Rusty Day

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Rusty Day
Cactus (1970).png
Cactus in 1970 (Left to right: Tim Bogart, Rusty Day, James McCarty, & Carmine Appice).
Background information
Birth name Russell Edward Davidson
Born (1945-12-29)December 29, 1945
Garden City, MI, USA
Died June 3, 1982(1982-06-03) (aged 36)
173 Parsons Road, Longwood, FL, USA
Genres Rock, Heavy metal, Hard rock, Psychedelic rock, Blues-rock
Occupation(s) Musician, Performer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1966 - 1982
Associated acts Ted Nugent
Amboy Dukes
Rusty Day & The Midnighters
The Detroit Wheels
The Band Detroit
Steve Gaines
Uncle Acid & The Permanent Damage Band

Russell Edward "Rusty Day" Davidson, also known as "Panchuco" by his closest friends, (born in Garden City, MI, USA) was a rock vocalist and frontman, best known for his work with Steve Gaines, Cactus, & Ted Nugent's American Amboy Dukes.

"Every musician has his own story to tell," said Rusty in K.J. Knight's book Knight Moves, "Go up there & tell 'em yours."

Career with The American Amboy Dukes[edit]

Rusty Day joined Ted Nugent's band The American Amboy Dukes in 1969, after their former vocalist, John Drake, was fired. Rusty himself had just quit his own band, Rusty Day & The Midnighters. He stayed only for one album, Migrations (mostly because he and Ted never really got along that well).

Career with Cactus[edit]

Cactus was initially conceived in late 1969 as a supergroup of the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice with guitarist Jeff Beck and singer Rod Stewart. However, Beck had an automobile accident and Stewart joined Ronnie Wood in the Faces. Out of frustration, Bogert and Appice formed what became known as Cactus in early 1970. The cast was complete when Day joined them on vocals and Jim McCarty joined on lead guitar.

Having made a name for himself in Detroit's rock scene as a force to be reckoned with, Rusty worked to restore one of Detroit's most legendary bands, The Band Detroit, to the national stage. The Band Detroit was formed as an offshoot of The Detroit Wheels by members Steve Gaines (who later joined Lynyrd Skynyrd), Teddy "T-Mel" Smith, Nathaniel Peterson, Terry Emery, Bill Hodgeson, and others. The band's initial flame burned out quickly due to many different issues going on at once. Rusty, tried his hand at restoring the glory with his line up. There's a recording of Rusty Day, Steve Gaines, & the rest of the band performing in 1973 called "The Band Detroit - The Driftwood Tapes", which got released as a Lynyrd Skynyrd bootleg in 1998.

In 1976, Rusty re-incarnated Cactus by placing an ad in the Rolling Stone which stated that he needed exceptionally good guitar, bass, & drums. This lineup lasted from 1976 - 1979, and featured Gary "Madman" Moffatt, who currently drums for .38 Special.

Rusty, having turned down AC/DC's request to have him join their band to replace Bon Scott (seeing it as not quite the right fit), and Rossington-Collins's request to have him replace Ronnie VanZant (seeing it as something that didn't seem right to do, although he DID briefly rehearse and tour with the band), eventually formed Uncle Acid & The Permanent Damage Band which scored him a deal with Epic Records.


In 1982, Day was working on an album with Uncle Acid & The Permanent Damage Band, as well as dealing cocaine. Day owed money to Ron Sanders, one of the guitar players in his band, after a minor cocaine deal. Montgomery "Mondo" Thomas, Day's bass guitarist and close friend, explained Sanders as: "...a madman, he was a millionaire and a real bad cocaine fiend." Rusty, at this time, lived in 173 Parsons Road, Longwood, Florida, along with his 11-year-old son Russell Edward Davidson Jr (a.k.a. "Jocko"), and his Rhodesian Ridgeback (a breed of dog), named Sir Pluto The Nightstalker of Stalkmore (or "Pluto" for short). On that fateful day of June 3, 1982, Mondo Thomas had agreed to drive a friend out of town, and was therefore not present when someone broke into the house, forced Rusty & Jocko on their knees, & opened fire with a gun, killing them both, as well as their poor dog Pluto. Garth McRae, a guest (who was also Rusty's neighbor, manager, and part-time drug dealer), hid in a closet and sat down in a crouched position, but he was shot too (through the hand & into the face). A lot of people believe that Ron Sanders was the man responsible for this massacre. But, according to K. J. Knight, it was probably not Ron Sanders, but that he still could have been behind the shooting either way. Steve Gaines's widow, Theresa Gaines, claims that she was coming over to visit Rusty and say hello, but instead discovered the bodies of the murder. Theresa also claims to be the one who called the Lake Seminole Chief of Police. Ron Sanders shot himself six weeks later, after police had surrounded his house due to entirely different charges than the triple murder weeks before.

According to Rusty's closest friends, his body was shipped to Garden City, Michigan, where he was cremated and his ashes were interred in a local cemetery. Which cemetery was it? No one seems to know.

Some believe that Rusty might have actually faked his own death, saying that he finally lost hope in ever really getting the recognition that he deserved, and just needed to find a way to escape without actually taking his own life. However, such claims don't seem likely, especially when you've got saying otherwise. The website describes Rusty's violent demise as such:

8201540157 Russell Davidson Sr., Russell Davidson Jr., Garth McRae 173 Parsons Rd, Longwood

On June 3, 1982, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office responded to 173 Parsons Road in reference to an anonymous telephone call regarding a shooting at the residence. Upon arrival, they located the bodies of Russell "Rusty Day" Davidson Sr., w/m 36 years of age, his son, Russell "Jocko" Davidson Jr., w/m 12 years of age, and Garth McRae, w/m 33 years of age. All three died from gunshot wounds. The investigation revealed the homicide may have been drug related and that the suspect(s) possibly knew the victims. Davidson had been a singer for the 1970's blues-rock band "Cactus". Read more here:


  • Knight, K. J. Knight Moves: The K. J. Knight Story. S.l.: Trafford On Demand Pub, 2011. Print.
  • Miller, Steve. Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History Of Rock & Roll In America's Loudest City. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

External links[edit]