Russ Dewbury talks to Nione Meakin about growing up on the mod scene and his enduring love of the very British sci-fi series Doctor Who.

Russ Dewbury is a DJ, music promoter, producer and broadcaster, who ran the Brighton Jazz Rooms club night for 21 years. He is known locally for his live Jazz Bop shows and New Jazz Spectrum radio show on Juice FM. He was the first DJ to be awarded a Distinguished Talent visa by the Australian government and now splits his time between Brighton and Sydney. Russ describes the highlight of his career as performing at the opening night of the 2010 Sydney Festival supporting soul legend Al Green.

He will perform at Brighton Jazz Rooms Return Engagement at Komedia on Friday, October 7. For tickets, call 0845 2938480.

Which film star/musician/artist/ writer/other figure do you admire?

My absolute musical hero is the late, great jazz drummer Art Blakey, who inspired me to create a career based around jazz music. Art had a prolific career starting at the age of 12 when he was press-ganged into playing the drums in a house band when the regular drummer didn’t turn up. As he tells it, the club owner literally forced him at gunpoint to get behind the drums (he was originally a piano player). It turned out to be fortuitous, as he went on to become the world’s best jazz drummer, admired by people across many musical genres. I had the honour of doing my first big Brighton show with him in May 1988, just after his 80th birthday.

Which TV programme couldn’t you live without?

I guess it has to be Doctor Who, which I started watching in the early 1970s with Jon Pertwee in the hot seat. I have always loved anything sci-fi and the good Doctor is my favourite for its uniquely British feel. It’s a programme I have grown up with and I’ve seen a steady procession of new Doctors through the years, so it was great to see the series reinvented a few years ago and looking so slick.

Do you remember the first record you bought – what was it, and where did you buy it?

David Bowie’s The Jean Genie which I bought on a seven-inch, aged six, from Boots in Bedford where I grew up. I still love that record and it takes pride of place in my collection.

Tell us about any guilty pleasures lurking in your CD or film collections…

I am a big football fan and follower of the England team. My best and worst football moment was Italia 1990 when we reached the semi-finals only to go out to Germany on penalties. The tune that summed up that emotional rollercoaster was New Order’s World In Motion, which I still dig out every now and then.

Do you have a favourite film?

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey – simply the greatest sci-fi film ever, with amazing special effects. It was so far ahead of its time, considering it was made before mankind had landed on the moon.

A favourite book?

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton. Having made a career as a DJ for nearly 25 years, it’s a great read for me.

It encapsulates the true art of DJing, which is all about entertainment and taking the audience somewhere special and away from the usual humdrum.

Is there a song or individual piece of music you always come back to?

I grew up on the mod scene of the early 1980s, and both The Who and Brighton have a special place in my heart. So its going to be the soundtrack to Quadrophenia. My favourite track from it – Can You See The Real Me? – is a bit of an anthem for me and still raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

What are you reading at the moment?

From Jazz Funk To Fusion – a book by the legendary musician/ DJ Snowboy, chronicling the UK’s jazz dance scene, which I have been a big part of.

Tell us about a live music/theatre/cinema experience that sticks in your memory...

Seeing the late African funk musician Fela Kuti at the old Top Rank Suite in Brighton in 1990. His stage show comprised 30 people, including his many wives and children. It was the best live show I have ever seen. I’ve yet to see the musical Fela currently in the West End after a massive run on Broadway, but I’ve heard it’s magnificent. Fela is another hero of mine for his musical genius and uncompromising political stance in Nigeria.

Is there a book/record/film/ play/person that made you want to do what you do now?

I am a great admirer of John Lydon and Malcolm McLaren from the Sex Pistols. Hearing their music in 1976 changed my life forever and set me on a musical path. I grew up in a small town with limited scope and their music showed me there was another way.

If you get a spare 30 minutes, how are you most likely to spend it?

I’m lucky enough to split my time between Brighton and Sydney, Australia, so if I’m in the UK, I’ll be found on the seafront or walking on the beautiful South Downs with my gorgeous wife Leonie and two children Evie and Charlie. If I’m in Australia, it’s Sydney Harbour or the wonderful Blue Mountains, which are an hour’s drive from the city.