A Power Trio Playing Rockin' Blues

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The sound of the John Scott Band bears an uncanny resemblance to the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan. It's not just because their style of blues entices you to dance rather than flounder in self-pity and drown your sorrows -- it's because if you heard the band while blindfolded, you'd wonder if you were experiencing a divine visitation from the deceased performer.

"I have a little connection with him (Vaughan)," Scott said. "I think it's because I learned to play listening to his teachers, his mentors like Albert King, and this is before I had ever heard Stevie."

Scott's parents had a deep appreciation for music. His mother, folk and country, and his father, blues and rock. By age 8, he was playing guitar to the records his parents had given him.

In 1980, Scott moved to Phoenix and began playing with talents like Hans Olsen and Joey McCall. Scott has also been a studio guitarist on projects such as Blues Today, Vol. 2 and David Lewis.

The John Scott Band is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist, John Scott, bass player and backup vocalist, Desi Walker and drummer, Tony Menegon.

The band performs an eclectic mix of blues not only consisting of several Vaughan cover tunes, but also songs by Jimi Hendricks, Ben Harper, and even some originals.

"A power trio playing rockin' blues is how I like to describe the band," Scott said.

Scott's wireless guitar allows him to mingle with the audience as he plays. At their previous show at the Buffalo Bar & Grill, he went back to the kitchen to entertain the cooks.

"When I get out there in the audience I just do whatever comes to me," Scott says. "I saw one of my buddies in the audience who plays guitar so I handed him my guitar to play -- then another guy tapped me on the shoulder and wanted to play."

Walker, the top hat-wearing bass player, is a native of Arizona and began playing professionally in a band called the Silver Sonics by the time he was in junior high school.

One highlight in his career was playing bass for LeeAnn Rymes at the Texas Motor Speedway and on the Disney Channel's "Live from Disney World."

Walker also played on TNT's tribute to the Rolling Stones in which he played lead and rhythm guitar for many different artists and was a contract musician for Capital Records.

"I met Desi when I first got up here," Scott said. "He was one of the first bass players who auditioned for me. I was blessed to find him. He is an accomplished player."

Menegon has studied under premier drummers such as Clive Huff and Don Moio in Phoenix, learning Latin and funk styles. After playing with such bands as the Silver Star Band, Endorphin and Code Blue, Menegon discovered that Scott's style of aggressive blues was just what he was looking for to reach a new level of playing and master a new style.

"Tony's the best, man," Scott said of the latest addition to the John Scott Band. "He's well disciplined and he has a hunger to learn. I'm really glad I found him before someone else snagged him."

These musicians all have day jobs as well.

"We're moonlighters," Scott said, laughing.

Scott is known as "The Tub Guy" and repairs porcelain and fiberglass bathtubs, sinks and countertops. Walker is serving in the Orkin army, ridding homes of pest infestation. Menegon can be seen motoring along at 4 miles an hour with a line of cars behind him, in the town street sweeper. Yet, when the sun goes down, these working guys transform into a trio of skilled musicians.

Scott, the musical Tub Guy, is also a family man, married nearly 15 years to wife, Lori, and father of 21-month-old Jonathan.

"My wife is truly my inspiration in every sense of the word," Scott said. "She is the best."

Those interested in experiencing a performance of the John Scott Band can usually catch them two Fridays a month at the Buffalo Bar & Grill, 311 S. Beeline Highway.

Scott emphasizes how the Buffalo, formerly the German Cowboy, has changed since its new ownership.

"The atmosphere has completely changed," Scott said. "It's clean, the people are really nice and the food is awesome."

This Friday, Scott will be sharing the stage with blues legend Long John Hunter at the Buffalo Bar & Grill.

Scott met Hunter down in Phoenix and played with him at a gig on New Year's.

"I've played alongside some real blues guys, but this guy is the real deal," Scott said. "He's 70 years old and just funkier than funky -- he's all soul."

Friday, April 11, Hunter and Scott will be stopping by the KRIM (98.6) studio with John Carpino at 1 p.m. and then performing at the Buffalo Bar & Grill at 8 p.m.

Legendary blues artist performs this weekend

Legendary Chicago blues artist, Long John Hunter is coming to Payson to perform with local blues musician John Scott.

The Los Angeles Times called Hunter "one of the blues' best kept secrets ... a topnotch singer, guitarist and unbridled wildman performer -- a raw feral talent bursting with energy."

Living Blues called Hunter's "Ride With Me" "one of the year's finest blues releases." Hunter's 1996 release "Border Town Legend" was met with glowing reviews from the Chicago Tribune and many other national and regional publications. The Boston Herald said that "Hunter embodies Texas Blues in all its varied, roustabout glory like no one on the scene today."

Hunter, who prefers Phoenix winters to Chicago's, will be coming to Payson on Friday, April 11. He will be performing in the afternoon on KRIM (96.3) with John Carpino and beginning at 8 p.m. at the Buffalo Bar & Grill.

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