I was born Scott John Damgaard at St. Joseph's Hospital in Milwaukee
Wisconsin to my proud
parents, Darrell Eugene (Ed) Damgaard and Jean Ann (Synstad) Damgaard (now Schuler).
I am a Scorpio who is half Danish, one quarter Norwegian, an eighth German, and
another eighth which is a mix of English, Irish, and Scottish.
Yes, I'm a mutt,
and I come from a long line of farmers, vikings, pirates
I'm a musician who sings and plays guitar, but once in awhile I'm all
those other things as well. I've moved around a bit, living in Wisconsin,
Iowa, Minnesota, California, and now Massachusetts. I've been to over
30 states in the U.S.A., as well as parts of Canada and Mexico, some of the islands around
Cuba, and several countries in Europe.
In the fall of 1988 I moved to Boston and since then I must've played
well over 2,000 shows, plus I've written
and recorded many of my own songs,
not to mention I also play and sing about 500 cover songs from Buddy
Holly to Bush and Beyond. In addition to playing solo shows,
I'm involved in at least three bands right now,
but I'll tell you more about that later...
I'm not really sure just when my love for music started, but I have
some pretty early music related memories. My friend Jeff Nord
and I had these toy plastic guitars when we were like 5 years old and
we would jam along to our dad's Glenn Campbell records. After I'd
moved out of the neighborhood, I remember visiting Jeff and we grabbed
our guitars and started twanging on the plastic strings. For some
reason, we couldn't figure out why it didn't sound like it used
to! We had thought we were pretty good on those things, too!
I watched The Partridge Family, The Jackson Five and The Monkees a lot,
and my sister Kim was getting into Donny Osmond. I remember my baby
sitter being amazed that I knew all the words to "I Think I Love You,"
the first 45 I think I owned, though it was probably my sister's. My
mom was into Neil Diamond and Dionne Warwick and she would play their
records every night. I got an AM transistor radio when I was ten and I
carried it with me everywhere I went. I can still remember holding it
to my head and singing along to "The Night Chicago Died!"
The real breakthrough came when my mom bought me a record player for
Christmas. I started buying records at used record shops and I was
trying to find out what I really liked. When my friend Scott Solda
played "Revolution" by The Beatles on the choir class stereo, that did it
for me. After school, I rode my bike to K-Mart and bought The Beatles
Greatest Hits from 1966 - 1970. After reading, "Helter Skelter" about
Charles Manson I had to get the White Album.
I started collecting Beatles' memorabilia and
understanding what made the Beatles stand out from the rest of AM radio
at the time. One day, my friend Mike Machuck said to me, "hey, let's
get guitars and form a band!" He bought a bass and I
bought a six string, and
our friend Tim Gravning already had some drums
and we were on our way!
The first of many guitars I ever owned was a $75 japanese model six string electric that
I got at the local guitar shop in Cudahy, Wisconsin, Bel-Aire Music, with my
savings from my job as a newspaper delivery boy. I'd show you a picture of it, but it got
smashed by my friend's sister, and then, well, it's a long story, so I won't get into it right
now. For my next guitar, I shelled out a little more, but I got a great deal on it. It was a
1963 Fender Jazzmaster that I picked up for $250, and that included
a VOX amplifier!
I learned to play by looking at pictures
of the Beatles and
trying to hold my hand on the guitar the way they did. If it sounded right, I'd play it, but
if it didn't, I'd keep trying until I got it. Eventually, I found a book at the library called 7,042 guitar
chords and I tried to learn every chord in the book. I got about half of 'em down.
I grew up in Milwaukee, which is a very meat and potatoes rock and roll town. Actually, I
moved quite a bit around the suburbs, from Milwaukee to a few places in Oak Creek to
Greenfield and then to a couple places in Cudahy.
The big bands my friends and I were into were straight ahead rock bands like Led Zepplin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who,
The Stones, Alice Cooper, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, The Beatles, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd,
The Grateful Dead, The Kinks and the like. Eventually, I expanded my horizons into all forms of music, but needless
to say, I've got a rock and roll heart.
When I first started playing guitar, my dream was to stand off to one side of the stage, play
rhythm guitar, sing back-up vocals, and once in a while step up to the mike to sing lead vocals.
Even then, though, I knew I wanted to write my own songs. One of the
first things I wrote was a lovely ballad to my friend's fish Frank who died. It was called
"Frank" and it went something
like, "Poor Frank, swam in a fish tank, Poor Frank, he died and he sank, Poor Frank, we loved
you then, but now your tank is blank, Poor Frank." It was a piece of work, believe
When Mike Machuk and I had a fallout, I joined another band with Joe Wasicka,
Bob Donnelly, and Tom Wier. I was reluctant to sing, so usually Joe
did the singing. The first songs we learned were
"Satisfaction" by the Stones and a Paul McCartney song called
"Smile Away!" Well,
they only had three chords!
By the time I graduated from high school I had played in a few bands,
including a Beatle cover band. Me, Joe Wasicka, and a couple other guys went in on a four track recorder
and we made some demos that I hope no one ever, ever discovers.
While dreaming of being a rockstar, mom and dad convinced me
to take the safe route and so I went
to college at The University Of Wisconsin - Whitewater
and got a B.S. degree. But during that time I met this kid named Kelly Unmuth, and
he convinced me I could sing and we worked out harmonies to every Beatle song we could
think of. We played lots of open mics and talent shows together. The
funniest thing we did was play at the Ted Mack Talent Show at the Dane
County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin in front of a couple thousand people.
Eventually, Kelly changed his name from Kelly Christian Unmuth to
Kelly Christian, went to California where he has a band and also works as a solo artist.
You should check them out sometime at www.kellychristian.com.
Even though I didn't have a band, I still wanted to play, and after a long personal struggle, I
got the courage to go on stage and play solo. It was nerve wracking at
first, but once I got through it I found I had the bug and from there I just kept doing it.
I was a feature singer in this show put on by the music majors at the
university, called "Celebration." I sang "Old Time Rock and Roll" in my underwear
with my dad in the audience. Yikes!
I started playing open mics every week and
getting into any kind of playing situation I could. Most of the time it was at parties where
most of my friends sang and played guitar and we'd all break out our guitars and have a big
jam fest. I even joined a southern rock tribute band for awhile,
but we broke up when the lead guitar player and his wife had a baby and we
couldn't rehearse in the basement anymore.
On a side note, I
don't know if this matters to you, but I also got involved in theater, acting in several
school plays. I did play acting on the forensics team, acted in some student-produced tv shows
for local cable access, and even worked out a comedy act where I juggled and rode a unicycle!
For yucks I would juggle a bowling ball, an egg and an apple, while eating the apple. Of
course I "accidentally" ate the egg every time. I used to be a long distance runner, too,
and at one point I held the world record for the fastest one-mile joggle (that's jogging and juggling
at the same time) at 4:36. I also ran a marathon when I was 16, finishing in 3 hours and 3 minutes.
After college, I headed north to Minneapolis where I joined a band called "Money," which was
taken from the Pink Floyd song. We did lots of Stones and r & b stuff.
The band didn't have too many gigs and I really wanted to play in front of people, so one day
I got the courage up to do something I'd always thought would be a cool thing to do.
I went to downtown Minneapolis where there's a street called Nicollet Mall.
Only buses and police cars are allowed down this street, so there is lots of pedestrian traffic
at lunch time, and likewise, lots of street performers.
So there I was, feeling kind of foolish, with my guitar case in hand. It took me about 30
minutes, but I finally opened up the case and propped it open against the wall and slung my
guitar around my neck. I don't remember the first song I played, but it was probably a
Beatles' song. Ka-Ching! Hey, I had some cash! Ka-Ching! More cash! Instant reward for
all of that time I'd spent practicing and memorizing music. I loved it! So about once or
twice a week, I headed downtown to get my music fix.
Then one day I got a phone call from Jim Henson's touring company for the live Muppets,
and Sesame Street shows, VEE Corporation. They wanted me to be a
muppet! No, actually, even though some say I do look like a muppet, this was for a "managerial"
job. They wanted me to be Kermit and Piggy's tour manager. Well okay, assistant manager, but
there I was packing my bags and selling my car, getting a storage unit for my stuff, turning in
my apartment key and heading off to tour the United States with a bus full of gay dancers and
smelly stage hands, putting on shows in arenas packed with 6 year olds and their moms.
What a trip!
Of course I brought my guitar with me, I mean, who needs a suitcase? Needless to say, I
travelled light. The tour lasted a whole year and we roamed from coast to coast. On a few
occasions I even was a muppet when someone was sick: I was a fish, an owl, and a big clock!
When the bug to play was getting to me, guess what I did? Oh, yeah, downtown I'd go, find a
busy street, pull out the old guitar and start singing my lungs out! I sang in New York,
Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and even Boston! What a gas!
After the year long tour ended, I'd decided I'd liked Boston quite a lot, and so
I packed two big boxes
full of stuff and boarded a plane. I immediately took a temp job and found me a band to play
in we named Buzzsaw Frizzbees. I still love that name. We played all original music and we
all wrote and sang. I finally was in a band where we just did our own stuff. We recorded some of our
songs and managed to get some of them on the local rock radio shows.
The drummer in the Buzzsaw Frizzbees was Lenny Scolletta, who would
later introduce me to John Krivit, Richard Mirsky and Tom Abbott.
time, I bought a battery powered amplifier so that when I sang in Harvard Square or Downtown
Crossing out on the street or in the subways,
I could be LOUD! Immediately my income increased and I found I could quit my temp job.
For about a year I played almost every day for tips, and in this time I learned quite a lot of
I invested in a small PA system, enough to play in small clubs with, and before you knew it I
was gigging on a regular basis. I had to leave the Buzzsaw Frizzbees, but that was okay because
I had written lots of songs and I wanted to put a band together that would back me up. I
started recording demos of my own songs with the help of John Krivit at The Sound Market. For
Christmas that year I handed out to friends 25 tapes of the five songs I'd recorded and called it, "Not
Then I packed a backpack, grabbed my guitar and my battery powered amp and boarded a plane for
Europe. I went from Moscow to Kiev to St. Petersburg to Brussels to Cologne to Amsterdam to
Budapest to Paris to Barcelona and back to Paris before heading back to the states. All the while,
I toted my guitar, and made money by playing on the streets, only over there they call it
While I was in Moscow, I recorded three songs with a band I'd met. These guys
were the best musicians I'd ever played with, and the recording engineer was one of the best in Russia.
In fact, I watched a live concert on television with some huge Russian rock band, and the next day
at the studio I found out it was this
guy who did the sound engineering. We recorded two songs of mine, and one song of theirs that they
had me write lyrics to. It was
pretty cool because they couldn't speak English and I couldn't speak Russian, but we knew the
language of music and we all liked vodka!
When I got back to Boston I recorded four more songs and compiled the twelve songs I now had onto a
cassette I called, "Dreams of Children," titled after one of the songs that my brother
David wrote the lyrics to. Dave collaborates with me a lot by the way, and his name is on the
credits. I put a band together, a mix of the players who had been recording with me, and we
played some showcase gigs around Boston. Since my brother, Dave, was as much a part of the songs
as I was, I decided to call the band, "Damgaard."
All that travelling made me want to keep moving on, however, so soon I packed my
stuff and headed to San Francisco. The busking scene there was pretty dismal, and I was having
a hard time getting club gigs because I didn't know anyone and noone knew me. After nine months
I headed back to Boston with a good lesson learned.
playing showcase gigs, but with a different approach than with "a band." Instead, I put
together almost a different band for each show. Sometimes it would be a full rock band with
electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and backing vocals. Sometimes it would be two
acoustic guitars, bass and hand drums. Sometimes it would be just me and a cellist, but it
would always be "Damgaard."
This approach was keeping things fresh, but it also was hard to develop new material. For
awhile I decided to take a break and just play the cover gigs in the small clubs that I'd been
Mostly I'd play solo, but I also hooked up with a fellow solo guitarist named Peter
Quinn and we formed a duo we call "The Northerners" because we're both from the northern states.
One night, I was playing solo in this small club in New Hampshire when I met a drummer from
Germany named Jurgen Wochnik. He was liking what I was doing and invited me to his studio.
It turns out he's a pretty famous drummer in Germany with credits on over 100 albums.
We recorded a
few songs together and agreed it would be great to make a full length CD. With Jurgen's band as
my backing band, we cut thirteen songs and pressed a CD we call "Memories of the Future,"
another phrase my brother coined in song.
The CD came out great and I got lots of rave reviews over it. It was the most professional thing
I'd done to that point and I was pretty proud of it. I'm still trying to get some of the songs
on the radio but it's a hard nut to crack. I hope it happens though, because I think some of my
best stuff is on there. Unfortunately, the band agreed to do the recording, but some of the
guys didn't want to play out in
the clubs, so this version of the "Damgaard" band only did a handful of shows together.
Jurgen moved down to Florida to run his own recording studio and is doing very well there.
I carried on with my solo shows and managed to spread news of the CD that way. Meanwhile, some
of the guys that backed me on my earlier recordings and showcase gigs reunited their band called
and asked me to join up. They said my job would be to stand off to one side of
the stage, play electric rhythm guitar, sing back-up vocals, and once in a while step up to the mike to
sing lead vocals. Wow, my dream from when I was age 14 came true!
Monday nights in the rehearsal room turned into Monday nights in the recording
studio, and before we knew it, we had a 16-song CD with all the works
thrown in. With Tom Abbott on bass, Richard Mirsky on lead guitar, Lenny Scolletta on drums
and myself on rhythym guitar, we made the ultimate 'band' album, with everyone taking turns
at lead vocals and contributing equally to the songwriting.
We decided to name the CD, "Something Now," after a song
Mirsky had written when he was like eleven years old or something.
My new band, called Stained Glass Eye, is by far the best band I've played with yet. Frankie DeFreitas
(Make Lisa Rich) is a fantastic musician who plays drums, guitar, bass, sings
and writes his own songs. Dave Lieb (Brogue, Shoot The Moon)
plays bass, keyboards, guitar, drums, sings and writes his
own songs, too. We play as a trio, with me on electric guitar, Dave on bass and Frankie on drums,
but sometimes we'll mix it up and everyone
will switch instruments. I love playing with these guys so check us out sometime!
Stained Glass Eye recently recorded a five song demo that we call "Apples And Oranges." Here's a
preliminary look at the artwork for the cover which was done by David Stoupakis.
Back in High School, Joe Wasicka and I would dream about being rock stars and
we once agreed that if one of us got a recording contract, we would put the other one
on at least one song on our first album. For this demo, we
decided it was time to record together, so Joe plays lead guitar
on the first three songs!
Thanks for reading about my personal history! I hope you enjoyed it
and it was at least somewhat interesting for you!
I have no idea what the future holds, but if my hard work pays off,
I'm hoping to have even better stories to share. My main objective is
to play for as many people as possible, and I'm focusing on bettering myself by
writing more songs, playing consistently good
live shows, making high fidelity recordings, building a strong presence on the internet, and
continually breaking out of what I'm doing to move up to the next level.
Why don't you join me for the ride?