What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I fell in love with music through skateboard videos from the late 1980s. I was attracted to it because it wasn’t on the radio per se or major television stations. At the same time I was really into photography. The only music I really played at the time was jazz guitar and trumpet in school bands. After 9th grade I said “hell with it” I think I’ll sell the guitar and buy a better camera. A good friend invited me over to another friend’s house to rehearse a jazz chart that he had to make for college to see how it worked. After our crappy jazz trio of guitar, bass, and drums he taught me D, A, and G strummed more like a jangly pop tune. I was hooked. I knew then I would never not play guitar. Chasing down all the bands I learned about from skateboarding brought me further into underground music and ‘college’ rock bands like R.E.M and The Smiths. Then I learned about people who actually make music on their own in their bedrooms (Lou Barlow, Portastatic, etc.) and I was hooked on anything DIY. By the time I was in college (91-95) I had been in several bands. Eventually Tom Hudson and I landed in Austin, TX and we formed Silver Scooter. At the same time I started releasing my 4-Track recordings as Super XX Man. 25 years later or so I decided to release music as Scott Garred. Further into obscurity I go!
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
This latest release is a collection of songs sung from different perspectives. I wrote a few songs as a mass shooter thinking it might open up a new way of learning about why people feel inclined to go on shooting sprees. I wrote a song that’s more or less a letter from a priest saying he was ready to be done being a priest. Other issues include AI and opioid addiction. I’m using the songs to hopefully make people think about a few things we have going on in the world today that concern me.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Not sure I’m going to answer this one correctly but I think you are asking about influences whether or not they are musical. I think skateboarding has taught me the value of being an individual and progressing at something at my own pace. Photographers, specifically the work of Robert Frank whose book The Americans, showed me what was possible with a simple 50mm lens camera. Music-wise I tend to enjoy lesser known artists whose work is presented simply and not necessarily neatly.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is honest. I never try to sound like somebody else when I sing. My work as a music therapist further influences this because when a music therapist is singing it’s important to be clear, not over perform so to speak. I try not to over perform my music. What you hear on my recordings is not very labored in terms of take after take. I lose interest in my own music when I’m making it so I have to move quickly. Once I have words and a melody I try to support them in the simplest way possible. Meeting Kelly Atkins, who sings on the new songs, has actually pushed me to be more theatrical with my productions. In other words, “make this part actually sound like what might be going on in the shooter’s head.”
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
I really like Freedom by Neil Young, Queen is Dead by The Smiths, and maybe Green by R.E.M. (impossible ask though)
Movies I’m not sure. I think I like a lot of movies that probably wouldn’t hold up well today. The Muppet Movie is a classic. The Last Black Man in San Francisco I thought was a great film.
Books a little easier. I enjoyed the entire Harry Bosch series by Michael Connely. Sun also Rises by Hemingway, and maybe a newer one by J. Ryan Stradal called The Lager Queen of Minnesota.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I actually love to sing live as it’s very improvisational. I constantly have to adjust as I discover mistakes I’m about to make. I love connecting with people in a room. But I also love to sit in a space for a day or two and keep going after something. Maybe a toss up.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I used to be scared to death to pee at a public men’s trough urinal. I performed in a little theater space in Portland, OR and went to use the restroom – the men’s trough – and was just about to pee when a stranger came in and clapped me hard on the back saying, “That song about doin’ your own thing… damn that’s a good song. Keep up the good work.” I was frozen until he finished his business and left the restroom. The song was “My Usual Way” from an older Super XX Man record.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I think my new song called “Now Do You Believe” is unique because it is sung from the perspective of a mass shooter. He’s singing about climbing up to a high vantage point and ends by saying, “Now do you believe what I can do?”
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I will continue working as a music therapist in mental health. It really fuels me in a lot of ways. I would love to book a living room tour when things open back up. I would also really love to partner with visual artists to take over interesting spaces and have pop up shows together featuring music and art. I also hope to record at least an EP using only 4 Track cassette technology while camping in my 1990 VW Westfalia camper.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Q: What’s your favorite chord?
A: Well that’s a good question. I used to love Levi’s corduroy pants but they are hard to get these days so I’m going to try the Gap’s.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Scott Garred: