Earlier this week, I woke up to the sad, shocking news that Russ Martin passed away. Russ was a long time Seattle music biz guy who old-school record industry cats will remember for his stints as the local Capitol Records rep and for playing Santa Claus at some of the old Seattle record biz Christmas parties.
My earliest Russ Martin memory was when we did an in-store appearance at the old Music Menu with long since forgotten rappers The Boogie Boys, who were signed to Capitol. Russ couldn’t believe how we lined em’ up around the block. That’s where, at least I believe, the mutual respect that led to our mostly professional, but also personal friendship first happened.
A few years later, Russ also briefly became my boss during the mid 90s, when I was publicist at Miramar Recordings. Russ was always a great guy, and one of the few genuine people I had the pleasure of knowing, in a business that so often runs contrary to that ideal.
True story: Russ once told me, probably over drinks or something, that “you meet about 50 people in this business who end up being the same people you work with for the rest of your life.” It seems trivial, but I never forgot that. It also remained true for quite awhile — at least until the music business eventually fell apart somewhere around the same time downloading replaced CDs.
After that, those same 50 guys and gals I worked with since my 20s all became scattered to the wind as we went our separate ways.
Hearing about Russ passing earlier this week, reminded me just how many of those people I’ve lost contact with. I’m just sorry that Russ was one of them — because he was, without any doubt, one of the good guys
Anyway, hearing that Russ was gone shocked me (I had no idea he was sick), but saddened me even more. .
Rest In Peace Russ. You were one of the good ones for sure.