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extended artistic BIO for

MC Radiance

aka Russil  Tamsen

  • (This is an illustrated

  • journey, with photos!

  • Just click on 

  • the underlined phrases.)

A.

  • MOONSILVER:  my first group, a French punk band out of the suburbs of Paris.  Me rebelling on backup axe after years of learning the Beatles.  Surprisingly, our punk band got to play my International high school's graduation dance.  I had a step-down transformer for my U.S. Peavey amp.  It kept acting up and falling out of the wall socket!  Crackle crackle.   Haaa haaa...   

  • I jumped into a Police cover band.  We were outta these same Paris suburbs.  Be-yo-yo!  I acted as "Andy Summers."   

  • Over the next few years, I was on stage as an ACTOR with small parts in: Dogg's Hamlet by Stoppard, No Exit by Sartre, Three Sisters by Chekhov, and Hammerstein's Desert Song.  I had a starring role in New-Found-Land by Stoppard... with a 40 minute monologue!  I held down another lead role in a student one-act play.  As John Wilkes Booth, I got to assassinate the President-tyrant.   Although, on the other hand, I had already paid dues as a true-blue patriotic Jet, dancing and singing in West Side Story.

  • A DADA BOOM:  While acting as a theater arts major at Brown U in Providence, R.I., I put together my first band: an original 'new wave' band.  We A DADA BOOMers flaunted gaudy 80s wardrobes and feather earrings about town.  A GIRL DRUMMER in thigh highs, to boot.  I was lead voice and guitarist for our awkward, oddball cast of flamboyants. 

  • I began songwriting for the trio.  I was heavily influenced by David Byrne, who cast a long shadow on me as he diversified into world music and THEATRICALITY, along with Brian Eno and The Cure.  A DADA BOOM posed for lots and lots and lots of photos.  We even played a couple of gigs before I graduated to the Big Apple.   

  • But first, I got my B.A. in Theater Arts.  My thesis project?  Being a THEATER DIRECTOR/script editor.  I manifested a shamanistic dance/theater production of Oedipus Rex.  Not the highbrow Greek classic, but the Roman horror movie version by Seneca.  With the help of Jim the choreographer,  I must say I felt more comfortable turning dancers into actors than dealing with certain divas up in the acting department!  [Oops, have I said too much?]  Too bad I had not heard of shamanism at the time.  I would have promoted the show differently: New Wave Shamanistic Nightmare!  

  • The dance-theater experience got me into some surreal video scriptwriting.  But as for performing?  I began to realize that I needed to deliver words and thoughts of my own.  I decided to both write it and perform it.  So:

B.

  • IN NYC, I  honed the craft of songwriting.  It took FOUR YEARS before I felt l I had mastered composition, thanks to my old trusty Tascam 4-track recorder.  I also taught myself to play bass guitar, to program drum machines and do keyboard sequencing. 

  • I acted as an intern for Overland Productions in Manhattan.  They managed David Byrne, Ramones, B-52's and the Waterboys.  Sadly... it was never going to turn into a paying gig. 

  • Another internship I did was as gopher for a casting company, TCI,  that selected actors for regional theaters across the country.  After seeing the process up close, I decided it was all too dang ruthless and nepotistic for me!

  • Cory Glover, the kickass singer from Living Color, underwrote my first 24-track demo.  On Long Island I recorded an 80's David Bowie-ish dance A-side / an opiated reggae B-side:  SIN / NEVER.  My accompanists were a hotshit producer from Manhattan on drums, and the keyboardist off of an old MTV game-show..

  • By 1987 I'd hooked up a job with MTV Networks.  I spent three years there.  (All that time I kept looking for the right eclectic musicians to play with in a band, but that apparently wasn't meant to be. )  Desperately I wanted to graduate from "acting as the computer guy" into a real creative job at MTV.  The bosses dangled carrots, I followed. 

  • I did, however, manifest a U2-influenced, solo music video called Flowergirl.  It was directed by Ivano Leoncavallo, producer for MTV International and MTV Latino.  The music video featured one of my  ballads.  I even got to place the video into the sweaty hands of the Director of MTV Programming.  Hallelujah!  This Directrix eventually got back to me and let me know how life really works: 

"No thanks, son.  You're not on a major label." 

  • Oh.  I was licking my wounds when a fortunate and unexpected invitation came my way.  It allowed me to escape MTV before they stopped playing Music Videos altogether.  Yes, an opportunity arose to join an old buddy's indie band as singer-bassist-songwriter.  I moved to PHILTHADELPHIA.

C.

  • EARTHRISE: a 4-piece out of West Philly.  We focused on being a world rock-fusion band with a middle eastern flavor.  Musician's musicians were we (major label or no.) A bunch of serious multi-culti lads.  We had Frank Zappa gremlins and Peter Gabriel dervishes lurking within and didn't mind a little pop with our preaching.  GUITARIST FROM TURKEY.  Keyboardist from the Philippines.  Eccentric drummer from Teaneck N.J.  The previous bassist quit to pursue a lucrative ska career, so I found myself doing the STING THING ON BASS (!) 

  • EARTHRISE recorded a sweet, masterful 16-track demo.  We were busting it out to club owners... just as the tidal wave of MTV grunge swamped our city.  This 'grudge' music was the only style that the Sicilian owners downtown were willing to book.  Didn't want no goddamn spiritual keyboards in there.  Apparently.  Our one and only local underground rag had a chick critic who only liked punk rock.  She said we were 'pompous, bloated art rock'. 

  • A steady river of frustrating troubles culminated in my departure. Was this the wrong city altogether?  I yearned for a scene that felt radical, open, cosmopolitan.  My girlfriend and I would move to either Amsterdam or San Francisco...  

D.

  • SPANK/ STRETCH.  These were two incarnations of a jammy, funky-ass, world-rock trio.  San Francisco had been my choice.  In SPANK/STRETCH I managed to get some great jamology down on 4-track.  I had pretty much turned into A HIPPY by then.  I was heavily involved in, er, symbology.  And way addicted to mythology! 

  • SPANK made one music video.  It was shot on a PSYCHEDELIC STAGE in a cow field on a 100 degree day, out in the rolling Hayward hills.  It was to be the interlude for a rock'n'roll cooking show pilot called Let's Masticate!  However, not long after the shoot OUR BASSIST magician went on a 3-day meth binge.  He communed with some 'angels' and vanished... He left behind 2 massive shoes that 8 months of auditioners were unable to fill...

  • Disenchanted with musicians in general, I quietly hit the road.  Along with my symbol-channeling girlfriend, I went out to seek a different kind of adventure.  A trip to the Mayan pyramids proved life-changing.  I became a full-on SPIRITUAL SEEKER, a WANDERING MINSTREL!  [I kid you not.]  Spent a couple of years with a Zarb drum under one arm and an acoustic guitar under t'other, speaking in wizardly metaphors (that few understood).  I learned some important healing skills along the ways of the WICCA.

  • I diversified as an artist, too.  I really began writing my ass off...  RECALLING MY THEATER DAYS, I began to experiment with avant voice, sound and meaning.  I rambled far outside the constrictions of pop song format.   In short, I was spacing out like a gypsy even as we settled down in an L.A. pad.

E.

  • DEEP IN THE WEEDS:  The following SUMMER, I misplayed my cards, badly.  I lost my great Venice Beach APARTMENT.  A melodic 4-piece rock group let me crash in their music room.  That's how I began composing with DEEP IN THE WEEDS. We had a versatile, bluesy girl, a coffee house singer who turned into Janis Joplin sometimes.  Our novice punk bassist was included because he was shacking up with her; plus the whole project was his brainchild.  We had an artful metal god on the drums who taught paradiddles for a living.  And we had me, acting progressively jazzier on guitar thru a buzzy borrowed amp.  DEEP IN THE WEEDS double-billed around Santa Monica.  We co-headlined with another friend's band that sounded like Squeeze.  In our little scene, we all had smoky stars glinting in our deep, weedy eyes!  Different levels of musicianship, unfortunately, collapsed our shaky house of cards.

  • I joined a commune.  Yup.  Artistically I spread out into ILLUSTRATION and GRAPHICS.  I designed a colorful divination system/party game, called Runes for Ravers.  My Mayan-influenced BANNERS also date from that era. 

  • I sometimes played guitar synthesizer at the odd artsy-fartsy, high-brow gig around LA.  I remember performing at one gallery opening with a theremin player(!)  That was challenging.  I also sat in as accompanist for some Dance company shows with The Movement Company.  

  • When the overcrowded commune thing proved to be too much, I set up shop at the World Evolution Loft in sunny, resource-laden SAN DIEGO!   This Loft was an art/music/yoga hybrid of a commune.  I started to succumb to computer-world again by going digital.  The tenants of the Loft all got evicted after 6 months when the Chicago mafia repossessed the property. 

  • In a small "intentional living" house in San Diego, I lived with a couple of wing nuts.  I began creating a slew of original mp3s for the web.  These mp3s landed in the zone between radio theater and  spoken word.  "Animations for your ears!"  Many have sound-designed background: you can check out this impressive project by clicking on ALTERED STATE RADIO.

F.

  • I was in a 3-piece rock cover band in San Diego.  Shamelessly catering to the masses!   We gigged some, learned a bunch of difficult tunes.  I was frankly overextended-- juggling complex guitar duties and mimicking too many screamy singers!  (Weezer was fine, but Def Leppard and AC/DC nearly thrashed my larynx!)  Moreover,  I personally wanted more groove, more funkiness and inventiveness out of my rhythm section guys. 

  • So, once again: alone with music editing software.  I scoured the web for dope beats and used them to put together a mostly rap album.  This music is now part of the micro-cabaret called THE LUV THANG.  Political, sexual, ecological, weird -- all the cutting edge stuff I really wanted to say about the drug war and club scene, layered into a world jazz-hop sauce.   At least until the budget ran out...   [It's always SOME-thing!]

  • I expanded from the Mac audience to PC's bigger network.  I ensconced myself on the island of Alameda, in SF Bay where I taught myself MS Frontpage... and created the massive and eclectic website you are now on:

scorpiocraft.com!

 

  • I joined various bands.  I vocalized for a crazy, math-rock vortex called ASHPOOL.  I sat in for a while with a serious world-beat, progressive-rock mastodon named AZIGZA.  I didn't cut it for too long with an earbleed alt-rock cover band called STEREO GRANDE.  And I watched a bassist get regularly soused in a sloppy BEATLES BAND that never managed to get out of the studio... Here's an overview of my 2nd SAN FRANCISCO ERA.

G.

  • Stranded in a logical wasteland where the economy was sucking, and having already spent 13 years in Cali,  I rolled my scene over to boomtown Tampa, Florida.  Here I picked up some street improvisation skills when I landed a gig playing the King's Herald in the Renaissance Festival. 

  • For most of 21 months I  played lead guitar and shared the vocal duties in a 7-piece outfit.  A  Latin dance rock band, out of Tampa Bay, we played mostly Santana covers plus a handful of originals. 

  • I have so far written 19 e-books!  This is including my debut e-novel, The Kundalini Code.  They are all available online for download at feedbooks.com.  

  • My eclectic and unique music cds, MY SHADOW and BOUNCE INTERNATIONAL, were created and produced while in Tampa.  Bounce was a full collaboration with the very talented Latino jazz-hop composer, Solarmagic.  Both platters were mastered at Black Dog Studios.  The cds are for sale at cdbaby.com

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