Top Dead Centre

Top Dead Centre

BandRock

Sounding as if they have been around for years, their music is familiar and catchy right off the first listen.

Biography

Top Dead Centre’s full-length debut, Far From Nowhere, is a straight up classic rock release with stories of gamblers, bikers, lovers and leavers.
Hailing from the Greater Toronto Area, TDC’s album barrels out of the gate with such fierce rockers as “On A Train,” “The Bottle Drop” and “When The Blind See,” but also has its share of emotive ballads, like the ethereal “End of Times” and lilting closer “Say Goodbye.” The singer is often called “leather lungs” for his Skynyrd/Seger delivery.
Produced, engineered and mixed by TDC guitarist Jim McLean at frontman Dave Russ’ private recording studio, Far From Nowhere also showcases Jim and Dave’s songwriting partnership and the intense rhythm section and creative contributions of bassist Rod Albon and drummer Wally Z.
“Every single song that I’ve written has a meaning, but it’s hidden and can be construed many ways,” says Dave, who writes all the lyrics.
The lead track, “On A Train,” doesn’t just kick off the album with a thunderous start, but is a metaphor for life — the many stops, journeys, encounters, and unknown destinations. “It’s about wondering when your time is to get off the train – to start or end your life,” Dave explains.
“Say Goodbye” is about Mother Nature saying enough is enough and kicking out the perpetrators of the destruction, while “From The Sky” is about an individual who’s convinced he’s being abducted by aliens each night when he sleeps. “Slow Down” is a simple lesson to a man whose excitement leads to intimacy issues and rather short love-making sessions, while “Bottle Drops” is the story of a not-so-nice gambler who is shot by thugs wanting his winnings.
About the only song that is inspired somewhat by his own life is “Hell Can Wait,” a biker song written on May 31, 2005, the day Dave treated himself to a 1500 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad on his birthday. “I take it out on weekends to cruise and think and be alone,” he says.
Dave doesn’t have a lot to get away from. He’s happily married with three great kids and a successful renovation business, so he uses songwriting as a form of storytelling, much the same way as a screenwriter. “What you see, what you hear, what you read — I put myself in their shoes which makes me write the way I write,” he says.
Dave had been on a five-year hiatus from performing when he hooked up with Jim in 2005. The new line-up adopted the name Highwater after the well-established cover band Dave fronted for 15 years. They immediately landed gigs, but Dave and Jim were intent on playing originals. They quickly started jamming out songs and Dave — who had never stopped writing and playing during his break (he owns 15 acoustic guitars)— brought in suitable lyrics. “I have a portfolio of original material that’s probably the size of a Webster’s dictionary,” says Dave. “I can write a song in minutes, literally.”
“When The Blind See” and “End of Times” were the first two completed. “On A Train,” “Say Goodbye,” “Ant Farm,” “The Bottle Drops,” “From The Sky” and “Slow Down” came next. In fact, the only two songs not written with Highwater were “Hell Can Wait” and “Legends,” but there was trouble in paradise. The band fell apart and disbanded in 2007.
Immediately, Jim and Dave continued their partnership and changed the band name to Top Dead Centre. They then recruited another Wally and Rod.
Dave calls Jim “one of the greatest guitar players I’ve ever played,” capable of turning his simple acoustic melodies and rhythms into what he hears in his head. “He can do amazing things. I have never seen anyone capture the essence of a feeling or an emotion so well with the guitar as he can. He can make it speak.”
He extols similar praise on TDC’s rhythm section. “Wally, I can’t believe he’s not famous. He’s been playing drums since he’s very young and he plays it like it was an extension of his arms and legs,” says Dave. “Rod is the one who sits back and takes his time before he expresses what he’s going to do. He knows where it should go next, where the fills should be, how to ride out a note or a chord.”
Dave adds that the title of Top Dead Centre’s first album, Far From Nowhere, is appropriate. “It’s basically where we are. You’ve got four guys who are fantastic musicians, but they’ve been sitting nowhere for so long. But as soon as you get them together, the magic comes out.”

Discography

Far From Nowhere-full length album available on itunes