Scott Pemberton live is most definitely a different experience than Scott Pemberton on record. So it makes sense that the guitar player who's known to rip those six strings with a fiery tenacity should drop a live album to document his sets on the road.
Game Tapes "was really intended to document some songs and interpretations that really couldn't have a home anywhere other than in performance or on a live album, as well as new material and new interpretations of a few songs that have appeared on studio albums," Pemberton explains. "Game Tapes, just like one of our live shows, covers a lot of styles and genres, sometimes even in the same song."
And while "it's tricky to just pick one song to represent the album," Pemberton says, he'd like to share "Applesauce Ray-Gun" first because "it is an example of a performance that can really only exist live. It is primarily instrumental but has a short, whimsical lyric that has meaning to me."
"It is a bit of what I call a 'coaster,'" he continues. "Coasters are tunes that definitely have movement, certainly take turns, but the primary layer or 'cake' is almost always clear and present. A coaster may take a little longer to get where it's going, but the journey is the point."
It's also a song that allows for improvisation in the live arena. "It has building blocks but lots of space in between, and we are really creating the majority of the music as we play it," Pemberton says. "It's an example of a song that I consider a skeleton. It has a frame, but we can create it and dress it however seems the most appropriate in the moment. It comes to life through interaction with the musicians, the dance floor and the room.
Recorded during the band's most recent West Coast tour that just wrapped up on April 15, the songs feature Rudy Slizewski—a guy with a masters of music in percussion—on pans, keyboard and percussion, experienced jazz drummer Sam Berrett, and Jack "The Stabilizer" Johnson, who holds it all down at the center of the music, on bass.
And Game Tapes is really just volume one in what Pemberton plans to make a series of live recordings. "I definitely have plans for future studio albums, but I plan to make this a series, record on tour and pick some cuts to include in a live compilation—as long as it's still fun to do."