Bill Scott, Renowned Music Producer, Takes Center Stage with New Album

I Wanna Get Wasted by Bill Scott
I Wanna Get Wasted by Bill Scott

Bill Scott’s ‘I Wanna Get Wasted’ Premieres at California Rocker

By JOHN DALY

He’s worked with the greats in the music business and now Bill Scott, music producer and tech engineer, has released new music of his own. Today Scott introduces the single “I Wanna Get Wasted” off his new album You Got Nothin’. Check it out here.

Scott has spent years working with legends like Steve Ferrone of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Nathan East (Eric Clapton), Kellii Scott (Queens of The Stone Age), and Dave Schulz (The Goo Goo Dolls). Scott gave California Rocker the story.

CR: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in music.

Bill Scott: I grew up in a suburb of Boston. At the time, it was a small town with not much notoriety. If you weren’t good at sports, you were invisible. I loved sports but the popular ones. Baseball, Football etc. I was actually good at country club sports like tennis and golf. When I was 11 my baseball team won the championship and I realized I had no real hope in that endeavor minus my enthusiasm. Desperate for purpose, I had always loved music, listening to artists like Michael Jackson, Metallica, Dre etc. Then I heard Nirvana for the first time and I identified with that band so much and thought to myself “you’re not a pitcher, maybe a musician?” I begged my parents to play the drums. My Mom said “those are way too loud!” “How about the keyboard?” I said “Keyboard is lame.” She said “That Trent Reznor guy plays keyboard.” I told her I watched an interview where he felt that was so lame that he started playing guitar and singing instead. My parents caved and I started playing guitar. I’ve been hooked ever since.

My background in music has been wide ranged based in both passion and survival. After my introduction to guitar, I always wanted to be a rock guitar player. The Jimmy Page to Robert Plant, the Slash to Axel. My favorite singer left town right after we started our first band. As I started other bands, I played countless shows and festivals all throughout my teens and always knew I would eventually leave Boston. I originally thought to go to New York. I ended up in LA to play on my friend’s album that was being produced by Steve Ferrone and after those sessions knew LA was my next move. I thought I would become a famous rock guitarist or well-known session guy. It never happened. After making a bunch of records and working with many heavy hitters, I moved into survivor mode. Everyone needed engineers. When I first moved to LA no-one needed a guitar player but people who understood tech, had jobs. I very quickly moved to behind the glass scenes to pay the bills.

I went to and graduated from Berklee. Worked for or with Quincy Jones, Steve Ferrone, Nathan East, Linda Perry, Steve Baughman, Waddy Wachtel, Jay Oliver, Jimmy Varner, Elle Varner and more. I also have produced and played guitar for a fair share of indie artists over the years.

I Wanna Get Wasted by Bill Scott
I Wanna Get Wasted by Bill Scott

CR: How did you come up with the idea and theme for the “I Wanna Get Wasted” music video?

Bill Scott: This was a very interesting scenario for me. I always saw “Wasted” as the every person’s party song. We always had planned for my character to start in an office and go to the bar from the very beginning, but I initially always saw a backyard San Fernando Valley pool party in my mind. My producer Greg Prestopino and I wrote an initial script. Then the director, Trevor Nystrom and I did rewrites. Like many things in my life, the timing went wrong. By the time we were ready to shoot the video, meaning we now had money, Thanksgiving had just wrapped up and it was cold and rainy for SoCal. The video producer, Tresla Friedrick, Trevor, Greg and myself were all hit with the realization there was no way in hell any extras would want to be filmed at a cold, rainy pool party in December.

Necessity is the mother of invention. We decided let’s go to the bar after work and instead of having a next day pool party bring the bar back to the office for afterhours partying. It had an air of defiance and fun about it. It also really allowed Trevor to come up with all the fun office gags. The other wrench thrown into the mix was I wasn’t able to get all of my band members for the shoot due to time restraints. As a result, I thought, why not have each character I play part of my band. This ended up making so much sense and added to the silliness of our video. I think we all feel like the final product we created turned out better than what we had imagined. Part of art and life is adaptability.


CR: You’ve worked with some major talent in the music industry including Steve Ferrone, Nathan East, Dave Schulz, and Kellii Scott, to name a few. Did working with these artists influence your process of making music?

Bill Scott: Yes, absolutely, in many positive and negative or “realistic ways.” To start Kellii Scott left a major impression on me in multiple areas. I don’t want to air any dirty laundry, so I’ll leave some stuff out. Kelli is and has been a hero for me for a long time. He is in a band called Failure that should have and now is being recognized as a phenomenal band. When I was a kid everyone listened to their record “Fantastic Planet.” Many bands in Boston were ripping it off left and right. The first night I met him I approached him as a “fan boy” and asked how do you be successful in the music business? His words “Stop caring.” It sounds somewhat nihilistic but what he meant was when you let go the world opens up for you. Also, the thing I loved about him so much was he didn’t give a fuck. I remember teching a gig at The Brown Derby, no longer in LA, and he would light a smoke on stage. A bouncer would come up and rip the smoke out of his mouth in anger. The second that bouncer left the stage, without missing a beat, Kelli would light another smoke. I saw that and thought “Rockstar!” I haven’t seen him in years, but I’ll never forget those moments.

Dave Schulz is also someone I’ll never forget and always will admire. Dave is the ultimate example of a working man’s musician.  I love Steve Ferrone as a drummer and human being. He’s amazing! Lesson I quickly learned was my friend wanted me to play on his record, Steve allowed it to appease the artist. Not sure I was wanted there. After that Steve has always been gracious, kind and I don’t think has a mean bone in his body.  Also, during that time there was John Jones. He was the engineer on that record but also probably at least co-producer if not more. He is a gracious, kind soul. His insights into the business and life and especially recording was huge. Shit you can’t learn from a school. I thought when I worked with this crew, I had made it. Wrong!!! The only guy who gave me the time of day when I got to LA was John Jones.

For the rest of the “heavy hitters” I’ve worked with there’s been many highs and lows. Musicians are people. Workplaces have many different people all working together and we’re all juggling personalities. For the most part musicians tend to be on the same page politically, socially and we allow our opinions to be part of our work. How the fuck else can you write a song that means something if you don’t have an opinion, right? I’ve been treated poorly and with respect. I’ve met some heroes of mine and been let down, but as a professional I keep all those stories to myself.

Bill Scott I Wanna Get Wasted - Courtesy
Bill Scott I Wanna Get Wasted – Courtesy

CR: You’re also going to be playing shows in Europe with Kerosene Hymns, how did this come about?

Bill Scott: Honesty I’m not entirely sure. My friend “T Roy” Troy Berry works in the hotel business. Through his connections, we’re going to London. This band was started to promote every members personal projects. That being said, this band has major power and we’re already seeing traction on that. Our vocalist Christie Huff already has an amazing career as a solo artist. Trent Berry has a fantastic studio up in SF and is quite the accomplished guitarist (Not praise I give easily.) T Roy has an incredible music promotion company in LA called Surge Event and one of the biggest friend and ally I’ve had in my career. We all play together to promote each other’s projects. At the end of the day, we all love each other and are hoping for everyone’s success and maybe a little from this project too.

CR: Where can people find your music and follow you on social media?

Billscottband.com
@billscottguitar on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter