the most underrated and under-recorded guitarists in America today,
Scott Bradoka calls his 2013, 17 track CD collection Never
Been Cool. Just that name alone conjures up all kinds
of perceived detriments, yet in a concerted effort to bring his name
back into the limelight, with Never Been Cool, Bradoka has
put together a well-rounded collection of remixed archival tracks
from the past fifteen years along with several newly recorded tracks.
For guitar buffs who have followed his career over the past decade,
you cant really mention the name Scott Bradoka without at least
mentioning the name Eric Bazilian, the singer-songwriter who
turned rock fusion guitar instrumental advocate when he teamed up
with Scott for his 2003 album Create Your Own Reality. Even
though Bazilian made his name as the singing guitarist / composer
of the rock group The Hooters back in the 1980s, joined in 2003 with
Bradoka the two achieved a rare balance of musical muscle and compositional
integrity, a combination that made for truly ground breaking musical
history, most notably on Bazilians instrumental X2000,
a track that was featured as the crown jewel on CYOR. If you
had to pick one of the greatest instrumentals that captured the intensity
and the passing of the greatest generation and the passing of the
torch into the great unknown it is X2000. Looking back
on working with Bradoka on Create Your Own Reality, Bazilian
recently told mwe3.com, Of all the records I've been involved
in this is actually one of my favorites. Scott was amazing and inspiring
to work with. And when further questioned about about other
great tracks he and Bradoka worked on Bazilian adds, They really
are, and I made a conscious effort to let Scott's voice as an electric
guitarist stand alone, though I did end up playing a solo on X2000.
It was a blast playing all those bass, sax, keyboard and dobro parts.
Another great Bradoka / Bazilian work of sonic art that was another
highlight of CYOR is a unique sounding instro rock version
of the Brian Wilson / Beach Boys song California Girls.
We all know Brian loves jazz so, even though its ten years after,
hes well advised to groove out with Scott and Eric. One must
also applaud Bazilians excellent sax work on that track. Theres
so many great songs on Never Been Cool and, while its
super hard to reach the sonic nirvana ofX2000, you might
want to reword that after giving a listen to the sonic grandeur of
a new track here entitled Mojado which is a personal favorite,
Im told by Bradoka. The new tracks including Mojado
were recorded with Steve Kalafski (on second guitar), Bradoka
co-composer Glen Radomski and long time Bradoka band drummer
Scott Williams. Of course in addition to X2000
and the new tracks, theres plenty of Scotts great jazz-rock
instrumentals on hand here including Black Crayon and
Friends, another two highlights with Bazilian. A solid
combination of guitar based instrumentals that merge jazz, rock, fusion,
funk, hip-hop, soundtrack sounds and more, Never Been Cool is
proof that Scott Bradoka has always been cool.
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Scott, great to talk to you again. Whats new in the guitar world
and the music world for you in 2013? How have you been for these past
three or four years? Seems like the whole world has undergone a major
transformation since early 2009. What do you make of the craziness
in the world these days? (lol)
SCOTT BRADOKA: Hi Robert, always great talking to you! I'm
doing well. Yeah, things are crazy...scary, even...but we all have
to keep on going! I've got this band, dubiousWISDOM with guitarist
Steve Kalafski, bassist Glen Radomski, and drummer Scott Williams,
that I'm working on recording a new CD. I'm having a blast being a
guy in a band right now!
mwe3: Your 2013 best of CD Never Been Cool is a perfect
best of synopsis of your recording career to date. Why did you put
the CD out, how did you choose the songs and why did you call the
CD Never Been Cool, especially as most guitarists and fusion
fans seems to associate you as being among the coolest guitarists
SCOTT BRADOKA: Ha! I'm not sure ANYONE thinks I'm cool, but
thanks for saying so! Actually, I think I'm considered the antithesis
of cool!! I used this CD as a way to transition from where I've been
with my solo work into what I'm doing now and where I'm going with
dubiousWISDOM. Three of the tracks are from the first dubiousWISDOM
mwe3: Were there new songs recorded or remixed for the Never
Been Cool CD. You mentioned how much you liked the outro to track
two Mojado. Where was the track recorded? I see you had
a second guitarist with you on that track, Steve Kalafski along with
Glen Radomski on bass.
BRADOKA: The tracks from my old CDs were remixed for this project,
and there are four new tracks, three of them are from the dubiousWISDOM
EP. The idea with the new band is to be very in the moment...rhythm
tracks on the dubiousWISDOM tracks are all recorded live at Signal
Sound and then the melodies and solos are overdubbed at my joint,
The Bang Palace. It was a quick process. We tracked six songs in one
day and then took a day for the overdubs.
Mojado came about as I had been listening to a lot of
Aerosmith at the time we were writing and decided I needed a real
riff oriented track. Then, while writing the other tracks for the
EP, Steve Kalafski had these cool chord changes that we didn't get
to develop into a song, though we since have for this next CD. I've
also been listening to a lot of country lately and Keith Urban's got
a track called Stupid Boy where you think you're at the
end of the track and it just brilliantly transitions into a great
guitar piece much like some of those amazing Dire Straits records.
So I kind of stole...or borrowed that idea and we tagged Steve's changes
at the end of the Mojado and we did a nice dynamic build...I'm
proud of that one. Really proud. I've gotta thank Aerosmith and Keith
Urban for inspiring that one!
mwe3: The song that Eric Bazilian wrote and that was featured
on your 2003 solo album Create Your Own Reality, X2000,
thats also featured on the new CD, is one of the greatest guitar
instrumentals of the first decade of the 21st century. What I found
amazing was that the song only features you, Eric and drummer Scott
Williams. Do you feel that song is your trademark song in some ways?
It has such a futuristic, almost fatalistic kind of feeling, like
a space march into the great unknown kind of feel. Can you speak a
little about X2000 and the guitars featured on that track
BRADOKA: Wow...thanks for the kind words! I still love that song.
It was a great time for me. I had just built my studio, so I was blindly
experimenting with everything. Eric wrote the song and was kind enough
to let me record it for the CD. Ya know...when we recorded Create
Your Own Reality, I really thought we were sitting on a gem. Unfortunately,
the rest of the world didn't see it that way. I am so thankful that
a few people, yourself included, got what we were trying to do. I'm
pretty sure I played my 1965 Strat and Eric played an old Rickenbacker
Combo 800. X2000 continues to be one of the crowd favorites
mwe3: Speaking of Eric Bazilian, whats he been up to
lately? Do you guys keep in touch? Last I heard he was living in Sweden.
Can you recall how and when you met Eric and you two decided to work
together. I miss the breakthrough instrumental music like you and
Eric did back in the X2000 days.
SCOTT BRADOKA: Eric's doing well. He just released a killer
CD with Mats Wester...they are going under the name Bazilian/Wester.
Between that gig, The Hooters and whoever he's writing with on any
given day, he's always busy. He's a great friend and I've learned
so much from him over the years.
mwe3: Another song you worked with with Eric Bazilian Black
Crayon is quite melodic. Who plays with you on that track and
can you add something in about that amazing track and the guitars
on it? It has such an uplifting feel to it.
SCOTT BRADOKA: That's one of my favorite tracks. A friend,
who has a rather dark personality, told me how her grandmother said
she always different than the other kids and when coloring, she'd
always pick the black crayon. That just struck a chord with me, so
I wrote the song about it. I think it's just Eric and I and a young
bassist named Tom Bosch, I think he was 17 at the time. I'm thinking
it was my first 1956 Gold Top Les Paul on that track.
Friends also has a great circular kind of melody with
you and Eric sharing the guitar sounds. Can you speak a little about
the guitars featured on that track?
SCOTT BRADOKA: Friends is a fun track to play.
Eric played some cool rhythm guitars on that track and I love what
he played on bass...much to the dismay of Glen Radomski as there is
this one quick run where Eric doubles what I'm playing and now Glen
has to recreate that live every night! Haha. I think I played a James
Tyler guitar that I no longer own on that track.
mwe3: One Of Us is another one of your trademark
instrumentals. One Of Us, which is another amazing Eric
Bazilian song, was originally a vocal track made famous by singer
Joan Osborne. When did you realize that song would make an amazing
instrumental especially with such an unusual arrangement? I cant
believe your version isnt listed in the One Of Us
cover versions on Wikipedia. Can you say something about how you recorded
the super tremolo guitars on your version of One Of Us
and what guitars are on it?
SCOTT BRADOKA: Eric had suggested we try that song in an odd
time signature. Definitely sounds different! Jeff Golub plays some
fantastic guitar on there, too! I think I played my '56 Gold Top on
that one as well. The tremolo parts were done on the trem channel
of a 1963 Vox AC30. I've gone back to using that effect lately. I
love how organic it sounds
cooler than a pedal. I also remember
using my 1968 Marshall on the solo.
mwe3: Speaking of very unique guitar instrumental versions
of classic songs, your version of California Girls is
the best version of that song Ive heard outside of the Beach
Boys original. Interesting to note Eric Bazilians great sax
solo in the middle of that song. You guys sound possessed on that
song! Did Brian Wilson ever get to hear it? Whos idea was it
to tackle that song as a jazz-rock instrumental and what about the
guitars on it?
BRADOKA: Eric's idea again. Funny thing about that...as I was
playing the solo, Eric was sitting next to me and would randomly hit
the tremolo bar...so I guess we both played that solo! Haha. I used
his 1957 Strat on that one. I don't know of Brian Wilson ever heard
mwe3: Fried Milk is an interesting name for a song.
(lol) It seems kind of funky but theres a wealth of power chords
in play too. What about that song? Is that a more recent track? Both
Fried Milk and Acid Wash were composed by
you and Glen Radomski. Both seem to be quite powerful fusiony kind
of tracks that sound inspired by Jeff Beck, who you also have toured
with as well. Have you spoken with Jeff recently? What did you think
of Jeff Becks latest albums?
SCOTT BRADOKA: Glen brought in both of those tracks as bass
lines and then I wrote changes and melodies around them for the dubiousWISDOM
EP. They were fun to work on. Glen is a great friend and I love working
with him. He's into the Dream Theater type stuff so it pushes me in
directions I may not have naturally gone. The last time I saw Jeff
Beck was about two years ago over in Germany. His playing always amazes
me. He is the master!
mwe3: The Never Been cool CD closes out with a great
track called Freaks that also features you, Eric Bazilian
and Scott Williams on drums. Theres some great effects on that
song and of course the guitars sound great as well as the backwards
tape loops! What inspired Freaks?
SCOTT BRADOKA: That track was originally called Centered...then
I got that voicemail that opens the track right around the time we
recorded it and the rest is history. We used some of the message in
the track and changed the title. That's a fun track to play live!
Any new developments on the guitar front? Is your book of your guitars,
My Collection still in print? How has the guitar market been
for you overall? Any what guitars are you currently most interested
in, both vintage guitars and new guitars as well and what guitars
are you mostly playing these days? How about other gear youre
big on these days?
SCOTT BRADOKA: The book is no longer in print. It was really
meant to be a 'demo' so to speak, to try and get some interest in
doing a proper book. The vintage guitar market, as with most things
is down right now, but it's good if you're buying!
Most of my collection consists mostly of vintage guitars from the
1950s and 60s, though I do have some cool newer pieces as well.
Some of my main guitars are 1956 and 1959 Les Pauls, 1957 and 1958
Stratocasters, and a 1952 Telecaster. Some of the newer guitars I'm
playing are by James Trussart, Duesenberg and Kelton Swade. My main
amps are two 50 watt plexi style heads one built by Bob Smith and
the other by John Suhr. Also some old Vox AC30s. Effects are minimal...mostly
overdrive pedals by Pete Cornish and Wampler and then some time based
pedals like a Phase 90, Flanger, and delay. It's all pretty simple.
mwe3: Are you still into biking to keep you occupied outside
of music these days?
BRADOKA: Yeah, I'm still WAY into biking. If I'm home, I'm out
on the trails five or six days a week. Nothing clears my head like
a good ride!!
mwe3: How about future plans as far as your writing, recording
and also performing new music. When can we expect an album of new
SCOTT BRADOKA: We are currently writing the next dubiousWISDOM
CD and I hope we'll get in the studio and knock that out in the next
few months as soon as everyone's schedules allow and then we'll get
out and support it. I'm hoping we will have it finished in the third
quarter of 2013. I'm loving everything about this band right now.
It just feels right.
I'd also like to explore a vocal project in the near future, whether
it means putting something together from scratch or me joining a project
already in progress. I just saw a friend if mine who owns a label
while I was in Los Angeles last week and told him he needs to sign
a middle aged band that needs a middle aged guitarist! Haha.
Thanks to Scott Bradoka @ www.scottbradoka.com