Rusty Shipp

Russ T. Shipp - Songwriter, Vocals, Guitarist

Meet... Russ T.!

At the helm of this Shipp is The Captain on lead vocals and guitar!

Get to know him a bit...

As early as he can remember he would get lost in artistic projects, going into an almost trance-like state and blocking the world out. However, when his parents forced him to take up guitar lessons at age twelve, he hated it. It wasn't until a few years later when he first heard The Beatles, and discovered writing his own music, that he really began to enjoy the experience, and the trajectory of his life changed with a newfound obsession for songwriting. Surf rock music and Oldies were his musical upbringing, which is still very prominent in the songs he writes to this day, as well as many 90's Christian rock bands. His first favorite bands were The Beach Boys and dc Talk. After hearing the MxPx album "Let It Happen," he knew he needed to start a band that would move in people the same way he had been so moved by the music of these bands. He then took it as a calling and began writing music every day. 

In college, he was in a group called Terremoto Of The Quietones, which evolved into the band Mortal Ghost after Russ T. returned to his hometown of Leesburg, VA. The song "Davy Jones Ain't Got Nothin' On Me" was an original from the Mortal Ghost band days.

Question: What's your favorite Spongebob moment?

Answer: Dang, that’s so hard to choose. Maybe when Squidward gets pied in the face at the end of “Dying For Pie” and the ocean blows up.

Russ T. (or Rusty, as his friends call him), is inspired by philosophy, spirituality, psychology, and interesting, catchy music. The most fulfillment he feels in life is while creating something new, unique, and interesting, whether that be writing peculiar and catchy chords and melodies for the Rusty Shipp album "Mortal Ghost," his acoustic solo project, or writing his mystery novel, "Gaudy Village," and numerous philosophically-driven essays. He likes to push the envelope to make people ponder and expand their imaginations, and being an idealist, he takes the best of what other people have done and builds on it in an attempt to make ideal works of art.

AJ Newton - Drums

Meet... AJ Newton!
He's the "Groove Master" of Rusty Shipp!
Get to know him a bit...
Born with a natural inclination for drumming, AJ started out banging on pots and pans when he was a toddler! Originally from Waldron, IN, he had a neighbor teach him some basic rudiments on a snare drum when he was 7 years old, and by the time he got into 5th grade band he was hooked! He stayed in band all throughout school, his high school band director allowing him to practice on the school kit during lunch every day. He finally got his first drum kit for Christmas from his father and grandfather when he was 15, and he was then able to join his first garage band. This marked the beginning of his involvement with many bands, opening up opportunities for him to play where ever a drummer was needed. He finally moved to Nashville in the Fall of 2016, and we were ecstatic to bring him on board!
AJ's favorite band is Alice in Chains. He grew up listening to Sean Kinney's drumming, and was pulled in by his use of different cymbals and personalized technique that came from his jazz drumming background.
When AJ isn't pouring his heart and soul into this band, he likes to hit the town with his lady to try new restaurants and music venues. Occasionally he also enjoys playing video games to unwind.
Question: How do you manage to keep so positive and chipper out on those rough seas?
Answer: I've had my fair share of rough times over the past few years, as I'm sure everyone else has. I just keep telling myself that as long as my heart is beating, then I have a purpose here. Plus, life is rough enough on us all, and I get a great deal of happiness when I can ease that pain for someone else, or bring a smile to their face. I'm a big believer that if you continue to pour positive thoughts and energy into the world you'll get more of it back into your life, so I just try to keep that energy going.
Other interesting tidbits about AJ...
He has one sibling, Craig Newton, who is also a very talented drummer. "It's always fun for me to watch him play, because in a way it's like watching myself, but with his own style and flair." It must have been loud in that Newton household!
We are thrilled to have you as a key crew member, AJ!

Eli Apperson - Lead Guitar

Meet... Elijah Apperson!
He's the "Master Shredder" of lead guitar in Rusty Shipp!
Get to know him a bit...
Originally from Harper's Ferry, WV, Eli began playing acoustic guitar when he was 11 years old. Starting out learning classic rock songs, he soon gravitated toward learning from legends like Kirk Hammett (Metallica), and his all-time favorite guitarist Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), in addition to being taught by well-established players like Scott Elliott and Ronnie Silvious.
He started his musical journey playing in a band in the Washington DC area where he had the opportunity to play with various bands, including the renowned "The Nighthawks." Moving to Nashville just this past year, he has already jumped right into the music scene. Playing bluegrass, dub-step, and now Nautical Rock'N'Roll with Rusty just goes to show the dedication to his craft, and his artistic diversity on the guitar.
Question: If you had only raw squid or seaweed to choose from to eat for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Answer: Probably the squid, because of the protein.
Final thoughts from Eli...
"There's always something to learn, no matter where you are."
We feel the same, man! Welcome aboard!


Michael Craft - Bass

Meet... Michael Craft!

He's the new "Bass-Jammer Extraordinaire" of Rusty Shipp!

Get to know him a bit...

A native of Nashville, Michael got his start in music by teaching himself piano, by listening to his favorite melodies, and then playing them by ear. In addition to playing bass and piano, he also is skilled on drums, ukelele, and harmonica. But his tasty bass jams our a Rusty Shipp Crew favorite!

He's practically tapped out with his involvement with the band, but still finds time to study music and philosophy at Lipscomb University. And with all of his leftover time, he still makes a way to write and record his own songs! (Go, Michael, GO!)


Question: Of all the Pirates of the Caribbean characters there are, which would you be?

Answer: I'd be Captain Jack Sparrow, because who wouldn't want to be?

Good answer. Welcome aboard, Michael! We're so glad to be sailing with you!