People from the era tell their stories.
» Chris Scott
Chris Scott has always been the essential 'outsider' in the Bristol music scene, never part of a 'movement', or clique, yet has, from time to time, emerged to create some of the most original music this city has ever produced.
After playing in a variety of cover bands around the end of the 70's and the beginning of the 80's, the first band of note was 'Decay Sisters', featuring Scott's songs and vocals and the combined talents of Dave Hares on guitar, Sean Henneberry on drums and Tony Curtis on Bass. Showcasing the innovative and textural guitar playing of Hares (well before the Edge and Adrian Belew) and combining the funk sensibilities of Henneberry's rhythms, with the whole thing underpinned by the uninformed dub rumbles of Curtis' bass, the city was totally unprepared for what was at the time, a totally new sound.
However, hampered by no management, and unaware of the value of the monster thus created, after a handful of gigs around town (mainly at the Trinity Centre), the band folded.
However, Scott, Hares and Henneberry continued to work together, briefly with a band called 'The Legendary Rich' and later under the name of 'The Royal Assassins'.
Recording some key demos attracted the attention of manager Dave Massey and after some showcasing around the country and in London, the band was eventually offered a recording and publishing deal by Fire Records, who, at the time also had Pulp, Chuck Prophet, and the Blue Aeroplanes. Hares and Henneberry left at this point to be replaced by Ben Wilby on guitar, Keith Campbell on drums and Vince Cooper on Bass.
An eponymously named album and single (Open up the Rivers) were duly recorded and released, praised briefly in the press, sniffed at by EMI, and some sporadic touring followed only for the whole thing to go Pete Tong under the combined pressure of excess, impatience and a somewhat skewed outlook on how life should be.
Scott then took some time out to 'rediscover his roots' emerging with 'Blind Lemon Beefcake' again with Vince Cooper on Bass and Sam Stephens on Keyboards. This band deliberately roughed up old Blues classics, featuring some magnificent slash and burn slide playing from Scott.
An album, 'Preaching the Blues...Praying for Deliverance', recorded at the Coach House studios was released on Scott's own label, First Base, followed by a live album, 'Play Loud' and, supported by the management of Jim Reuter, he then went on to tour extensively in the UK and Europe for the next few years, hitting many festivals, eventually travelling over to Canada and America, to introduce his particular style to audiences there.
However, after enjoying some considerable attention over there, including key radio exposure, shortly after his return his first marriage ended, and there followed a period of homelessness, no work and a personal breakdown.
Emerging out of this gloom though came one of the most successful outfits he has been involved with - 'Crawdaddy'
Crawdaddy was the combined talents of Chris Scott and Steve Payne, again using Scott's songs, vocals and rhythm guitar playing and Payne's electric and acoustic slide and lead playing.
Several recordings were made, either using Steve Rizley of Rizound Studios or the late lamented Channel House studios with Paul Whitrow, including '5/4' 'Dreamworld' and the highly regarded live album, 'Hope', recorded at a gig at the Hope Centre in Hotwells with the 'Acoustic Orchestra' a seven piece acoustic ensemble including Jason Sparkes on squeezebox (Spiro), Bill Crampton on upright bass, Rick Payne on mandolin, Claire McTaggart on fiddle and Paul Huggett on drums and percussion.
One of the key ways that Crawdaddy operated was to deliberately not rehearse, instead, to rely on the skill of whichever musicians were involved to interpret the music 'on the spot' to capture the excitement of spontaneous musical creation. This approach was to be most effective in the high point of the band's output, the 3 part TV series 'Crawdaddy - Bristol to Bristol'
This was a project in which the band travelled down the East coast of the United States, from Maine down to Tennessee, jamming with American musicians from different roots backgrounds, all of which was captured on film, and broadcast by HTV in the late 90's.
Again, much industry interest was garnered, but again, lacking any effective management, nothing came of it, and although the band has not formally folded, they have not worked together for some years.
Scott then worked briefly with Tracy Neil Elliss Brooks under the name 'Longdog' and cut an album 'No Sleep until Easton',
Today, Chris Scott occasionally plays gigs with 'Chris Scott's Bluesdevil', a three piece electric band, still inflicting GBH on old blues classics, with an album available 'Blowing with Mr. Groove' and has started trying to manage a new artist, Palmer "Fox" Eldrich, who, he says, 'is both talented and reclusive in equal measure'.