Trixter’s drummer, Mark Gus Scott, hid behind his kit, pounding to songs like “One in a Million” and “Rockin’ Horse.”
Now, the North Phoenix resident has stepped to the forefront to explore adult contemporary music with the heartfelt ballad “With You.”
“For the past few years, I have pursued music outside of rock ‘n’ roll in hopes of touching just one person. To be on the receiving end of so much love and support from so many around the world is a gift I never expected,” Scott says.
“I wrote this song just to tell one person how deeply I feel. Now I want everyone to hear.”
“With You” combines an ’80s-style power ballad piano riff, symphonic orchestration and powerful melodic hooks—a big surprise for one of rock’s most well-known drummers.
“I’ve never sang before,” he says. “I’m not playing just drums. I play all the instruments on the cut, except guitar. I’m a horrible guitar player.
“I wanted it done right and I wanted what’s best for the song. That’s more important than me playing all the instruments. I’ve never felt so strongly about putting words down on paper. I was trying to be emotional. I always thought I sucked as a songwriter, but something clicked and I felt passionate about it. This one’s right on target.”
CDs and downloads will be available through iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Music and CD Baby. Autographed CDs can be purchased at MarkGusScott.com.
Throughout February and in honor of Valentine’s Day, Scott is offering downloads of his song for free on his site.
“There are too many people who have trouble expressing their feelings to the one they love,” Scott says. “This Valentine’s Day, don’t waste 1 more minute and share this song with the one person you want to spend time with. If you feel that strong, then you have to let them know.”
He previously released “Christmas Miracle,” a holiday album that included his version of “Ave Maria.” The video features Scott performing among iconic Washington, D.C., landmarks like the World War II Memorial.
He frequently supports veterans by playing taps at cemeteries in New York City and the Valley to honor fallen heroes during Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
“The Christmas album was a real-deal, adult contemporary Christmas record,” he says. “I thought I should be opening for Bing Crosby. The band was doing ancillary projects. Now I had a focus and I knocked it out of the park. I love the way it came out.”
The parade drum
Scott’s family knew he would be a musician when he was about 7, after his grandmother bought a “big parade drum.” At the same time, his mother gave him his first album, “Elvis’ Golden Hits.”
“I turned ‘Hound Dog’ on and I beat the living crap out of that parade drum,” he says with a laugh. “It made me feel wonderful. I broke the drumhead and I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ So, I flipped it over and started pounding the other side.”
His first concert was “Foreigner 4” in 1981 at age 13. Immediately, he knew his calling.
“When that bass drum busted the waves of the room, I said, ‘OK. I know exactly what I want to do in life.’”
As a sophomore in high school, Scott received the NAJE Special Citation for Musical Excellence and was granted admission to the University of Hartford Hartt School of Music. He attended three summers studying piano, drums, trumpet and a curriculum that included jazz, classical, chamber music, rock, music theory and composition.
He also put his knowledge to use as a musician/songwriter, and toured high schools and colleges throughout the country as a guest lecturer, teaching and promoting music, DARE and his drum instructional video/teaching method, “Rock Solid.”
With Trixter, Scott sold more than 3 million albums worldwide, had three No. 1 videos on MTV, four top 20 adult-oriented rock hits and hit No. 26 on the Billboard album charts.
Trixter toured extensively in the United States, Canada and Japan in support of its five major-label releases. They shared stages with Kiss, The Scorpions, Bret Michaels, Poison, Ted Nugent, Night Ranger, Cinderella, Twisted Sister, Dokken, Warrant, Great White and Firehouse.
Perhaps Trixter’s most well-known tour was 1991’s “Blood, Sweat and Beers” with Warrant and Firehouse.
“Together, we did something that only people dream about,” Scott says. “We didn’t realize the scope of what we were doing. We played (a venue) in Chicago, which was 33,000, and it was sold out. Who the hell would have thought that?”
The tour included the pay-per-view special “Live from the Cajundome.” Scott is hoping that the three bands may reunite for the tour’s 30-year anniversary in 2021.
“To put it back together would be something,” he says. “I’ve done a few shows in the last five years with those guys and they’ve killed. They’ve been fantastic. We’re all such close friends.
“We would welcome that sort of thing. If someone says, ‘Gus, let’s do it,’ I’m the first one on the bus.”
Trixter is on hiatus, which is why this was the perfect time for Scott’s single.
“Some people don’t make the band a priority any longer,” he says. “In any business with four guys, if you all don’t agree on what you’re going to do with the business, the business suffers.”
Moving to Arizona
Scott considers Arizona his home, after living throughout the United States in and out of suitcases on tour.
“I was going through a divorce and was very unhappy,” he says.
A friend asked him to consider moving to the Valley.
“My first day of exploration, I was sold before lunchtime,” Scott explains. “I literally went to breakfast, saw mountains, went over there and knew I was sold. I’ve been here four years and I can’t tell you how much I truly embrace the area.
“I can get anywhere in 20 minutes. I’m outside the circle of the 101. It’s more rural. I’m not in the thick of the madness of Phoenix. I look outside every morning and I can breathe. Everything comes alive. It’s quiet—until I make some fricking noise (with music).”
Scott has friends in the area, including rock drummer Mick Brown, who played with Dokken. The two spend their weekends riding motorcycles around Cave Creek.
“There’s something very comfortable about doing that just about every weekend,” Scott says.
“We do it 52 weeks. It may sound repetitive, but there’s something comfortable about it. We have a special gang of five members. We’re a tight-knit group. It’s a wonderful brotherhood and the motorcycle riding here is the best in the country—there are no potholes.”
Scott and Trixter singer Pete Loran spend time recording music for video games and movies.
“The whole thing started when we were doing sound effects for a video game and I started getting punchy,” Scott says with a laugh. “I pulled out the trumpet from the back of my car and it sounded really good.”
First and foremost, Scott is excited for the world to hear “With You.”
“I’ve never felt so strongly about a song,” he says. “This one, I believe, is worthy of my time and attention. I hope fans find it enjoyable as well.
“I’ve put clips on social media and the response was extremely favorable. I wrote it for a young lady who I felt very strongly about.”
The couple has since broken up but, he quickly adds, “I got a good song out of it. It was worth every moment.”