out of business, including Chapman’s).
Buchanan has toured or recorded with Tanya Tucker, Gary Wright, Danny O’Keefe, Exile, Dolly Parton, Peter Ivers, Rare Earth, JJ Jackson, Bobby Sherman (Buchanan’s very first bigtime gig), Michael Landon, Doug McClure and so many others that your eyes would surely glaze over if they’re listed here.
His contributions to Hollywood are almost as eclectic as his musical résumé. From the voice of “Kingfisher,” the philosophical Cajun DJ from “Candyman, Farewell to the Flesh,” to the on-camera role of “Elgart Brunson,” the mucho-macho country singer in the so-bad-it’s…still awful “Rhinestone” with Sylvester Stalone and the lovely Dolly Parton.
Stallone/Parton flick, “Rhinestone.”
In the movie, Buchanan sings “The Day My Baby Died” [try to ignore the godawful canned applause/laughter] — quite possibly the worst song ever written. “The Day my Baby Died” tells the story of the tragic demise of Elgart’s bride on the morning of their wedding day — a warning to us all to be careful around farm machinery when wearing flowing satin and lace. “Yes, the movie was met with mixed reviews,” says Buchanan. “Some critics thought it was bad and some thought it was worse. But, dammit, I was funny!”
WAIT! I just discovered that somebody posted the CLIP FROM THE MOVIE AT YOU TUBE. I don’t know how long it’s going to stay up (20th Century Fox has a habit of taking these clips down because the execs there want you to spend your hard-earned dough renting or buying the DVD). As of March 30, 2012 it was still there.
Buchanan is also the singing voice of “Jacob” in Dreamworks’ “Joseph, King of Dreams,” and does voice-overs for everything from A&E’s “Biography” series, to the “Don’t Pass Gas” secondhand-smoke PSAs on radio and TV, to Barack Obama’s campaign radio and TV ads, which Buchanan claims, “did the trick.”
“The Russ Buchanan EP” and the “Save the Institution EP” [shameless plug: available at itunes and just about everywhere else] are the first two salvos from his “Political Potshots With a Strong Backbeat” project, and are truly labors of love. As Buchanan puts it, “I know the market for political pop music is about as lucrative as Lithuanian disco these days, but God created ProTools (digital recording) so I could make fun of America’s corporatocracy. It would be a sin to do anything else.”
The first single from the Russ Buchanan EP, “Me and My SUV,” has become a favorite on comedy radio and is still being played by disc-jockeys who loathe those condominiums-on-wheels that suck up fuel like a 747 and make driving on America’s highways so, uh, challenging.
[Speaking of shameless plugs: Buchanan recently wrote “The Tiger Song” about a tiger he saw back in his touring days. “The poor thing was pent up in this tiny enclosure, pacing back and forth, wanting to be anywhere but where he was,” remembers Buchanan. “It’s been 25 years since I saw him, but I never shook the image. I just imagined what that beautiful, enormous cat might be daydreaming as he paced his day away, and turned it into a song. While writing about the tortured beast, I realized a caged tiger has a lot more in common with we “higher” life forms than we might care to admit.” The “The Tiger Song” is now available at itunes, CD Baby and all the usual places.]
Be sure to check out Buchanan’s homemade-but-passionate videos from the “Save the Institution! EP” – “Save the Institution! (A Gay Marriage Sing-Along)” and his ode to purchased politicians and health care reform, “All-American Suckers”
A lifelong politics hound, Buchanan has contributed opinion pieces/satire and just-the-facts journalism to the Houston Chronicle, The Motley Fool, The Daily Kos, Op/Ed News, Midnight Graffiti Magazine and many obscure-but-enthusiastic publications.
And now, eager to continue his grouse and carp — without having to worry about rhyming — Buchanan has launched Russ Buchanan: Craving Sense — to vent his spleen, vent others’ spleens — a regular spleen-venting party. And you’re all invited. BYOS