If Scott Franson were a brick and mortar structure, he’d be considered an OBX landmark. Like a lighthouse. Not only is he talented in a plethora of ways, he’s very opinionated with respect to how he views music and his place in it — that’s because he has a story to tell. Sure, as a looper user, I respect his choice not to use it as a tool, but I admire the fact that he doesn’t, because he’s talented enough not to use it at a tool.
Q: If you’re not a native, what brought you to the Outer Banks?
A: We came to the Outer Banks when I was a kid on vacation. I came here for a weekend when I was almost finished with music school; here I am over 20 years later, and still here.
Q: How would you describe your music?
A: I play mostly acoustic music when I'm out at a public job. My goal is to try to play something the people in front of me will enjoy. It’s not at all about me in these situations.
Q: Who is your greatest musical influence?
A: Anybody who has the drive and willingness to put in the time to do it well inspires me. Watching a beginner make drastic improvements motivates me to do the same. I also find it very inspiring running a recording studio; in this environment I get to bring peoples dreams and auditory “visions” to life.
Q: What is it about music that touched you?
A: When it gives me goose bumps. It can be any type of music, almost...no rap or opera please. From a live sound engineer’s standpoint, I get to really see how a live band’s performance can affect the audience, and if I am doing my job well, this touches everybody.
Q: What was the first concert you attended?
A: Joe Walsh. A friend of my brother’s parents won tickets, and I wound up going also. It was fun, but my first Grateful Dead concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in 1983…that blew me away.
Q: Are you self-taught?
A: Yes, and no. Aren't we all self-taught in addition to whatever else we pick up along the way from everyone around us? I had private guitar lessons my senior year in high school, in Northern Virginia. I also attended Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond and earned a BA in performance of Spanish/classical guitar, with a minor in piano.
Q: Besides guitar what other instruments do you play?
A: Bass, piano, drums, mandolin, Pro Tools. Yes, I consider my self-taught knowledge of Pro Tools to be an instrument.
Q: How many different musical projects are you involved in?
A: Currently, only one with other musicians. A trio called King Tide. A King Tide is when there is a simultaneous full moon and high tide. The band consists of me on guitar/vocals, Shaun Oakley from Venice, Florida, on bass/vocals, and Jimmy Flower from Mahopac, New York, on drums/vocals.
Q: Musicians usually play for those “moments” when everything clicks. Do you have a favorite?
A: Whenever I make someone happy… that’s my moment. It only takes one. I got a note in my tip jar the other night that said: “You're amazing! I love your guitar playing and singing! You made my day! Salad girl #1.” That made my whole week. There was over $100 in the tip jar that night, but it was the note that was special.
Q: What do you do in the off-season?
A: I run a recording studio, The Ranch. I also provide live sound support and do this year round. This winter, I plan on spending in the Sarasota Florida area working with my King Tide trio and also providing live sound. Maybe working in a studio there.
Q: Was there a person that motivated you to pursue music?
A: I had a few friends in elementary school who played and got me interested. Also, I have an older cousin who is a multi-instrumentalist. He was in the Air Force. He took a Gibson SG and a Pignose amp on the planes. I thought that was cool.
Q: If you could perform with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
A: Duh…Jerry Garcia.
Q: Is there a song you wished you'd written?
A: “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.
Q: If you could choose one time period in which to perform music, what would it?
A: Here and now. I love the technology. I sound better than ever using today’s gear.
Q: Do you listen to new music?
A: I listen to whatever I am working on in the studio, mostly. I am really liking Chris Stapleton, lately.
Q: Did you ever consider quitting music?
A: Nope, I just adjust as it changes. Wear the musician hat, the producer hat, and the live engineer hat. As my body gets older, I will do more production and less playing.
Q: McCartney or Lennon?
A: Straight up refusal to pick one.... they both have their good and bad points. Maybe for the same reason, when I'm asked at a show what I think of the mix, my standard response is: “It's live music, just enjoy it.”
A: Robinson High School Battle of the Bands, Fairfax, Virginia. We were called Equinox. The drummer and I were in 10th grade, and the bass player and other guitarist/singer were in 8th grade. I did my first solo acoustic performance at Wilmers Park in Maryland in 1986.
Q: When you write a song, is it positive or negative inspiration that drives you?
A: Both, they usually just come to me. I just catch them as they pass by when I can.
Q: Do you have any hobbies that aren’t music-related?
A: Yard work. Beach. Sleep. That's a hobby, right?
Q: Your favorite album?
A: Rolling Stones, “Exile on Main Street.” Every song gives me goose bumps.
Q: Your favorite song?
A: Too many to nail this down, and I'm easily distracted, so it changes daily. But, today I like "What Are You Listening To?" by Chris Stapleton