Behind Scott Allen Project`s "III"

Hi, and welcome to my guided tour of the new album by Scott Allen Project. This is our third full length album so we quite cleverly decided to call it "III". The Roman numeral means it is extra cool! This album was really an extension of the records that preceded it while taking everything up several notches as we artists are wont to do. It has the slamming production of the first album, "What Lies Beyond Words", as well as the same band members with the exception of Marty Cresci who played the solo on the song "The Clock Is Ticking" on that record. It also has the ferocity and melodicism of "From The Blindside", meaning it has all of the elements found on its predecessors. It is in my mind the best work we have done to date, at least until the next record! Let's get to it shall we?

Track 1 - What Lies Beneath

I always like to start a record with a bang, and this one sure delivers. I wanted it to have progressive elements but I also wanted it to come on like a freight train. I believe we achieved that on this track. I would describe it stylistically as a blend of Yngwie, Jeff Loomis and Dream Theater mixed with a little Joe Satriani. It has the influences of all of these artists without necessarily sounding like any of them. I am particularly proud of the interplay between Tom Kinney, Brian Frost, and myself where each of us is interpreting the music in our own way while still having it work on every level musically. I have to admit it though; this is not exactly a subtle way to start off the record. You can hear it streaming here.

Track 2 - 5th Street Strut

This song features me playing all of the rhythm guitar parts with two handed tapping. It has a traditional tapping part for the main riff but switches to chordal tapping on the chorus. It is highly melodic with some excellent fills from both Brian and Tom (on bass and drums, respectively) which give this song a slightly fusion-y sound at times. The rest is straight up hard rock. The solo on this one was highly influenced by Eddie Van Halen and a great forgotten guitar hero named Vito Bratta. I wanted it to have a great vibe but to really grab the listener and take them for a ride. This song is also streaming on the band website.

Track 3 - River Of Time

For some reason I was feeling especially tappy early on this record as the main rhythm guitar on this track is all tapped artificial harmonics and the solo rhythm is all harp harmonics ala Eric Johnson. This song probably is the closest thing to a fusion tune I have ever done. It is highly melodic with the melody inspired by the fact that as we move through the years, life is like a river in that it moves relentlessly forward no matter how we might want to stop and get off from time to time. The notes I am playing express the feeling of trying to be in the moment and feel everything as it comes. Kind of deep but that is what the melody says to me.

Track 4 - Into The Light

This track is about courage, and more specifically selfless courage. Like a firefighter that runs into a burning building or a mom who jumps in front of a speeding car to save her children. Another image that came to me is our troops facing death every day to help protect our country. The title means that they are willing to go to the light to do what is right with no regrets. On the musical side, this tune is a pretty rockin' one with some very Ronnie Le Tekro inspired riffs and some blazing solos. Highly propulsive and melodic.

Track 5 - Shake It

This is the most optimistic song on this record, it is unapologetically positive. It is about the looking at a hot girl and saying "C'mon and shake it baby"! Pretty deep huh!? This tune has some interesting modulations as it switches moods and is mainly focused on the melodic content. The solo is highly influenced by Joe Satriani and Neal Schon who happen to be two of my favorite players of all time. I am actually never able to tell who was influencing me when I play a solo; it is only after the fact that I am able to say who it was. One solo in particular happened on the song "A Girl I Once Knew" from "What Lies Beyond Words" and it wasn't until a couple of years later that I listened to it and said, "This is so influenced by Phil Collen from Def Leppard"! Listen to that solo and you will see what I mean!

Track 6 - Dreaming

This song is a ballad that I had demoed initially to be included on the first record but left out because I felt like that album would be too ballad heavy. I am glad I left it out now because that gave me time to write a new melody that is much better than what I had originally done. The solo on this song is one I am really proud of because it flows nicely. The tension we are able to build between the drums and guitar make the tune extra special. This song is a welcome breather on a pretty heavy record.

Track 7 - The Texas Way

I would be willing to bet that you could tell who influenced this song without me saying a word. But since it is so obvious I will tell you anyway that the great Billy Gibbons inspired this tune. I remember exactly where I was when I wrote the main riff as it was the library at Musicians Institute. I was plugged into a little Mesa Boogie headphone amp and I found myself playing this riff that sounded suspiciously like something ZZ Top might do. I loved it and more than a decade later it has made it onto my new record!

Track 8 - Inside Out

This song is a straight up ripping heavy metal tune. It has a pounding riff and the licks are flying fast and furious all over the place. There are some cool dynamic changes from section to section and a very hooky harmonized melody in the B section. This one is probably the most straight up rocker on this record.

Track 9 - My Aching Head

I always like to strive to have a good bit of diversity on my records and one of my biggest influences comes from the world of thrash metal in the form of Megadeth. This tune has elements of Megadeth, early Metallica and Savatage. The arpeggio sections are highly influenced by the great Marty Friedman. This is another song I wrote at GIT in one of the rehearsal rooms and it was played live by us as far back as '99. What appears on this record however is very different than what it sounded like back then. This version is much more refined.

Track 10 - Echoes Of Eternity

This is a song about the futility of legacy. Meaning that even the greatest of all of us in the end leaves no lasting legacy; even if our legacy lasts a millennia or two, in time we are all simply echoes in eternity. That might sound kind of like a downer but what it really means is to live in the moment and realize that the right here and now is all that is promised to you. On the musical front I was making a conscious effort to not play any more notes than are necessary. After the fact, I realized that there is a little Jeff Beck influence on some of the solos on this tune, which is never a bad thing! This is a very introspective way to end the record and say to the listener see you next time.

I hope you have enjoyed this look behind a record I am incredibly proud of, and I hope you take a few minutes to go to to check out a couple of tracks and see if I was accurate in my descriptions. Thanks so much for reading this and rock on!

Scott Allen is a 1996 graduate of the Musician's Institute, G.I.T. He currently teaches guitar to 65 to 70 students weekly at Northridge Music Center.

His latest CD is entitled "III", featuring his impressively fluid playing, with a style marked by an incendiary sense of phrasing.

Scott Allen