Gary James' Interview With The Former Bassist Of
Alice Cooper and Flo And Eddie
His big break in the music business came when he was hired to play bass for former Turtles and Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention members Flo and Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan). From there he went on tour with Flo And Eddie, sharing the bill with some of the biggest names in the business; Jefferson Starship, The Doobie Brothers, Stephen Stills and Fleetwood Mac. In 1980 he began working with Alice Cooper. After his time with Alice he became a studio musician, working with Kim Carnes, Peter McIan, Franne Golde, Tonio K and the list goes on and on.
His name is Erik Scott, and Erik just released a CD of his own music titled "And The Earth Bleeds".
Q - How did Flo and Eddie hear about you?
A - I had made three albums in the mid-West. One of them had been made at the Village Recorders in Los Angeles. That was my first time walking around L.A. studios and seeing Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Three Dog Night. I said if I'm going to do this for a career I should probably move out here. So, I did move out there, the very next year in '74. I was hustling around. One of the places I landed was the Cherokee Studios. They had an in-house band that I started jamming with. We hit it off, so I became part of that crew. This was before Cherokee became probably the biggest studio in the world in the late '70s. They were still in Chatsworth. Anyway, Flo and Eddie had done some recording there for their last album. When they wanted to go out and tour in December '74, they called up Cherokee Studios and said, "We're going on tour. Will some of you guys come with us?" They said, "Yeah. There's a new bass player we got." So, we went along and it was all good. Talk about non-stop touring, that was a non-stop touring and recording thing for two and a half years.
Q - How many gigs a month or how many gigs a year were you doing?
A - I'm not sure. I never kept any of those itineraries. There were a lot. It was pretty regular. They had great friends in the industry and not only were we touring with them, we were touring with The Doobies, who in '76 had "Takin' It To The Streets", the number one album in the Summer. In '75 it was Starship's "Red Octopus" and that was number one all Summer. It was my first band after moving out from a small town in the mid-West. So I got to see Grace Slick and Stephen Stills and Lou Reed up close. So, it was a good education. Graduate school for me.
Q - Before Flo And Eddie you were doing what?
A - I was in the mid-West in the Chicago area. I had a record out in 1969 with Food on Capitol records and tapes. It seems funny to say records and tapes. (laughs) We don't make 'em anymore really. That band didn't work out but there was a couple guys in it, Billy Steele and Charlie Ray, R.I.P. We almost got a deal until we added Peter McIan, who later became the guy in Australia who produced Men At Work. So we became Jambalaya and got a record deal with A&M Records. That's when I went out there and said this is kind of where you ought to be. So I was doing what I did and learning how to do it in the mid-West.
Q - Capitol Records didn't do anything for you?
A - I guess you'd have to say no. I think it was mainly because Artie Kornfeld... I truly was a kid at that point and then when I got a call to go make a record with these fellas. I was playing clubs and learning my chops. I just spent the Summer in Jacksonville, Florida, at a bar, six hours a night, and I came back, and I'm not sure why, to Ohio, "Do you want to make a record?" The producer, writer, singer is putting a band together to do a record on Capitol." Then I went, "Well, golly gee, sure. Isn't that where The Beatles record?" (laughs)
Q - Capitol Records. What a roster they had! The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Sinatra. How can you miss?
A - Well, you can miss with a record that doesn't sound like The Beach Boys or Sinatra. (laughs)
Q - Or you can miss if the record label doesn't put enough promotion behind you.
A - It seemed to me to be pretty personal. In '89, I was between working for major international Rock stars and I put together a band with a songwriter and we got a deal on E.M.I. Records. This was Signal. And then, the regime changed the A&R guys. They changed the whole thing and new guys came in. They have their own guys that they bet on. So, we still had the contract and we had to make a record and we did. There's been four commemorative re-issues in Europe and Asia on the record. It was number three on the Import Charts in Britain. It became a bit of a Classic Rock, melodic A.O.R. hit. The name of it (the album) was "Signal Loud And Clear". In 1987 it was Top Ten on some of these charts. It did well internationally. Yet here (the United States) we played one gig because the A&R guy who came in had his own agenda and we weren't part of it.
Q - When you were with A&M Records, did you meet Herb Alpert or Jerry Moss?
A - We met with a production team. We didn't meet Jerry and Herb. They worked for A&M and they were the guys that signed us.
Q - What year did you work with Alice Cooper?
A - '80, '81, "82, and then we did a little bit of writing in '83. I came back from Europe and he had done the "Flush The Fashion" album. He changed bands then and I got in that band. We did a lot of heavy touring, then the next record was "Special Forces" and I was in there writing, touring. I kind of became a liaison with him and was working with the band. We co-produced the next one, "Zipper Catches Skin" and then he took a break after that album in the Spring of '82.
Q - What kind of music is "And The Earth Bleeds"?
A - It's genre defined. After forty years I kind of stepped off the bus to record, write, rehearse, tour, repeat cycle. I just kind of wanted to get artistic. I have a lot of melodic ideas. I had some different ideas. I had some different ideas I wanted to do with the bass guitar. Instead of giving the major melody you might hear on a trumpet or a banjo to the guitar or the appropriate instrument, I wanted to see what I could do with an electric bass and I did along with one other instrument on each song to give it some dynamic. I released this album, "Other Planet" and it was picked as CD Of The Month at
echoes.org, which was an ambient / New Age / NPR affiliated situation. I was totally unprepared for that. First, I'm an independent guy after forty years. I wasn't sure how to promote it and I certainly didn't know it was going to be appreciated by that genre. So it did okay. I got some nice reviews. I said, well that's fine. I was kind of chilled out still after all the touring. This album in more of the same only it's more eclectic and I've been getting some nice reviews. But it's eclectic. It's half instrumental. It's got some vocals on it. It's just artistic. I'm gonna do this and I realized it's going to be different to market and I don't know at this age or this time in my life if I want to try and compete in the Pop circus, rat race, and do all the things you have to do. I'm just going to put out an artistic statement, use Social Media and people who like it can like and that makes me happy. I'm not gonna start a band and try to be a Rock star at this point in my career.