Questionnaire: Scott Tournet of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Welcome back to JamBase's baker's dozen to the bright lights of the music world. Last time we heard from Big Light.

While it's hard to tear one's attention away from the heavy breathing, gospel-tinged, rising hemline leader of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, any red blooded rock 'n' roll fanatic will likely snap their head around to guitarist Scott Tournet. His playing demands one's focus, the sort of beefy, fast streaming, foot-on-the-amp style that made ears prick up when a young Marc Ford joined The Black Crowes in 1992. There's also more than a touch of genuine guitar heroes like the young Eric Clapton and Rory Gallagher, not to mention modern innovators like Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Nels Cline, in Tournet, who provides a lot of the muscle in the Nocturnals, where he's increasingly savvy about the ways of pop-rock picking.

However, for a real dose of contemporized denim 'n' suede rock one needs to explore Tournet's other labor of love Blues & Lasers, where he's joined by fellow Nocturnals guitarist Benny Yurco and the pair shows off what fine, fine songwriters and singers they are in addition to the smiling shredding throughout. With no disrespect intended towards his work with Potter, it's in Blues & Lasers that one recognizes what a heavy hitter Tournet is, a craftsmanship-minded musician with a slippery, gently adventurous edge who writes the kind of songs Thin Lizzy and Robin Trower would have killed to pen back in the day. Blues & Lasers' sophomore album, After All We're Only Human, released in May, is a commanding set that establishes the group in a very tangible, exciting way. It's a far cry from the latest self-titled Grace and the Nocturnals album, showcasing Tournet and Yurco's grittier, free-flight sides in a wholly satisfying way. Like Tournet himself, it smacks of great things to come while being perfectly freakin' tasty in the here & now. (Dennis Cook)

Here's what Scott had to say to our inquiries.

Scott Tournet with Blues & Lasers
Instrument of choice: voice, pen, guitar, harmonica, effects, noise, soul

1. Great music rarely happens without…
Honesty to yourself. The music or lyrics themselves don't need to be specifically "honest" though. Look at Zappa or Townes Van Zandt. They both made shit up, but they were completely honest to their vision and art.

2. The first album I bought was…
The Greatest American Hero theme" vinyl. I'd put my cape on and sing along until one day my whole family caught me doing it. I was mortified - my first encounter with "public opinion".

3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
It's been out for a while but Spiritualized Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space really got me. That's the kind of album I continue to aspire to make.

4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
A cowboy or a professional baseball player. Got to have options.

5. My favorite sort of gig is…
Headlining in a theater that holds anywhere from 500-3,000 people. The sound is great, the audience all have good enough seats. You get to play for as long as you want. Love it.

6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
Hmmm…some people already know, but I hope that in the next few years more people will find out that I'm more than just a guitarist. I feel honored that people listen to any music that I'm a part of, but I really want more people hear my songs/lyrics. I used to only want to be a guitarist, but in the past 8 years or so I've had a burning desire to be heard as a songwriter/lyricist. Within my musicianship, I hope more people can hear that there's more going on than just blues rock/classic rock. I get lumped in that vein a lot and a lot of my looping, noise, sheets of sound stuff, harmonica, lap steel, etc. gets overlooked.

7. I love the sound of…

8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. Hendrix was my first love and I feel a very, very strong kinship with him. The mainstream just thinks of Hendrix as this wild/drug taking guy who played the guitar with his teeth and played the "Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock. He was so much more than that. Jimi was so overlooked as a singer/songwriter/lyricist/producer. Electric Ladyland has everything - great songs, dreamy moods, amazing/ahead of its time production, genius guitar playing, tasteful/eccentric instrumentation, etc, etc.

9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
The catering at the Greek Theatre. The chef is Italian and she cooked up incredible pasta with red meat sauce and garlic bread, salad and the works. And then came the cheesecake. Out of this world. I was still burping during the show.

10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
The south. People down south are not afraid to get down. I love it.

11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is…
Losing track of the days and the place that I'm in. Also stopping all communication with my friends and family. I usually lose my cell phone halfway through tour.

12. The Beatles or the Stones? Por qué?
The Eagles. They can fly.

13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
Two trannies and a midget...I'll leave the rest to imagination.

Blues & Lasers Tour Dates :: Blues & Lasers News :: Blues & Lasers Concert Reviews

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Tour Dates :: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals News :: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Concert Reviews

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