DETROIT PROUD: Scott Allen
“We all have real jobs now and do the ‘grown-up’ thing, but this is my way to break free from that – we just love music.” You may remember the name Scott Allen from the band Thunderbirds Are Now! – the Metro Detroit band that made a name for themselves in the early 2000s, signing with French Kiss Records and touring throughout Europe, America, and parts of Australia at a very young age.
Today, Scott’s an all-around lover of music, film, and art – he leads the band Big Mess, works his day job as a film editor, and recently, he has taken up painting. “My artwork is something I’m really excited about,” Scott says, “It’s taking over my whole body.” Scott’s paintings are done through a process called ink transferring. He takes the ink from old magazines and applies it to a canvas. Check out some of his paintings below!
Scott is the lead vocalist, backing guitarist, and – sometimes – harmonica player of the band Big Mess – along with other members, Craig Dominiak on bass, and a trio of brothers: Pat Carden on lead guitar, Bobby Carden on drums, and Mike Carden on lap steel guitar and – sometimes – the banjo. Big Mess is most commonly referred to as “The Band” says Scott, and the members refer to their sound as “athletic dad rock,” but you can expect to hear swanky guitar riffs, powerfully melodic vocals over a consistent beat and for an overall twang sound, very similar to Tom Petty. To hear more from Big Mess, click here!
So, with something so put-together, it’s quite ironic that they call themselves Big Mess. “We’re all friends from high school, and one drunken night we went into my dad’s basement and started jamming – at first it was a big mess, and that’s sort of how the name originated,” Scott laughed. “We promise we didn’t steal the band name from the Devo song,” Scott adds. The band just finished recording a full-length record that they are planning to release this fall, and they’ve already jumped into writing the next one. “We all just love music,” said Scott, “We do plan to have more live shows scheduled soon, too.”
And speaking of a brother dynamic, in the band Thunderbirds Are Now!, Scott played alongside his brother, Ryan. “It was crazy, we were really young and we got to experience something most other people don’t get to experience,” Scott said of the success of Thunderbirds Are Now!, “I got to grow up next to my brother with this experience, and because of it, our relationship got much stronger.”
Scott grew up in Livonia, Michigan, and now lives in the city of Ann Arbor – where he currently works as a video and film editor for jeanknowscars.com. “It’s my real job and working there has been fun,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit at a desk and do nothing creative, editing became a new instrument, I look at film like a song: with a beginning, middle and end.”
Scott also directed and filmed the music video for his brother’s band, Destroy This Place. “I got to put my two cents in, which was really cool,” Scott adds, “We all had a lot of fun shooting the video, which was done in one day and then spent two days of editing.” Check out the video here!
Scott appreciates all of the music that came before him from Metro Detroit. Some of his favorites are the classics like MC5, and of today’s scene, he really digs the bands Destroy This Place, Child Bite and, The HandGrenades. “If there is anyone I look up to from Detroit, it’s Chris Johnson.” Chris, a former musician, is the owner of a few Detroit venues, including The Loving Touch and Woodward Avenue Brewers. “Chris has created a community that has completely shaped a neighborhood around his bars, he’s an absolute genius,” Scott adds.
When Scott is not performing with Big Mess, or working his day job in film, he loves to be in the city of Ann Arbor. He said he’s super excited to be in Ann Arbor, because you can walk anywhere and feel safe doing it. He really enjoys the entertainment the city has to offer, he lists the Ravens Club, The Last Word, The Alley Bar, and The Ann Arbor Library as his favorite hang outs. As for Metro Detroit, his favorites are PJ’s Lager House (which he holds very close to his heart), The Magic Stick, The Loving Touch, and The WAB.
When we asked him how he feels about Detroit and their music scene, he said one simple word: “Woah.” He adds, “Detroit has a great sense of community – everyone supporting everyone, appreciating each other’s talents.”
We agree, Scott. For more information on Big Mess, click here!