Mike Scott (musician)

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Mike Scott
The Waterboys - Festival du Bout du Monde 2012 - 004.jpg
Scott performing at a concert in 2012
Background information
Birth nameMichael Scott
Born (1958-12-14) 14 December 1958 (age 62)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Years active1978–present
Labels Chrysalis
Associated actsThe Bootlegs, Another Pretty Face, The Waterboys

Michael Scott (born 14 December 1958) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and musician. He is the founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of rock band The Waterboys. He has also produced two solo albums, Bring 'em All In and Still Burning . Scott is a vocalist, guitarist and pianist, and has played a large range of other instruments, including the bouzouki, drums, and Hammond organ on his albums. Scott is also a published writer, having released his autobiography, Adventures of a Waterboy, in 2012.


Having begun a musical career in the 1970s, Scott has been making music professionally since the 1980s [1] and is well known for his radical changes in music genres throughout what he refers to as his "allegedly unorthodox" career. [2] Scott currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. [3]

Early life and education

Mike Scott reads aloud at a concert in Antwerp in 2004. Mike Scott with book in Antwerp 2004.jpg
Mike Scott reads aloud at a concert in Antwerp in 2004.

Scott was born and raised in Edinburgh, the son of Allan and Anne Scott. His father left the family when Mike was ten years old, but the two were reunited in 2007. [4] Scott's mother was an English teacher, exposing him to the greats of English literature from a young age.

Scott was interested in music from an early age. At age 12, after the family had moved to Ayr, he began a serious interest in learning guitar. [5] Scott remembers that, "from the minute [he] bought" Last Night in Soho by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich in 1968 "knew [he] had to be in music", and mentions listening to Hank Williams as a "life-changing" experience. [6] The next year, Scott was playing in school bands and formed the band Karma, named after the tenet in Hinduism, with a friend named John Caldwell. Karma's sound was inspired by David Bowie, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. [5]

In 1977 Scott entered the University of Edinburgh, studying English literature and philosophy. Scott would later arrange poetry from William Butler Yeats, Robert Burns, [7] and George MacDonald for The Waterboys recordings. Other literary influences on Scott's career include C. S. Lewis and The Diary of Vikenty Angorov. Scott left the University of Edinburgh after his first year.

Scott became interested in the British punk music scene, and began writing for fanzines, eventually starting his own, Jungleland. Scott was especially interested in the music of The Clash and Patti Smith, a tribute to whom, "A Girl Called Johnny", would become the first Waterboys single.

Pre-Waterboys musical career

Scott and a guitarist named Allan McConnell formed a band, The Bootlegs, which gave way to Another Pretty Face in 1978 when Caldwell and two other friends joined. The friends created their own record label, named New Pleasures, "obtained financial backing from the enigmatically named Z" [5] and began releasing Another Pretty Face's singles. The band achieved remarkable success with their first single "All the Boys Love Carrie"/"That's Not Enough" when New Musical Express named it "Single of the Week". The band signed a contract with Virgin Records, was featured on the cover of Sounds magazine, and toured with Stiff Little Fingers. Virgin, after receiving a demo tape from Another Pretty Face, released the band four months after the signing. Nikki Sudden, who had interviewed Another Pretty Face in Edinburgh for ZigZag magazine, asserts that "the APF stuff is still some of Mike Scott’s best work". [8]

In 1980 through 1982 Scott, amongst other projects, worked occasionally with Sudden. Another Pretty Face continued to release music and recorded a Peel Session on 18 February 1981. The band eventually came to the attention of Nigel Grainge, founder of Ensign Records. Grainge signed Another Pretty Face to the label, and the band moved to London, changing its name to Funhouse (taken from the name of The Stooges' album Fun House ). Scott had become dissatisfied with the band. He later described Funhouse's sound as "similar to a jumbo jet flying on one engine". [5] Scott began working on solo songs and recordings, a decision that led to the creation of The Waterboys. A December 1981 session at Redshop Studios formed the beginnings of The Waterboys' first album, The Waterboys .

The Waterboys

The Waterboys' membership has changed a great deal throughout the group's existence. Anthony Thistlethwaite, Karl Wallinger, Kevin Wilkinson and Steve Wickham all made major contributions, but Scott describes the band as his project. "[T]o me there's no difference between Mike Scott and the Waterboys; they both mean the same thing. They mean myself and whoever are my current travelling musical companions." [9] The Waterboys' first release was a single of "A Girl Called Johnny" in March 1983. The first album came out that June. Along with The Waterboys, the next two albums, A Pagan Place and This Is the Sea , released in 1984 and 1985, contained songs mostly written by Scott, and together formed the band's "Big Music" period. After the official addition of fiddler Steve Wickham and a move to Ireland, the next two albums Fisherman's Blues (1988) and Room to Roam (1990) were instead Celtic music-inspired folk music, [10] a sound similar to that of We Free Kings, a band that Scott and Wickham performed with in 1986. [11] Scott's musical style changed again to a more guitar based sound when he, under the name The Waterboys but without any other members, recorded Dream Harder , in 1993. It was a return to the "Big Music" sound but the last album to come out under the band's name until 2000. The band had dissolved over personnel issues and Wickham's desire to remain with a folk-rock, or purely folk music, sound. [12] After two Mike Scott solo albums, A Rock in the Weary Land was released under The Waterboys name, demonstrating yet another musical style, which Scott called "Sonic rock". [9] 2002's Universal Hall was a return to a folk-rock sound. It was followed by Karma to Burn , released in 2005, which was the group's first official live album, Book of Lightning , released in 2007, and An Appointment With Mr Yeats , released in 2011.

Solo albums

In addition to the albums he released with The Waterboys, Scott released two solo albums in the 1990s. The first Bring 'Em All In (1995), was recorded at the Findhorn Foundation in north Scotland, with Mike Scott playing all instruments himself. Musician and author Daniel Levitin ends his 2009 book The World in Six Songs with an extended discussion of the song "Bring 'Em All In", calling it "one of the greatest love songs ever written."

For his second solo album, Still Burning (1997), Scott assembled a group of session musicians including Pino Palladino and Jim Keltner. Guesting on the album was former Icicle Works frontman Ian McNabb. Songs from the two albums appeared on 1998's compilation album The Whole of the Moon: The Music of Mike Scott and the Waterboys along with songs from The Waterboys.

Scott's solo albums were positively received by critics but sales were significantly down from Waterboys releases. Following the commercial failure of Still Burning in 1997 Scott was dropped by Chrysalis Records and decided to revive the Waterboys name to achieve wider marketplace exposure, a process described in detail in his autobiography.

Scott created his own record label in 2003, Puck Records, which released The Waterboys' Universal Hall . In 2005, Karma to Burn was released, also by Puck Records, and included tracks from Scott's solo career played by the current The Waterboys line-up.

After years in the making, Scott produced his show An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, which debuted in Dublin, in Yeats' own Abbey Theatre. In the show, Scott is accompanied by Steve Wickham and other musicians, and the poetry of W. B. Yeats is put to music by Scott. The show ran from 15 to 20 March 2010.





Other contributions

  • 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin - Broadcasts Vol.10 (2002) - "Bring 'Em All In"

Another Pretty Face





The Waterboys

Mike Scott performs as the lead singer of The Waterboys at a concert in Antwerp 2003. Mike Scott in Antwerp 2003 1.jpg
Mike Scott performs as the lead singer of The Waterboys at a concert in Antwerp 2003.

Personal life

his wife, Megumi Igarashi Rokukdenashiko massive 2016maymid.jpg
his wife, Megumi Igarashi

As of 2020 Scott lived in Dublin. [13] [14] [15] From at least 2008 to 2013 Scott was the partner of singer/actress Camille O'Sullivan, [16] [17] [18] with whom he has a daughter, Lila-Elodie. [19] [20] [21] In October 2016, Scott married controversial Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokudenashiko. Their first child, a son, was born on 2 February 2017. [22]

Related Research Articles

The Waterboys Scottish-Irish folk rock band

The Waterboys are a British-Irish folk rock band formed in Edinburgh in 1983 by Scottish musician Mike Scott. The band's membership, past and present, has been composed mainly of musicians from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. Mike Scott has remained as the only constant member throughout the band's career. They have explored a number of different styles, but their music is mainly a mix of folk music with rock and roll. They dissolved in 1993 when Scott departed to pursue a solo career. The group reformed in 2000, and continue to release albums and to tour worldwide. Scott emphasises a continuity between The Waterboys and his solo work, saying that "To me there's no difference between Mike Scott and the Waterboys; they both mean the same thing. They mean myself and whoever are my current travelling musical companions."

<i>The Waterboys</i> (album) 1983 studio album by The Waterboys

This eponymously named debut album from The Waterboys was recorded in several studio sessions between December 1981 and November 1982. Allmusic describes the sound of the album as "part Van Morrison, part U2".

<i>Dream Harder</i> 1993 studio album by The Waterboys

Dream Harder (1993) is the sixth album by The Waterboys. Led as always by Scottish singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Mike Scott, the album features none of the earlier UK-based band members and instead finds Scott backed by American session musicians. It was the last Waterboys album before Scott spent seven years pursuing a formal solo career, with Bring 'Em All In (1995) and Still Burning (1997). The album reached position 171 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, surpassing the previous Waterboys album Room to Roam, in spite of a less-than-enthusiastic response from critics to the album's sound.

<i>A Pagan Place</i> 1984 studio album by The Waterboys

A Pagan Place was an album released in June 1984 by The Waterboys. It was the first Waterboys record with Karl Wallinger as part of the band and also includes Roddy Lorimer's first trumpet solo for the band on the track "A Pagan Place".

<i>This Is the Sea</i> 1985 studio album by The Waterboys

This Is the Sea is the third The Waterboys album, and the last of their "Big Music" albums. Considered by critics to be the finest album of their early rock-oriented sound, described as "epic" and "a defining moment", it was the first Waterboys album to enter the United Kingdom charts, peaking at number 37. Steve Wickham makes his Waterboys recording debut playing violin on 'The Pan Within' and subsequently joined the band, appearing on the video of "The Whole of the Moon". This Is the Sea is the last album with contributions from Karl Wallinger, who left the group to form his own band, World Party.

<i>Fishermans Blues</i> 1988 studio album by The Waterboys

Fisherman's Blues is a 1988 album by The Waterboys. The album marked a change in the band's sound, with them abandoning their earlier grandiose rock sound for a mixture of traditional Irish music, traditional Scottish music, country music, and rock and roll. Critics were divided on its release with some disappointed at the change of direction and others ranking it among The Waterboys' best work. The album was the Waterboys' best selling album, reaching a number 13 placing on the U.K. charts on release, and 76 on the Billboard 200.

<i>Room to Roam</i> 1990 studio album by The Waterboys

Room to Roam is an album by The Waterboys; it continued the folk rock sound of 1988's Fisherman's Blues, but was less of a commercial success, reaching #180 on the Billboard Top 200 after its release in September 1990. Critical response continues to be mixed. Allmusic describes it both as "not quite as [musically] successful" as Fisherman's Blues, but also as a "Celtic rock classic". The front and back covers were designed by Simon Fowler based upon photography by Stefano Giovannini and Sean Jackson.

<i>Universal Hall</i> 2003 studio album by The Waterboys

Universal Hall is a 2003 album released by The Waterboys. It is named after the theatre and performance hall at the Findhorn Foundation, which is pictured on the album cover. The album shows much more influence from folk music than its predecessor, A Rock in the Weary Land. It is the first Waterboys album to feature Steve Wickham since Room to Roam, and therefore the first Waterboys album with all three core members of the post-reunion band.

<i>The Live Adventures of the Waterboys</i> 1998 live album by The Waterboys

The Live Adventures of the Waterboys is a concert recording, released by The Waterboys in 1998. Mike Scott refers to this album as an "unofficial release" or bootleg recording, but praises the recording period as a "classic" period for the Waterboys. Most of the live songs on The Live Adventures... indeed already appeared on the bootlegs A Golden Day (1991) and Born To Be Together (1992). It is the only Waterboys album on which member Guy Chambers appears.

Steve Wickham Irish musician

Steve Wickham is an Irish musician. Originally from Marino, Dublin, but calling Sligo home, Wickham was a founding member of In Tua Nua and played violin on the classic U2 song "Sunday Bloody Sunday", as well as recordings by Elvis Costello, the Hothouse Flowers, Sinéad O'Connor, and World Party. He is a long-standing member of The Waterboys. Wickham plays both rock and roll and traditional Irish music, and has developed a rock music technique for violin he calls the "fuzz fiddle".

<i>Karma to Burn</i> (The Waterboys album) 2005 live album by The Waterboys

Karma to Burn is the first official live album from The Waterboys. It also contains tracks from Mike Scott's solo career: "Bring 'em All In," "Long Way to the Light," "My Dark Side," and "Open."

Richard Naiff

Richard Naiff is a pianist and flautist from London, England who has performed with the bands Soulsec, The Catacoustics, The Waterboys and The Icicle Works. Naiff is a classically trained musician, having joined the Guildhall School of Music at age ten. The Irish music website Cluas.com describes Naiff as "phenomenally talented".

The Big Music 1984 single by The Waterboys

"The Big Music" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, which was released in 1984 as the lead single from their second studio album A Pagan Place. The song was written and produced by Mike Scott.

Fishermans Blues (song) 1988 single by The Waterboys

"Fisherman's Blues" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released as the lead single from their fourth studio album of the same name. It was written by Mike Scott and Steve Wickham, and produced by Scott. The song reached No. 3 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, No. 13 in Ireland and No. 32 in the UK. A re-issue of the single in 1991 saw the song return to the Top 20 in Ireland, reaching No. 17.

The Return of Pan 1993 single by The Waterboys

"The Return of Pan" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released as the lead single from their sixth studio album Dream Harder. It was written by Mike Scott, and produced by Scott and Bill Price. The song reached No. 24 in the UK and No. 10 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. A music video, directed by Jeff Stein, was filmed to promote the single.

Everybody Takes a Tumble 2007 single by The Waterboys

"Everybody Takes a Tumble" is a song from Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released as the only single from their ninth studio album Book of Lightning. It was written by Mike Scott and Anthony Thistlethwaite, and produced by Scott and Phil Tennant.

The Whole of the Moon 1985 single by The Waterboys

"The Whole of the Moon" is a song by the Waterboys which was released as a single from their album This Is the Sea in 1985. It is a classic of the band's repertoire and has been consistently played at live shows ever since its release. Written and produced by Mike Scott, the subject of the song has inspired some speculation.

"A Life of Sundays" is a song by the Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released in 1990 as a track on their fifth studio album Room to Roam. It was written by Mike Scott and produced by Barry Beckett and Scott. In the United States, the song reached No. 15 on Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and remained on the chart for nine weeks.

"World Party" is a song by the Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, released in 1988 as a track on their fourth studio album Fisherman's Blues. It was written by Mike Scott, Trevor Hutchinson and Karl Wallinger, and produced by Scott. In the United States, the song reached No. 19 on Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and remained on the chart for six weeks. It also peaked at No. 48 on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart.


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