Under construction......more coming almost daily....lots of bits will be lying about for your perusal as we saw away at are invited to send any recollections of Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley, CA, the Dedicated Fool in North Carolina, Berkeley, Sacramento and/or now Pittsburgh, Tunes to Go in Sacramento, Face the Music in heaven and environs or bands like Monet's Gardens, Cement Trampoline, Cold October, Sachiko, 9th Creation, Steve One and the Shades, and any other ruminations on this axis of music phreaks and their, Russ

The earliest spotting

Wherein we learn how a Canadian, name of Richard and a refugee from the wilds of Pittsburgh, a boy with lots of hair, named Russ, forsook a Leopold's Records Store in Berkeley that he and partner, Richard, helped build, to become Fools, and then got RATHER RIPPED.

Here's one early picture, if you get this far.

Wendy O. Williams visit to RRR for autograph party. An early pic of young Russ with Hair, face and head, early Sex P's tee shirt made by artist, Hugh Brown, Ms. Arayah Genanian, Mr. Miles lower right. An early staff of the original Rather Ripped at left, up front David Kuznets, who went to UK to marry the beautiful Ms. Enid just beside him there,. In England he worked for many many years at Topic Records, and he just informed me, he is still there, soldiering on. Hi. David, Hi Enid.

At 5 years old, I whined and wheedled my mother into buying me a 45 by Johnnie Ray - Little White Cloud That Cried/Cry on Columbia Records' Okeh label, its race records label...cause Johnny was a bit too soulful to hang out with Mitch Miller, I guess. So were Clive Davis, Santana, Miles Davis and the like, but that's a later story.

Mom was a high school musician, a Tamburitzan, a Croatian folk troupe wherein she played bizernetza along with her usual Hawaiian and acoustic guitar. She gave up a scholarship and had me (hey, we all make mistakes, some turn out okay..I like to think I was one of the okay ones, but I am sure I have some old acquaintances who would beg to differ.) Anyhow Dad was a world war II hero, handsome as the Devil can make 'em, and he liked country music mostly, so I got an early dose of Hank Williams, Slim Bryant, Bill Monroe and the like.

And then along came Elvis, the Everly Brothers and a million excellent doo wop groups, kind of one per corner in my teen years, of which I of course, was one.

How they stopped being FOOLS and became Rather Ripped forever.

04-03-1979 / Berkeley, CA / Zellerbach Auditorium, University of California / USA

• Can't Stand Losing You - Truth Hits Everybody - So Lonely - Fall Out - Born In The 50's - Hole In My Life/ Fixing A Hole - Be My Girl-Sally - Peanuts - Roxanne ** Landlord - Next To You ** Can't Stand Losing You

• Support act: Robert Johnson, The Knack.

• Attendance: 3,000; sellout.

Introduction by Miles: "For the first time in Berkeley. Will you please welcome THE POLICE". Sting: "This is Berkeley right? Now be careful, because you are on the radio as well". Stewart: "So sing in tune".

During Roxanne: "I tell you what. 3,000 people right? Can you sing? Course you can sing. Sing with me".

Before the encore Stewart made the comment: "I went to school here, about five years ago".

This show was recorded and broadcasted live by KSAN radio in San Francisco.

In the afternoon of 05-03-1979 The Police did an album signing and in-store appearance at Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley.

 This remembrance comes from this website....


HORSLIPS - THE BELFAST GIGS LP, Live at Whitla Hall, Belfast, April 29, 30 and May 1, 1980. If you don't know this Irish rock/folk/prog band that heavily influenced U2 and any other Irish rocker that came afterwards, well you should. We became friends with them over the years and they played our final birthday party at Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley, CA, and we became better friends until they disbanded. Interested, go to google and type in Horslips for a full panorama incl. their own website... Or

A stop before landing. While I was tinkering away at the idea of getting a job, or actually having to write back there in 1970, a friend, actually my first friend in Berkeley, Woody, the caretaker for the apartments, came by to smoke a doobie (you know a brother who played music) and inform me that Leopold's Records needed a truck driver who happened to have a truck and knew something about music. I figured I fit the bill.

Anyhow, Leopold Stokowski Appreciation Society was a student run record answer to Tower Records and Discount Records, both chains in Berkeley, taking student money and sending it out of town. Where have we seen this happen before or since? (Wal-Mart, Best Buy anyone). Well Berkeley being a bit more radical than the rest of the country --- probably still is --was overjoyed and supported this store and its large discount prices, enough so that a good handful of people were employed.

After an interview, with Jason - God love him and hope he is well, he could play Bee Gees songs and write them as well, as good as the Brothers Gibb. I was hired as a driver, go pick up records at the distributor guy.



In late '69, Mr. Ripped, The Fool or Russ as he is sometimes known crossed the great big USA from Pittsburgh, PA to Berkeley, CA with three beautiful women in an old van. Seemed to be the thing to do as we skipped going to Woodstock that weekend and headed West. Quite a trip, I must say. The US was beautiful in '69, so were my travelling companions, but I can't say it was any less prejudiced or right wing, as town after town had a problem with the fact that I had long curly hair. In Denver, the Mile High City, (and I thought they were the Mile High City 'cause they had the best dope, nope they ---at the time anyhow -- just had the most dopes. Can't say I've ever had the urge to go back and visit after we had to make a quick exit from a bunch of good old boys, who were threatening to kick my ass (all six of them), maybe six could, didn't wait to find out. And never looked back, and they are all probably sitting at the same diner, wishing they had lives, huh!

Lost a suitcase off the top of the truck in Kansas when we stopped to fix a flat, and found out that when the cops found it, they thought it was a sex cult once one of the women's moms told them we were okay, one guy and three girls....wish I had the newspaper report from old Pittsburgh, our home town....and this was before Manson, Jim Jones and the renegade Mormons. But before the erstwhile Kansas troopers could find us, we were long gone and into California.

Needless to say when we hit California, I pulled the truck over and kissed the ground and yelled "I'm Home" And I was back then.

First thing we did was get an apartment on Derby Street in Berkeley, CA. The rental agent was rather smitten with my beautiful companions and didn't even wince or run a credit check when I told him I was a writer, and that' s how I made a living. Well, it turned out to be true, but most of the writing was on music, and Rather Ripped ended up publishing most of it.