Up early with Scofield—Part 2

Welcome back to “Up early with Scofield.” Some of you may have seen his performance at Kryptonite a few weekends ago, and are wondering how a musical genius like Scofield travels so much, yet still plays so well. Hopefully we figured it out in our conversation, but since a transcribed tape of 40 minutes is a lot longer on paper than I had thought, we’re looking at a part three coming up soon. When we took a break two weeks ago, Scofield was just commenting on his intense touring schedule and the fact that he has few breaks between touring to relax.

The Rock River Times: Yeah, so with all this business and traffic, do you ever find yourself lacking any intensity in your performance? You know, just for the mere fact that you’re exhausted? And if not, how do you prepare yourself?

Scofield: Well, it’s pretty weird. The music becomes the best part of the day, for me at least. Uhm, when you have this grueling travel schedule and constant gigs, how do you get up and play? But it becomes invariably a celebration, and it’s so much better than the rest of your day traveling to get from point A to point B…I mean, that doesn’t help the music or anything, but the music is really just a great release. I love to do it as much as the other musicians. We like to do it more than anything. So I mean, sure, you can be tired, but so many times I’ve found that that goes away when you start to play. And I’ve also had those days where you feel “Well, we’re going to have a ton of sleep and whatever,” but somehow the spark isn’t there. But you know, it really hasn’t been a problem in that way. You get tired, but the actual playing of music is a really great thing, a fun thing. It’s more than it’s ever been. When I was younger, I’d always get more nervous on stage…but now I don’t get that, and I can really enjoy it.

TRRT: So at this point, your name is considered pretty “famous” in a way. How do you handle and respond to fame as a performer with a non-top 40 genre?

S: I haven’t really been affected that much because it’s not the kind of fame that Eminem has. Like on the street, nobody knows who I am.

TRRT: (Really?)

S: Well, unless it’s one of the jam band fans or another guitar player. I think that when you’re successful in whatever you do…you have to watch out that your ego doesn’t get out of hand…but you know, (laughter) I’m OK.

TRRT: So a little about your new album. Compared to other albums in the past, how would you rate Uberjam?

S: Well, I think that—actually, you know what? We have a new album that just came out.

TRRT: Really? Well, I didn’t receive that press release, so I’m way out of date.

S: Oh, I’m sorry. The new album just came out, so it’s hot off the press. It’s called Up All Night.

TRRT: Who’s playing on that?

S: It’s the same band as Uberjam.

So after that embarrassing moment, I realized that we had already been talking for a good half hour, which is quite a few pages in print. We’ll take another break due to spacing permit, but next week we’ll delve a little deeper into Scofield, and finish things off with insight on the future of jazz, and who he thinks are some of the most instrumental musicians in the progression of new music (one of them is my favorite guitarist whom you may have read about a month ago…).

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