Sam started learning guitar around the age of 9. His first guitar teacher lasted around 6 weeks… and then nothing happened for several years. Around the age of 14 Sam tried drum lessons for a few weeks, then bass lessons for a few weeks and finally moving onto guitar lessons where he developed an obsession for becoming a great lead guitar player. His guitar teacher introduced him to music from Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and Impellitteri…. and Sam was hooked. He started his first band, and released a shockingly bad EP. The end of school saw Sam performing his first concert, with a ropey rendition of Bon Jovi songs at a friends school concert.
Living under the delusion that you need a ‘real job’ Sam went to University of York in the UK to study astrophysics.
University brought new opportunities and Sam joined a band as the lead player, and the band performed at different venues over the north of the UK for 4 years. Releasing another shockingly bad EP and recording half a second EP, the band eventually came to and end.
After graduating with a masters degree in Astrophysics, Sam decided to pursue his love of music and studied at the British Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) for a year, graduating with merit. A personal highlight was performing Joe Satriani’s “Always With Me, Always With You” for his final performance.
After leaving BIMM, Sam moved into teaching guitar, and continued studying under neo-classical virtuosos Tom Hess and Luca Turilli, in the pursuit of constantly improving his technique, compositional skills and musicianship.
Sam also attended several workshops with Guthrie Govan, Bumblefoot, Vernon Reid, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Ola Englund.
In summer 2014, Sam spent a week in America studying with Steve Vai and also interviewed musicians at Hellfest in France, in an ongoing effort to understand the mental approach of professionals at the top of their game – the most interesting interview being with Pår from Sabaton (Pår is a total badass).
Performance wise, Sam played live with a London based heavy metal band for several months (2013/2014). After being fired for being too ambitious, Sam started working on his own projects.
In 2015 Sam travelled all over Europe running workshops for different guitar schools. Sam ran workshops in England, Scotland, Norway and Slovenia.
In 2016 Sam recorded Bach’s 1st cello suite on electric guitar. He then went on to record the 2nd cello suite with the worlds first electric guitar and cello duet of Prelude from the 1st suite.
In 2017 Sam finished recording and released his first heavy metal album, Impetuous Desire. Ultimate Guitar gave it a fantastic review, rating it 8.7/10 and stating:
“Impetuous Desire” is an incredibly strong effort that will absolutely please fans of symphonic and melodic metal groups like Xandria, Sonata Arctica, Delain, and Axel Rudi Pell. Great guitar and vocal performances throughout as well as some very strong drumming make this album less of an egotistical showcase for the guitarist, but a very song-oriented, tightly-composed album with some incredible songwriting values to go with the amazing musicianship all around. As well, the songs are very concise and not at all overproduced, a rarity in this genre of music.
If this first release from Sam Russell showcases his best this early in the game, then I look forward to what the future will bring for his upcoming releases, and I predict that it will be a bright future for Russell.
The album was a high point for Sam, featuring one of his heroes of metal, Doro Pesch. The album also featured incredible drumming from Bullet for my Valentine’s drummer Jason Bowld. Track 8, Fire, Desire featured the vocals of Ryan Mueller, a Canadian based black metal guitarist/singer. Impetuous Desire was an ambitious project and Sam wanted to bring art and music together, commissioning artist Helen Hebenton of Uncanny Designs to do an illustration for each song. The art features in the booklet, creating a beautiful visual accompaniment to the songs. The photography for the record was done by Ohrangutang (a slightly different project for the team) bringing a fresh approach to artist photography – Sam had the firm belief that most artist photos are boring and Ohrangutang delivered an amazing result.
2023 brings a series of instrumental guitar releases, so keep an eye for that!