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Mark Gus Scott (Trixter)

Interview with Mark Gus Scott from Trixter
by Jean-Francois Poulin at 21 January 2018, 3:39 AM

The line on the horizon of Glam Metal faded unfortunately a long time ago and when the dust settled, not many bands were able to survive the unforgiving storm. A few bands were able to continue but many bands were left in the dust. You had a lot of underrated bands back then and it would have been nice for them to continue but plans changed. I have the privilege of talking to a member of one those forgotten early 90's band, Mark Gus Scott from TRIXTER.

-Metal Temple Writer Jean-Francois Poulin

What brought upon the salute to America's Military Heroes shows? What makes it that important to you to follow in the footsteps of musical acts, comedians that have entertained the troops since the days of the second world war?

Playing for our veterans is something that started a very long time ago. Ever since I was in junior high school I would march in the Memorial Day parade with my high school marching band in my hometown of Paramus New Jersey. At the end of the parade, as the lead trumpet player, I would perform Taps as a salute to our fallen combat soldiers. On Veterans Day, I would also perform Taps at the infamous George Washington Memorial Park Cemetery to honor fallen veterans. It all started 30 years ago. To me it's just natural to keep doing it. It's one of the few things I feel I an actually offer. Trixter has always had a soft spot for our military and civil servants. One thing is for sure, when we played a military base on tour, there was no crowd that was more rocking! No crowd that appreciated seeing the show more. It is my honor to serve them. They are some of the people on this earth that get the least respect and deserve the highest. Play for them, I believe it's the least I can do.

You are putting out a new EP this Thanksgiving called ''Christmas Miracle'', what made you want to record a Christmas Classic? And I know all proceeds are going to Hope 4 Kids International, what do they offer as a charity? / You have done a bunch of charity work throughout the years, any charity that really holds a great place in your heart?

To tell you the truth, I really had no advanced plans to record a Christmas album. All the other guys were involved with ancillary projects. I was doing some Soundtrack and special effect sound work for a video game called The MonkeyKing with Pete Loran, the singer for Trixter. Now, when you spend the better part of your day being creative in making sound effects, it will work your brain. So while we were taking a little break, Peter said, "Hey Gus, go get the trumpet from your car and let's see what this thing sounds like." He put up a couple of microphones in his two-story foyer and he recorded me playing for about 15 minutes. Cut. We sat down in the control room and he started to tinker with the sound. After about five minutes of tinkering, we looked at each other and was surprised at how good it sounded. I had recorded trumpet in the studio in the past, (I actually played trumpet on A song called “Nobody’s a Hero” on our second album, “Hear!”), but never as a lead voice… always background.

So the question in my mind was, what the hell was I going to do with it? More recently I was listening to many different versions of the song Ave Maria. It came to my attention because it was prominently featured in the TV show The West Wing as well as used in the video promotion of the movie Hitman. Being classically trained, I was always familiar with the song since youth but really starting to embrace it much later. The voices that we typically used in recording the song were very angelic. Lord knows I can't sing. But what the hell would it sound like if I play trumpet on it? So I built a backing track and laid the foundation with Pete. Then came the moment of truth. I had to use the trumpet to sing the vocal line over the backing track. First time ever did something like that. I recorded half the song and immediately told Pete to cut. I had to hear what this thing is gonna sound like. We listened back while Pete tinkered with the controls. After two minutes, we looked at each other and knew we were onto something.

But what the hell was I going to do with it? Pete said I should get some more songs together. I said, "by the time I get all of this material together, it will be Christmas!"

Ah-Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

That give me direction. One thing is for sure, there's no shortage of beautiful Christmas songs to put together an album for the greatest time of year with the greatest soundtrack.

100% of the proceeds from Ave Maria will be donated to Hope 4 Kids International. Since 1973, they have been providing aid for children all around the world that have been afflicted in so many ways. They dig wells around the world to bring fresh water to poor villages. They find families for children with lost their parents. They gather sponsors from around the world to support children in need… And 90% of the donations go to the cause. Truly amazing! The staff at Hope 4 Kids aren’t just office workers. They all support kids and sponsor them. They all take the trips to places like you Uganda, Mexico and the Philippines to meet these children and work with them face-to-face. A true investment in the cause. It is one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever been privileged to be involved with. What an amazing feeling to help a child in need and truly make the world a better place.

I gotta talk about TRIXTER, it wouldn't be a full interview if I didn't delve in the past! How did the band come about in 1983 in new Jersey? You replace Mike Pane only after one show, were they any open auditions or were you approached before that by the band themselves?

Pete Loran and Steve Brown formed the band in 1982. The first show was in 1983 with drummer Mike Pane. I was the lighting guy. After hearing them rehearse for the first time, I knew something was up and it was special. I had to be a part of it. When Mike prioritized college over music, that was my shot. There was an audition and it came down between me and this other guy. I guess the other guy fucked up and I got the gig. Bare in mind, I was 16 years old at the time. Becoming a member of Trixter was the greatest thing in my life.

You guys have opened for the likes of POISON, KISS, SCORPIONS and WARRANT, any cool road stories from your time with these guys?

Road stories….. that seems to be the one question that gets asked most often. Not trying to sidestep it, don't really have anything to hide. It's just very strange in the sense that it's hard to tell what happened in story form. Something happened every day. It became part of life. Extraordinary circumstances around every corner. Did not necessarily have a beginning, a middle and an end. Doesn't always lend itself to telling in a story format. From sharing a bottle of tequila with Jani Lane in the back of a limousine where women would be slamming their bodies on the car, to late night drunken parties in hotel fountains, to orgies in the back of the tour bus, yeah, That's your typical rock 'n' roll tour story. It all happened. Sometimes it's the craziest stuff that you never expect that really bends your head.

There was this one time, on the road in the Midwest. Just got done with sound check. My friend and I (very hesitant to mention my friend’s name in such an instance) came out to find two very attractive young ladies hanging out by the bus. We stopped and said hello and the women expressed an interest in going on the bus with us. We were happy to oblige. My friend took the one young lady to the back lounge and I was left in the front with the other young lady in the front lounge. There was no one else on the bus and we locked the front door, curtains were drawn as to not allow sunlight to bother us (yeah, you get it). The young lady I was with begin to kiss me. I was more than happy to kiss her back. Things started to get deeper and sensual. I was truly enjoying myself. She appeared to be enjoying our time together as well. All of a sudden, she bit my lip with great force. I was somewhat surprised as I believe I tasted blood. Next thing I knew she took her hand and slammed it against the side of my face. We started wrestling on the ground and she commanded that I hit her. I said I couldn't possibly do that. So then she slammed her hand against my face yet again with greater force and commanded once again that I hit her. When again I would not oblige, she bit me even harder. At this point, I really wanted to hit her. I never hit a woman and wasn't about to start. I found myself in a very strange position. All of a sudden something went off in the back of my head. She was trying to set me up. I immediately yelled for my friend from the back of the bus to come up and that the girls had to go. I always wondered what would happen if I made a different choice. Probably would've changed my life. That's just one instance.

I remember the first time I went to Denver, Colorado. I had a buddy living out there who is a weapons instructor for the Marines. I met up with him and he took me to a convenience store where I got a bologna sandwich, bag of chips and a 9mm pistol all in one place. I thought that was amazing! He then took me up in the Rocky Mountains where he taught me the finer points of pistol shooting. It was beautiful out. The Rocky Mountains are one of the most beautiful treasures America truly has that most people have not had the opportunity to explore. And here I was, outdoors, eating my bologna sandwich and shooting a gun. All of a sudden, I look over my right shoulder and a police officer is driving by 20 feet away with his window open, I had my gun fully exposed shooting down range at a target outside in open view. I immediately said to myself, “I'm screwed!” The police officer put his hand out the window, extended it in my direction and began to wave. “How are you doing fellas!” he exclaimed. I couldn't believe it. What you can go to jail for in one state of this great nation is a perfectly acceptable action in another. Shooting in a state like Colorado is just a part of every day life where if I pulled the same stunt in New Jersey, it would've made major headlines. And not in a good way! God Bless America! So many other amazing experiences, very hard to think about putting them into a story.

You had the legendary EDGAR WINTER appear on one of your songs off of ''If Looks Could Kill'', how cool was that for you guys to have him participate on ''One More Time''?

Always an honor to be associated with someone that has a great reputation like Edgar. The man can play! Unfortunately, I was not there for the session.

In 1994 you guys pretty much went your own ways. I know Glam Rock was on its last legs according to many, do you think the uprising of Grunge Metal led to many of the bands just disbanding?

Very interesting how a series of events led to Trixter disbanding. Please bear in mind, it did not happen overnight exactly. It all started back in 1991. We had three number one videos on MTV. Our third video, “Surrender”, was #1 on MTV for two weeks when MTV made a conscious choice to abolish dial MTV and the Top 10 countdown. We were the last number one video ever to be played on MTV. As a matter fact, we were never played on MTV again. We went from 15 weeks at number one on MTV to no MTV airplay at all. What was even stranger to us was that we were on the road with the Blood,Sweat and Beers Tour (Warrant, Trixter and Firehouse), playing in places like the World Amphitheater in Chicago and selling it out to 33,000 people, but yet we were cut from MTV. It did not make any sense to us whatsoever. But apparently, MTV had a bigger plan in mind. They were going to take what was alternative and make it mainstream and take the mainstream and make it alternative. By 1994, Gringe was in full swing and command the airwaves and bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and yes, Trixter, somewhat fell by the wayside. Subsequently, we lost our record deal, lost our agent, had no management and it was difficult for us to develop a plan to sustain. I quit the band in January 1995. The guys disbanded later that year. I would venture to speculate that there were similar instances in other bands as well. Things are hard enough to succeed when times are good. When times are bad, you better get on the ball.

In 2008, you guys came back after an almost 13 year break, what made you guys want to go back together and start this journey again? How awesome was to have that first hometown show in almost 13 years?

One thing is for sure, I remember flying home after leaving the band. I remember thinking to myself, this is a great start for the big come back. I think we all knew that one day we were going to put it back together and have a triumphant return. And that's just what we did. Our first show back was at Rocklahoma and we literally brought the house down. A major storm struck the festival at the end of our set and literally brought the two side stages collapsing down to the ground. Thank God no one was killed. Sure did generate a lot of buzz though. We continued to play numerous festivals opening for bands like Poison and the band Boston, selling out big shows and playing hard! Selling out a big hometown show in celebration of our triumphant return was most gratifying. Lots of press. Lots of attention. It was nothing short of awesome. We were back with a vengeance!

Putting out our first studio album since our return, New Audio Machine, debuted at #56 on iTunes. Trixter was back and we were coming to kick your ass! The idea that we got an opportunity so long ago to do so much was truly a gift from God. To do it all over again, there are no words…

What did you guys learn about yourselves, personally and musically after all those years away from the stage?

One thing is for sure, we are the same idiots that we were all those years before. I must say, I see differences in all the other bands that we played with back then. Seeing them today, I see a change in the individual members, their attitudes and how seriously they take themselves. I guess we got older and have grown as well.  It has been a true honor and pleasure to experience friendship with these people and to see how they have grown as individuals throughout this whole journey. Truly a treasured experience that I hold close to my heart.

I know you guys headlined the Rockingham Festival in October 2016, any other plans in the near future for you guys in TRIXTER?

I cannot begin to tell you how awesome Rockingham in England was. To fly away to a distant country because they request your presence. To go there, take the stage and kick their ass! Something truly amazing about that whole experience. Not only the people we touch, but the people that have touched us so close to our heart. Certainly eager to return and explore other distant lands that we have yet to conquer. There's much for us to do. I look very excitedly towards the future…



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Edited 20 February 2018
 

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