In the Spotlight, Adam Russell, bassist for Story of the Year

By, Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe

 

Photo 1.04.40 AM

Adam Russell is a friend of mine, an absolute animal
lover, a vegan and a super fan of Native Foods Café. He was one of the first
vegans I ever knew. We grew up in the Midwest and there are not too many vegans
in our part of town especially 10 years ago. I remember a time long ago when, his now fiancé,
brought him vegan chocolate chip cookies before a show, it was my first taste
of vegan.

He was stoked when I asked him to be our, In The Spotlight
, guest this month. He was even more stoked when I found out Story of the Year
was playing right outside Chicago and told him Native Foods would be coming with
me to the tour bus and then ecstatic when I brought him some gift cards to dine
in the other Native Foods while on tour, he hit the Encinitas and Westwood
locations days later. 

Photo-1 1.04.40 AM

Photo-6
Adam enjoying a feast in Westwood.

Photo-5

On to a Carrot Cake cupcake in Encinitas. 

 

The other members of the band are not vegan and that
didn’t matter in the least bit as they annihilated Scorpion and Chicken Run
Ranch burgers before hitting the stage.
 

 

Photo-2

Adam was then able to give me his true Hollywood
(vegan) Story.

Where
are you from?
 

I
was born and raised in St. Louis, MO.

 

How
did Story of the Year develop?

 

We
all grew up in St. Louis and played together in different bands before we
coalesced into the lineup that would become Story of the Year. In 2002 we
opened the local rock radio festival here in St. Louis, and attracted the
attention of producer and Goldfinger frontman, John Feldmann. He saw potential
in the band, brought us on tour, and eventually took us to Maverick Records. At
10:00 A.M. on a weekday in the fall of that year, we performed for a handful of
record label executives at the famous Viper Room on the Sunset Strip, what
proved to be the most awkward show we had ever played. But everyone in
attendance loved the band, and Maverick made us an offer that day. The rest is
history.

 

What
inspired you to become vegan?

 

I originally
went vegetarian after years of working in food service. Meat just became
disgusting to me. But wasn't until I met John Feldmann (Singer of Goldfinger,
producer, animal rights activist), and an animal rights activist named Sean
Diener (then of PETA) that I learned of the horrific treatment in factory farms
and went fully vegan. 

 

What
is the biggest misconception you run into when people hear the word vegan?

 

Most
people I meet are only vaguely, or often entirely unfamiliar with the word.
Those who have heard it confuse it with everything from pescatarian to
gluten free. Then once I explain it, the response is invariably "what do
you EAT? Just lettuce & stuff?" I go on to explain that I eat the
vegan version of nearly everything that a "normal person" eats. 

 

Do
you find coming from California to living in the Midwest it being a big
challenge being vegan?

 

Well,
I grew up in the Midwest, and at the time I went vegan (Early 2002ish), options
were pretty limited. So when I moved to California a few years later, my whole
dietary world changed. I spent a few years there, and then moved home to St.
Louis at the end of 2011. I was happy to find that things had changed
immensely, and for the better. There still aren't many vegan restaurants (no
Native Foods!), but now grocery shopping is just as easy here as it was in
California. 

 

Is
there a favorite dish you make at home?

 

My
fiancée and I love to make vegan pizza. We make it at least once a
week. More than anything, it's one of those foods that just feels
"normal." Don't get me wrong, I love a ginger curry tofu & quinoa
vegetable bowl just as much as the next tree hugger, but it's nice to also be
able to eat things like pizza and chili dogs.  Our thing lately, though,
has been vegan bacon/cheddar potato skins. And vegan ranch on everything. We've
borrowed (and, dare I say…enhanced) the Native Foods recipe. It's unreal.

 

What
is your favorite thing at Native Foods
?

 

The
Chicken Run Ranch Burger for sure. And the carrot cake for dessert. 

 

When
was your first Native Foods experience?

In
late 2002 John Feldmann took my band and me to the Westwood location in LA. It
was actually the first vegan restaurant I went to in LA. My mind was blown.

 

What
do you do in your free time?
 

 

In
St. Louis we have a place called Grant's Farm, which is sort of a wild animal
park/historic site. My fiancée and I try to visit as often as possible. We
spend a lot of time at the pool (weather permitting) and just hanging
out with our kids–a 7-year-old yorkie and a 1-year-old-yorkie/maltese/chihuahua. We
love anything that has to do with animals. On my own, I listen to a lot of
podcasts and audio books (mostly science related stuff), play XBox, and try to
talk myself into exercising.

Photo-4

Photo-3
 The "kids", Pierre, 7 and Gomez, 1. 

Any
advice for vegan newbies?
Be open to any and every kind of (vegan) food, and learn to
cook. It's fun, it's not hard, and it will honestly change your life.

 

And
lastly, if aliens landed in your backyard what would you serve them?

A
species with technology advanced enough for interstellar travel will most
likely have upgraded their organic bodies to something technological. So
however they simulate the experience of eating food, I'm sure they'll be
enjoying it. But if they insist, I would have to recommend the Chicken Run
Ranch Burger.

 

You
can follow Adam on twitter @adamtheskull or visit www.storyoftheyear.net for more tour dates.

 

 

 

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