Keith Scott is known for his work as the guitar player of Bryan Adams. We asked Keith about his work with Bryan Adams, as well as about playing guitar.
Interview / Text Mamoru Moriyama
Translation Tomoko Kikuchi
Canadian rock musician, Bryan Adams is known for his numerous hits since the 80s. Keith manages to bring out the best of Bryan’s music on the guitar, and has supported him on numerous recordings and tours throughout the years. Keith has a magnificent guitar tone and utilizes a superb sense of melodic phrases, as well as having a great rock feel when playing rhythm guitar.
We have also received comments from Bryan Adams himself on Keith. Be sure to check out Bryan commenting on an episode of Keith at a DEEP PURPLE concert, which shows Keith’s great passion for the guitar.
<Bryan Adams’s comment on Keith Scott>
Ted Nugent once described Keith Scott as a real stabber…we have laughed about that description for years. Like all great guitarists keith has a passion for his instrument, all you have to do is roll tape (roll pro tools) and watch an instinct take over. I knew keith and I would become life long friends when I discovered he attended the same Deep Purple concert as me, but even more so when we were discussing the moment that Ritchie Blackmore reached down and pointed his guitar over the crowd and Keith grabbed the guitar out of his hands! Legendary…
Muse On Muse : Please tell us what made you start playing the guitar and how old you were then.
Keith Scott : I was about 14 years old and i had many friends also interested in playing guitar.. of course the beatles and the 1960’s pop phenomena was part of my interest too.
MM : Which musician/guitarist did influence you then?
KS : In the begiining people like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix were a big influence on me.. but so were many jazz guitar players..thanks to my father’s interest in jazz.
MM : What kind of practice did you do to improve your guitar playing then? What kind of music did you play in band then?
KS : I mostly learned by ear..listening to records of all kinds of music..but I also played flute in my high school band. so that helped me with reading music and playing in a large group.
MM : Please tell us your story/memory when you first started working as a professional guitarist.
KS : My first experience went something like this..I was just starting out with a group of high school pals and some other musicians came to see us play at a local church..they asked us to open a club show in the city later that month..after our set, the leader of the group asked me to audition for their group..they wanted to fire their guitarist! I passed the audition and worked around the country with them for several years.
MM : How did you start working with Bryan Adams? What was your first impression of him when you worked with him for the first time?
KS : I first met Bryan while he was singing for another band. We exchanged phone numbers and some time later he asked me to perform with him.. I found him to be energetic and focused on a career.
MM : Your guitar solos on Bryan’s albums are amazing. Your sound follows the greatness of his melody and has melodic/impressive development. Do you improvise your solo or plan before playing?
KS : The solos on most of the cd’s are a combination of things..in the early days of recording.. I would be asked to record a solo or part on the demos that Bryan and his partner Jim Vallance were making.. when the time came to make the record we would usually follow the demo idea..but once in a while I would luck out and get a solo on the first take..
later on that process would change and would vary but the best reward was to get a solo on the first few tries.. I was able to get that done on every cd for at least one song or two.
MM : Bryan has many great songs that are impressed by rhyme guitar. For example, the intro of Run To You (arpeggio), It’s Only Love and Someday. There are recognizable impacts at the beginning of those songs. Bryan’s name is on the credit of recording as rhyme guitarist. Is there any input from him when you are making guitar riffs and composing melodies?
KS : In truth, the ideas for the songs you mention came from Bryan and Jim initially.. in some cases I played the riffs from the demo on the end recording.. such as
“run to you”. in other cases Bryan would play it again. and as always Bryan will suggest ideas for both the solos and rhythm.
MM : What do you keep in mind when you play lead guitar and rhyme guitar?
KS : The thing to keep in mind is that there are a few other players on stage and more importantly, a very good singer! so I try to stay out of the other’s way as best I can.
MM : Bryan had straight/simple/strong rock sound which expresses big scale until Into the Fire. I think the sound got more accurate/detailed since Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who has produced Def Leppard etc, joined the production. How did you feel about the change of sound and work on it?
KS : At first I was not sure about how the new partnership would sound.. it was only after I worked in a room with Mutt Lange for many months that I understood what his craft was about..the experience was tremendous and I have a lot of respect for him and his music ideas..plus he is a great person!
MM : It is remarkable that Robert John “Mutt” Lange makes the detailed sound with many guitars and solid chorus like a Def Leppard. How did the recoding go when he produced Bryan?
KS : The time spent was the most that I have ever spent but I never worked harder and I never enjoyed the experience of recording more.
MM : You have been playing the guitar for Bryan for years. Have you changed the equipment such as guitar, amp or effector during those years? If so, please tell us which equipment you used and when it was.
KS : In the beginning of the recording days..I only had a few guitars..so our sound palette was small and limited..we used the gear we toured with and that was about it..over the years we aquired more and more guitars and amps so we were able to employ many more tools to enhance the sound.
MM : What kind of factors would you consider when you pick the guitar? For example, sound, appearance, and feeling.
KS : Hard to say why you like the feel of an instrument but it can vary from day to day..mosty if a guitar is comfortable to hold and play then the sound can be coaxed out of it.
MM : Also, how do you pick the amp and effector?
KS : Just a feeling that something may work..if not we try something else and hope that we are happy with it!
MM : What did you think it was the most important thing to create the sound for Bryan’s album?
KS : On the first records we always had top notch engineers to help us with sounds.. that made it easier for us but over time our ideas were changing.. so many different ways to make music..so we constantly look for ideas from other people or experimenting.
MM : The Fontanas sounds like surfing music. What kind of concept do you have in The Fontanas? How did you guys form The Fontanas?
KS : I have always liked the sound of 1960’s surf style guitar..so when the chance came to try to record something like that I jumped at it..a friend who worked in film had started the idea and we finished the cd together…we named it the fontanas after a few glasses of wine.
MM : Have you considered creating a solo album to express your amazing lead play which can be heard in Native Son or (Everything I Do) Do It For You?
KS : Not really because those solos were created for a specific time, song and singer.. also that was a time in my life which suggested I play like that.. is it possible to make that sound again? maybe but my interest lies somewhere else.
MM : What is your recent work and future plan?
KS : Recently I have been writing and recording my own music which is made of many styles..there is a few fontanas cd’s to be finished as well as an acoustic cd to finish too.
MM : Please give some advice for the guitar players who admire you and wish to be a successful guitar player like you.
KS : Most inportant is to just go with what feels good to you..try to listen to all styles of music and study as much as you can about every kind of music ..and create as much as possible.
MM : Please leave a message for your fans in Japan.
KS : We have been so fortunate to be able to travel to japan since 1983..almost 30 years ago! so much has changed but still we always enjoy our visits there..also we see many japanese fans in every part of the world at our concerts. so looking forward to visiting there in the new year. Oyasumi nasai! Arigato!