Rusty Day

Rusty Day
Cactus in 1970 (Left to right: Tim Bogert, Rusty Day, Jim McCarty (guitarist), & Carmine Appice).
Cactus in 1970 (Left to right: Tim Bogert, Rusty Day, Jim McCarty (guitarist), & Carmine Appice).
Background information
Birth nameRussell Edward Davidson
Born(1945-12-29)December 29, 1945
Garden City, Michigan
DiedJune 3, 1982(1982-06-03) (aged 36)
Longwood, Florida
GenresRock, Heavy metal, Hard rock, Psychedelic rock, Blues-rock
Occupation(s)Musician, Performer
Years active1966 - 1982

Russell Edward "Rusty Day" Davidson (December 29, 1945 – June 3, 1982) was a lead vocalist,[1] best known for his work with Cactus, The Amboy Dukes, and Steve Gaines.

Career with The Amboy Dukes[]

Day joined The Amboy Dukes in 1969 after their former vocalist was fired. Day had just quit his own band, Rusty Day & The Midnighters. He stayed only for one album, Migration.

Career with Cactus[]

Cactus was conceived in late 1969 as a supergroup of the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section, bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice plus guitarist Jeff Beck and singer Rod Stewart. However, Beck had an automobile accident and Stewart joined Ronnie Wood in Faces. Out of frustration, Bogert and Appice formed what became 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, Day worked to restore The Band Detroit to national prominence. 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. There is a recording of Rusty Day, Steve Gaines, and the rest of the band performing in 1973 called The Band Detroit - The Driftwood Tapes, which was released as a Lynyrd Skynyrd bootleg in 1998.

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

Day turned down AC/DC's request to have him join their band to replace Bon Scott, and Rossington-Collins's request to have him replace Ronnie Van Zant. He eventually formed Uncle Acid & The Permanent Damage Band which scored him a deal with Epic Records.

Rusty Day formed his last band, The Rusty Day Band, in 1979 and hired Jacksonville guitarist Mike Owings. Owings had just left the Jacksonville, Florida band Lizzy Borden with Steve Gaines' brother, Bob Gaines, as drummer. Owings was then 20 years old.


Day was fatally shot at his home on June 3, 1982. His son, his dog, and Garth McRae were also fatally shot during the same attack. The murder officially remains unsolved, although the Seminole County Sheriff's Office believe the victims may have known the perpetrator, and that the killings may have been drug related.[2] In 2011 and 2015, it was asserted that Ron Sanders was the one to perpetrate the shooting.[3][4]

See also[]



  1. ^ Rock, Sleazegrinder2018-04-23T11:56:50Z Classic. "Drugs, death and rock'n'roll - the debauched story of Cactus". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  2. ^ "Unsolved Homicides". Seminole County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  3. ^ Callwood, Brett. "Monster of rock". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  4. ^ Covault, Steve. "Steve's Dead Rock Stars". Archived from the original on 2015-06-29. Retrieved 2021-02-12.

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