'I bought my first bass at age 18 for $99 at a pawn shop," says singer/songwriter Scott Wilson. "It was a piece of crap, but it was a good thing to learn to play with and to realize that it was worth investing in better equipment."
Wilson cites his main musical influences as the Beatles ("seventh chords"), Nirvana ("grooves"), and Yes ("harmonies"), but nowadays the founding member of the Gandhi Method -- and former bassist for Cathryn Beeks -- would just as soon plug into a video editing board as an amp. He's worked on music videos, concert films, and documentaries.
This filmmaking savvy served Wilson well when it came time to shoot a video for the song "Coffeehouse 101" from his latest CD Kaleidoscope's End. "We ended up with around 50 performers in [my] video, many of them local, each one lip-synching a different line from the song," says Wilson. Footage was shot at Lestat's, Twiggs, the Hot Monkey Love Café, and other local spots. Cameo appearances include Gregory Page, Dave Howard, Bart Mendoza (the Shambles), and Mark DeCerbo (Rockola, the Steely Damned).
"Some people -- for instance, Robin Henkel and Carlos Olmeda -- were very comfortable with the camera. Some weren't, and I include myself in that bunch. Everyone brings their own personalities to the table, and people relate to the camera in such different ways that it becomes sort of a sociological experiment in overcoming embarrassment."
Scott Wilson appears as part of the "Coffeehouse 101 Music Video Premier Party" at Humphrey's Backstage Lounge on Thursday, March 9.
WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
1. Nine Inch Nails, With Teeth ("Trent Reznor makes records that are heads and tails above his peers, which are few.... He put on a fantastic show at Cox Arena in November.")
2. Gregory Page, Love Made Me Drunk ("There are at least two accordion-only songs -- I wish I had the courage to make a CD like that! This is one strange leap into the unknown.")
3. Sheryl Crow, Wildflower ("I love 'Good Is Good' from that CD. It has something I call the super chorus, which is a bridge that's even bigger and catchier than the chorus, which is something I like to do now and then.")
4. Green Day, American Idiot ("A punk-rock concept album? How can you beat that?")
DESERT ISLAND DVDs?
1. Dig!("It's a documentary about the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre...a textbook example of what not to do when you make records or go on tour, especially in Texas.")
2. Almost Famous ("There's a bootleg version that I used to have with a director's cut and a CD from the band that played in the film. One of the great music films of all time.... Parts were shot in San Diego.")
3. Apocalypse Now ("The montage in the hotel room to 'The End' by the Doors has always been an influence on my [film] work.")
"The Aztec Coffeehouse at San Diego State. I went for a high note, they suddenly turned [the mike] down...I never recovered. It's funny how something can go wrong and ruin the whole experience. Sometimes it works to drop your defenses, and great things are allowed to happen, but not in this case. I screwed up songs I had known for years, and I was ignored, which I can't stand. I tend to avoid solo acoustic gigs for this reason...it's a little too much like being naked in front of a bunch of people, which is something I try to avoid if possible."
BRUSH WITH FAME?
"I worked with 'J-Lo' on a video in New York. She was very nice, and she smelled great. This was in 2002, and it was very interesting to see how a person handles the kind of success that she was experiencing at that time. Lots of telephones ringing, lots of commotion, bodyguards, assistants, managers, record label people...."
"My Alvarez 5088C acoustic guitar cost about $650 in 1993. I've written at least a hundred songs on it, and it's starting to show its age. I like the way it plays, but it's hit or miss through the P.A. Sometimes it sounds amazing.... The next time, if you can hear it at all, it sounds terrible. I went to the 'Taylor Friends and Family sale' to get a Taylor, but it was a free-for-all there, like those news pieces you see of people rushing into Wal-Mart on the day after Christmas. The bass I own now only cost me $130, but I've added a few things to it. It's a Yamaha BB300. In fact, the body and the neck and the knobs are the only original stuff on it, but I love this bass."
"I've always been a big Simpsons fan, although this year it seems to be taking a dive...it's kind of funny that the only real political humor that we're getting right now is from prime-time cartoons. There used to be shows like Politically Incorrect, but this does not seem to be the time and place to be putting your ass on the line for matters politic."