Originally printed Aug. 17, 2007 in the Orange County Register
By ROBERT KINSLER
Special to the Register
Rusty Anderson is coming home.
Although the celebrated singer-guitarist has performed at a handful of intimate shows in Orange County since his acclaimed debut "Undressing Underwater" was released by Surfdog Records in 2005, his performance at OC Pavilion on Aug. 24 marks his first time headlining a major venue in Orange County as a solo artist.
The La Habra High School graduate admitted there is still a special feeling whenever he performs in Orange County.
"First of all, it's a beautiful theater and it has great lighting and sound," said Anderson, who has played in Paul McCartney's band since 2001. "It's going to be a longer show and there will be special guests. I'm looking forward to taking advantage of that (theater-styled) setup. And because I grew up in Orange County, it's going to be extra exciting to play this one."
Anderson explained how much McCartney enjoyed playing the cozy confines of New York's Highline Ballroom and Amoeba Records in Hollywood earlier this summer compared to the arenas and stadiums they usually play together. And while Anderson has enjoyed performing at clubs such as the legendary Viper Room in Hollywood and a record release party at Pepperland Music in Orange with his band, he is thrilled to perform in a larger setting where he can deliver a bigger show for his area fans.
"I think it has rubbed off in some ways, hopefully," said Anderson, when asked about the experience of playing with McCartney for more than six years.
"Being in so many situations – from recording at Abbey Road Studios to playing in Red Square - and just getting out and seeing the world a bit, I have learned a lot of things that I'm probably not even aware of," he admitted. "But, yeah, I think it has certainly made me feel comfortable on stage if nothing else."
In addition to his continuing role as a member of McCartney's band, Anderson's guitar playing is featured across a wide range of recent releases including on Elton John's "Songs From The West Coast", Regina Spektor's "Begin to Hope," Joe Cocker's "Respect Yourself," Dido's "Life for Rent," Carole King's "Love Makes the World" and Gwen Stefani's "Love. Angel. Music. Baby", Cat Stevens' "An Other Cup" and Jewel's "0304."
When it comes to his solo career, Anderson is a talented guitar virtuoso and could easily chart a course in the sonic footsteps of Gary Hoey, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. On "Undressing Underwater," Anderson's dazzling fretwork is almost-always used in the service of songs such as the tuneful "Hurt Myself" (McCartney plays bass and sings backup vocals on that track) psychedelia-tinged "Devil's Spaceship" and driving surf rocker "Catbox Beach" (featuring Police drummer Stewart Copeland and Ednaswap bassist Paul Bushnell).
In addition to singing lead vocals and playing guitar, "Undressing Underwater" found Anderson playing keyboards, pedal steel guitar, tambourine and even hammered dulcimer across the disc.
"Well, I'm always exploring; all I do is explore," Anderson said when asked about material he is writing and recording for his next project.
"I'm always sort of torn between trying to make things different because if something is unique you can't compare it to anything else. And then I think, 'Well all that matters is that it's good.' So I kind of vacillate back and forth between those two things."
Rusty Anderson and Fountain Valley-based singer-songwriter Michael Ubaldini will perform at the OC Pavilion, 801 N. Main St., Santa Ana, at 8 p.m. on Aug. 24.