Geoff Scott is a Boston-based guitarist from the Miracle Orchestra‚ Club d'elf‚ and more recently has been hosting a weekly gig at Matt Murphy's (a club right outside of Boston). He's an interesting young guitarist‚ always displaying maturity as an improviser and as a composer. Geoff has recently released a live gem entitled Table 8 from his Murphy's sessions and has just launched a Web site for the music project called Altitude Music.
Mike McKinley: Let's begin by talking about the video game gig you have. I think that's an interesting thing‚ combining your musical creativity with technology‚ and composing in that medium.
Geoff Scott: I've been doing it for a little over two years. I have an office on site where they make the games and I do all of the recordings at home in my studio. I'll receive a piece of animation from the art department and I'll put sound effects to it like footsteps‚ monster swings‚ combat slashes‚ blood spurts‚ you know‚ all that good stuff (laughs). It's basically writing music to the series of events of the game to capture the mood and the scenario.
MM: Yeah‚ I remember speaking with you when you first started...
GS: Yeah‚ it's a good gig. It allows me to hang out and do my (Matt) Murphy's gig and just hang out and play my guitar without all the stress of paying my bills (laughs).
MM: That's a good thing‚ huh? Life on the road‚ it's not easy.
GS: Well no‚ it's not‚ but it's a lot of fun. It's definitely not as glamorous as it's made out to be.
MM: That's something I keep hearing.
GS: I think it's a valuable lesson‚ definitely a lesson on organization; you learn about how other people's disorganization affects you. You have a booking agent who books you at a place but doesn't really know where it is he's sending you‚ so he makes his twenty bucks for the day. Everyone's trying to make a little bit of money‚ but nobody is really making any money. It just seems like an ass-backwards approach to it all. For all of the work it takes for five guys to go play a gig for twenty people five hours away‚ it seems like you could do a lot more either promoting the band or just by practicing than doing the gig.
MM: Right‚ in a lot of ways going out the road is a necessity...
GS: Oh yeah‚ absolutely you have to do it. Most likely I wouldn't have met you if I didn't go out on the road.
MM: Yeah‚ that's what just came to my mind; I probably wouldn't have been turned on to your music if you didn't play that gig five hours away. The other thing that I'm finding now that I'm involved‚ I guess‚ being that I'm enthusiastic about music‚ is that I'm seeing the business side of things. I'm realizing how jaded it is‚ or how jaded the people involved are (laughs)…
GS: Yeah‚ they're so pissed man! You have pissed club owners‚ pissed musicians‚ or mad bartenders‚ it's fucking hilarious (laughs).
MM: It seems like that's the clutter‚ you know. All of these things take away from the most important aspect - the music. At least the people who are going out and seeing the music are happy every once in a while. As for the musicians‚ they're happy once they finally get on stage after going through all the bullshit it takes to get there.
GS: That's why you keep doing it‚ because of the playing. That's the easiest part of touring. Three hours into a crazy set and you're sweating‚ completely in another world you're not thinking about the fact you're in St. Louis‚ or wherever the hell you are.
MM: With all that said‚ how do you think that affects you as an improviser?
GS: Touring?
MM: Yeah‚ from touring... well‚ I think what I'm getting at is you've had this gig going on at Matt Murphy's for awhile now‚ which I've heard about but don't really have an idea of what goes on there. Then‚ I picked up the live disc you put out (Table 8 ) and my reaction was "Wow! There's some great stuff going on there."
GS: Well the difference is that Murphy's is a very comfortable place. The bartender is a great friend of mine‚ you know? I have a lot of my friends there. I guess when you walk into an uncontrolled environment where you don't know the guy you're about to meet‚ you don't know if the stage manager is an asshole‚ if the bar owner is neurotic‚ or whatever - you'd be surprised with some of the people you work with on the road‚ you know‚ they're crazy. So I know every week when I go down there I know the deal. It's a smoke-free environment... it's a comfortable place to play music. I took this gig by chance - I was off the road with the Miracle Orchestra‚ I was doing the video game thing‚ playing gigs with Club d'elf every once in awhile‚ and I was used to playing music five nights a week. I still wanted to play a lot‚ and play out; I didn't feel satisfied sitting home playing in my bedroom. So I took the gig at Murphy's to keep up my chops primarily‚ and it ended up turning into a scene. I didn't really put much effort into it; I called up my buddy Brian Sayers and asked him if he would like to come down with his drum set and we would do drums/guitar duets‚ and we did it for like for two months. We'd just go down there and play. It's a place where we would get some good food and make a little bit of money and hang out and drink some beers in a relaxed environment where we could improvise‚ open up and experiment and try different things. So it was really cool that we were able to just do that and people were really appreciative about it. So as the weeks went by more and more people would come down so we were like "Shit‚ we should get a bass player (laughs)." Then it just evolved from there.
MM: So then other musicians started coming down‚ and it became a real conducive environment for playing…
GS: Yeah‚ on any given night now there are probably more musicians in the crowd than there are on stage. Yeah‚ it's really cool. We just rotate musicians in throughout the night. Like last week we had Hope (Clayburn) from Deep Banana Blackout come down‚ and Sam Kinniger from Soulive comes down frequently.