Too Good To Be Independent?
Scott Sudbury from Memphis/ TN, definitely fits the description as his new CD is making waves all over the world. Most internet retail companies such as AOR Heaven etc. do already have it in stock. His first CD "Static On My Radio" sold a truckload of copies, much thanx to internet and some really fine music (of course). His latest effort "Get The Picture" is one of the better independent albums out there, and it shows his talent as songwriter/guitarist/singer. A fresh approach to music yet with those retro vibes always in the background. This is probably what Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams, or why not Bon Jovi, would have sounded like... if they came out of this century's rock scene. Then again, Sudbury admits to be inspired by all the above... so. Nevermind, do read the below interview instead.

U - Maybe you could start with introducing yourself a bit. Who's Scott Sudbury anyway and beside music, what are you mostly up to? (hobbys, fun, etc).

SS - Hey everyone, I am a singer songwriter guitarist from Memphis Tn USA. I just released my second indie cd called "Get The Picture". I don't have a lot of extra time for anything these days except rock and roll. This is my business, hobby, and fun all rolled into one I guess. I try to ride my bike or run in between gigs to give me some exercise when I can.

U - What or whom turned you into a rocker in the first place. Any childhood memories with that special feeling of: "I'd like to do this in the future".

SS - We always had a lot of music playing around the house. My mom and dad both love it. There used to be a lot of festivals held in Memphis when I was a kid and my dad would take me to them. I enjoyed it, I got to see Muddy Waters, Albert King, Wille Dixon, BB King and people like that at a very young age. I remember seeing a festival when I was ten that had Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent , Billy Squier, Charlie Daniels, Molly Hatchet, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles etc on the bill. I loved it and thought wow this is fun. I never pursued it at that age, but music really started becoming important to me after that show. I was a track runner and a BMX kid. I actually made the Olympic Trials, but broke my arm racing bikes and didn't get to run. While I was recovering I rode my bike past this house and there was a kid playing Purple Haze on his guitar in the garage. I stopped and he showed me a lick and I was history. I was hooked. By the time track season came back around I was already playing in talent shows and garage bands.

U - Me thinks there's a lot of Rick Springfield in your music. Would you say that he's been a big inspiration of yours?

SS - I didn't get Rick Springfield when I was a kid. I was into the music that my older brothers and parents listened to and I didn't listen to him a lot. I had to re discover him later. I remember buying a greatest hits on him and getting it home and going "wow this guys rocks much harder than I remember, how did I not get into him earlier."

U - Yeah tell me about it! Exactly the same thing happened to me. I never cared much for Springfield as a kid and finally bought a greatest hits in my early twenties. How about other rock heroes or special rock albums from the past? and since you're living in Memphis... how about that Elvis huh?

SS - I like Elvis and a lot of the rockabilly stuff that you get exposed to living here. The blues history is just incredible also. I think I got an education on music history and didn't realize I was getting it just from growing up here. I was a huge Jimi Hendrix and Cheap Trick fan and then went through the whole 80's rock thing. I saw Bon Jovi on the New Jersey Tour while I was a kid in school and that was a turning point for me. The biggest eye opener I got was seeing Bryan Adams on the Waking Up The Neighbors Tour. I wasn't really a fan and my friend bought me a ticket. He came out in a t-shirt and jeans and kicked the crap out of me. I went home and said "Ok, I'm going to have to study now."

U - Your new CD "Get The Picture" do display a more "modern rock" approach than your debut (Static On My Radio). What made you change your music into this direction? Just a sign of the times?

SS - I don't really see it as a change. The songs still came from the same place for me. I recorded the Static On My Radio cd very quickly and without a band. It was done as a project for a friend taking a recording class at University. I came in with a drummer and I played everything else in a few takes and it was done. I never intended on it being a record. I was going to use it as a demo to find a band that wanted to play my kind of music. It just started selling so I kept printing them. Once I got the band of Alan Mullins (Guitar) , Pete Mendillo(Drums) and Keith Sudbury (living flesh on Bass) the songs on Static evolved once we played them live. When I wrote the songs for Get The Picture we played them in front of live audiences for over a year before we recorded them. I guess they came together as a live team instead of me playing everything like on Static. We didn't take too much time on Get The Picture either, a lot of it is us playing live. Alan Mullins produced this cd in his house and he is incredible. We had amps in the bathroom, amps in the bedroom, drums in the playroom and cords running all over the house so we had to do it quickly. Alan producing definitely made for a different sound. The band is so talented and I'm blessed to be playing with these world class guys.

U - Are you pleased with the result of "Get The Picture" and what about the response from people and reviewers, so far?

SS - Yes I am happy with it. I would love to be able to take my time on a record , but I am also scared that would ruin the liveliness of the sound. I think too many people are fixing everything with computers and it is robbing the feel of human emotion these days. The reviews have been very positive and that is great. I don't pay much attention to the American reviews but, even they have been good. For a long time I have been sticking to my guns with the kind of music that makes me happy and it finally seems to be connecting with other people. That is a great feeling.

U - Yeah, I must say that you've done some really catchy tunes here. How would YOU describe your rock sound, to a complete stranger in the street?

SS - I would have to say this is rock and roll. Fun, yet aggressive melodic arena rock.

U - The first track on "Get The Picture" is the Boy-meets-Girl story, "I'm Her Freak". There's of course a slightly twist here, do you care to give us the whole picture, thanks.

SS - I was listening to a lot of Blondie and Joan Jett when I wrote this. I can't find much inspiration in new bands. They all sound the same to me. When I get bored I dig back and try to discover something I may have missed. I wrote this song very quickly, kind of as an experiment. I have a bad habit of over thinking things and I beat myself up over them. I said "OK I'm going to write a song and finish it today, no matter how silly or bad it may seem to me, just write it now." This is what came out and I demoed the song the same day. The band asked if I had anything new and I said ,"Well I have this one thing but I don't know about it." I played them the demo and they said , yes you are a freak and we are using this. I said Ok.

U - In track two "Give A Damn", you also sing the line "I'm such a freak". Now really, what's up with that anyway and where did all these catchy do-do-do-do's come from?

SS - Thanks, I wrote this in the same week I wrote "I'm Her Freak". I liked the title of "I'm Her Freak" but didn't think I was going to use it so I put it in "Give A Damn". When I write, I often hum vowels and consonant sounds without knowing what the words are going to be then I write them later. I was trying to write words for the do-do-do-dos and thought, well that doesn't sound bad like it is so I left it alone. <>U - Good choice! How many slow songs by Bon Jovi did you listen to, before writing the smash-hit-ballad "If You Still Love Me", then ??? :-)

SS - That's great!!!!! I wish he would record it. I have an old acoustic guitar beside my bed and that is what I write on mostly, even the rock songs. I wasn't going for anything when I wrote that one, it just came out that way. I had a different rhythm in mind for it but didn't tell the guys what I wanted, they came in rocking on the chorus and I got goose bumps. I spent a lot of time listening to the New Jersey record when I was a kid, he and Bryan Adams are going to have to fight for the king of best ballads.

U - You've signed with a whole bunch of equipment companies, since we last talked in the 'Catchy Hooks' days. Can you tell us a little bit about those, and if it helped you much in any way? (note to reader - 'Catchy Hooks' was my first webzine in the 90's, it started out as a zine for independent rock only)

SS - Yes, we are getting support from D'Addario, Sennheiser, Hughes and Kettner, DW, Sabian, Pro Mark, Evans, Larrivee, Kyser and Gibson Memphis. It is an honor to have these manufacturers take notice of us and our hard work. There aren't a lot of signed bands with these kind of endorsements, much less an unsigned act, so for them to get behind it is awesome. These companies make the best equipment in the world and it feels really good to be able to play your dream gear every night.

U - You've recently showcased and talked with a lot of labels lately. How are things going with all that, and does things look bright or just so-so at the moment?

SS - We have been getting great response from the American labels since the showcases. I am interested in signing with a label that has international ties. I want to come over and play for you guys so bad. That is what I'm holding out for, I am determined to tour Europe. I can't wait. I would be interested in signing with a European label as well. I have just begun working with a guy that handles Elton John and Matchbox 20 and he is beginning to talk about Europe. I'm ready.

U - What's your opinion about US vs. The European rock scene today? And where do you better fit in with your music, you think?

SS - Well as you can see I'm very excited about the Europeans love for music. You guys should be proud of the way you stick behind your favorite artists. I think that is great and it says a lot about your dedication. Americans pay too much attention to what is supposed to be cool at the moment and when that moment is up your gone. When I first came out with Static On My Radio it got great reviews from you guys. You guys got it before anybody did, so I want to come to you first. Let me give an example, when Nirvana came out bands like Bon Jovi were written off as being too old in America. They didn't quit making great music, they were just considered uncool at MTV etc and people pay too much attention to MTV here. You guys never gave up on them, but it took America 10 years to re discover them again with the Crush record. It's sad for America that they miss out on such great music because America is so trendy.

U - Do you play many live gigs around and outside your home turf to promote your new CD?

SS - Yes, I play full time. I have no day job, this is it. I played 7 shows last week and I have 5 this week. I stay pretty busy. I try to do all the business during the day and play at night.

U - What's your opinion about the whole web thing and the use of MP3's?

SS - I think it can be a great thing for someone trying to get out there and it can be a bad thing for people who are signed and trying to pay back a record company. I don't feel like it is the reason for poor record sales. The labels are blaming the Internet for bad sales but I don't think so. Yes there are many cases where someone jumps on the Internet to download a new song they heard, but they usually check out the rest of the album as well. In the cases I am familiar with they go buy the record if it is good, if it sucks they steal the one good song. I think the labels need to be more careful about signing cookie cutter one hit wonders. Downloading hasn't hurt someone like Metallica or Robbie Williams nearly as much as it did chumbawamba or those guys who did the Barbie Girl song, know what I mean ?

U - Yup! What about all these lame rock webzine's, with all of their crappy questions then?

SS - Hey you rock and it is a pleasure to answer them !!!

U - Cheers mate! Do tell us a little bit about your future plans?

SS - I'm going to keep pushing until I get there. I am going to keep playing and hope this record reaches as many people as the last one. I have 2 more records worth of songs written and I am about to put my writing hat back on. I think it is getting closer.....I hope (fingers crossed).

U - If there's anything you'd like to say, add, or promote, Please do:

SS - Wally (Urban), you were one of the very first to give me a chance and a listen and I appreciate it. Thanks to you and Kimmo at Rockunited for helping me, it means more than you know. I have a website at and it has a lot of info, clips, etc and worldwide retail info on the "Get The Picture" cd and the band.

Thanks again Wally, hope to see everyone soon. All the best. Scott

Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallström, 2003
Photos borrowed from