First Rush is a new version of an old classic. With origins still firmly rooted in their progressive rock history, the members of First Rush are made up of original “First Rush” members Rick Johansen – drums and vocals, and Mark Hicks – keyboards and vocals. Rounding out the band; on guitar and vocals is Russ Webb, on bass guitar and vocals Kevin Snow, on lead guitar Michael Putman, and on lead vocals Scott Wert.
“In the past 44 years, we’ve evolved into what we are now,” says founding member, Rick Johansen. “This is what we were meant to be, in my opinion - a progressive rock band with a positive message. The infusion of the younger guys (Kevin, Scott, and Dustin) has given our song writing needed energy and new relevance.”
First Rush continues to carry their skillful stylistic interpretations of their chosen classic rock genre into the new century with new found youth, still not conforming to the standard classic rock band image. “We’re just trying to stay true to our convictions, believing in love and respect.”
Visit them at www.firstrush.com Enjoy their own original progressive rock songs with an accent on rich vocal harmonies, stand-out guitars, melodies and percussion, all performed with the collective legacy of untold decades of stage experience.
Michael Putman / lead guitar & vocals
Michael picked up the guitar at 11, joined his first band at 14 playing lead guitar and vocals and never looked back, playing professionally until 1990 when life and family put music on the back burner. His passion for the art never wavered though and recently, he has returned to full devotion to his music career. "Joining First Rush was God's timing for me to jump back into music with both feet. I's a privilege as well as a joy to be here". Michael loves the classic rock genre of the 60's,70's and 80's. "This was the greatest music ever made" and he intends to continue playing and singing until God closes the door to it.
Russ Webb / guitar & vocals
Born and raised in Ft. Worth, Texas, Russ Webb started his musical career in the 60’s as a drummer in a local garage band playing Ventures tunes. He played drums in the school marching band until he heard the Beatles. It was guitar from then on. After serving in the military, Russ continued to live overseas and play in a variety of bands throughout the Orient. From matching tuxedos in a “lounge lizard” band called “Sundaze”, playing acoustic beach side in the trio “Seadog”, playing rowdy club rock in the band “Cat Tail”, to backing acts such as The Platters and Chuck Berry, Russ got a taste of it all in the oriental grind. Upon coming back to Texas in the 70’s he hooked up with Bobby Crown (now a member of the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame) and played guitar for 18 years in “Bobby Crown and Fargo” and later just the “Bobby Crown Band”. Russ says, “We played every honky-tonk in the Metroplex from The White Elephant to the Torch Club but we were the house band for the clubs Whiskey River, The Dunes Club, Little Bit Country and Wet Willie’s...”. No longer the new guy in “First Rush”, he plays guitar, sings, and holds on for dear life!
Mark Hicks / keyboards & vocals
The son of a Louisianan French Quarter jazz pianist and a Texan rockabilly singing guitarist, Mark Hicks grew up embedded in music. He joined his first rock band as a youth after building a Heathkit Vox Jaguar combo organ kit running through a hot-wired Leslie rig that would send an OSHA inspector bolting for cover; many ensembles later in the mid 70s found him performing in the North Central Texas rock band First Rush, with which he would later sign with Polydor Records. With a day gig as a tech teacher, he has rejoined the reformed First Rush. Mark gigs on Nord and Yamaha gear through a QSC K12 amp, and may on rare occasions be seen tooting sax or flute sounds .
Rick Johansen / drums & vocals
Rick began playing drums when he was 13. As he was growing up, he juggled
his schedule between athletics and music. His first professional band was called
“Saratoga”, a band that he founded in the early 70’s that featured a horn section
and played in clubs around Texas from the early 70’s to the mid 70’s. From
Saratoga he help form the band called “First Rush”, a band devoid of the horn
section which performed many clubs and shows throughout the southwest United
States from the mid 70’s through early 80’s. First Rush would later go through a
name change to “Stark Ravin” to release their first single on the Polydor Records
label. Rick played in several other popular bands in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area
including Lynx and The Inflatable Dates. In 2005, Rick and the original members
of First Rush reunited. Since then, the band has recorded two albums, gone
through some member changes, and Rick is still going strong with First Rush,
with a positive message for all.
Kevin Snow / bass guitar & vocals
As the son of a preacher, Kevin began playing bass at the young age of 12 years old when he was “pressed” into service to play for his Dad’s church youth choir. From there, his love for music and playing bass guitar blossomed. He played trumpet in the high school band and bass in the jazz band and orchestra. He won the “Outstanding Musician” award his senior year for his bass work in his High School jazz band. In the early 80’s, he recorded and toured the country as a member of
Star Song recording artists Scepter playing to audiences nationwide. He went on to play in various bands in California and Texas in almost every genre of musical styles to become a solid, well-rounded player. In the year 2000, he was a founding member of the Christian rock band From the Dust. For 13 years he played concerts and ministered to inmates all over the state of Texas in the Texas Department of Corrections seeing thousands of men and women come to Christ for the first time. Kevin states, “It was such an honor and blessing to be able to witness God’s power of change in lives that so were so desperate for hope.” Kevin joined First Rush in the fall of 2017 and says, “I have a renewed excitement for playing music and about where the Lord wants to take this band in the coming years. I am holding on because I think He is about to give us a wild ride!”
Scott Wert / lead vocals
Scott grew up in a musical family and spent countless hours around his mother’s piano and sitting next to his dad in the church choir. Athletic pursuits, however, dominated his childhood and college years and music took a back seat. Scott fully discovered his love for singing while in law school and was a founding member of the singing group New Creation. After graduating from Texas Tech School of Law, Scott took a job as an Assistant District Attorney in Harris County and returned to attend his home church in Houston. One week, his minister asked if Scott would fill in as the worship leader and Scott obliged. Since that day, Scott has been heavily involved in planning and leading worship. He has been a volunteer worship leader for more than 20 years serving both at Northside Christian Church in Houston and then at Southwest Christian Church in Fort Worth. Most recently, Scott was a founding member and the lead singer for All to Ashes (formerly “Vertical”), a self-styled “rock and roll worship band” that played gigs in local churches, festivals, restaurants, and clubs such as The Door, The Aardvark, and The Prophet Bar. In 2014, All to Ashes opened locally for national tourist artist Plumb. Scott is most proud to call himself a child of Christ Jesus and is excited to spread the love of Christ as a member of the very talented group First Rush!
Dustin Howser / guitar emeritus and "Dance In The Fire" album co-producer
Now back to being a "Nashville Cat", Dustin discovered his love for guitar at age 9 by listening to his father's classic rock records while riding down the roads of small town Bristol, TN. Though Bristol is the birthplace of country music, Dustin began his performing and recording career at age 14 immersed in the music of heavy blues and progressive rock. He spent his teenage years balancing school with music, attending class by day and honing his musical skills in various bar bands by night. He began his love for writing and recording music in high school where he recorded and produced four albums with various groups with styles ranging from acoustic gospel to hard rock. It was this love combined with his passion for math and science that took Dustin to Nashville, TN where he pursued a degree in Mechanical Engineering as a full-time student while writing and performing with signed Nashville recording artists and trying his hand as a session guitarist. Upon graduation, Dustin moved to Fort Worth, TX to begin his professional career in the Aerospace and Defense industry where he joined First Rush. Dustin is still excited to combine his love for writing and performing loud rock music with his passion for spreading Christ's message in this unique and skilled group, and still occasionally contributes tracks to First Rush recordings.