Scotty Alan Goes From Punk to Country. – Interview

Most people grow and mature when they finally move out on their own. For Scotty Alan, not only did the singer and songwriter mature as an individual, his music also saw a change from punk to country. Alan recently stopped by to chat about his music, new album “Wreck and the Mess” and what it is like playing music in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Q – I was reading that you used to be into punk music. In fact, as a punk artist you released five albums. Your new album, “Wreck and the Mess,” has a lot of country sensibilities. When did the transition out of punk happen and how did it go to where it is now?

A - I started as a bass player, in fact it was the Kramer 8-string "BADASS" bass, appropriately named, that I played through an EQ pedal. I wrote all the punk music on that. I was still living at my mom's house (where we had electricity) so I could use my amp for song writing. On my 23rd birthday I moved to the 10 acres I had just bought and started living and building my off-grid log cabin dream. This had a lot to do with it, no more amplified bass. However, we continued the punk rock band for several more years. During this time period I bought an acoustic guitar and started writing with that and was using the bass less and less. Over time my style and approach to both the music and the lyrics changed...and here I am with "country sensibilities" for the time being anyways. And yes I still have the 8-string.

Q – I’ve heard most of the new album and there seems to be an edgy type of country music apparent. How would you describe the sound on “Wreck and the Mess?”

A - The edgy sound is definitely alive from my past but Bernie Larsen the producer of the album (who I worked with back in the punk days) played a key role with the overall sound as well. We wanted something with an edge that captured aspects of my past with my current homespun acoustic sound. I think we got it where we wanted it...somewhere between a polished freight train and the old rusting John Deere.

Q – A lot of the songs have a very personal feel to them, almost like they are miniature autobiographies. Describe the writing process of the album.

A - Most of the songs on the album were written in one sitting at my cedar table with candle, guitar, paper, pencil and beer. They were written as fast as I could write them down. I was inspired. The collection spans several years of writing and were chosen from a batch of 30 or so that best fit the theme for "Wreck and the Mess".

Q – Which song is the most personal to you and why?

A - This collection is personal and definitely reflects on my varied personality and captured an emotional time in my life...but I think "Long Ways From Laughing" grabs me the most consistently, lyrically. Musically there is something special to me about "Says Lately". Powerful.

Q – You’re from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. How different is the music environment in Michigan versus places where there are rich histories like Nashville, TN?

A - Definitely has its highs and lows in the creative scene. The Upper Peninsula is remote and there are not a lot of places to play, and not many people for that matter, so I think that has a direct connection to the low key local vibe that is present here. It definitely has its own musical histories and longevity but nothing like the bigger cities.

Q – How has the reaction to the new album been thus far?

A - My mom really likes it. In my circle, it has been well received. Our release date was October 4, 2011 so I am anxious to get some more feedback.

Q – Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - Thanks for your time. Scotty Alan.

You can check out some of the new album here:

Scotty Alan Wreck And The Mess

“Wreck and the Mess” is available now.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at

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