A FEW years ago Russell Field was living off porridge and renting a cramped room in his mate’s flat.
Not quite the idea he sold himself of being a professional musician.
But two decades on the talented 40-year-old from Emmanuel Road is finally living the dream.
After a grabbing his big break, Russ has gone on to work with world famous artists like Midge Ure and Barbara Dickson and played alongside pop sensations such as Will Young and Pixie Lott.
And next month, Russ will join Barbara on stage at the Fairlight Hall for a special charity performance.
Russ’s love affair with playing drums started when he was 14.
He saved up £110, through working as a kitchen porter at the Adelphi Hotel, and took the train to Eastbourne.
He bought a drum kit from Jim’s Drum Shop and with the help of his girlfriend carried it back home on the train - in two trips.
“It was hard work,” recalls Russ. “My dad was too busy working at the time to help me so I got my girlfriend to give me a hand.
“We carried it all to the train and took it back to Hastings. I had to make two trips but it was the start of a beautiful relationship - with the drums that is.”
Russ worked hard at his music lessons at William Parker School where he was encouraged to practice by his teacher Mr Phillips.
After leaving school he took a number of routine jobs.
It was while he was at Trade Paints in the Old Town in 1991 that he decided to swap working behind a counter for working behind a drum kit for a living.
“I had been recruited for a band called The Dharmas,” said Russ. “It was a local band and weren’t too bad.
“We managed to get a record deal with BMG Records and it was really exciting.
“We did five appearances at Glastonbury and did a three month tour of America.
“We changed our name to Steadman but did not get much commercial success and we rapidly fell apart after that.”
Despite not having much success, Russ’s ability had already been spotted.
After playing a festival in London in 1998, he was called by a member of the technical crew asking him to drum for Ultravox legend Midge Ure.
“I was just blown away,” said Russ. “I was trying to live off £60 a week and they offered me £850 to go on tour with Midge Ure.
“I had a week to learn some of his back catalogue and new tracks from his Breathe album.
“I met him while rehearsing at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Bath.
“He was really down to earth and treated me well. We went on tour to Europe and Japan and it was fantastic - I felt like I had finally made it.”
Russ got married in 2002 and settled down but his love affair with music continued.
In 2004 he was given another call out of the blue and asked to play drums on a UK tour with multi-million record seller Dickson.
He gladly accepted and has been an ever-present in the line-up since.
On June 17, Russ will join Dickson on stage at Fairlight Hall with half the proceeds going to the Arts In Healthcare charity in Hastings.
Russ added: “I just love living in Hastings. There are so many great musicians and artists here I would never run out of people to play with. And the chance to play with Barbara on my home patch is my dream come true.” Tickets are available from Hastings Tourist Information Centre or by calling Russ on 07967 685478. Doors open at 6pm.