The legend of Scotty "Boy" McCoy was born when, after many years of avoiding it, I finally embraced my Southern roots.    Although I spent many years playing music and writing songs, it wasn't until I found my "country voice" that things really took shape for me as an artist.

I grew up in the hills of east Tennessee listening to bluegrass and classic country.    My parents though were more into the modern rock of the day like the Cowsills, Motown, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Dionne Warwick, Mason Williams, and Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass. A big influence on me was a collection of my mother's 45's that I found in my grandmother's basement.    She had a lot of Elvis, "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford, "Love and Marriage" and "High Hopes" by Frank Sinatra, and "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin.

When I started buying my own records, I would get the K-Tel compilation records with all the hits of the day.    Funny songs I remember were "The Streak" by Ray Stevens and "I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes" by Jim Stafford and David Bellamy, "My Ding-a-ling" by Chuck Berry, and "Purple People Eaters" by Sheb Wooley.    My first two real albums were Lynyrd Skynyrd Pronounced and Seals & Crofts Greatest Hits.   

As a budding teenager I became a big KISS fan and shortly thereafter a Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath devotee.    As I got more into the "sound" of records I was fascinated with the production on the REO Speedwagon You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can't Tune a Fish album and the Journey Infinity album produced by Roy Thomas Baker.    I also really admired Billy Joel and Elton John and Bernie Taupin as songwriters.    When I decided to play guitar, (just like the song says) my dad bought me a "How To Play the Blues" book and record by B.B. King.

So, with all that variety of musical influence, it really took me a long time to find my own style.    But when I did, I started looking for musicians for whom the blues, country, rock & roll, and heavy metal resonated.    Also, noting how historically it was the combination of styles that really seemed to change the musical landscape, I decided to combine the new country voice I had with my favorite music;  rock and metal.    I ran two ads.    One was Johnny Cash meets Metallica and the other was Jerry Lee Lewis meets AC/DC.

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This merger of contrasting styles was what became the band 1880. Paul Jacques came on board as lead guitarist and producer and totally embraced the concept.    We put out two CD's Guilt Train and Ride which the local critics loved, and we actually sold quite a few overseas.    However, this project was perceived as Southern Rock in the US, and, at that time, it was very out of fashion.

Still, both he and I wanted to play music, and though we couldn't get more than about 15 people to come see an 1880 show in L.A., when we learned a night's worth of old country tunes and some early Sun Records rock & roll classics, we suddenly found ourselves getting paid to play.    We called this project the Moonshine Mountain Boys (MMB) after a band name Paul used for a banjo tune he had written and published.

MMB did quite well playing at the House of Blues, winning a Battle of the Bands contest at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, getting on the Jesse James show Monster Garage and being picked for the KZLA Valentine Cruise with Shawn Parr.    However, Paul always used to say he didn't want to be a human jukebox, and, indeed, that's generally what it means to be in a cover band.

So, both Paul and our drummer at the time, Gary Patterson, left the project.    The bassist Tommy Dean and I decided to forge ahead as the Barbed Wire Boys (BWB) which was inspired by a hatband that Tommy had.

Again, we enjoyed a fair amount of success becoming regular weekend warriors at the biggest country dance clubs in Los Angeles including Cowboy Country in Long Beach CA, InCahoots in Fullerton CA, and the Brandin' Iron in San Bernardino CA.    Amazingly, we were getting to the point where we were able to play almost half the night doing my original songs.   

Unfortunately, by this time, we had been at it for almost ten years, and, try as we might, we just couldn't seem to get to the proverbial "next level".    Everyone in the band was getting frustrated, and so we decided to let it go.

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    More about 1880

    More about MMB

    More about BWB

Well, seeing the writing on the wall, I decided to go back to school and get my Master's Degree.    Although, next to my family, my first love is and will always be music, because my dream never took off, it meant I had spent the same amount of years that I had pursued music doing the 9 to 5 to support myself.   

For me, the best part of the MBA program turned out to be the last class Strategy.    We were required to play a business simulation game against the other teams in the class.    At some point in the process of preparing for this assignment, it dawned on me how much I already knew about business from all the years I had spent playing music.    This moment of enlightenment is what inspired me to write my book How to Run Your Band Like a Business.

However, always a musician first, I spent the summer of 2010 recording some of the songs BWB had yet to record.    Additionally, since Paul owned the masters of all my old songs, I've been slowly re-recording all those songs as well.    I am in the process of releasing some new songs, new versions of some of my old songs, as well as all the songs I recorded with the Barbed Wire Boys.

My younger son Matteo is turning seven this year, and I don't want to miss out on any more of his life.    However, I am contemplating playing out soon and look forward to seeing all my old friends and fans and, hopefully, making some new ones.    Thank you all for your support and enthusiasm over the last ten years.    I am not as possessed by my dream as I once was, but I still love music and recording and performing.    I am making this music for me, but, hopefully you'll like it as well.    It is indeed my art.    I have been very privileged to have played with such talented musicians and been embraced by such enthusiastic fans.   

From the bottom of my heart, gratefully - Scotty

Retrospective Update

Since my initial posting, it has occurred to me that I left numerous important influences out of my…”influences” including ZZ Top, James Taylor, Carol King, Heart, and Aerosmith. I am a huge U2 fan. I love Sting and Peter Gabriel. Thanks to Tara Frye, I paid very close attention to The Cult, The Cure, Talking Heads, The The, and Sisters of Mercy. I will never forget seeing Stevie Ray Vaughn on New Year’s 1986 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta and missing Randy Rhodes with Ozzy in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1982.

Copyright © 2006 Scotty "Boy" McCoy, all rights reserved.