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A Dirty Dozen with SCOTT MARTIN – October 2019

| 31 October 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “New York City based singer/songwriter/gutarist Scott Martin has released a new guitar driven single titled “Bringing Hollywood Back to Life” that will be released directly to vinyl. In addition, Scott has released an accompanying video that was filmed LIVE at Leesta Vall Sound Recordings in Brooklyn, New York.” We get Scott to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Well, in “Hollywood” I wanted to set the stage in a world where all the glitz and glamour of old-time Hollywood had been forgotten and replaced by cheap heroics, shallow actors, a place where neon flash covers up the lack of substance in everything…and you know, video killed the radio star, but now they’re drinking together in a dive bar lamenting the fact that they’re now both out of a job. But of course, they have a couple drinks together and decide “we can make things the way they were once again!” in a very Gatsby-esque hope against hope. It’s tragic and it’s beautiful, really. That’s the song on the surface. But as a metaphor it can be anything. A relationship that has grown stale, your world moving in a downward spiral, your opinion on the state of music and art. It can mean whatever you like – your own personal “Hollywood” to bring back to life can be anything. I think that’s why the tune means so much to me when I sing it. It’s not just what’s on the surface.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My folks were always playing music, and I was always surrounded by it – I used to listen to a LOT of records growing up. I can still picture the cassette tape of The Beatles that I had as a small child, and all the records, too. But I didn’t think I could MAKE music for a long time – I was kinda a bookish kid, really into History. Then I got into R.E.M. from a cousin of mine lending me an album of theirs, and I proceeded to buy every single one of their records. Once I’d learned all the words I realized I had to learn how the songs were made, created out of thin air, whatever, so I found my Dad’s old guitar in the attic, strung it up, and went in real hard. Taught myself everything, and started writing – and that’s when I realized I wanted to be a musician – when I started writing my own songs.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Well, certainly the aforementioned R.E.M. But also, I still swear that listening to Tom Petty all these years is what taught me how to write a proper song. He was easily my favorite songwriter out there – there was just something very special about Tom that separated him from everyone else in my mind.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

R.E.M., Tom Petty, Prince, Springsteen, and Keith Richards. Everything waxes n wanes, but those guys are always there in force.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

If Tom Petty were still alive, it would have been him, no question. The guy just knew how to write my kind of songs. But since that’s not really a possibility, I think I’d really, really like to do something with Eric Church – he’s a country artist and another absolutely amazing songwriter who has a dope rock n’ roll vibe to him.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I think I’d call it like “modern Rock N’ Roll” – I’m trying to imagine a world where pop music is rock n’ roll again, and see how I can mix that together. “Rock” I think denotes something with a bit of a harder edge…when you add the “roll” in there I think it kind of smooths the sound out in the way that it’s perceived by a potential listener. Or they’re gonna think of Chuck Berry with synthesizers and trap beats…hell, maybe I’m onto something there, though. I can’t say I’ve heard anything that makes me cringe – but I’ve only been doing this solo thing for a little more than a year, so I’m sure at some point there’s someone out there that’s gonna say something kinda funky, but that’s cool – you hear what you hear in the way that you hear it based on all sorts of stuff. Who am I to tell you you’re wrong?

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

There’s a freedom and a joie de vivre to it that I can’t quite describe…saying “it’s awesome” doesn’t really do it justice. But it’s like…you can be broke, hungry, whatever, and still never think about doing anything else (I’ve been there). But you’re being you, you’re creating music both for yourself and for others out of thin air, basically, out of these little ideas that come to mind…it’s a fascinating thing and it’s the closest thing to magic I’ve ever seen, truly. I love it. Wouldn’t change it for the world. That and the camaraderie – I don’t care what style you play or sing, or what you listen to, being a musician makes me feel so much closer to everyone out there. It’s wonderful.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Well, even though I’m a solo artist, I do have my band, too – me and my drummer have been playing together for over ten years at this point, for example, and my producer is also usually my bass player, and we’ve known each other just as long, too. But when we’re hanging, it’s usually in the studio or the venue or the pub down the street… so I guess we’re all getting the drinks in, in that case! Mostly we hang out, talk music and life, and laugh ourselves silly – that happens on stage, too.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Well, in the mid 2000’s, I was playing and touring in Bulletproof Messenger, and we opened for a lot of cool bands that were popular around then or were popular in the 90’s. I don’t think I ever was totally star-struck, it was more like you’re sharing a stage with Fuel, Collective Soul, all these bands whose records you owned, and then you realize when you’re hanging out after with them that like, wow, these dudes are super chill, normal guys… this is crazy! If I ever meet Keith Richards, I’ll know what being absolutely star struck is like, though. That would blow my mind. They say never meet your idols, but I’m fairly certain Keith would be super cool.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Probably a History professor. But only because being Indiana Jones or a pirate isn’t exactly a valid career choice.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I think the one really big thing that always comes across as being true is that there have been a lot more times that I would like where I, or my band, deliberated way too much on things instead of just doing them. Sometimes it’s good to take the time and think about things, sure – but these days, I try to live by something that producer Ron Saint Germain said to me once when teaching me some of the ins and outs of rock n’ roll – he said “when the door opens, RUN through it… ask the questions later”. I can’t say he steered me wrong on that one, so thanks, man.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Oh, man. This question has so many answers. But I THINK that I would have to choose Dark Side of the Moon. Most importantly, that record was the first record that I ever actually wore out. I was fifteen, I’d just started playing guitar, and my cousin from California brought me this record as a Christmas present. I didn’t know what it was. And then I put it on and just couldn’t stop playing it. It was rock, it was jazzy, it had crazy sounds and vocals from random people running through it…and it just blew my mind. Not to mention David Gilmour playing guitar and just taking my desire to play to a whole other level. I can still remember having to buy another copy because I’d played that CD so much. I’d love to be there to see how they did it the old school way, too – tape machines and all that. I definitely think that’s the one. It’s massive.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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