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Hell on Wheels. . .

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….with no brakes.  That’s my friend and housemate,  Scott T. Robertson, a/k/a Scott T, or Scotty T, Dirty Scotty, etc

I met Scott in Dec of 2007 at The Masquerade.  We had been introduced before, but only briefly.  That night at The Masquerade I told him I was headed to a Rock for Tots benefit in Smyrna later on, and that there might be some people there we both knew.  Sure enough, he ended up there, and we chattered the night away over Cuervo and Budweiser.  He told me about his recording facility, STR Studio, in Powder Springs.  Scott has owned and operated STR at various locations around Atlanta since 2000.  He told me about people he had met, trained with, and played with as a drummer in Connecticut, New York City, and Atlanta.

So where does “Hell on Wheels” come in, you ask?  Well, that’s the nickname I hung on Scott when I learned how much he has accomplished in his life before and after becoming a paraplegic at the age of 19.  From day one, I have admired Scott’s energy and tenacity as a musician, a producer and engineer, and as a person.  Plus, he’s a lot of fun and has a great smile!

Scott is the middle child of 7 kids, from Stamford CT.  Creativity runs in the family – his parents, Dick and Marcia, have both retired and embarked on second careers, as a photographer and painter, respectively.

He started drumming at age 6, and his first drum solo also got him his first standing ovation, in 6th grade!  That’s when he really started to roll;  the girls didn’t have a chance!

After high school, Scott was set to go to work for Le Gambi Clothing in NYC (yeah, they’re to blame for the original spandex pants), and had plans to go to audio engineering school at night.  But just a month after graduation, he was paralyzed by a gunshot wound.  Nope, they never caught the b*stards.  He rehabbed for nearly a year and was released from the hospital in January of 1985.  And that’s when he got very busy….

Following a short stint studying computer programming, Scott entered the Center for Media Arts in NYC to study audio engineering.  This led him to interning and working at several New York studios….and he didn’t have to wear a tie!!

Scott picked up the drumsticks again about a year and a half after getting hurt;  he had been around the studio so much he was itching to be on the other side of the glass.  Using an electronic drum kit, he reinvented his style and approach, to do with his hands what his feet used to do.  He took drum lessons from Kenwood Dennard, whose musical associations run the gamut from George Clinton to Jaco Pastorius to Harry Belafonte.

Around 1990 Scott kicked it into high gear, playing live 5 nights a week doing blues, funk and rock, and ended up going pro from 1990 to 1996, playing with acts that included The Drifters and the Chantels.  Several acts also had Scott teamed up with Paul Nelson (guitarist, songwriter, arranger, producer), another Berklee grad, who lately is most closely associated with guitar legend Johnny Winter.

In 1996, Scott moved to Atlanta and went to work for Ichiban Records, engineering rap.  After only 4 years in town Scott was able to open STR Studio as a production studio in his home in Smyrna.  The studio moved twice more, then in 2003 Scott located a house in Powder Springs that would accommodate the studio in the home in addition to living space for himself and his wife.  Through his career with Ichiban and STR, some of his clients have included Ying Yang Twins, EastSide Boyz, Bone Crusher, Dungeon Family, Goodie Mobb, Cameo, and Bubba Sparxxx,  just to name a few.  He’s also done rock, jazz, gospel, blues, you name it.

Sometime in 2007, Scott got bitten by the drum bug and started to play again.  Being a rocker at heart, his efforts as a writer, drummer, and producer culminated with concept band Alien Moon Base.  The self-proclaimed “freak show” combined rap and rock, and was a great vehicle for Scott’s reactions to everything from politics to his divorce.  In August of 2008, AMB won a spot on MTV’s Projekt Revolution secondary stage at Lakewood.  Yeah, they rocked.

Later in 2008, Scott’s health started to slide downhill due to a disease-related skin condition that affected his ability to maintain his business schedule.  This resulted in shutting down the business completely for about 6 months to relocate the studio, the loss of his home and vehicle, and multiple surgeries in 2010.

(Writer pauses to take a breath….) So where are “they” now?  In Dec 2009 Scott was able to relocate to a new home in Mableton that would provide studio and living space.  The house is mostly accessible, but in order to be a fully functional member of the musical community again, Scott needs a chairlift to provide full access to the studio in the basement, some minor repairs are needed on other parts of the house to complete its accessibility, and he needs a small down payment for a car so that he can drive himself to gigs and focus on playing again.  That is why I decided to start Hell On Wheels, which is for now a single fundraising effort, but which I hope to grow into something bigger.  This is going to give Scott the fresh start that he needs!

The benefit show/party will take place in Feb at Bella’s Pizzeria in Smyrna/Vinings.  For details, send a friend request to Hell On Wheels Benefit on Facebook.

If you would like to donate before the benefit, please send an email to howstr350@gmail.com, with “Donation” in the subject line.  We will respond to you with details about making a deposit directly into the contribution account.

[box]I have to thank Ange & Rob Alex, TheBackstageBeat.com, all the musicians who have agreed so far to perform at the upcoming benefit party (Beau Hall, Reason Y, Outlaws of Love, and Shakin’ Grace). I have to thank Sandee Clark of US Rider news (among other creative ventures) for her guidance. I have to thank all my friends for “adopting” Scott, and I have to thank Scott himself for knowing when I need to breathe and not being afraid to tell me. Scott would like to thank his long-time friend Chris Blackwell for building out STR Studio in several locations, including the newest one. And most of all, I have to thank all of you in advance for your support and contributions. So stay tuned for the date in February and come out to party with us!!!![/box]

Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando

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Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.

 

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Holiday Fun

Kingsized Holiday Fun! Big Mike is Back at the Variety Playhouse!

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Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Lil’ Santa and other special guests, bring tidings of comfort and joy with their signature glitz and glamour in what has become a tinsel-time tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages 90-minute show features your Holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more!

Photo: Emily Butler

We caught up with Big Mike to ask a few questions.

TBB: Big Mike! It’s been a couple years since we had the pleasure of seeing you perform live. We are so excited to be back in Atlanta and we are ready for this show. What can you tell us about this years event?

Big Mike: Welcome back to Atlanta, Ange! We’re also excited to be in town for another wild and wonderful Holiday Jubilee. We like to honor the tradition that the Jubilee has become and don’t mess too much with the format. You can expect the always magnificent sounds of the 12-piece Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll orchestra performing your favorite holiday classics and the dazzling Dames Aflame dancers providing the glamour. The show is all about holiday nostalgia, whatever that means to you: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Donnie Hathaway, The Grinch, Rankin Bass, Peanuts, the Dreidel Song? It’s all in there.

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Music Gallery

Turkuaz at Aisle 5

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Brooklyn based funk band Turkuaz played at Aisle Five in Atlanta last week and here are some shots from the show!

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