Paul McCartney is returning to Pittsburgh next week for a sold out show at Consol. It was recently revealed that his current band has been with Sir Paul longer than any other band he has performed with including The Beatles and Wings. One of his trusty guitarists for all these years is Rusty Anderson, who also has a long running and successful solo career. I really want to thank him for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?

It was “Help” by The Beatles. That is still one of my all-time favorite records and one of my favorite all-time recordings. I was in a big whole foods market when I heard this amazing music… The most vocally and harmonically resonant thing I’ve ever heard. I wondered who is this amazing new band? and after about 40 seconds I realized it was the song ‘Help’ and the acoustics in the building had scrambled the music so much that I didn’t recognize it at first. It sort of renewed my subscription.

The next album was “Axis: Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix which is another incredible record and basically both my guitar and music form Bibles.

Your last album bought?

Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Debussy, Fela Kuti. More and more I’ve been on a jazz & classical tip lately. It’s always been there but I’d say it’s influenced our new album “Rusty Anderson Afternoon II” a bit.

Favorite album of all time?

Impossible to say: in addition to “Help” and “Axis: Bold As Love”, I love “Nursery Cryme” by Genesis, “Exile On Main St.”, “Children’s Corner” by Debussy, “The Jeff Beck Group” with the oranges on the cover (I told this to Jeff backstage at a party and his response was ‘Ooo, you like that?’ as if my musical taste had leprosy ha!). There are so many: Jack White, early Mothers Of Invention, early Alice Cooper, Captain Beefheart, Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, Skip James, some mind blowing Albert Collins and MC5 on the radio, Dylan, the first Family and Pink Floyd albums. I could go on forever. Other new stuff too: Fleet Foxes, Band Of Horses, Black Keys, Wolf People, Grizzly Bear…..

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

Maybe when Peter Gabriel left Genesis, Alice Cooper dropped his original band or Bowie dropped Mick Ronson. Those were big disappointments for me.

First concert attended?

The Mothers Of invention at the Rose Bowl.

Last concert?

The Grandmothers Of Invention at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood :^) Bunk is a good friend of mine.

Favorite concert ever?

Alice Cooper at the Palladium, David Bowie at Santa Monica Civic, Genesis at The Roxy or The Who at Anaheim Stadium… equally tied. I saw Peter Gabriel at the Hollywood Bowl not too long ago and I got that magical feeling.

Least favorite concert?

Maybe Nicki Minaj. At an outdoor radio festival. She lip synced the whole time until the PA went out and unfortunately, she started singing and the mic actually came back on! That is a horrible feeling though… I’ve had my share of live disasters.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

I love the awesome rivers. It’s been a few years since we’ve been there. Really looking forward to getting back.

Thanks, Rusty. Believe me, there are many of us who are looking forward to you coming back.

Rusty Anderson Website

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There is a bit of a misconception around town that the few of us who blog about music are in some sort of competition against each other. That idea could not be further from the truth. In fact, most of us know each other quite well and support each other as best as we can. Case in point is my man at the Pgh Music Report. He scores a photo pass to the Paul McCartney show and asks me if I want it. It takes a second for me to say yes and before you know it, I am up on the sound board platform at the new arena, shooting arguably the biggest show I have ever done. Not much to say that hasn’t already been said except that someone recognized me up there right before the show and was kind of surprised to see me there, happy for me but surprised, nonetheless. It was cool that she gave me a look of, “Right on, Hugh!” There are a lot of supportive people in this town and last Thursday was evident of that. More photos here.

Another cool moment came on Wednesday morning. Being a member of the ‘media’, I occasional receive alerts about things happening around town. One that I thought was unique and worth checking out was that the Hard Rock Cafe was bringing in it’s biggest and most rare piece of memorabilia in it’s vast collection in honor of McCartney’s shows. The original Magical Mystery Tour bus. Since I had the chance, I went down to see it arrive.

And finally, there was a wild scene after the show at the ‘private’ airport terminal as McCartney flew home. Now, I am a casual autograph seeker. I enjoy it as a hobby and never have or will think about selling signed items for monetary gains. Seriously, how much do you think I can get for an autographed copy of my Deliberate Strangers CD? It’s not about that for me. Apparently, it is for some people. They take this notion of signed memorabilia seriously, like a career! There were at least 100+ people waiting for the slim chance to get Sir Paul to scribble on their beat up album cover. There were actual rules to follow. Show your ticket stub to prove you were at the show. One item apiece. No cutting in a single file line. Apparently, someone hired 30 people from a temp agency to increase their chances. Nuts!