Point Blank Interview with John O’Daniel & Rusty Burns
Thanks for your time. I would like to talk about history of Point Blank. Lets start at the beginning. Before Point Blank were you or others in any bands? Any releases with that?
Rusty Burns: Starting at the young age of 8 yrs old, I played at many events, including most of the local talent shows in Texas, with the help of my father, Bob Burns, who handled every part of my young musical career. In 1968, when I was only 16 years old, we released my first record. Later, I made sure the copies of that record were destroyed, as I realized how I needed to improve my recording!
How did you guys come together to form Point Blank? Why the name Point Blank?
Rusty Burns: In 1973,John O’Daniel, Buzzy Gruen, and I were playing in a band together at a chain of clubs named THE CELLAR. From the first time we played together, we realized that we had a very powerful chemistry and were surely destined to play a lot of good music as a band. Fortunately, we assembled this band with like-minded players who shared the same vision and desire to create, write, and perform our favorite TEXAS BLUES ROCK style of music. We named the band ODESSA. Later, in September of 1974, we changed our name to POINT BLANK, after together making a list of names that promoted our style and intensity. I still have the piece of paper somewhere with all of the names we considered! I came up with POINT BLANK as the name for our band while on a tour from New Orleans, Louisiana to Houston, Texas. The name POINT BLANK seemed to convey our TEXAS BLUES ROCK musical attitude, as well as giving one a good visual image through the double barrelled shotgun concept, which appeared on our very first album.
What can you tell me about some of the earliest session you had as a band together?
Rusty Burns: Our first recording sessions as POINT BLANK, in 1975, took place in Memphis,Tennessee. We walked in to the studio equipped with nothing more than about 14 songs and a minimal amount of recording studio prowess. We had to rely on our ‘on stage performance’ raw power and high energy to make up for not having much experience in the studio and we quickly found that our high energy was the mechanism that triggered the acceptance from our most loyal fans in the earliest days.
I would like if you can tell us what do you remember from recording and producing your first LP? Who did the cover artwork?
Rusty Burns: We recorded all of the songs we had written up to that point, during those original sessions. After songs were chosen for the first album, we realized we still had almost another album’s worth of songs on tape. These same sessions yielded the vast majority of the songs that would be released the next year on our second album for ARISTA RECORDS, entitled SECOND SEASON. The cover photos for POINT BLANK’s first two albums were both Bill Ham’s concept, shot by Mark Lee and Linda Lesser.
Rusty Burns: The SECOND SEASON sessions saw POINT BLANK walk into the studio exhausted and delirious from having played over 300 performances during 1976, while we were promoting our first album. We needed more quality time to write and rehearse new material, and as I said earlier, many of the songs on our second album were already recorded during the first album sessions. This proved to be quite helpful by having a large portion of the album ready to rock! SECOND SEASON would be the last recording for ARISTA RECORDS by POINT BLANK.
Well your third album Airplay from 1979 is a bit different. You added a keyboard player and the sound changed a bit. Why did you decide this way?
Rusty Burns: By the time we recorded the AIRPLAY album, we were beginning to mature as a band. I en-liken a band’s albums to a photograph, as simply a snap shot of a particular time of that child or in this case, band’s life. Music with POINT BLANK was an ever constantly changing event, even to this day. Many people really connect to a specific record as they would a specific photograph, but the subject of the photo is constantly changing and maturing. POINT BLANK’s records will all show that we were envisioning to lay out a body of musical works with change being an integral part for us as musicians and artists. We were always searching to start a new musical fire and after we had burned a musical landscape, we were compelled to move forward. Adding keyboards, we greatly expanded our musical boundaries!
Rusty Burns: After recording four records for MCA RECORDS, with a TOP 40 HIT and a relentless touring schedule, POINT BLANK disbanded in 1984.
You are known for playing a lot of shows. I would like if you can share some interesting stories that happened on the road, while touring in the 70’s.
Rusty Burns: We toured an average of more than 250 shows a year throughout our years on the road and there are so many memories, many of them foggy, that it becomes a blur. We are currently trying to put together ‘the best and worst of times’ in a book. I’ll refrain from sharing the stories right now and let the book shine a light on the insanity, struggles, and excitement of those days gone by.
In 2007 you came back with new album called Reloaded, which is a live album recorded in 2005 and in 2009 you released new studio album called Fight On! It’s a first one in 27 years. How do you like it?
Rusty Burns: The RELOADED recording was not intended to be an album. We pulled together as many of the band members as we could, to do a benefit for one of our former road crew members who was in
Now you are touring again and recording a new album. Would you like to tell us more about it?
Rusty Burns: At this time we are writing some powerful new songs and recording them as we create them. We will also soon be releasing a DVD recorded at our Paris, France performance at THE BOBINO THEATER.
Rusty Burns: It feels so great to be recording records and touring again! This is what we enjoyed for so long and I am very happy to be doing what I love to do the most!
Rusty Burns: Thank you so much for your personal interest in POINT BLANK and for sharing our story and music with those who already are and others I hope will become POINT BLANK fans! We are extremely excited to be returning to Europe in July 2011! Rock On!