Scott Bradoka

I play guitar and mountain bike...

Here's a recent interview from Music Web Express:

SCOTT BRADOKA 
Never Been Cool
(Speechless Music)


Among the most underrated and under-recorded guitarists in America today, Scott Bradoka calls his 2013, 17 track CD collection Never Been Cool. Just that name alone conjures up all kinds of perceived detriments, yet in a concerted effort to bring his name back into the limelight, with Never Been Cool, Bradoka has put together a well-rounded collection of remixed archival tracks from the past fifteen years along with several newly recorded tracks. For guitar buffs who have followed his career over the past decade, you can't really mention the name Scott Bradoka without at least mentioning the name Eric Bazilian, the singer-songwriter who turned rock fusion guitar instrumental advocate when he teamed up with Scott for his 2003 album Create Your Own Reality. Even though Bazilian made his name as the singing guitarist / composer of the rock group The Hooters back in the 1980s, joined in 2003 with Bradoka the two achieved a rare balance of musical muscle and compositional integrity, a combination that made for truly ground breaking musical history, most notably on Bazilian's instrumental "X2000", a track that was featured as the crown jewel on CYOR. If you had to pick one of the greatest instrumentals that captured the intensity and the passing of the greatest generation and the passing of the torch into the great unknown it is "X2000". Looking back on working with Bradoka on Create Your Own Reality, Bazilian recently told mwe3.com, 'Of all the records I've been involved in this is actually one of my favorites. Scott was amazing and inspiring to work with." And when further questioned about about other great tracks he and Bradoka worked on Bazilian adds, 'They really are, and I made a conscious effort to let Scott's voice as an electric guitarist stand alone, though I did end up playing a solo on "X2000". It was a blast playing all those bass, sax, keyboard and dobro parts." Another great Bradoka / Bazilian work of sonic art that was another highlight of CYOR is a unique sounding instro rock version of the Brian Wilson / Beach Boys song "California Girls". We all know Brian loves jazz so, even though it's ten years after, he's well advised to groove out with Scott and Eric. One must also applaud Bazilian's excellent sax work on that track. There's so many great songs on Never Been Cool and, while it's super hard to reach the sonic nirvana of"X2000", you might want to reword that after giving a listen to the sonic grandeur of a new track here entitled "Mojado" which is a personal favorite, I'm told by Bradoka. The new tracks including "Mojado" were recorded with Steve Kalafski (on second guitar), Bradoka co-composer Glen Radomski and long time Bradoka band drummer Scott Williams. Of course in addition to "X2000" and the new tracks, there's plenty of Scott's great jazz-rock instrumentals on hand here including "Black Crayon" and "Friends", another two highlights with Bazilian. A solid combination of guitar based instrumentals that merge jazz, rock, fusion, funk, hip-hop, soundtrack sounds and more, Never Been Cool is proof that Scott Bradoka has always been cool.

mwe3.com presents an interview with
SCOTT BRADOKA

mwe3: Scott, great to talk to you again. What's new in the guitar world and the music world for you in 2013? How have you been for these past three or four years? Seems like the whole world has undergone a major transformation since early 2009. What do you make of the craziness in the world these days? (lol)

SCOTT BRADOKA: Hi Robert, always great talking to you! I'm doing well. Yeah, things are crazy...scary, even...but we all have to keep on going! I've got this band, dubiousWISDOM with guitarist Steve Kalafski, bassist Glen Radomski, and drummer Scott Williams, that I'm working on recording a new CD. I'm having a blast being a guy in a band right now!

mwe3: Your 2013 best of CD Never Been Cool is a perfect best of synopsis of your recording career to date. Why did you put the CD out, how did you choose the songs and why did you call the CD Never Been Cool, especially as most guitarists and fusion fans seems to associate you as being among the coolest guitarists around today.

SCOTT BRADOKA: Ha! I'm not sure ANYONE thinks I'm cool, but thanks for saying so! Actually, I think I'm considered the antithesis of cool!! I used this CD as a way to transition from where I've been with my solo work into what I'm doing now and where I'm going with dubiousWISDOM. Three of the tracks are from the first dubiousWISDOM EP.

mwe3: Were there new songs recorded or remixed for the Never Been Cool CD. You mentioned how much you liked the outro to track two "Mojado". Where was the track recorded? I see you had a second guitarist with you on that track, Steve Kalafski along with Glen Radomski on bass.

SCOTT BRADOKA: The tracks from my old CDs were remixed for this project, and there are four new tracks, three of them are from the dubiousWISDOM EP. The idea with the new band is to be very in the moment...rhythm tracks on the dubiousWISDOM tracks are all recorded live at Signal Sound and then the melodies and solos are overdubbed at my joint, The Bang Palace. It was a quick process. We tracked six songs in one day and then took a day for the overdubs.

"Mojado" came about as I had been listening to a lot of Aerosmith at the time we were writing and decided I needed a real riff oriented track. Then, while writing the other tracks for the EP, Steve Kalafski had these cool chord changes that we didn't get to develop into a song, though we since have for this next CD. I've also been listening to a lot of country lately and Keith Urban's got a track called "Stupid Boy" where you think you're at the end of the track and it just brilliantly transitions into a great guitar piece much like some of those amazing Dire Straits records. So I kind of stole...or borrowed that idea and we tagged Steve's changes at the end of the "Mojado" and we did a nice dynamic build...I'm proud of that one. Really proud. I've gotta thank Aerosmith and Keith Urban for inspiring that one!

mwe3: The song that Eric Bazilian wrote and that was featured on your 2003 solo album Create Your Own Reality, "X2000", that's also featured on the new CD, is one of the greatest guitar instrumentals of the first decade of the 21st century. What I found amazing was that the song only features you, Eric and drummer Scott Williams. Do you feel that song is your trademark song in some ways? It has such a futuristic, almost fatalistic kind of feeling, like a space march into the great unknown kind of feel. Can you speak a little about "X2000" and the guitars featured on that track too?

SCOTT BRADOKA: Wow...thanks for the kind words! I still love that song. It was a great time for me. I had just built my studio, so I was blindly experimenting with everything. Eric wrote the song and was kind enough to let me record it for the CD. Ya know...when we recorded Create Your Own Reality, I really thought we were sitting on a gem. Unfortunately, the rest of the world didn't see it that way. I am so thankful that a few people, yourself included, got what we were trying to do. I'm pretty sure I played my 1965 Strat and Eric played an old Rickenbacker Combo 800. "X2000" continues to be one of the crowd favorites at shows.

mwe3: Speaking of Eric Bazilian, what's he been up to lately? Do you guys keep in touch? Last I heard he was living in Sweden. Can you recall how and when you met Eric and you two decided to work together. I miss the breakthrough instrumental music like you and Eric did back in the "X2000" days.

SCOTT BRADOKA: Eric's doing well. He just released a killer CD with Mats Wester...they are going under the name Bazilian/Wester. Between that gig, The Hooters and whoever he's writing with on any given day, he's always busy. He's a great friend and I've learned so much from him over the years.

mwe3: Another song you worked with with Eric Bazilian "Black Crayon" is quite melodic. Who plays with you on that track and can you add something in about that amazing track and the guitars on it? It has such an uplifting feel to it.

SCOTT BRADOKA: That's one of my favorite tracks. A friend, who has a rather dark personality, told me how her grandmother said she always different than the other kids and when coloring, she'd always pick the black crayon. That just struck a chord with me, so I wrote the song about it. I think it's just Eric and I and a young bassist named Tom Bosch, I think he was 17 at the time. I'm thinking it was my first 1956 Gold Top Les Paul on that track.

mwe3: "Friends" also has a great circular kind of melody with you and Eric sharing the guitar sounds. Can you speak a little about the guitars featured on that track?

SCOTT BRADOKA: "Friends" is a fun track to play. Eric played some cool rhythm guitars on that track and I love what he played on bass...much to the dismay of Glen Radomski as there is this one quick run where Eric doubles what I'm playing and now Glen has to recreate that live every night! Haha. I think I played a James Tyler guitar that I no longer own on that track.

mwe3: "One Of Us" is another one of your trademark instrumentals. "One Of Us", which is another amazing Eric Bazilian song, was originally a vocal track made famous by singer Joan Osborne. When did you realize that song would make an amazing instrumental especially with such an unusual arrangement? I can't believe your version isn't listed in the "One Of Us" cover versions on Wikipedia. Can you say something about how you recorded the super tremolo guitars on your version of "One Of Us" and what guitars are on it?

SCOTT BRADOKA: Eric had suggested we try that song in an odd time signature. Definitely sounds different! Jeff Golub plays some fantastic guitar on there, too! I think I played my '56 Gold Top on that one as well. The tremolo parts were done on the trem channel of a 1963 Vox AC30. I've gone back to using that effect lately. I love how organic it sounds…cooler than a pedal. I also remember using my 1968 Marshall on the solo.

mwe3: Speaking of very unique guitar instrumental versions of classic songs, your version of "California Girls" is the best version of that song I've heard outside of the Beach Boys original. Interesting to note Eric Bazilian's great sax solo in the middle of that song. You guys sound possessed on that song! Did Brian Wilson ever get to hear it? Who's idea was it to tackle that song as a jazz-rock instrumental and what about the guitars on it?

SCOTT BRADOKA: Eric's idea again. Funny thing about that...as I was playing the solo, Eric was sitting next to me and would randomly hit the tremolo bar...so I guess we both played that solo! Haha. I used his 1957 Strat on that one. I don't know of Brian Wilson ever heard it...probably
not!

mwe3: "Fried Milk" is an interesting name for a song. (lol) It seems kind of funky but there's a wealth of power chords in play too. What about that song? Is that a more recent track? Both "Fried Milk" and "Acid Wash" were composed by you and Glen Radomski. Both seem to be quite powerful fusiony kind of tracks that sound inspired by Jeff Beck, who you also have toured with as well. Have you spoken with Jeff recently? What did you think of Jeff Beck's latest albums?

SCOTT BRADOKA: Glen brought in both of those tracks as bass lines and then I wrote changes and melodies around them for the dubiousWISDOM EP. They were fun to work on. Glen is a great friend and I love working with him. He's into the Dream Theater type stuff so it pushes me in directions I may not have naturally gone. The last time I saw Jeff Beck was about two years ago over in Germany. His playing always amazes me. He is the master!

mwe3: The Never Been cool CD closes out with a great track called "Freaks" that also features you, Eric Bazilian and Scott Williams on drums. There's some great effects on that song and of course the guitars sound great as well as the backwards tape loops! What inspired "Freaks"?

SCOTT BRADOKA: That track was originally called "Centered"...then I got that voicemail that opens the track right around the time we recorded it and the rest is history. We used some of the message in the track and changed the title. That's a fun track to play live!

mwe3: Any new developments on the guitar front? Is your book of your guitars, My Collection still in print? How has the guitar market been for you overall? Any what guitars are you currently most interested in, both vintage guitars and new guitars as well and what guitars are you mostly playing these days? How about other gear you're big on these days?

SCOTT BRADOKA: The book is no longer in print. It was really meant to be a 'demo' so to speak, to try and get some interest in doing a proper book. The vintage guitar market, as with most things is down right now, but it's good if you're buying!

Most of my collection consists mostly of vintage guitars from the 1950s and '60s, though I do have some cool newer pieces as well. Some of my main guitars are 1956 and 1959 Les Pauls, 1957 and 1958 Stratocasters, and a 1952 Telecaster. Some of the newer guitars I'm playing are by James Trussart, Duesenberg and Kelton Swade. My main amps are two 50 watt plexi style heads one built by Bob Smith and the other by John Suhr. Also some old Vox AC30s. Effects are minimal...mostly overdrive pedals by Pete Cornish and Wampler and then some time based pedals like a Phase 90, Flanger, and delay. It's all pretty simple.

mwe3: Are you still into biking to keep you occupied outside of music these days?

SCOTT BRADOKA: Yeah, I'm still WAY into biking. If I'm home, I'm out on the trails five or six days a week. Nothing clears my head like a good ride!!

mwe3: How about future plans as far as your writing, recording and also performing new music. When can we expect an album of new music?

SCOTT BRADOKA: We are currently writing the next dubiousWISDOM CD and I hope we'll get in the studio and knock that out in the next few months as soon as everyone's schedules allow and then we'll get out and support it. I'm hoping we will have it finished in the third quarter of 2013. I'm loving everything about this band right now. It just feels right.

I'd also like to explore a vocal project in the near future, whether it means putting something together from scratch or me joining a project already in progress. I just saw a friend if mine who owns a label while I was in Los Angeles last week and told him he needs to sign a middle aged band that needs a middle aged guitarist! Haha.

Discography: Never Been Cool (2013) dubiousWISDOM (2012) Everything (2009) My Collection (2009) All You Want From Me (2008) Live and Loose (2003) Create Your Own Reality (2003) Pulse (2000) Swamp Party (1997) Without Words (1994)

 

Various Quotes:


"best live guitar fusion album of 2003!" -Robert Silverstein, 20th Century Guitar

"Scott Bradoka's guitar is as true a voice as any in contemporary music... and more believable than most." -Eric Bazilian, Grammy nominated songwriter, The Hooters, Joan Osborne, Ricky Martin

"Scott Bradoka is an extremely sensitive guitarist, displaying a keen touch to go with a rich, bluesy tone and impeccable phrasing and timing. I look forward to hearing more from him." -Alan Paul, Guitar World

"Guitarist Scott Bradoka won over lots of guitar fans with his first three solo albums including two sets produced by guitar great Carl Verheyen. On his latest album, Create Your Own Reality, Bradoka is joined by the gifted producer and multi-instrumentalist Eric Bazilian and the result is Bradoka's most accomplished and melodic album yet. Kicking off an atmospheric fusion jaunt entitled "X2000," Create Your Own Reality proceeds with an impressive range of modern, high-tech guitar instrumental terrain even including a rockin', jazzy instrumental of Brian Wilson's classic Beach Boys melody "California Girls." Trading off hot guitar licks and sharing compositional credits on a number of tracks here, Bradoka and Bazilian receive like-minded support from drummer Scott Williams and there is even an appearance from guitarist Jeff Golub. In the spirit of guitar masters like Beck, Morse, and Howe, Create Your Own Reality is a near perfect sounding and thoroughly inventive guitar instrumental album." -Robert Silverstein, 20th Century Guitar magazine

"Scott Bradoka's brilliant third release, Pulse, puts him right along side some of his heroes and contemporaries like Jeff Golub, Carl Verheyen, Craig Chaquico, Steve Lukather, and Richard Smith as one of the leaders in the contemporary guitar field...this recording is full of catchy melodies, tight funky rhythm parts, impeccable tone, interesting and focused compositions and solos, and some tight ensemble work from the supporting musicians. With an additional twist, the fun factor, which is something that is lacking on many instrumental recordings.

"Overall, this disc is a very excellent recording from one of the freshest voices on the modern guitar scene and it certainly says that as a guitarist and solo artist Bradoka has plenty to offer the world of music, and hopefully more to offer in the future." -Darin Scott, Tune-Up Magazine

"Though Bradoka is in complete control of his instrument, playing with a smooth mastery, he rarely hits the listener over the head with his prowess. Instead, he fits his guitar into a set of well-arranged instrumentals, often trading licks with producer Carl Verheyen. Bradoka certainly has what it takes to follow Verheyen's path to session-musician success, but his spot-on playing, excellent melodic sensibility and knack for penning hummable lead lines also indicate that he could blaze a path through smooth jazz radio." -Alan Paul, Guitar World

"Scott Bradoka wields an axe to watch in the very rich and growing power rock-jazz crossover..." -Hilarie Grey, JazzTimes

"He is an extraordinary musician, someone who could be called an acrobat of six strings." -Roberto Guarnieri, Millerecords, Italy

"Scott combines a clean contemporary jazz sound with exceptional musicianship to create a very enjoyable variety of material. Bradoka possesses the same smooth sound and technique heard in the playing of guitar greats Robben Ford and Eric Johnson." -Mike Haid, Fuse Magazine

"Scott Bradoka is one of the hottest young players out there. His maturity, fluency in many styles, and his compositional flair are way beyond his years. As a player, Bradoka has embraced studio guitar legend Michael Thompson's three T's - touch, taste, and tone, and as a stylist and composer, Scott has absorbed the concepts of the top fusion and studio guitar titans and made them his own...this is pure inspired music at its best." -Darin Scott, Tune-Up Magazine

"...great melodies, mature solos...Swamp Party is the perfect album to listen to early Sunday morning. It goes well with OJ and the morning paper." -Dale Titus, Bass Frontiers

"This album (Swamp Party) will appeal to all fans of tasteful guitar playing and is a highly recommended addition to your collection." -Carl Roa, Guitar 2001 Magazine

"Bethlehem guitarist Scott Bradoka has a real heart, if Pulse, his latest disc from Speechless, reveals anything about him. ...Bradoka creates a mesmerizing mesh of rhythmic sound that lets you relax while exulting quietly in the feel of the life force pumping through your veins." -Dave Gaskill, The Morning Call

"Bradoka skates across musical genres, spinning a rich fabric of jazz/fusion styles that leaves colors dancing around your head...Bradoka creates melodies that linger like sweet dreams." -Todd Dawson, The Express-Times

"...reminiscent of Jeff Beck's albums from the 70's...a well produced, unpretentious album that contains enough licks to satisfy any guitar head, and avoids self-indulgence to satisfy everyone else." -Gerry Coleman, Sound Check Magazine

"...I can't imagine better music to listen to if one were cruising on a sunny day with the top down." -Andre Calilhanna, MAPPS Magazine

"Keep your ears open - Scott Bradoka has a lot to play." -Patrick O'Donnell, The Express Times

"Scott Bradoka's 2nd release, Swamp Party, spotlights this extremely talented guitarist/producer that is definitely hot on the heels of such greats as Eric Johnson and with a subtleness (that will soon explode) of Joe Satriani." -Alex Louazil-Graber, KOFX 90.9, Oakland, CA

"Scott's experience shines through in his music. It's not like anything I've ever heard before, and believe me...it's refreshing!" Tori Thomas, WZZO 95.1, Whitehall, PA

"In a time where most instrumental guitar music is a flurry of overplayed notes, shredding, and whammy bar hysterics, Scott Bradoka's music provide a tasteful alternative. Being a confident and sure fingered guitarist who lets the music breathe seems almost like an oxymoron today, but a listen to either one of Scott's CDs will tell the listener on no uncertain terms that such an idea is one within reach, and easily attainable for Scott. He treats the music with respect and makes for a great time listening. But I can still find fault...I wish the CDs were longer! I want more!" -Michael Anthony-Smith, WRVV 97.3, Harrisburg, PA

"Scott Bradoka's Without Words is an upbeat guitar album that begs to be played loud and often." -Mitch Barnett, Instrumentals Of Rock radio show

"This is one guitarist who actually paid attention in music theory class." -Lorraine Gennaro, Rockpile Magazine

"It's not about spotlighting his style, technique, or chops. It's about the way his music makes you feel when you listen to it. Without Words is a little bit of rock, country, new age, and blues all rolled into one." -Terry Wickham, Guitar 2001 Magazine