Cold Fusion, Hot Blues - Scott Henderson

Cold Fusion, Hot Blues - Scott Henderson Brought to you by: guitar.com

Standing Gif 19586European audiences sometimes seem to be more in tune with musical happening in our own backyard than we are. Take Scott Henderson for instance. He's a great player who dabbles in fusion, blues, and rock with equal skill and attitude. He's played with major jazz cats like Chick Corea, Jean-Luc Ponty and Joe Zawinul, and has been a band leader on his own for many years, with several excellent releases.

Yet in the U.S. his club dates typically draw a couple hundred fans, while his European shows draw double that or more everywhere and anywhere he plays. Could be due in part to the fact that you can actually hear Scott's killer improv-based music on the radio in Europe, while U.S. radio is increasingly corporate-run and nearly mono-textural at this point. Anyway, Henderson who is known largely for his jazz persona is one of the premier guitarists playing today. Check him out asap, either on his own tour or with Tribal Tech, the band he founded and which serves as his musical alter ego.

In this great interview, Guitar.com spoke with Scott about his most recent disc, Well to the Bone, as well as his 20+ year residency at G.I.T., how he got to where he's at today career-wise, and much, much more.

Scott Henderson: Hello

Guitar.com: Scott, it's Adam with Guitar.com How are you?

Scott: I'm good. I'm getting ready to go to Japan.

Guitar.com: Well let's get right down to the business of letting Guitar.com visitors know more about you: You were in one of the very first classes Guitar Institute of Technology. How did the experience of going to a serious music school help get you to where you are today?

Scott: I went there in '80. I wanted to study with Joe Diorio cause I knew that he was thereand he's a really good teacher and a great player with a huge jazz vocabulary and I wanted to learn from him. And bassist Jeff Berlin was there at the same time so it was a good year for me to be there. I met people that helped my career too.

Guitar.com: And how important is that to an artist's career?

Scott: Well, I mean it's important when you're young and if you're a good player, but nobody knows about you, then you really got to change your emphasis to unfortunately to a little bit of business networking, you know, because people don't just come to you. You have to kind of sell yourself and I knew that Jeff Berlin who's the bass teacher there had a band with Vinnie Colaiuta, and I wanted to be in that band and it was kind of a rotating guitar player band. So I approached Jeff and getting that gig got me my first album which was his album, Champion. And a lot of people heard that record that offered me gigs later, like Joe Zawinul and Chick Corea and you know, Jean-Luc Ponty and whatever. In fact, that album got me my record deal because the people at Passport Records liked my playing and said, "If you ever get your own original material together, come and we'll do it." And two years later I was back with my first record.

Guitar.com: Cool.

Scott: So, you know, it was pretty important to meet Jeff. You know, definitely he helped my career a lot. I thank him for that cause you know, he was using a lot of big name guitar players in his band back then. He had played with Holdsworth and so it was pretty prestigious to get asked to play with that caliber of people when I was that young and had just come as a totally unknown guy from West Palm Beach, Florida.

Guitar.com: Did you ever or have you ever gone out on any more main stream rock or main stream musical tours?

Scott: No I never have. I've never been asked. It's not that I wouldn't, I mean I always thought it would be really fun to play with Donald Fagen and Steely Dan and those guys, but I've just never been asked and I just kind of stuck to what I do. I feel like I was pretty lucky to get the gigs that I got. You know, considering that I was making pretty decent bucks and not having to compromise what I play to a great degree.

Guitar.com: Right. But on the other hand, you seem open-minded.

Scott: Yeah. If the gig is fun, its fun. It can be a blues gig or jazz gig or a pop gig or rock gig and if I'm going to have a good time and play with good musicians, then yeah, I'm pretty open-minded about that. But some people pigeonhole you as a certain type of artist and they just don't ask.

Guitar.com: Right.

Scott: I mean I've been a band leader for so long now, I never get asked to play sideman gigs anymore.

Guitar.com: Yeah. Well you keep pretty busy, huh?

Scott: Yeah, I mean I do OK, so I'm not complaining.

Guitar.com: Do you teach privately as well?

Scott: No.

Guitar.com: OK. And the books that you've done, you've got some stuff through Hal Leonard those are specific transcriptions of your albums, right?

Scott: Yeah, some of them are. I did one book about some chord voicing and a book with- its more of a teaching book, but the rest of the books there's just two others and those are compositions, you know, just tunes from the albums.

Guitar.com: I see, they're through Musicians Institute. Any plans for any other instructional stuff like this?

Scott: No, not really. Lately it's just so hard with the touring and stuff to come up with new music. Man, it's really hard. It gets harder and harder as I get older. For me it's very hard to not feel like you're writing the same song 100 times, so I throw a lot of stuff away that I like and there was a lot of stuff thrown away pre-Well to the Bone before I finally came up with the music for that record. That's why it took me so long between Torn Down House and Well to the Bone to do a record because I have to feel that the stuff that I'm coming up with is fresh enough that I haven't done a song thats too much like it in the past. And that's hard to do, you know, so that's what holds me up these days. So I spend most of my free time just sitting there like an idiot trying to come up with shit.

Guitar.com: Do you have some sort of home studio set up?

Scott: Yeah.

Guitar.com: What do you have?

Scott: Just Digital Performer NG4, and then I have all my amps set up in the room. I record the cabinets in another room and I use the Pod when I write so I don't waste all the tubes in my amp.

Guitar.com: Sure, yeah. What about drum machines or whatever?

Scott: I just use a little simple drum machine, just the QI20. I'm never really thinking seriously about machines for the records, for the most part my stuffs going to be played by a real drummer.

Guitar.com: Right, so you're just demoing.

Scott: Yeah, it's just a demo so the guys can hear what the music sounds like cause I write charts for them too.

Guitar.com: Oh, OK.

Scott: And they can hear the tape and then they have the chart and they can kind of hear what I'm getting at. Usually Kurt ends up changing the beat to fit him more and he usually makes big improvements over what I wrote.

Guitar.com: And what kind of drum machine do you use?

Scott: A Yamaha QI20. Yeah, just a little simple thing, but it's got some decent drum sounds in it, at least for me. It's just so that the guys can hear what I'm thinking.

Guitar.com: Do you lay down bass tracks too?

Scott: Yeah.

Guitar.com: With a bass or just on the guitar?

Scott: I have a little Oxygen 8 that I enter the keyboard, the drums and the bass with.

Guitar.com: Do you play keys fairly well?

Scott: No, no. Not really good at all. Just enough to get the notes in and you know, sometimes the bass parts have to be played exactly as written while the heads are going on, but once we start jamming, you know, Humphrey kind of goes on his own.

Guitar.com: Sure.

Scott: My demos are kind of like blueprints.

Guitar.com: That's cool. So what does inspire your songwriting these days?

Scott: I guess the music that I listen to. You know, they say you are what you listen to and I listen to lots of different stuff so I'm influenced a lot by blues and jazz and rock and kind of whatever I'm hearing. And I guess that's why usually, when I actually do sit down and write, it ends up being a mixture of everything. I remember when I did the Dog Party record, it was a real variation from anything I'd done in the past. It was like a total, simple blues record at least to me it was. And I was really pleasantly surprised when it won Best Blues album in Guitar Player because I didn't even think anybody would take me seriously as a blues musician, because you get pigeonholed doing one thing and everyone says, "Oh Scott Henderson is a jazz guitar player, right?"

But I mean, I've been playing blues since I was a kid and I kind of regret that I sort of let my roots go for awhile in the early years of Tribal Tech, cause I was really working on my writing and trying to become a better player over changes and so those albums those first few Tribal Tech albums are very non-bluesy, which is a big part of me and it's not on those records. I kind of regret that in a way because I don't think you ever really leave your roots behind, you know?

And so I did this Dog Party record and when it won that award, I thought, "Wow!" But even though I thought it was a real straight album, people were saying it's blues, but there's changes and I was going, "God, I thought it was really simple." And I said, "Well there's no way I can get any simpler than that cause I'm just too influenced by harmony to just do a I-IV-V blues record. It wouldn't be me, you know." So the later blues records that came after that, Torn Down House and Well to the Bone, I feel are more really what I do. They're blues records, but not really. Like they're just bluesy. (laughs) I don't know what they are.

Guitar.com: Yeah.

Scott: They're real hard to categorize and I kind of like that. I like playing music that's hard to categorize. I don't know, it makes the business people really mad, but to me it's flattery. Like if they can't categorize you, that's flattering. That means you're doing your shit. Right? And that's cool to me and I like that. You know, so it's got all kinds of influences, rock and blues and funk and you know, whatever.

Guitar.com: Uh huh. There's the one track on thereyou know, man, I put the CD in, I do this a lot during the day when I'm working, I'll put in a CD and its just loop for 8 hours and so I lose track of which song is which? But is Hillbilly in the Band the country one with the dog barking?

Scott: Yeah.

Guitar.com: That really tears it up, and that's really a totally different thing.

Scott: Yeah. Well the reason that tune came about is that I wanted to do something fast and when I think about fast beats, I think about either fast shuffles or fast funk or fast second line that kind of thing what's that Stevie Ray Vaughn tune? Oh God I can't remember the name of it, dammit! Scuttlebutt?

Guitar.com: Scuttlebuttin, Yeah, that's a cool tune.

Scott: And that beat or that kind of feel was the kind of inspiration for Hole Diggin off my Dog Party record. You know, that kind of second line-real fast second line feel.

Guitar.com: Right.

Scott: And the problem is that I'd already done it, you know. Well actually Stevie had already done it and probably tons of guys before him too. You know, but since I had already done it, I didn't want to go in that direction and so I just started messing around with snare drum beats and I came up with one that I liked and to my mind, it just sounded like country. So I thought, well, here's something I never did. (laugh) so what the fuck, you know.

Guitar.com: But it rips man.

Scott: Yeah, it's cool, you know. And I thought it would be fun to do.I really appreciate country guitar. I'm not like a big country music fan, but a lot of those tunes have a lot of ripping guitar players and some of those guys that play those sessions in Nashville are great, great players. So it's kind of an homage to those guys.

Guitar.com: Have you ever seen the Brent Mason video?

Scott: Oh, fuck, yeah. And also the Jerry Donohue video.

Guitar.com: I don't have that one, but I've seen him play.

Scott: Ridiculous, man. It's like the Dobro guy from hell. It's just amazing. All those guys.and I really like Buddy Emmens, and Junior Brown is one of my favorite guitar players. And so there's likeyou know, there's just tons of information and vocabulary in those guys hands. So as a jazz musician and as an improviser, I really appreciate that kind of music.

Guitar.com: Can I run through this album real quick and just have you give me some thoughts or some tips for guitar players trying to cover this stuff?

Scott: Yeah, sure.

Guitar.com: Just tell me what's going on in the tune, if there's anything that just comes to mind: if it's in a certain mode or a certain tuning or whatever it is you did with it. So lets go: Lady P.

Scott: Well that's about the pee dog. The dog that pees in my house just about every day. He's got a little bit of a bladder problem.

Guitar.com: (laughs) Uh huh. OK. But I meant for you to tell me about the guitar parts.

Scott: Oh, OK. Well, that's kind of a bi-modal tune thats sort of part Lydian, part major, part blues. You know, cause the bass over the solo is just Es and C-sharps so you can make it major or minor and I'm really kind of into that plurality kind of playing.

Guitar.com: E major or C sharp minor.

Scott: No, actually E..well, yeah but E major or E minor too, you know, because there's like E minor blues in it and then there's also like kind of major E, Lydian sounding licks in it too. So when I played the solo first and then I went back and kind of harmonized the comping over it to wherever I was, you know, harmonically playing the tune.

Guitar.com: I see.

Scott: So I think it's just a fun tune for me to play every night because I kind of took that and ran with it for the live gigs and I'm constantly going in and out of major/minor. I play that solo every night. It's actually one of the more fun solos to play cause it's so unlocked in. You could play just about anything in E and its really fun.

Guitar.com: Now when you go into the minor on that, you're not doing natural minor

Scott: No, it's more blues..

Guitar.com: with a C sharp.

Scott: It's just- it's more just like Dorian or pentatonic blues really. That's how I'm looking at it and that's one of the things that always influenced me a lot from Weather Report, from working with Joe (Zawinul), is that major 3rd-minor 3rd type of music. It's very blues oriented, but the way Weather Report did it and the way I'm kind of doing it on Lady P is more of a modern approach to it..more of a jazz approach. Where first you have a major 3rd. I think there's one lick where I'm playing..that one harmonic lick at the very beginning of it where I'm playing this real majory stuff and then I go into a real major lick and then I play a harmonic on a minor 3rd over it?

Guitar.com: Uh huh.

Scott: That's the kind of shit that I..I get chills from that kind of shit. You know, notes that really have no business being there, but they're there anyway. I love that shit. (laughs)

Guitar.com: Yeah? That's cool. And we talked about Hillbilly How about Devil Boy?

Scott: That's pretty much the old standard, you know, I-vi-ii-V blues. You know blues that goes to a vi chord and then a ii chord and then a V chord rather than just I-IV-V. So it's fun to play for me because I can play blues, but I can still throw in some jazz harmony style licks without leaving the blues feel. You know, so that's a real fun one to play for me.

Guitar.com: What key is it?

Scott: It's in E, yeah, so you can play the usual E blues stuff, but you can also throw in altered dominant licks and stuff like that for those chords. It's just sort of a modern sounding kind of blues.

Guitar.com: Uh huh. Can you explain quickly altered dominant?

Scott: Well, like meaning when you have a chord thats going to I like say when you have the vi chord going to the ii chord or the V chord going to the I chord? Usually when you have a V chord, it's altered, meaning that it can have like a sharp 5 or a sharp 9 or flat 9 and usually you would play like an altered scale over those chords, like either playing melodic minor up a half step which is the jazz altered scale or like playing a half-step diminished over those..or not. Or just playing some notes from the chord itself which is actually the way I think these days a little bit more than scales. I'm usually thinking more intervals than scales. Like you know, just playing a chord tone from that chord which takes it out of the realm of regular I-IV-V blues and makes it just a little bit more colorful to listen to.

Guitar.com: So if this is an altered V chord in E some kind of B chord, maybe B7#9 or something like that you're going to play a C melodic minor scale over it? [Editors note: C-D-Eb-F-G-A-B-C.]

Scott: I'm playing a C melodic minor over it, right. Or a B altered diminished scale which is like B diminished starting with a half step.

Guitar.com: The half-step/whole-step type of diminished scale? [Editors note: B-C-D-Eb-F-Gb-Ab-A-B. ]

Scott: Yeah, right. Or I'm not. You know, like I think on the record I kept it actually pretty straight and I probably do a whole lot more running off at the mouth live than I did on the record because what I liked about the record solo is that it doesn't really go overboard into jazz. It still kind of stays in blues, but those other chords.you know that vi chord and ii chord that are there just make it a little more colorful to play to. There are plenty of blues musicians that have used that progression in the past and didn't even play over the changes. You know they might have used that bass line or those changes, but they just played pentatonic E over it and that sounds great too. So its just a little more of a colorful blues progression than the standard I-IV-V.

Guitar.com: And what about Lola Fay?

Scott: That tune.you know I don't even know how that generated. It just started probably from me messing around with I don't know if you notice this, but on this record there's a lot of open string voicings and there's a lot of open string licks. I don't know why. I've just been getting into that more, like I've been messing around with that in my class at school and trying to discover as many ways I can play chords using open strings, cause I just love the sound of it. And it really generates a lot of space at the gig. I just feel like chords with open strings take up much more space and they're bigger sounding, you know. Especially when you're playing in a trio, you like that kind of thing. So Lola Fay has tons of open string voicings and thats probably how I wrote that song: just coming up with these little things. These little ways to play open string chords.

Guitar.com: It starts out sounding very Steely Dan-ish.

Scott: Yeah, it kinda has those kind of changes, cause it is like a changes tune and one of the cool things that I love about harmony is that I like to generate the mid-range chords first and then mess around with changing the bass notes under the chords, because you might come up with a voicing that sounds cool and then change the bass note and you might like it even more as a different chord. I've gotten fairly good at that, being able to do it pretty quickly, like knowing what bass notes are available to choose from under a particular chord. I think when I was writing this tune, it was pretty much in one key and I wrote the bass after the chords, and moving the bass around is what created a lot of the changes, rather than the chords moving themselves, you know. So it was just a fun tune to write. To me that sounds a little Led Zeppelin-y especially that one.it sort of reminds me of Kasmir.

Guitar.com: Yeah, I can hear that.

Scott: It's got that little flat-5 chord in it some times, and I'm a big Led Zeppelin fan, so that's probably from listening to millions of Led Zeppelin records.

Guitar.com: You know, I interviewed Robin Trower once a year or two ago and I was surprised at how many open string chords he uses. I mean you know, I knew there were a few here and there, but in like almost every song he showed me, it was full of open string chords.

Scott: Yeah, it's cool, you know when I saw Scofield play last time- actually it was quite a while ago a couple of years ago, but he was using quite a few open string chords too. It really is fun. On a Stratocaster they just sound great especially loud when you just flail the chord and it's got open strings on it. It really just fills the room up with sound.very cool.

Guitar.com: What about the song Well to the Bone?

Scott: That tune I guess is just the standard kind of Texas shuffle. I just tried to make it a little bit different by putting those C's in there you know, those flat-vi chords in there so it sounds a little bit darker. You know, but basically the solo section is basic blues and even though Ive done it before, I cant that progression is just part of me. I can't get away from that chunka chunka chunka thing. It'sjust too much fun.

Guitar.com: That's cool. Its in E as well.

Scott: Yeah.

Guitar.com: Is everything in E?

Scott: Just about (laugh). Scott's key.

Guitar.com: And what about Ashes.

Scott: Ashes came about because we needed a ballad. We were playing Rituals a lot on the gig and we. I'm sorry, we'd been playing Sliding into Charleesa, which was an old Tribal Tech tune for like two years on the gig, and we needed something to replace it. So I wrote Ashes as a replacement for that tune andwe needed something with the same general kind of feel and texture, just some new changes to play over and stuff. So that one just came about like most of the things do when I write. I just sort of sing the melody and mess around with the chords and come up with the tune. But the solo changes are really fun because I love these progressions where you can still play blues or make the changes if you want to. That's my favorite kind of stuff to solo overbeing a blues musician. Where you find these places in the changes where you can play pentatonic stuff and really wail but if you want to, you can go for the scales or the arpeggios of the chord tones of the actual chords, so that's one of those tunes where you can do that. So it can start off sounding like more of a jazz ballad and as it builds it can get pentatonic and bluesy and sound more like a rock and roll tune.

Guitar.com: Sure.

Scott: You know, so thats really fun.

Guitar.com: From an arrangement standpoint. From a whats the word.volume intensity.

Scott: Yeah, sure. When you get more intense, you start playing more blues rather than more rock stuff. It just kinda really builds nice, this tune. I was just kinda lucky with this tune. I don't know cause I didn't spend much time writing it. You know how it is. Like sometime on a good day it just comes out and this was just one of those times. I wrote this tune, I think, in a day or day and a half, where some of the other tunes took longer, cause I was just frustrated and I'd go "Ah shit, I wrote that last year. I wrote this last year."

Guitar.com: What about Sultan's Boogie?

Scott: Let me see- That one took a while cause I had a lot of parts that I threw away and even though this tune has kind of the same kind of beat as Meter Maid did on Torn Down House, it's much faster and I don't know.I really don't have a reason for why I wrote it other than it's just..it's one on the record thats not really bluesy at all. More of a fusion tune.

Guitar.com: Right.

Scott: So it did really in a way, fit on the record if I cared about that kind of shit which I don't. You know what I mean?

Guitar.com: Right.

Scott: Sometimes the record company will say, Well this tune doesn't fit. It's not really blues. And I would go, "Well, its on there so.. whatever." That tune has like a lot of open string stuff in it too. Especially that fast lick in the middle, that's all open strings and thats really fun.

Guitar.com: How about That's the Way It Goes?

Scott: That's totally Sly. I'm a big Sly Stone fan. You know that tune, In Time? It's the first tune on Fresh?

Guitar.com: Yeah.

Scott: That's like the funkiest tune in the world. I wanted to write something that was just funky like that. So that was the inspiration I think from like 20 years of like listening to that tune. It's one of my favorite songs in the world. You ought to check it out. The name of the album is Fresh and its the first cut. Its the funkiest playing ever done by a bass player and a drummer. It's unbelievable. You know, it's just so syncopated and so cool and it's like Slys best band and Doris Days even on the record saying it's hilarious when he was fucking her. (laughs) It's his Que Sera Sera on this record. It's like a soul version of Que Sera Sera. It's just fucking unbelievable. Such a great record.

Guitar.com: Sounds pretty cool. What about That Hurts?

Scott: We've been playing that one that's one of the very first tunes I wrote for this band, so I don't really remember how it came about.

Guitar.com: So it kind of sat around for a little bit, then.

Scott: Yeah, we've been playing that for two years.

Guitar.com: What are you doing in this song?

Scott: Basically it's just your basic rock tune. There's changes in it, but you don't play the changes when you solo. The solos are just pretty much in rock and roll time, you know. But when I play this tune live, I stretch out a little bit more and I play a lot more demented stuff in it than I did on the record, like more diminished, crazy shit, you know? I take it quite a bit more out live than I do on the record. On the record I just wanted to keep it raw and just really push whereas live it stays softer for quite a bit longer, live you know, and it gets kind of ethereal live whereas on the record it pretty much just pumps.

Guitar.com: It seems like it would work that way.

Scott: You know, I did a funny thing on this album that that, I'm not like getting down on our drummer at all because he's a great drummer and in Tribal Tech, when we play this kind of music you sort of expect that as the solos get frenzied, so does the drumming and before you know it- it's like, it just gets really intense, right? But I wanted this record to really groove, you know, so I sort of instructed Kirk to not go with me as much as he does in Tribal Tech. So it feels more solid. So groove-wise its a pretty solid record compared to some of the stuff we do in Tribal Tech, where it kind of gets rhythmically a little bit more crazy. I just wanted this record to really groove more so we kind of eased back on the guitar like on the McLaughlin/Cobham style of frenzy in solos?

So Kirk is kind of keeping it kind of groove-oriented on this record rather than just going nuts when I go nuts. It's just a different thing, but I think it fits this music better. And even live, he's made some really funny statements about it because everybody's always kidding him about, Where's one? and What are you doing? I can't find one, you know, and all this shit. And Kirk has said from years of doing this gig with me, this trio gig, he's learned to appreciate playing with more of a groove, you know, because in Tribal Tech he sort of got free reign to just like, "Hey man if you want to go into a cousin of that groove or if you want to change whatever you want to do, you do it. Right?" Cause it's that kind of band.

And with this band he's got more of a responsibility of making it more solid because it's a trio and we want it to pump and really feel good. So for him playing in this trio is a really completely different kind of drumming than what he does with Tribal Tech. And with me it's completely different too because in Tribal Tech I'm basically just a horn player. I mean, I'm pretty much playing single lines with one tone and Scott Kinsey, the keyboard player, is really the main color guy, so that's what's fun about it. Being in two different bands like this. They're really pretty night and day in how we play even though its the same guitar player and the same drummer. So it makes it fun.

Guitar.com: And what about Rituals?

Scott: That's an old Tribal Tech tune from Nomad. God, thats like 15 years ago maybe? Well, it's kind of a long story, not really long, but when Tribal Tech was first together we weren't a touring band. We were just an in-town band that, you know, I was playing with Chick or Zawinul and Willis was playing with Wayne Shorter and wewhen we did these records wed like overwrite music at our house. I don't know if I'd say overwrite, but as I get older, it seems to me that the less you write, the more fun the tune is to play. Maybe its just that as I've become a better improviser, I find less of a need for written notes than I did back then. So those early Tribal Tech records, like there's a lot of written arranged stuff, because we would just call the players over OK read this shit and were gonna go in the studio and play after maybe a couple of gigs at the Baked Potato, right.

So to me, those albums sound very stiff. There's not a whole lot of inter-play and there's not a whole lot of loose sections to just be a band and have fun. Whereas when you have a touring band- when things really changed was on the Illicit record and maybe the record before that when we started to tour. And we would go off and tour and when we got back, we would take sections out of tunes and say, "Well we don't really need that. Let's just play." And the band got looser and looser and looser until the point where now we don't even write. I don't know if you knew this or not, but Rocket Science and Thick, there was no music written for the sessions. We just go into the studio and jam and that's the record. Except then we sort of compose over the top of it, but the whole idea of it is organic. So Tribal Tech is like, over the last 20 years, Tribal Tech morphed from a complete composition, every note written down band, to a completely improvised band. But it happened over the space of 20 years and with people that really love to improvise, you know, and as a result of touring.

Guitar.com: Right.

Scott: So Rituals was from the old school and the way we play it live is so much looser and so much more fun that I thought that, you know, well I really liked the song and I thought we didn't really do it justice with Tribal Tech so that's why. Sorry for the long story, but that's why.

Guitar.com: So how do you know our mutual friend Rick Rossano?

Scott: Well, we sort of grew up playing in Florida in the same town and we always kind of had just neighboring bands. I don't think we were ever actually in the same band, but we did have one little jam group that we used to- we used to jam together a lot and that's when he was playing bass.

Guitar.com: Oh really?

Scott: Yeah, and then I left Florida in '80 and I just never came back, but we just sort of stayed in touch through phone, you know, and I was just down there, but he had a gig so he couldn't come and see our show. Yeah, he's always working a lot. He's a great guitar player.

Guitar.com: Yeah, he is. I lived in Florida in like '98 and '99 and a week before I left, I ran into some people and they took me to see Rick play and I just freaked.

Scott: Yeah, he's a great player.

Guitar.com: Well I ended getting him a write-up in Guitar One a couple of years ago, in an article titled The 10 Best Unknown Guitarists in the U.S., or something like that, and then I turned Steve Vai on to him.

Scott: Oh good, yeah cause Rick e-mailed me about that. That's really cool.

Guitar.com: About the contract

Scott: Yeah, that's good.

Guitar.com: So I'm really stoked, man. It's really cool and Im really stoked that Steve Vai would verify my talent judgement. I really thought he'd like Rick's music, and he did; he signed him to Favored Nations.

Scott: Yeah, well I mean, I don't think he'd- anybody that hears Rick has always said he was [phenomenal, but destined to remain unknown if he didnt move beyond South Florida.] I just know because I went through the same thing as he did, you know, just being in Florida from a small town and nobody takes you seriously because you live in West Palm Beach. And I guess Mike Varney kind of did the same thing for me because Varney got me in the Spotlight column in Guitar Player magazine years ago. Actually I was the first guy.one of the first three guys in that. I was in the very first one. And back then, it was like a huge big deal to get into Guitar Player magazine being totally unknown.

Guitar.com: Right.

Scott: And he always tried to promote me any way he could and my music was really way too out to be on his label, cause back then he was just doing pretty much real metal. So it was kind of cool that it kind of turned around as it..its kind of come full circle because hes way more open-minded now than he was back then. And he's kind of gotten more of a jazz education and he's not only listening.in fact, I don't even think he really listens to metal anymore. He listens to more blues and jazz, which shows you how much the guys changed cause he was just a total metal head back in those days.

Guitar.com: Well, Mike and I are the same then, cause I've gone through the same listening phases.

Scott: Yeah, it's kind of cool that he's putting out record like this now [Editors Note: Scotts Well to the Bone CD.] I think Steve Smith has also been a big influence on him because they live in the same town and hang out and Smith has introduced him to Larry Coryell and different people like that who Mike really never listened to. So it's just kind of cool that Mikes got a lot of diverse stuff going on cause he's got the Fusion label, the Tone Sinner, he's got Blues Bureau and players like Pat Travers and Rick Derringer and stuff like that. Just kind of cool, you know.

Guitar.com: That is cool. I went over to his site real quick just to see cause I actually haven't paid that much attention in a long time to what hes been doing and obviously I should. There's another person that I wonder if you know. Do you know a guy named Gannin Arnold by any chance?

Scott: Yeah, I know Gannin. Yeah, I used to teach him.

Guitar.com: I taught him his first guitar lessons. He started buggin me when he was 12 and I put him off for like 2 years and then finally I gave him lessons and in like a year he became incredible.

Scott: Oh yeah, he's a good player. I haven't even heard him now. It's been- oh gosh, it's probably like maybe 3 or 4 years since I heard him play. He just called me I guess about a few months ago, but I was out of town so Ive got to get hooked up with him. I don't know like who he's playing with

Guitar.com: He's playing with John Tesh

Scott: Oh you're kidding, he's doing that gig. He probably knows Tom Costas son who's doing that gig too.

Guitar.com: Really?

Scott: Yeah, Tom Costa, Jr. was doing that gig.

Guitar.com: I'm sure he's making good money too.

Scott: He's making good money and he said, not only that, he said it's a riot.

Guitar.com: Really?

Scott: Yeah, because he says it's like, you know, there's babes galore at the gig and all they do is totally make fun of the music when they're off stage. I'm sure it's like a funny as hell gig.

Guitar.com: There was an infomercial I kept seeing on TV for a Christmas album or something or a spiritual album and Gannin- you know, there was footage of the whole band and Gannin kept showing up.

Scott: That's funny. You know, he's really turned into a good player. He's really good.

Guitar.com: Yeah, it's time for him to come back and teach me some stuff.

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