Musician

I began teaching myself guitar when I was 17 and soon after started playing bands around Sydney. After numerous adventures in pop, rock & blues outfits I toured Australia as lead guitarist in the band Red Cloud with Jeff St John, Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley on some of their Australian tours during the 1970s.

I played in bands in Canberra after I moved here to do a Zoology Degree at ANU in 1977. Lots of pop, rock and blues outfits again. By 1994 I was bored with setting up for gigs and have since concentrated composing and teaching.

image of Russell Moran on guitar and Bo Diddley with box guitar on stage 1976
with BO DIDDLEY 1976

I have composed and recorded music for a number of projects, including project DVDs and promotional stuff.

I feel the advances in computer music software in recent years have provided the modern musician with a vast repertoire of powerful creative tools. I like Logic Pro and my Apple computer – the combination has allowed me to express myself musically in ways that otherwise would not be possible.

I really don’t think that playing music is very difficult and it comes quite naturally to most people. All you need is modicum of practice discipline to become proficient and to continue to move forward. Virtuosity mainly reflects how many normal things in life you are prepared to give up in order to maximize your practice time so that you reach a desired level of expertise. If you’re not to lose everything in the process there comes a cut-off point at which such further sacrifice is self defeating – you stultify in art if you aren’t also prepared to take the time to live. And if your groove is solid you’ll always have lots to say musically even if you’ve achieved only a basic level of proficiency.

My taste in music has (naturally) changed over the years as I became exposed to a wider range of music and my playing/listening skills developed. I enjoy improvisation as a vehicle for musical expression, seeing it much the same way as we improvise our spoken conversations with each other. It just tickles my brain in an intriguing way. I like other musicians who have explored improvisation, such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, many other mainstream jazz guys, John McLaughlin, Alan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, Mike Stern, Michael Brecker, Chic Corea and many, many others. I could go on and on and on about it.

The rhythms and sounds of music from non-western countries continue to enhance the harmonic richness of western music. I am interested in this combination and the random sounds of the cosmos around us and how we interpret these in a dramatic context. After 46 years of playing music I haven’t run out of inspiration yet. The main difficulty is attempting to communicate my musical thoughts with others who have not been on my particular idiosyncratic journey. Hence my albums.