For 10 days he sped across the USA on a motorcycle for the LifeRide for amfAR, then flew out for 2 days of rehearsals in Boston and this Saturday, Scott Patterson will perform live in Ocean City as part of his new band, GORDON. I had a few minutes to speak with Scott this week about his lifelong love of music, his songwriting process and the whirlwind journey of launching his new band.
“I’ve been playing music my whole life,” shares Scott “I’ve been in a band since third grade when we played just two songs, I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone and Back in the USSR with my best friend. And then it got a little more serious in high school when we were playing parties and battle of the bands competitions.”
Scott shares that, after high school, he had wanted to move to New York to pursue music, but some of his bandmates had other plans. From this time forward, Scott would be a part of several different bands, never seriously, and then Gilmore Girls came along. “That put the music on the shelf,” notes Scott, “Because that was really a labor-intensive situation. You really need to focus on that. But after we wrapped filming on this Netflix revival, I had a real need to connect with an audience again in a real way and I put a band together and here we are!”
GORDON is Scott’s middle name, and his mother’s maiden name, though it was not Scott’s first idea for a band name. Scott shares that it was vocal coach Gary Catona who criticized his previous choice as being too much like a “jazz quartet.” Gary asked Scott what his middle name was and declared “That’s your band name!” If you’re wondering what the letters under the GORDON logo mean, well you will have to stay tuned! Scott shares that he will be running a contest to give away merchandise and potentially a trip for 2 to a GORDON show!
Scott shares that putting together the bandmates for GORDON happened very quickly after a friend connected him to a local guitar player. After bringing in a few more guys, GORDON was ready to rehearse – “before you know it, we were – a week later – June 3rd, we had our first rehearsal. And not long after that, we booked our first gig.” After a month of rehearsals for the songs, which are all written by Scott, the band made their first appearance performing two West Virginia Flood Relief Benefit Concerts on July 29th and 30th.
The West Virginia Benefit concerts were put on to help put the devastation from the floods of June 23rd back in the spotlight. As Scott explains, “That happened a month prior to us arriving on the scene and the media had turned its gaze somewhere else and we wanted to get it turned back there. I toured those areas and it’s really bad, it’s very sad to see it. ”
Scott says that this unusual debut has been at the heart of this band, and continues to influence their choices. The upcoming concert in Ocean City benefits CARE New Jersey, an organization originally developed for Hurricane Sandy relief and now aiding flood relief for other storms, and there’s also a future fundraising concert planned for the New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association to help build a new fire house in Sea Bright.
“That’s kind of how we’re starting out: we’re going to go play some shows, we’re going to go help some communities and combine everything that I love… performing and helping out.”
Of course, it’s not the traditional path for most bands, and though Scott does not intend to become a purely “charity band” he feels pretty good about using his celebrity to help raise money for these causes.
“People really get behind it and they support us and they want to help out. The more people that come, the better for that community, the better for everybody. I don’t know that we’re necessarily be this ‘charity band’, but right now it feels really good and the people are so supportive and so grateful that somebody’s paying attention to them. That’s what we’re doing now.”
Scott Patterson wrote all the songs that new band GORDON is performing, though the final set represents about 14 of the over 500 he’s written over the years. “I’ve always written my own music,” Scott shares. “I don’t know that any of it was particularly good. I remember performing a couple of original songs in a high school show; just me on an acoustic guitar and a back-up vocalist. I think it was pretty dreadful: overly serious, pretentious stuff. But it was a start and you gotta start somewhere.”
Over the years, Scott realized that songs don’t have to be “so serious and dark,” and that he could bring “feeling” to his music in other ways. Scott credits his son, and being a father, with helping to lighten up his music.
“As I got older and got better at songwriting, I realized it doesn’t always have to be so serious and dark. And I started lightening up a little, and then I had a son and I started really lightening up, and I just wanted people to enjoy the music. I wanted them to feel good listening to it.”
When Scott speaks of his inspiration behind returning to music, his son, his voice radiates his passion. “I’m building something for my son,” Scott shares, “I want him to see me building something. And failing and succeeding and keeping at it; frustrated, but keeping at it and not quitting. That’s a value I want him to see… I have built some successful careers in my life, but he’s never seen it. I want him to see me doing something like that.”
After filming Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Scott shares that he felt compelled to return to his music. He wanted to find his best songs and perform them live; to truly engage his audience. Scott says that the music he’s created is reminiscent of “early 70s big arena rock sound, very bluesy-based, but very hard-driving.” It’s this classic rock experience, inspired by greats like The Who, Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen, with strong guitar, drum and bass sounds.
“It’s a big sound, It’s not a light sound, it’s a heavy sound,” says Scott of the music that inspires him. “But that’s what I love. I love guitar solos, I love drum solos, I love my musicians to show off and be showcased because it’s fun and nobody really does it anymore and I’ve always wanted to do it and I have the players who can pull it off beautifully. So that’s what we do!”
Balanced with the heavy rock is a very Blues-y core: simple structures and music played with feeling. “It’s really more about the experience of the person that’s singing and the feeling with which they are singing and playing. That’s what music is about – it has nothing to do with technical ability so much as it does… you gotta feel it. You gotta feel the music in certain areas.”
— Scott G. Patterson (@ScottGPatterson) July 18, 2016
Most of the music that Scott is currently performing was created before he even landed his part as Luke on Gilmore Girls. Although Scott has always continued to write music, it’s these songs that he felt were destined for the stage.
During this past week, Scott was on the road doing the LifeRide for amfAR, though he’s taken his guitar along with him, laying down some bones of a song about his experience bonding as a unit of motorcycle riders. We’ll have to see if this one makes the cut!
As loyal fans of Gilmore Girls, many of you may be struggling with the differences between Luke and Scott. Unlike many of the actors I’ve interviewed for GilmoreNews, Scott doesn’t share as many characteristics with his on-screen character. When it comes to music, Luke is one of the few characters who doesn’t have a passion for music while Scott, in real life, considers music his main passion.
“He doesn’t represent me,” notes Scott of Luke on Gilmore Girls. “That character has nothing to do with me. That’s Amy’s creation and I merely interpret it and say the lines as best I can. The rest kind of takes care of itself. I have very little to do with that.”
Scott continues, “The music part of my life is who I really am and who I’ve always been,” and believes that fans of his work, and fans of Gilmore Girls, will be able to see and appreciate this passion. “I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch to come along for this music ride because I’m so passionate about it. I’m very very passionate about it. I own it, it’s mine. It’s my creation. And, so far, I’m really proud of it. I’m proud of the work these guys are doing. I’m proud of the band and what we stand for and represent.”
When you come out to a show, Scott wants to see you on your feet and living the music. Engaging with you, the audience, is his goal. “Everything I’ve ever done in my life… there’s nothing more enjoyable to me than playing live for an audience. It’s a real thrill to do it. A real honour to do it. That people would come out of their homes and pay a little bit of money to come support a cause and come see a band. It makes us want to make the best songs possible for each song.”
Scott shares that performing live is one of the most exhausting things he’s ever done. For him, it’s not just about the songs, but about bringing an infectious energy to the stage.
“I grew up watching and loving Bruce Springsteen and the guys a huge inspiration for me. I saw him perform for the first time and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – he just went on for 4 hours! You sit there and watch it as a young person and think ‘Oh wow, this is a really energetic show, really fantastic’ and then you try to do that? For an hour? And you’re ready to drop dead. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and passion to perform at that level and I’m trying to get there; I really want to get there.”
When GORDON took the stage in West Virginia for the second night, after the audience had been sitting in the hot sun for 2 hours, nearly catatonic, his goals were put to the test. “I knew that I had to do something to get them out of their doldrums. So, I got them and I won them. I got them on their feet. It took a lot of effort, it really did! But they really started rocking out and forgot how hot they were and forgot the whole thing, and that’s what it takes.”
Creating this kind of music, this dialogue between artist and audience, is what is getting Scott up in the morning. Scott plans to continue to act when the right parts come along, but for now it’s about the music. And Scott leaves you with this final invitation:
“If fans want to come have an intense blues-y rock experience and forget their troubles for a couple of hours, come see us. I think they’ll be very very surprised at the quality of the sound. It’s not what they’re expecting.”
You can catch Scott Patterson and his new band GORDON in concert this Saturday, August 13th at 7pm in Ocean City, NJ, tickets available here. Stay tuned to the Gordon Facebook page for more upcoming concerts. I know if Scott makes it up to Vancouver, you know I’ll be there to catch a show!