It took me a little bit to find a way to put things out to words. I found there was no way I would make it through typing it out on my phone. I had to write it out this way. To be woken up to a message that I have lost one of my favorite people in our Phoenix punk scene was not how I expected my Sunday to start. Alas, we have lost Billie Russell, known to most here from the band Contradiktion.
I sought out the earliest photo I had of him, in all of its low pixel glory. It was as I just started getting this ball rolling to catch more music back in February of 2013. As I have said before, I would post pictures of a band I liked to my Facebook timeline so I could remember them. Contradiktion was one of the first. Heck, believe it or not, the picture only had three likes. Billie was one of them. He was always the fucking nicest guy, including on first meeting. He was of my biggest supporters from early on. I loved watching them play so much I once made the trek from Gilbert to watch them play an event center in Surprise.
My friendship with Billie wasn’t without its hiccups, as I was pissed at him when Contradiktion went on hiatus for reasons I won’t discuss here. Took me a little to get over what happened, but kudos to the man for taking the time to get things straightened out. For knowing he needed to take time for himself. He cleaned up, came back stronger. He found Paige then too, which only made him happier. You could see it when you talked to him. Contradiktion 2.0 introduced me to the awesome that is Meatbag and his other band, Alex Squared. Their sound was getting cleaner, faster. They had just become an excellent four piece in recent months. I was looking forward to seeing Billie and Contradiktion finally break out. They were becoming one of the biggest things. They certainly sounded like one.
You may have thought I jest, but I honestly thought he was just as good as Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day. His voice was as unique and talented as that man. Billie’s expressions as he played on that stage just as vibrant and animated. He loved to move around to get everyone involved. He was inviting anyone in the scene to get up there during a Contradiktion set. He wasn’t one to mince words neither. He stated his opinion on things point blank. Billie knew how to bring laughs and humor to make everyone’s face in a room smile. He was one of the most inviting and nicest people I have met in my life. So with tears in my eyes, I tell you, I am going to miss that dude. I’m going to miss the fucking shit out of him. I can’t fucking believe Billie is gone. Rest in Peace my friend.