Interview CHARLIE BRUSCO
(Manager of THE OUTLAWS since the start) september 2016
Hello Charlie, thanks for accepting this interview for Road to Jacksonville,
First can you introduce you and tell us from which town you come?
I AM FROM PITTSBURGH PA.
Can you tell us how did the start of the Outlaws go in Tampa?
I MEET THE BAND AT A SHOW IN 1973 THAT THEY WERE DOING IN A FIELD FOR STUDENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA.
Do you know why this name The Outlaws was chosen?
NOT REALLY SURE WHY …WAS BEFORE MY TIME.
Is it true that at the start The Outlaws had some problems with the Motorcycle Club Outlaws because of the name?
WAS NOT AT THE START BUT WE HAD FUN NIGHTS AND NOT SO FUN NIGHTS WITH THE MOTORCYCLE CLUB BUT OUR RUNS IN WERE MORE WITH THE HELL'S ANGELS WHO THOUGHT WE WERE PART OF THE OUTLAWS MC.
At what time did you become their manager, how did it go?
I STARTED IN 1973 IN SEPT/ OCT. WE MADE A RECORD DEAL WITH CLIVE DAVIS IN EARLY 1974 AND HAD A RECORD OUT IN 1975 SO WE MOVED PRETTY QUICKLY. WE HAD IMMEDIATE SUCCESS AT RADIO IN 1975 BUT THE BAND WAS VERY ACTIVE TOURING IN ALL OF 1974 AND 75 PLAYING ALL OVER THE US WITH LYNYRD SKYNYRD, ALLMAN BROTHERS, MARSHALL TUCKER AND CHARLIE DANIELS. WHEN THE RECORD CAME OUT WE GOT A SOLD OUT TOUR 40 CITIES WITH THE DOOBIE BROTHERS. WE ALSO CAME TO EUROPE FOR THE WHO : “PUT THE BOOT IN” SOCCER STADIUM TOUR ….ALSO PINK POP …WE HAD GREAT SUCCESS.
Ronnie Van Zant urged Alan Walden to help you, what was the role they played?
RONNIE BASICALLY INTRODUCED WALDEN AND I AND WE MADE A DEAL TO CO-MANAGE THE OUTLAWS AND THEN NOT TO LONG AFTER SKYNYRD LEFT WALDEN TO HIRE PETER RUDGE AS THEIR MANAGER. A FEW YEARS LATER WALDEN AND I SPLIT UP AND I WENT ON TO MANAGE THE OUTLAWS MYSELF.
How went the band’s signature by Arista Records with Clive Davies ? Is the anecdote telling that Ronnie Van Zant said to Clive Davies : « if [he] doesn’t sign them, [he] he is the biggest idiot in the world » after a gig where the Outlaws opened a gig of Lynyrd Skynyrd in Columbia, Georgia in 1974 true ?
COLUMBES, GEORGIA … BUT ALL THE REST IS HOW IT HAPPENED.
At the start, The Outlaws opened often for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Have you anecdotes about Ronnie Van Zant?
RONNIE WAS A TOUGH GUY AND A SWEETHEART IN THE SAME PERSON. WAS TOUGH TO DEAL WITH WHEN HE WAS DRINKING OR DRUGGING BUT THAT WAS HOW WE ALL WERE. LYNYRD SKYNYRD WAS NEVER THE SAME AFTER HIS DEATH. ALTHOUGH I BELIEVE WE DID A GREAT JOB IN 1987-88 ON THE 1ST TWO TRIBUTE TOURS I THINK AS ORIGINAL MEMBERS CONTINUED TO DIE IT HAS BECOME HARDER TO HAVE THE SAME SPIRIT. GARY ROSSINGTON HAS DONE AN ADMIRABLE JOB AND JOHNNY JUST IS NOT HIS BROTHER AS A LEADER … HE MAY BE A BETTER VOCALIST BUT NOT THE LEADER RONNIE WAS.
The Lynyrd Skynyrd guys often fought but it seems that the Outlaws also did it. Is it true?
YES THE BOYS NEVER RAN AWAY FROM A FIGHT AND RAN RIGHT AT A FEW. WE WERE YOUNGER AND DUMBER. BUT WE HAD FUN.
Did the Outlaws have the same life style than Lynyrd (alcohol, drugs)?
EVERYONE HAD THE SAME LIFE STYLES FROM THE ‘70’S- MID ‘80’S AND THEN MOST PEOPLE EITHER DIED OR FOUND A DIFFERENT WAY TO HAVE FUN.
Why did the bassist Frank O' Keefe leave the band after the two first albums?
UNFORTUNATELY THE LIFESTYLE CAUGHT UP WITH FRANK AND HE COULD NOT KEEP IT TOGETHER ON THE ROAD WHICH WAS GRUELING.
Why did Henry Paul leave many times the band?
Can you explain the reasons of Billy Jones’ departure? Can you clarify the circumstances of his suicide?
I REALLY DON’T REMEMBER EXACTLY WHY JONES LEFT. IT WAS I AM SURE SOME DISAGREEMENT WITH HUGHIE … HE ALSO HAD SUBSTANCE PROBLEMS … I ONLY HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT HIS SUICIDE WAS A SELF INFLICTED GUNSHOT.
Is it true that « Green Grass and High Tides » was reduced by half at the mix?
NOT REALLY UNLESS YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE IN LENGTH BETWEEN LIVE AND STUDIO VERSION AND YES IT WAS REDUCED ON THE RECORD BY A FEW MINUTES AND THEN THE SONG CONTINUED TO GET LONGER ON STAGE.
What did you do when the Outlaws split?
I WAS STARTING TO PROMOTE CONCERTS.
Do you know if the disc recorded by Hughie Thomasson before he died will be released one day?
HIS ESTATE CONTROLS THAT … MY GUESS IS NO.
Do you think that the Outlaws will come back and play in Europe as they did in 2005, have you some demands?
TRYING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN IN 2017.
Can you tell us more about the new live of the Outlaws that should be released by autumn, where and how was it recorded?
SHOULD BE RELEASED IN ABOUT ONE MONTH … RECORDED AT VARIOUS LIVE SHOWS OVER THE LAST YEAR … ALBUM PHOTOS ARE FROM JACKSONVILLE.
Henry Paul seems to know the secret of the eternal youth, do you know his secret?
HE IS A GOOD PERSON…
Are there recordings from the seventies that could be released in box set in the future? With for example previously unseen tunes?
ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THINGS WE MAY HAVE MISSED.
Last and traditional question here, if you have to stay on a desert island, what are the five records that you would take with you?
THE RISING …. SPRINGSTEEN
PRONOUNCED LYNYRD SKYNYRD
EXILE ON MAIN STREET
(THE TWO LAST ALBUMS ARE ROLLING STONES ALBUMS, OF COURSE… EDITOR'S NOTE)