Scott Heseltine, a journeyman Ogden musician better known by his stage name, Scotty Haze, is about to release "My Life's Crossroads," a CD of original material. He celebrates the new album's arrival with a multi-artist show at Peery's Egyptian Theater next Friday.
Heseltine has been making music since his boyhood. His grand-mother was Mary Kap, a professional musician for over 40 years -- and the mother of 13 children, among them Heseltine's mother and Ritchie and Roby Kap. Heseltine's uncles have been playing in the well-known Kap Brothers Band since the 1970s.
"Mary is where our musical roots came from," said Heseltine. "And when you were in our family and got together on Sunday, you played music. Roby and Ritchie are my biggest influences, and also (Ogden musician) Danny Weldon, who mentored me on guitar."
Recovering his music
Heseltine was born in Ogden in 1954. He has lived in the area all of his life, save for a four-year Navy stretch in San Diego.
Heseltine has made his living more often than not playing in area bands, including a long stint with Dicky Martinez's longtime outfit, The Little Big Band, in the 1970s and 1980s.
But in the early '90s, Heseltine said, the temptations of nightlife caught up with him.
"Like many musicians, I got into substance abuse, and my music started going downhill," he admits. "I finally quit playing and got my life cleaned up."
The moment of truth for Heseltine came when he had to hock his guitar to make ends meet.
"So for three or four months, I was borrowing a guitar to do my job. And for me, it was the bottom -- how could I get lower? I just thought, 'With all the people I have in my life, I've been taught better.' I knew better."
With the help of 12-step support groups, Heseltine has stayed sober for the past 19 years.
"I got out of music for seven or eight years. Then for a while, I was playing guitar and piano in a halfway-house church. I wanted to keep connected with music, though I wasn't sure I could do it in the old environment. But I used my music to help me through. I used that time to find out how much I loved music, and how much it was a part of my life. I found out I could play music and not worry about that stuff being around me."
He started writing songs and tried them out at the small coffeehouse gigs he was playing. Then he took them to his bands as well. Now Heseltine plays most commonly in his two bands, the unplugged Acoustic on the Loose, and Uncle Stubby, a more rocking affair.
He also sometimes sits in with other outfits, including The Kap Brothers Band, which has appeared at the Ogden Music Festival. Members from all of these bands contributed to Heseltine's recording sessions, and will also be on hand for the Egyptian show.
Making the CD
"My Life's Crossroads," with 10 songs that Heseltine wrote, co-wrote or arranged, was five years in the making.
Said Heseltine: "It really started with a friend of mine, Phil Coumans. He is actually a musician as well, and used to play in a group called Puddlestone, but he got carpal tunnel (syndrome) and could no longer play much. So he started working in the studio. I had these songs I'd worked up as demos, and asked him if I could come play them for him."
Coumans recorded and mixed the album at Layton's Abstract Studios. "I think the initial hurdle we had was taking acoustic demos and getting that to the next step of production for Scotty," he said. "So I suggested things like arrangements, and how to make a demo into a rock song or a ballad, depending what was needed."
Coumans said that many of the musicians involved had far more live playing than studio time under their belts.
"It took a little time to make them feel comfortable and creative in there," said Coumans of the recording sessions. "After we got them to relax, we got to know everybody pretty well over these last five years or so we've been slowly working. That album is a testament to the talent that lives in this neck of the woods. Maybe people don't know it, but this area has really stellar musicians."
Heseltine felt the music start to flow when he decided to pursue making the album.
"What I'd written before, due to the spot I was in, I think, was more melancholy than what I am doing now," Heseltine said. "These songs started taking on more shape, fitting better, it seemed. So I started playing them out, to see if they fit. And I got some positive feedback and musicians interested and stuff, so this went from there."
Heseltine used to think that if a song he wrote couldn't sell 100,000 copies, it didn't seem worth doing.
"Now, if even one person really likes it, it feels like something is being OKed in me. When I came to that realization, I knew I really needed to put this out."
The big show
Once the sessions were all but finished, Heseltine started thinking about when and where he would host a CD release party. He decided on Peery's Egyptian Theater.
"I had gone to see Marshall Tucker perform there a few years ago, and I have dreamed about having it at the Egyptian since," said Heseltine. "I have this vision board at home -- things you really believe in, things you'd like to do, you put on that board so you see it every day. I had this show on there. It's a labor of love, I guess. I am excited so many of my friends will be there to play alongside me."
Todd Stephens of the Roy-based concert promotion company, Rebel Ways Productions, is helping Heseltine stage the show.
"I've known Scotty for a couple years, so I offered him my help," said Stephens. "He is a pretty talented artist, and I wanted to help him get his name out there and give him the best show he is capable of."
What does Stephens find most daunting about staging this concert?
"Well, we're lucky enough to have a lot of talent," said Stephens. "But we are going to have to strive to keep them on schedule, within their time slot. Otherwise, since these are all great players, that is the only real challenge I see."
These local artists, performing on the Scotty Haze album, will appear at next weekend's concert:
KORENE GREENWOOD of Ogden, bassist for The Greenwoods, Korene and the Great Danes, Acoustic on the Loose
GORDON GREENWOOD of Ogden, guitarist for The Greenwoods, The Kap Brothers Band, Jordan Soul
DAN NIELSEN of Ogden, drummer for The Kap Brothers Band and Acoustic on the Loose
JOHN BARKER of Ogden, drummer for Uncle Stubby, harmonica on the album
KRISTI DEVRIES of Ogden, vocalist and guitarist for Acoustic on the Loose
ROBY KAP of Ogden, frontman/vocals/guitarist for The Kap Brothers Band
GAR ASHBY of Ogden, guitarist for Uncle Stubby
GREG "OPIE" HORSPOOL of Tremonton, drummer/percussionist for The Kap Brothers Band
DICKY MARTINEZ of Ogden, frontman/guitarist/vocalist for the Little Big Band
DENNIS ALLRED of Layton, bassist for Uncle Stubby and Grumpy Old Men
DERREK VELASQUEZ of Roy, harmonica/vocalist for Uncle Stubby