As with a great number of musicians, Russ continued on self-teaching himself with his ears. Studying Ringo, and Dino Danelli (Rascals), Russ played with local bands. When he was 16 he formed a Jimi Hendrix type 3-piece band with a phenomenal 15 year-old guitarist Eddie Caldron, and bassist Kevin Katzel. Playing 3-piece gave him great freedom to be creative. When Eddie got in trouble with the law, Russ continued on forming one of the area's first two lead guitar bands, called Silk.
It was through this band Russ met guitarist/singer/songwriter Rick Blakemore. Russ's belief was that the combination of drums and guitar was the basis of Rock 'n Roll's spirit. Rick and Russ shared a facination with guitarist Jeff Beck's guitar work, and would go to every show they could when Jeff was in the area. After Rick briefly filled in with Silk, Russ went on to join a band Rick was in, called Legs.
There they formed that natural musical bond, and the style they called "tail-gunning," where during solo's or moments when accents were prominent, they combined their playing to create a "sound." This sound was fully realized after Legs broke up and bassist Bobby Danylchuk entered the picture. Though short lived, this 3 piece combination was instinctively musical and memorable.
The next few years saw Bobby & Ricky playing with Fandango (RCA Records), whose guitarist/lead singer would later come to fame as Joe Lynn Turner/ lead singer with Richie Blackmore (Rainbow/Deep Purple.) During this, Russ met Andrew Pearson (singer/songwriter/guitarist) an Englishmen who was living in NYC, through bassist Larry Impeliterie (aka Larry Russell), ex of Billy Joel.
The Andrew Pearson band went through its personal changes, during which it recorded two cuts on the 1977 "Max's Kansas City Album" Recorded at the Record Plant NYC, (Previous artists on earlier MKC Album, were Springstein, Hall & Oates,etc.)
The Andrew Pearson Band played up and down the East Coast from Atlanta to Buffalo, playing with the likes of James Cotton, and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes.
The Pearson Band broke up after recording a demo (at Bearsville Studio) for Bearsville Records. During the recording sessions, there were many artists rehearsing next door, such as the Rolling Stones, Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople), Felix Pappalardi, Corky Lang, Mick Ronson (David Bowie), David Sancious, and Producer Eddie Offord (Yes).
After an exhausting 2 year run, the revised Pearson Band retired in 1978.
After a necessary rest, Russ was introduced to guitarist Rhett Tyler in late 1978 and together they made 4 track instrumental recordings of tunes that originally were vocal based. These recordings still hold up today.
Rhett Tyler is now a blues guitarist/singer/songwriter in Rhett Tyler/Early Warning.
By 1980, Russ reformed Blades with Ricky and Bobby. Due to outside commitments, the band went through changes over the next two years, coming back together again in 1982, as the original Blades band. Rick, Bobby and Russ were again refining their sound, and more original material was being recorded.
Tragedy struck on a Sunday afternoon in July, the day after a job in upstate, NY. Rick & Elaina (his girlfriend) and her sister were hit head-on, on Rt. 17-6 in Goshen, NY, on their way to a county fair. An elderly man on medication fell asleep and crossed the grass divider and hit Rick's car. Rick had been pointing to an area where Russ, Bobby and Rick had seen air balloons the evening before. Elaina was killed immediately, Rick was flown by Medi Vac Helicopter to a trauma center in Vahalla where he remained in a coma until he passed on in Aug. 1983. The sound of such a natural and brilliant musical combination was lost forever. The very talented singer/guitarist/songwriter Rick Blakemore's funeral service was standing room only with the many people whose lives he had touched. His life, like so many before & after, we are blessed with the gift of their being, and broken-hearted by the loss.
Russ retreated from having his own band and now turned to freelancing. From '84-'85, he toured entertaining the troops for the Department Of Defense through Europe, Central America, Iceland, and the Atlantic/Carribean Islands. He felt the experience of traveling and playing to vastly different audiences was very enlightening.
The late 80's and early 90's, Russ worked in the Irish Circuit, working with the likes of singer/songwriters Mike Carroll, Carl Corcoran, Andy Cooney, and talented musicians Nial Donnoly, Buddy Connoly, John Nolan, etc. The influence of traditional Irish music added another spectrum to Russ's style. Through this period of time, Russ would work off and on with Vince Martell, guitarist/Vanilla Fudge, who he had know since the early 70's.
Through '92-'94 Russ re-joined with Andrew Pearson, and Calahan Sarsfield. In this situation Russ had to program his drum parts on the new original material being written by the three of them.
In 1995 Russ Produced the recordings that would end up on ABC's Soap Opera 'General Hospital.' The cast of characters he organized to record at Clearcut Recording, Saddle Brook, NJ, were Joe Lynn Turner (vocals), Rhett Tyler (guitar/vocals), Calahan Sarsfield (keyboards), Mike Bruccoleri (bass/vocals), Vince Martell (guitar), and himself, Russ T. Blades (drums).
In 1997 Russ returned to Clearcut Recording to record material with an Irish slant, using button accordian, and violin, for different coloring. Engineer Max Caselnova, was a big fan of these sessions, but nothing came of these recordings. Players and singers on these recordings were: Niall Donnelly (keyboards), Carl Corcoran (vocals), Buddy Connely (button accordain), John Reynolds (violin), Eileen Fogarty (vocals), Vince Martell (guitar), and himself, Russ T. Blades (drums), and Production.
The new millennium saw Russ, playing with Vince Martell, Peg Pearl, and Pete Bremy in The Vince Martell Band.