SCREAM & SHOUT with CORETTA SCOTT
Based out of Spokane, WA, Coretta Scott has just released their debut CD on Rise Records. Entitled Scream & Shout, the tunes found within are sure to gain these guys a good deal of attention well beyond the rainy Pacific Northwest. Here is an interview we conducted with two of the members of this up and coming band.
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Coretta Scott, and how long the band has been together?
Seth: My name is Seth Woodward and I sing for Coretta Scott. We have been a band since February 2004.
Preston: I play guitar and a bunch of other various tasks.
Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?
Preston: Coretta Scott is based out of Spokane, WA. Spokane is a smaller city, so the music scene here is kind of all over the place. There is no strong sect of a scene for any genre of music, so at any given show you will get a pretty eclectic mix of people. This can be both a very good thing and a very bad thing sometimes.
What made you decide to use the name Coretta Scott? And why not The Widow Jenkins?
Preston: Unfortunately, there is no real story behind our choosing of the name Coretta Scott other than the fact that it has a certain "ring" to it we all liked and (for more obvious reasons) it is a name that demands respect and dignity. However, there is somewhat of a story about the name change. The name change came about when we were just starting out as a band and had decided on the Widow Jenkins as our name. One day, I got an email from a couple members of another band named the Widow Jenkins threatening legal action for stealing their name! Haha, we couldn't believe it! We had both gotten the name from a low-budget, children's Christian film called the Buttercream Gang, but apparently they had it first.
Any story behind the album title Scream & Shout?
Preston: When we were deciding on an album name I really wanted something that would not date us to this era of music. Although we are inevitably tied to the modern scene of music, we do always try to be as unique as possible in everything we do. Instead of a long, dark and ambiguous "emo" name ("my heart bleeds in cold tonight", etc) we wanted something that encourages people to remember what it was like to be happy and just love music. I think we found that in Scream & Shout.
What is it like to be Fashionably Depressed?
Seth: I would never have the nerve to come out and say I understand the hearts and intentions of all the youth of today. Instead of being a pointed finger, this song is meant to be more of a raised eyebrow. Like what have we become? It feels like all of a sudden there is this huge competition to see who is the most damaged. Everyone is now a cutter, bulimic, abused by their dad, emotionally unstable, etc, etc. Of course some of these accounts I am sure are valid. Because of that, I think itís so disrespectful to those who actually suffer from these afflictions, that kids do it for attention, or because it sounds cooler to have suicide-note style quotes and pictures of themselves photo-shopped in the shadows with their bangs in their face and expressions like a beaten dog and some "woe is me" caption on their MySpace profile when they are living in their parents basement in upper middle-class suburbia and have little to complain about.
There are also a ton of other underlying themes to this topic. Like whatever happened to taking responsibility for your life and not putting all the blame on your folks and society? "Whhaaa, the world owes me this, the world let ME down." These lyrics are also for me. I have my own inner-demons I face everyday and singing the answers to myself helps to keep me remembering what is really important and to try and stay away from the self pity and selfishness that is so easy to get sucked into.
Preston: The theme of this song also echoes a lot of things this band was founded on such as taking responsibility for yourself and working hard instead of complaining. Basically, if you don't like where you are, make your life better. I am proud of Seth for his lyrics on this one, since I feel like they do a great job of speaking for all of us.
What is most significant about Jefferson St.?
Seth: Jefferson St. is a song that represents a lot of what our band stands for. The actual street is where Preston resides and where we practice. It was home to several late night get-togethers where kids from the scene would hang out and trade stories and dreams. It came to be a clubhouse to those who dared to dream bigger than "9-5" and standard definitions of success.
Preston: The ironic thing is that I just moved out of the Jefferson St. house yesterday. I was sad to go, because the band started at that house and we had a lot of memories there. It was also happy, though, because in a lot of ways I think it is another signal of the great changes to come.
Where do you get the ideas for some of the other lyrics?
Seth: I like to tell stories with my writing. Sometimes very specific, but other times ambiguous enough that the listener can fill in their own proper nouns and mold their perception of my words into whatever they may need at the time. If you listen close enough to this record, I would hope you would have a good understanding of what kind of person I am. How I feel about God, fear, over-consumption, family, love, self-image, my friends, and death. Growing up, some of my favorite singers were so gifted at describing human emotion, that I was convinced I knew them and they knew me. We were actually friends and they would never let me down. I want to be that to someone.
What was it like opening for Coheed & Cambria?
Preston: It was great. There were a ton of people out at the show day, so it was a great opportunity to get our name out even more.
For those of us who have never been, what was Tomfest like?
Preston: Tomfest is incredibly fun because it really is like a short summer camp. If you are there for every day of it, you just have a blast because your only real responsibility after your set is to hang out with friends and listen to a ton of great bands.
Speaking of Tom, do you think that My Space is the great Satan of the 21st Century?
Seth: MySpace is like money. Itís just a tool. People are the ones who can make it evil or not. Itís how you use it. For a small touring band like ourselves, MySpace is a very powerful form of promotion and advertisement. It gives us a chance to connect with kids all over the world and share our music with people who might not have otherwise heard it. I can see why some people might find it evil. How it is set up, puts a lot of the focus on judging people on aesthetics and not the inner qualities that are of more importance.
Preston: I can't complain, because tons of people have heard of us from MySpace. I think the only real evil to it would be the addiction and obsession some people have with it. However, you can't really blame a website for ancient human problems. Most things are fine in moderation, some people take it too far.
Which member of Coretta Scott is most likely to leave the band and join up as the newest addition of the Backstreet Boys?
Preston: I think Josh would be the easy answer, but I'm actually going to go for a long shot and say Mikey. Mainly because I have never seen a man so happy every time he gets his daily tour per diem. I have a feeling he would get paid a lot more with the B Boys.
Have you ever played in the Los Angeles/OC area or plan to do so in the future?
Preston: Yes, we have played the LA area on two different tours now. We will be back at the end of October, so check our website or MySpace page for specific show dates.
Why should someone rush out right now and pick up the new Coretta Scott CD?
Seth: ĎCause gas costs $3 a gallon and we drive a thirsty dinosaur. Or you could buy it because you believe that rockíníroll isnít dead and you like to shake your butt to some cowbell, ripping guitar riffs, and brutally honest, straight-from-the-heart vocals.
To you, what has been the best and worst part about touring so far?
Preston: The best part of touring is the mere 30-45 minutes on stage you get every night to prove yourself to a crowd and feed that performing desire that we musicians all seem to have. The worst part is most of the other crap you have to put up with to get there. Haha, it's actually not that bad, but there can be those days where you have to try to not get down. We are lucky enough to have a lot of friends around the U.S. who care about us, so we always seem to be taken care of.
Any final words of wisdom?
Preston: Have a kewl summer and don't change for anyone! Also, can you sign my yearbook????
CORETTA SCOTT Links
Coretta Scott: Their Official Home Page!
Rise Records: The Record Label for Coretta Scott!
Coretta Scott on Myspace: The Official Myspace Page!
The Highwire Daze Home Page: Return to the Main Page!