Russell Lissack

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Russell Lissack
Russell Lissack
Background information
Birth name Russell Dean Lissack
Born (1981-03-11) 11 March 1981 (age 33)
Origin Chingford, England
Genres Indie rock, post punk revival, electronica, alternative rock
Instruments Guitar, synthesiser
Years active 2002–present
Associated acts Bloc Party
Pin Me Down
Notable instruments
Fender Telecaster

Russell Dean Lissack[1] (born 11 March 1981) is an English musician best known as the lead guitarist of London based indie rock band Bloc Party. Lissack is also in the electronica band Pin Me Down; a duo of himself and Milena Mepris. He has recently joined Northern Irish rock band Ash as a touring guitarist.

Early life & beginnings[edit]

Lissack grew up in Chingford, east London, and went to local private school Bancroft's School in Woodford. He met Kele Okereke there and developed a close friendship. He then studied Sociology at London South Bank University, dropping out weeks before graduation so he could tour with Bloc Party.

He is a committed vegetarian, and once appeared in Vegetarian Magazine dressed as a banana to talk about his Christmas dinner, which he likes 'traditional, with a Quorn fillet to replace the meat'. He also wrote an article for the online magazine Slush Pile about the difficulty of finding vegetarian food while touring.[2]

Lissack cites some of his major influences as Manic Street Preachers, Suede, Blur, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, New Order, The Smiths, Prince, Weezer, the anime series Escaflowne and late 1990 trance music.[3] Guitar influences include Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, Prince and Graham Coxon of Blur who are users of the Fender Telecaster.

Music career[edit]

Bloc Party (2003-present)[edit]

Pin Me Down (2007-2010)[edit]

Lissack also played with Milena Mepris ( Artificial Joy ) in "Pin Me Down" who released a single, "Cryptic" through French label Kitsune in 2008. "Pin Me Down" released their debut album Pin Me Down on 19 April 2010. Pin Me Down's album was produced by Alex Elena who used to be in Pin Me Down's manager Robt Ptaks band The Bastard Kings Of Rock, Pin Me Down's manager Ptak previously took Mepris under his wing in 1999 to join his band Artificial Joy NYC

Ash (2010-present)[edit]

During the first Bloc Party hiatus in 2010, Lissack was asked to join Northern Irish rock band Ash as a touring guitarist and keyboard player. Since his joining Lissack has been an on-off member, depending on his availability. A fan of the band, Lissack's first performance as a musician was in an Ash covers band during his teenage years, which was the first time Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke saw him play guitar. In an interview with Okereke discussing the Bloc Party track "Song For Clay (Disappear Here)" he notes that there's a guitar piece which references "Lose Control" from Ash's record 1977.[4] Lissack would then go on to meet the band when both Bloc Party and Ash performed at SXSW in 2005.[5][6]

On 30 September 2010, Lissack was bitten by a lion cub as he visited a sanctuary in South Africa on Ash's tour with the Parlotones and was taken to hospital for treatment.[7]

Talking to Spinner Ash drummer Rick McMurray said that if Bloc Party weren't to reform then he'd want Lissack to join the band as an official member "If Bloc Party don't get back together, then yes, why not?". Ash bassist Mark Hamilton joked that during rehearsals Lissack ended up having to teach his new bandmates how to play some of their own songs.[8] Lissack played a number of tours & other dates with the band before Bloc Party reforming in 2011, since then Lissack has made a number of appearances. It is currently unknown with Bloc Party again going on hiatus and Ash starting work on new material whether Lissack will feature.[9]

Other projects[edit]

Lissack remixed Kate Nash's single, "Pumpkin Soup". Lissack has also remixed the song 'Bring 'Em Down' by Lostprophets for their 2012 studio album 'Weapons' deluxe edition, where it is featured as Track 15.


Lissack's influences include Suede, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, New Order, The Smiths, Prince, Weezer, Escaflowne.

Musical equipment[edit]


  • Fender Telecaster – Lissack's main guitar; used in almost all live songs. An American blonde model with a black pickguard that features an array of stickers, including Pokémon and Disney characters. The guitar also features a set of Seymour Duncan pickups,[10] as opposed to a stock pair. The strap is covered with countless badges, including the one that the Spanish band TvToys gave him on Bloc Party's last concert in Madrid. Also, Russell received a badge featuring the image of 60's rock 'n' roll icon Jim Morrison, given to Lissack via an encounter from an Australian fan in 2008. He claims this to be his favourite badge.
  • Fender Telecaster – Blueburst, black pickguard, maple fretboard. Seen on Later with Jools Holland. First used for Signs.
  • Fender Telecaster – White, white pickguard, maple fretboard, several Family Guy badges on strap.
  • Fender Telecaster – White, mint green pickguard, rosewood fretboard. Probably a Fender 60's Classic Series Telecaster.
  • Fender Telecaster – Bubble-gum pink, used earlier in the band's career, as seen in Little Thoughts video.
  • Fender Telecaster Custom – Black, maple fretboard, 1 humbucker and 1 single coil bridge pickup, flashing LED lights on pickguard. Used on "Uniform" live, and seen in the videos for "Hunting for Witches" and "Octopus". Features the unusual modification of a children's toy fitted next to the guitar's pickups, which produces a series of futuristic sound effects when activated from a switch on the scratchplate. These sounds are picked up by the guitar's humbuckers and are amplified as normal.
  • Epiphone SG – White, used earlier in the band's career.
  • Fender Jaguar – Blue, tortoise shell pickguard, used earlier in the band's career.
  • It has also been suggested that he has an affinity for multicoloured fake Stratocasters.
  • He also uses producers' Gibsons in the studio, for example the Gibson Les Paul in Uniform
  • Fender Telecaster – Black, White pickguard. Used when playing live with Pin Me Down
  • Fender Stratocaster - White, Black pickguard, DiMarzio pickups in bridge and neck positions. Used during the recording of "Four". Can be seen in the Art booklet that came with the album.

Effects pedals[edit]

Lissack uses a variety of guitar effects live and in the studio, so many that it is difficult to track exactly which are used at any given point. From eyewitness accounts and interviews it has been suggested that he has used all of these following effects:

Lissack also uses an EBow


  • Marshall stack (used in Bloc Party's earlier career)
  • THD Hot Plate Power Attenuator on each amp that's mic'd


  • Korg X-50 Synthesizer


  1. ^ ACE Title Search. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved on 2011-12-30.
  2. ^ Russell Lissack Vegetarian Touring Exploits: Japan. Retrieved on 2011-12-30.
  3. ^ Russell Lissack.
  4. ^ "Bloc Party - The Making of Song For Clay (Disappear Here)". Youtube. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "ASH to be joined by Russell Lissack (Bloc Party/Pin Me Down) for UK Tour". Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Michaels, Sean (17 March 2010). "Bloc Party's Russell Lissack to play back-up for Ash". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Ash And Bloc Party's Russell Lissack Bitten By Lion. Gigwise (2010-09-30). Retrieved on 2011-12-30.
  8. ^ "Bloc Party Guitarist Russell Lissack Welcome to Be New Ash Member". Spinner (website). Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  9. ^ REILLY, DAN. "Bloc Party Going on Indefinite Hiatus". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  10. ^ @max182. Twitter