Time Capsule Post #12 

I've been working on new music lately. When I'm close to finishing something, I like to review my past releases to ensure my current work measures up.

In 2018, I wrote and released one song per month, leading to interesting ideas and occasional cover songs. After that year, I began crafting songs for Scott Songs Vol. II. Despite being a first responder during the pandemic, I had ample time to focus on music.

With my co-producer Kelly Atkins, we delved into creating a beautiful album, addressing themes like gun violence, abuse, artificial intelligence, and loneliness. A highlight for me was a song about dementia. Kelly made a fantastic video with actual footage of me working with a client. You can listen to the full album here.

I still have copies of this LP if anyone needs one. 

Using ChatGPT for grammar and editing…

Time Capsule #11 

I'll never touch the amount of shows a guy like Willie Nelson has played, but I have seen my fair share of interesting venues. Take this one in Racine, WI, on Silver Scooter's first tour ever in 1997. We were zigzagging our way from Austin, TX, through the Midwest, over to NYC, and back through the Southeast. Some shows were better than others in terms of attendance, and some were better than others in terms of quality. I don't know about you, but I'll take quality over quantity any day, even if quality doesn't always fill the gas tank.

We rolled into Racine on a weeknight or maybe even a Sunday to play the basement of a Lutheran church. No marquee at all. And no green room. Sounds like a blast, doesn't it? Not when your goal is to play the local bar or all-ages club where everyone wants to be. So, here I am methodically tuning my guitar for all of about seven kids, thinking to myself, “Is this what our tour is going to be like?" We blast through a few opening numbers, and one of these kids asks, “Can you play ‘Cup and String'?” At the time, this was a track only available on one of our 7" records. In other words, this kid was a fan.

How did we end up playing the basement of a Lutheran church in Racine, WI? It was likely the case that other bands passed along contact information for someone in Racine. These tours we did were all before the internet was used to help make connections. No booking agent was going to take on a fledgling band like ours. We were on our own. Tom Hudson, our drummer, had a binder full of contacts. When you don't want to drive three hundred miles to the next gig, you have to ask yourself, “What's in between? Anything?” There's always a Racine, WI.

Like I said, this gig didn't put gas in the tank, but it did fuel our sense of purpose. We always played our hearts out.

Here's the album version of “Cup and String.” 

Working on having ChatGPT read my mind and post on my behalf in the future. For now, I'm just letting it edit.

Anatomy of a Song Post #3 

Phase I: Here's the beginning of a new song for you called, “Feel Small.” Like most, it began with a basic iPhone recording to capture the moment. One of my kids and I were camping in the Westy. I sat in the front swivel seat with my baritone ukulele, strumming and working out the words to something I had started the previous week. Suddenly, I heard my kid's voice, resembling one of my favorite Casio keyboards. Besides marveling at how easily harmony came to them, I thought, "That sounds damn good." We recorded it immediately, capturing the moment. Listen here (track 3).

Phase II: We both agreed that the long instrumental aspect of the song was super rad. However, we didn't know how to tie it all together. After camping, I continued to work on it, ensuring there was space in the song for their part, whether it be vocal or on the keyboard. This is how it sounded when I returned from camping. Listen here (track 4).

Phase III: I started recording the song the other day while still being careful not to fill it up too much. My focus was mainly on getting the ukulele down with a good feeling tempo, recording some bass, and adding a vocal. I ended up re-singing this one several times and adding a harmony every other line. I also added a touch of electric rhythm guitar and some rudimentary drumming. Listen here (track 5).

I'm really curious about this song. It's called “Feel Small.” I bought a t-shirt at a skateboard shop several years ago. On it was, “Don't let anyone make you feel small.” Will the long instrumental section pay off, or will it feel too lengthy? Will my kid sing their part, or will it be played on a keyboard? Only time will tell.

Still using ChatGPT…

Time Capsule #10  

No, I didn't plan for post number ten to coincide with Super XX Man's Vol. X. It's just a cool, random bit of truth. I'm writing this today because I just got off the phone with my good friend, Chad Crouch, the artist behind this iconic painting. Chad is also the owner and brainchild of Hush Records, based out of Portland, OR. He was one of the first people I met when I moved from Austin to Portland on New Year's Day, 2002, and, more importantly, he has been a solid and trusted friend ever since. 

Just like many artists have their classic quartet, I had a classic quintet comprised of Ali Wesley on vocals and flute, Michelle Garred on piano and accordion, John Vecchiarelli on drums, Zach Boyle on guitar, and myself on vocals and guitar and ukulele. We didn't quite have the volume of Neil Young's classic Crazy Horse band or the musical dexterity of John Coltrane's classic quartet, but we were good. In fact, I will go on record and say this was the best version of Super XX Man ever. We could play the quiet stuff and we could play the loud stuff (okay, okay, never really that loud). Catch this group at the White Eagle Saloon or the older and better Alberta Street Pub, and you were in for a treat. Did anyone ever get to hear Ali singing “Collecting Rocks” live? It was magical.

Just in case you don't own it, here's “Collecting Rocks” from Vol. X. Download it and enjoy! It was recorded in our NE Portland, OR home on my beloved Tascam 388 and mastered by Dave McNair. This song reached a lot of people, for which I'm very fortunate.

Time Capsule Post #9 

Here are a few photos of Silver Scooter recording our debut album, The Other Palm Springs, with Dave McNair. The recording took place in his Baylor St. home, which he rented with his then-wife, Robin. Dave is a legend in the industry, and our collaboration stemmed from a chance meeting while I was working at a local tape supply company. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his familiarity with the band and his eagerness to work with us.

We set up his 3M 24-track recorder (once owned by Frank Zappa, or so I was told), a 32-channel Mackie board, and all his outboard gear, along with a few very modest microphones, and proceeded to record. It took us weeks of on-and-off work before we realized we had something pretty good. The iconic cover is a very large painting created by our future band member, Shawn Camp, which still hangs in my music studio today.

Note: These sessions also yielded enough B-side material for a Crank! Records release, which was shared with the Omaha band, Cursive.

As a trio, Silver Scooter comprised John Hunt on bass, Tom Hudson on drums, and myself on guitar and vocals, roughly from 1995 to 1999. We morphed into a 4-piece before recording out last album. More on that later…

Thank you Chat GPT for editing my sloppy writing.

Time Capsule Post #8 

I don't believe there has ever been a bigger supporter of my music than Willamette Week, especially its former music editor, Amy McCullough. She once accompanied Super XX Man all the way to Austin, TX, for exclusive SXSW coverage. I'll find that feature soon! Here's one commemorating Vol. X.

Time Capsule Post #7 

My first gig in San Francisco was with Silver Scooter at the Bottom of the Hill in 1997. We had just released our debut album, "The Other Palm Springs," and completed a successful tour through the East and Midwest. Back then, I had no idea I would return to play here many more times, eventually making this city my home. Life is indeed unpredictable.

I want to express my thanks to Deb Zeller for inviting Super XX Man to San Francisco to take part in the Playing in Fog series. It was truly one of my favorite experiences!

Additionally, I really miss the excitement of playing live music.

Yes, I'm still using ChatGPT to improve word choice and grammar. I have officially asked it not to use words like moreover and inaugural. 

Carnation Post #1  

Before I get a few grinds in at the skatepark, I thought I would share a not-so-quick story with you. 

I was trying to login to the Super XX Man “artist” profile on Spotify the other day so I could check in on a few data points. Mostly, I just wanted to update the picture so that it was more representative of what Super XX Man has “looked like” over the years. The current band photo is horribly out of date and we all look airbrushed for some reason.

Except, I couldn't login. I wasn't the artist, Super XX Man.

Spotify: “We took a look at the info you gave us but can't confirm a connection between you and the artist you claimed.”

Me: “Thanks for writing. I don't think you really looked at my Instagram or reviewed my website. Google me for crying out loud. Super XX Man is the same person as Scott Garred. Check out my NPR Tiny Desk Concert and this American Songwriter article."

Spotify: “To give you some info, our verification team uses the content and email address dispayed on the social media pages and websites provided to ensure the requester is the artist or their direct management.”

Me: “Oh, so you don't care that I did a Tiny Desk Concert?”

After many emails going back and forth I decided on a new tactic. I reached out to Tender Loving Empire as they were the first organization to upload Super XX Man to streaming services. They wrote back - “Happy to help!” That failed even more. They were told to go back to square one and “claim the artist.”

Not my website. Not my social media sites. Not a former record label. And, not my name being linked to Super XX Man in major news outlets was enough to say, “Come on in Scott. Your Spotify artist login is ready and waiting for you…”

It was time to change tactics. I contacted my web hosting service to reactivate superxxman.com and prove to Spotify a thing or two. Except…

Web host: “Looks like you just need to have your domain pointed in our direction so we can get this going for you.”

Me: “Too easy!”

Domain host: “Sorry, it looks like you no longer own superxxman.com.”

Me: “What?”

Domain host: “Yeah, a Mr. Fong owns it.”

Me: “What?”

There's been quite a few members of the old double x man band over the years, but I've never sung with a Mr. Fong. So, I entered superxxman.com and, sure enough, found out McKenzie Legal and Financial could offer all the consulting I needed. I knew someday the money hungry lawyers would tear apart Super XX Man. Maybe the double x man is dead.

I just couldn't give up. I had one last play. I bought the domain superxxman.net and was able to point it in the right direction, make my Instagram an obvious promotion hub for all things Super XX Man, and voila.

Spotify: “We've taken another look at your request and we've now granted you Spotify for Artists access to the Super XX Man profile.”

Why am I doing this? It just might be time to release some Super XX Man music. That's why. Back from the dead? Maybe. Now all I need to do is fix that band photo.

Here's an unreleased Super XX Man track for you. It's called “God Made Man.” It was recorded in early 2015 while house sitting for my cousin in Carnation, WA. Josh Woods plays bass. Darren Gallagher plays lead guitar. Warren Gardiner mixed it at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS.

Time Capsule Post #6  

Yesterday, I opened the closet door in my music studio. Holy crap! More memorabilia; and the worst kind of memorabilia - physical copies of just about every record I've ever made, including original cassette tapes of Super XX Man Vol. I and Vol. II. I'm torn about this stuff. Do I keep it or throw it away? Who needs 20 CDs of Silver Scooter's second album, Orleans Parish? Okay, I agree that “Tribute to the Phone Calls” is a great song, but come on, it's out there streaming if you want it, right?

This all leads to the question for me: Will CDs be like LPs are now? Does anyone say, “I love opening the jewel case, reading the liner notes, and setting the disc in the tray?” I mean, they sound great for sure!

I guess I'll just ask you. Does anyone need a physical copy of Vol. V? Vol. IV? Blue Law? Let me know. And, please shoot me an email and tell me what you are doing with all your old CDs.

Just for fun, here's an early demo of “Tribute to the Phone Calls” for you.

Time Capsule Post #5 

I've always loved opening the daily or weekly newspaper and finding a review of one of my albums. LOL, I believe these are the only two ever written for Super XX Man Vol. XIII White Bed. I loved this version of the band, and I love this album. Have a listen. It features Adam Mack on drums, Daren Claymon on bass, and eventually Tony Moreno on guitar - although he was not in the band for this album.

The songs comprised everything we had written and arranged together in Adam's basement rehearsal space. The songs were mostly about my dad's passing in 2008. It must have been 2009 when we got around to recording. We recorded it in Adam's kitchen and dining room when he and his wife, Shelly, were living in S.E. Portland. I did overdubs at my house. The very talented Bryan Daste played saxophone and pedal steel on a few songs. It was mixed by my friend and former bandmate, Tyler Mallory, and mastered by Dave McNair, Silver Scooter engineer, and co-producer. Thomas Metcalf did the artwork.

Probably the best-known song of the album is “Box Store” (Mitchell calls it “Big Box” in her review). This song would get a lot of stage time over the years, including a beautiful rendition by my friends Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher - both live and in-studio.

I remember feeling a bit upset when I noticed the one review stating that this was a Tender Loving Empire release. However, it was not. They had actually passed on releasing the album, so I self-released it on my own dime.

P.S. ChatGPT made me a grammar sandwich.