Tuesday Three: Scott Bolasci of The Sans Alabaster Group

The Sans Alabaster Group is a band of close friends from New Jersey. While Sans features members of Rye Coalition, the two bands are only alike in their passion and skill. Sans bring the amps down a bit, but turn up the reverb and stretch out the groove. They?ve just finished their first recording session, and I can tell you that the result is very impressive. A 7? can be expected soon.

MP3s for your pleasure:
This Isn?t Red Leicester
Solitude

Known to his friends as “Scottie Bee“, Scott Thomas Bolasci is a fine, fine man, and a fine, fine drummer, and he’s taking part in this week’s edition of the “Tuesday Three.”

If you’re new to the game, here are the rules: Recommend three albums; one from 2004, one from 2003, one from whenever. We then ask our participant to answer three questions.

Scottie was very excited about the whole idea. When I sent him an e-mail last Friday afternoon asking if he’d be interested, he responded right away, saying that he felt honored. He went home from work that night, and started writing. Monday morning, I found this in my inbox:

2004: There were so many great albums that came out this past year. Some of my favorites were Sonic Nurse by Sonic Youth and A Ghost is Born by Wilco but the one that stole my heart was an album that was never released legally. The Grey Album by DJ Dangermouse is one of the most creative albums I?ve ever heard and just blew my mind. My friends all know how much of a Beatles fan I am. They are the most amazing band EVER. Combined with Jay-Z was just insane. To me, it was a door opening into a world I had never been before. I appreciate hip-hop and old school rap, but this album made me understand it and soak it in. Not only did he sample songs but he took specific hits and progressions and just amplified it to match the lyrical content. It wasn’t the cheesy Puff Daddy remix or just taking a song?s chorus and rapping in between, it was dissected over and over again until the perfect sounds were constructed to make an overall masterpiece.

2003: Again, another year where we saw a lot of great bands doing some interesting stuff. We saw Sevenious unleash Weird War and Dischord had one of my favorites, El Guapo, but I will stick to my old favorites. Blur released Think Tank and the Breeders released Title TK. Two albums that were and are greatly overlooked. It was a shame that Blur had to include a song like Crazy Beat on that album to appease the label pressure of having another Song 2. That song totally disrupts the flow of the album. When I first put on the CD and heard the song Jets, I almost lost my mind, incredible. On Title TK, Kim really perfected her style. The Amps album was always one of my favorites and I always anticipated a follow-up. Title TK delivered that low-fi garage rock fix I needed. The songs are so perfect, even when she purposely comes in late with a guitar part or messes up a vocal. She is truly amazing. The songwriting on both these albums far exceeds what anyone could ask for. I am a fan of structure and these really deliver, reinventing the simplest chord progressions with unique rhythm accompaniment.

ANY YEAR: I could fall back on The Beatles or The Stones or pick some other classic rock album that I grew up on that influenced me more than any other band in the world but I will go with what I have in my car right now. Due to the fact that I drive around in an 89′ Jag that only has a cassette player, I am forced to either make a compilation or drag out a tape from a bag that sits in the trunk. The one tape that gets constant play is Cypress Hill‘s self-titled first album (1991). I don’t know what it is about that tape. No matter what mood I am in, that tape just fits right in. I find myself letting that cassette go round and round for hours. Every time a song comes on, I feel like I am hearing it for the first time. Sometimes I force myself to switch up with some other cruddy cassette I have or I make a comp one day, but before I know it, I have the Hill back in, rapping my ass off with the boys. Maybe it is the fact that they mostly sing about weed and violence, two intriguing topics and concepts for me.

QUESTIONS

1. What are three things you want for Christmas?
Honestly, I don’t even know this year. We were in the Bridgewater Mall the other night and we walked into a Lego store and I remembered how much I loved them as a lad and thought that I would like to get toys again for Christmas. They have a Star Wars Lego set that is amazing. They have the At-At and the Millennium Falcon all in Lego. It looks like so much fun. Maybe an external hard drive for my Mac or a wireless mouse. I don’t know. I am bad like that. When I want something, I buy it, so I really don’t need anything at the present moment. I like watching other people get gifts and be happy, especially children. Christmas is for kids. I would like to have a kid so I can live it through their eyes all over again. A kid would be the best present.

2. Please list two things most people don’t know about Sans Alabaster Group.
Hmm… None of us has ever been to jail and we are all retired superheroes. We also demand to play for no pay, but I think that is a joke.

3. Please give one piece of advice on how to keep creativity flowing strongly within a band.
The main thing is to always have an open mind. Go with the best idea, not the cool one or the one that you think is the ace in the hole. Do not be afraid to rework ideas until they are right. Change is good. Do not limit yourself to one style or classify yourself.

Be open with your band mates. Let them know what you are feeling and what you think. Communication inspires growth. Being in a band is like being in a committed relationship. You have to be honest with yourself and those around you in order to release what you have inside and that inspires creativity.

There is a tremendous amount of pressure and hard work involved in taking four different views, combining them all together, and making one complete idea. Then you have to take that idea and present it in front of an audience and believe in it enough to sell it to them. If you are not being honest with yourself and do not believe whole-heartedly in what you are doing, the audience will know. They are not stupid. They feed off of you and you from them and that helps inspire you to go back and try to create something even better for them and for yourself. That is what keeps the creative juices flowing.

Scott Bolasci is the drummer for The Sans Alabaster Group.

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