SCOTT BRADOKA
Never Been Cool
(Speechless Music)

 

Among 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 can’t 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 Bazilian’s 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 it’s ten years after, he’s well advised to groove out with Scott and Eric. One must also applaud Bazilian’s excellent sax work on that track. There’s so many great songs on Never Been Cool and, while it’s super hard to reach the sonic nirvana of“X2000”, 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, I’m 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, there’s plenty of Scott’s 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 BRADOKA


mwe3: Scott, great to talk to you again. What’s 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 around today.

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 EP.

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.

SCOTT 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”, that’s 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 too?

SCOTT 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 at shows.

mwe3: Speaking of Eric Bazilian, what’s 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.

mwe3: “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 can’t believe your version isn’t 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 I’ve heard outside of the Beach Boys original. Interesting to note Eric Bazilian’s great sax solo in the middle of that song. You guys sound possessed on that song! Did Brian Wilson ever get to hear it? Who’s idea was it to tackle that song as a jazz-rock instrumental and what about the guitars on it?

SCOTT 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 it...probably
not!

mwe3: “Fried Milk” is an interesting name for a song. (lol) It seems kind of funky but there’s 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 Beck’s 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. There’s 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!

mwe3: 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 you’re 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?

SCOTT 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 music?

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

 

 
   
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