This talk about the new album from Danny Diamonds, the name Rush performs under, wasn't supposed to happen like this. Rush is a fervent Dallas Cowboys fan and we had planned to have a few beers while watching the final preseason game, but the day of, Rush was called into work. So we rescheduled, not to watch any sports but to make the drive from Denton to a cabaret in Fort Worth to watch a comedian perform between dancers. I couldn't say no.
Rush is a man who holds a master's degree and spends his days working with people with severe and persistent mental issues. He's toured internationally with the Paper Chase. His last group, Danny Rush & the Designated Drivers, won a lot of local acclaim. This month, he releases his eighth album, Danny Diamonds. The Danny Diamonds moniker comes from when he played keys and decided he'd be Liberace, adorning himself with garish rings onstage.
Soon we're sitting in Stars Cabaret in Fort Worth, waiting for the comic to perform, shooting the shit, when a dancer named Courtney walks up to our table. She immediately starts trying to angle for a lapdance by buttering up a friend of Rush's. Rush laughs, tears a napkin, and rolls it into a set of makeshift earplugs he wears to protect himself from the onslaught of music.
We ignore the show in front of us, and Rush tells me about the direction for the Diamonds project. After a few years away from Denton spent working and living in Central Texas, Rush moved back in a bad place. Being alone with your thoughts, working with people suffering from mental illness day in and day out can do a number on a man's psyche. Rush tells me it was during that time that he wrote many of the songs that are on the Danny Diamonds record.
There's an air of bleakness to the album: The subject matter is centered around loss, and with the exception of the almost poppy lead single, "Hot Summer," the instrumentation is rather sparse. But sitting at the table feet away from a half-naked woman vigorously twerking on a man, Rush tells me he only wants positivity with the project. His band members who quit the Designated Drivers were almost a blessing; he tells me the group had been toxic, no one wanted to practice, and the atmosphere caused the worst parts of his personality to surface.
Being free from that allowed Rush to concentrate on getting his album out, and if his goal is positivity through work, it's happening. Rush has spent countless hours filming promo vignettes for the album, along with three different takes of a music video he made with former Observer staffer Daniel Rodrigue. There's a collection of poster art he's put together for the release show, and at least two different slogans on shirts he's had printed.