Ohio rocker Scott Gorsuch is gearing up for his 4th release, and his first release on vinyl. He engineered, mastered and did the vinyl mastering – literally cut the lacquer master for the vinyl press. The title of the record is Park Boulevard Park and it’s due out on March 27th. The name is an actual location in Scott’s neighborhood that he often walks, and he considers this place and the songs on this record a personal sanctuary. Being an inventor (Magnetic Double Neck Guitar, Amish Drum Machine) Scott has also come up with a first in vinyl production. He has dedicated song space on the A side to a unique experiment – this “song” is meant to be looked at rather than played. The grooves spell out Park Boulevard Park and it looks like a song at first glance, but the grooves are visual only – very much like paper cups in a chain link fence at high school rallies. He has found a unique way to isolate the kick drum low frequency to make a visual message on the track space. This may just be a first in vinyl production.
Scott’s sound has always been likened to power pop pulling influence from Jellyfish, Queen, and 10CC. He is obsessive with vocal layering, and approaches recording like a low rent Todd Rundgren handling all aspects of production. On Park Boulevard Park his writing pushes to the weirder side. The songs are cheeky and humorous, derived from a freer stream of conscious writing approach. He has also embraced his nerdy prog rock roots, side B cross fades like a Pink Floyd album meant to be listened to as a whole. There are guest performers – a horn section, and fender rhodes on “1975”, and also Scott plays a shit ton electric piano, synthesizers and mellotron on the record.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “1975”, one of the standout tracks on the new record. The song immediately brings to mind the cool hipster jazz rock of Steely Dan with a distinctive power pop sound. Groovy and horn-laden, the song is a total throwback to the year of its title, but Scott adds his own humorous Ohio touch. Besides plenty of jazz stylings a la Steely Dan, it is hard to escape the proggy build-ups, disco guitars, and infectious, soulful grooves. This style of music isn’t easy to replicate and is rarely duplicated, but Scott puts his own musical stamp on it to deliver a morsel of catchy fun that we all need right now.
Scott shares his own insight on the inspiration behind the song:
The whole world right now seems so precarious – like the 1930s or something. That makes me feel like I shouldn’t just put out a regular album, with regular songs – I wanted everything more over-the-top –intense, weird, beautiful, emotional. Fuck it, if the world’s ending, I wanna make a crazy piece of art!
I’ve written a lot of these songs while I’m out walking, or doing anything else, so I just hear the chords and melodies in my head, and have to remember them until I get home. I love it when song bits just fall out of the sky into my head – that’s the best! The chorus from the song “Peace” came to me in a dream, an actual sleeping dream – and almost fully formed!
The actual place, Park Boulevard Park, is a park – on Park Boulevard – and that’s its real name. Apart from the funny symmetry of that, it’s just this small wooded place, with a little creek running through it (Rush Creek – not making that up!), and a sledding hill, and park benches. I’ve spent a lot of time there blissfully doing nothing.
“Ashkenasi 750” has nothing to do with Judaism. The word “Ashkenasi” always sounded like the name of a dirt bike to me, and that was enough to get that weird song rolling!
I used to listen to that show, “Car Talk” on NPR, and they’d play songs in the breaks that people sent in. Some of them were good, but it’s like, word got out, and people started sending in dorkier and dorkier songs. So I thought, “hell, I can do better than that”, and so I wrote “In My Car” like an old-timey Queen song, with the intention of sending it to the show, and then never sent it.
Even though some of these songs make a musical nod to artists that’ve influenced me: Steely Dan, Queen, Jellyfish, etc., I hope that my sound just keeps getting more “Gorsuchy”.
Listen to the song and read our quick chat Scott below…
Let’s talk about “1975”; how did it come to be, what inspired it?
I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time of a time machine, where instead of you going back and forth through time – coming out looking the same on the other end – you get there and essentially possess someone – sort of “Being John Malcovich”. But in my song “1975”, my time traveler gets a more active role, not just seeing through his host’s eyes, but trying to live as himself in this new body. Then it gets weirder when he and his host have different ideas. It would make a wacky comedy; I can totally picture James Franco as the lead! Maybe I’m a frustrated screenwriter.
What was the recording/writing process like for your upcoming album Park Boulevard Park?
I don’t sit down and try to write music every day. Song ideas, most of the time, seem to fall out of the sky into my head – sometimes whole verses or choruses! I hear everything at once, so if I’m out on a bike or walking or driving, I just gotta remember how it goes til I get home. I usually know what the chords are by the time I pick up a guitar, so that makes it easier.
I’m a huge control freak, and like to handle all the engineering/mixing stuff myself. For the new album, “Park Boulevard Park”, we played everything live in the studio, and usually nailed it in a take or two. Well, they nailed it anyway – I was kinda scatter-brained from running the session on my own. My band is great, (Matt Mees, drums – Phil Maneri, bass) and super solid players! I usually end up recording my guitars, vocals and other stuff at home later. But getting live drums and bass is huge. You get the honest vibe of the song that way. Then I turn ‘em into massive overblown productions later – haha!
You have had a long and unique career thus far. Catch us up to speed on some of your favorite moments. Everyone has had bad shows or played to empty rooms but most bands have had at least one circumstantially freak of nature mishap of a gig. Any hilariously terrible gig stories you’d like to share?
Oh, let’s see… There was the gig where the whole stage lost power, and we finished the song with just drums and singing as loud as we could! There was a gig in Denver where there was this curtain at the back of the stage, but it also dropped a few feet down right behind the drum riser. We were playing, and all the sudden: no drummer! He’d fallen backwards off the riser, and was never seen again (kidding about that last bit). But, at my very very first gig ever, in this church basement, we opened with “Rock n Roll All Night” by Kiss, and I thought it’d be epic to have a big flash of light as we started. So I stole all my mom’s flash bulbs (the old ping-pong ball sized ones), and built this contraption where a dozen or so bulbs plugged into the freaking wall, which is super wrong! Then I would step on a foot switch to turn ‘em all on at once when we started. Problem was, I should’ve had the bulbs pointing at the audience, not us! We were blinded for like, half a song!
Any life lessons you wish younger bands knew when starting out?
Just play. A lot of musicians get so caught up in technology, and it’s everywhere: gear, pedals, loopers, and recording plugins, that they lose sight of the core – playing. Limitations can be your friend. Just play, dammit.
Big plans for 2020? Anything else you’d like to add?
Play more, sing more, write more. I also do engineering and mastering for other bands, so more of that, too – just keep living that ridiculous musician life! And, I’d love to get some songs licensed into TV, and movies, that’d be sweet!
Scott Gorsuch releases Park Boulevard Park on March 27th. For more info visit his Facebook.