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A Dirty Dozen with MARK RUSSELL from CITIZEN RAGE – June 2022

| 11 June 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Coming out of Calgary AB, team Citizen Rage is giving us a sneak peak into their new album Harsh Reality. Designed and animated by visual genius Dion Coursen, “For Worse or Better” is heavy, fast and a quick punch to the throat says singer Mark Russell. Being released on Toronto’s Cursed Blessing Records this first single has the undertones of 80’s hardcore punk mixed with CR’s typical anthemic gang vocals. Catch Citizen Rage as they hit the road with Canadian punk legends Dayglo Abortions this June through July.” We get singer Mark to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We have our first full length album Harsh Reality coming out this fall on Cursed Blessing Records. and yes, you fuckin bet we have some hidden nuggets. We brought in some close homies to do guest spots and backups, we covered a song by legends Rebel Spell. Jamie at Prohibitor studios and Rob Lawless out of the Physics Lab produced a huge sound for us and really helped us capture our live essence. And to top it off our friends at Cursed Blessings records are putting it out.  If you like fast chanty hardcore punk, then keep your eyes peeled for our new record!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realize you wanted to be a musician?

I’d say my best friend Jesse Bird got me into music, like real music. I mean I’ve always listened to music before but not really paid attention to it. That was until my first live punk show. After that I realized I wanted to be a part of it. I loved the pit, the sing-alongs, the mayhem, all of it. The musician part came later. Even when I first started playing it wasn’t like I wanted to really do anything other than have a good time and party every now and then, And I didn’t think anything past that. Then one day I played a gig, and everyone was singing our songs with us and for me that was when I truly wanted to become a musician.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Looking back I always loved Dayglo Abortions, I know it sounds corny and all since we are going on tour with them right away, but it’s the truth. “Here Today Guano Tomorrow” and “Two Dogs Fucking” really broke the mold for me, it was like these guys sang what they saw and didn’t fucking care what anyone thought. Fuck religion, fuck the fractured system we live in, and fuck you if you can’t take a joke. I was lucky enough to go to all ages shows back in the day and see Knucklehead all the time, Calgary locals that can sing one line of any song and regardless if you’ve heard it or not by the second time hearing it you were captivated like the rest of the room and joined in backups arm in arm with some punk you’ve never met. So to say honestly, I had one song or album that I drew influence from would be hard, but Dayglo and Knucklehead are some of my heroes and helped pave the way for my future endeavors in music.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Getting to do a track with Good Riddance would be sick, or any of the above-mentioned legends would also take the cake. I will say that I have had many great opportunities to shred vocals on a couple great albums. I’m always honored to be asked to be a part of these projects.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

My mental health retreat aside from hanging out with my wife and dog is riding bikes or hiking in the summer. Being outside seems to get rid of all the bullshit pent up from a stressful week.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d say we sound like old school Hardcore punk, sing alongs, good times, circle pits, skateboarding and hanging with homies.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Our drummer makes donuts, and his dad is a machine when it comes to cooking. Sean, Mikey, and Ross have been known to have a drink or two and Mikey is definitely the first to bust out the ole acoustic and hit ya with some “Purple Rain.”

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I met Doug Bradley aka Hellraiser once and I could barely speak, I just kinda stood there sweating and mumbling “I like your movies.” It was awkward for all involved, I regret nothing.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Meeting new people, playing music and seeing that people have some sort of emotional attachment to it. My dream job would be band management full time, I’ve just started it and fingers crossed I can make it work.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Everyone always does a great job, so no complaints here, I’m just honored to be a part of cool shit like this.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I wouldn’t change a thing, I like the road my life has taken and it’s only going up from here, PMA.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

That’s a tough one, I wouldn’t want to be a part of it really but to be there as everything was being produced would be the real highlight, Like sitting in on the recording session for “The Thrill Is Gone” by BB King or in the engineer booth as Chi pig (SNFU) laid down “Erics Had A Bad Day” or watching Dayglo lay down “Drugged And Driving” hearing Alicia Keys belt out “New York” that’s the kinda stuff I’d do with my Dirty Dozen time machine. Those bands / artists and their albums ring out in history and will continue to long after we are all gone.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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