Article by Linda Moakler
Scarecrow Collection is an original group of musicians creating an original sound. They have been described as “Rock n’ Roots Music”, but their music is truly genre breaking. Gerard Fee plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lead vocals, and is the main songwriter of the band. Greg McLoughlin plays bass and just recently joined Scarecrow Collection after touring with Buzz Universe for years. Ed Fritz, a classically trained pianist, lends his talents on piano, Hammond organ and harmony vocals. Anthony Freda is the brand new drummer and brings his creative vibe to the mix. Scarecrow Collection fuses creative songwriting with a pop sensibility all while holding onto their biggest influences. They have been part of the jam band scene for many years and have been featured on Sirius/XM Jam On. Their new collection of songs is driven by simple, yet catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics. Touching on emotions all of the band members have dealt with, Scarecrow Collection once again put their heart and soul into their newest material.
While volunteering for the Relix Green Apple Music Festival in 2007, I saw Scarecrow Collection for the first time at The Mexicali Blues venue. I instantly fell in love with the easy flowin’ groovy melodies and the velvety and sensitive voice of Gerard Fee. I also caught them at the Gathering of the Vibes in 2007 where I danced my sweaty ass off in the sand along with a huge crowd of vibers. The last show I saw was back at the Mexicali where they were unfortunately saying goodbye to their lead guitar player Nick Setteducato.
Radio Frequency Disaster, released in 2007, is still one of my favorite albums and the song “Faster” is in my top 10 most listened to songs on my IPOD. So needless to say, I was excited to catch up with Gerard.
JBO: So, we know there have been a lot of changes with the band – so tell us what’s going on?
Gerard: Well ever since 2007/2008 when Nick, the guitar player, left, we’ve been trying to keep it together. It was me, Ed the Piano player, Mike on bass and my brother Joey on the drums. So I decided to pick up the electric guitar which was something I didn’t really do previously. I’ve been switching back and forth from acoustic to electric. We kept it at as a four piece and played at Evolvefest, Soupstock and a couple of other festivals. But then it became too much for Mike and Joey as they needed day jobs to pay the bills. We now have Greg from Buzz Universe who is playing bass for us, we knew him from the scene. He came down to jam with us one day and it was a really great fit. Then we picked up Anthony on the drums. We want to focus in on the new stuff, but we are also working on learning the SCC catalog as well, but it’s a little different now with a four piece. My big thing is it’s all about songwriting; the song comes first. If it sounds good to add the jam then great – but the song is the most important.
JBO: How long has Scarecrow Collection been around?
Gerard: It’s been a long time. I was thinking about that the other day, and it’s been close to about 15 years now. I’ve been playing with Nick for about been 10 or 11 years. I was playing even before that with a group of guys. It was acoustic guitar, harmonica and mandolin. It’s been around 14-15 years.
JBO: What is the origin of the name?
Gerard: At first, we were really into big into folk music and folky kind of imagery of dirt roads, log cabins, wheat fields and scarecrows. We found out that there was another band named Scarecrow. So we changed our name to Scarecrow Collection – The addition of the “Collection” means a collection of friends, family and musicians. The two words kind of sound weird together, but they kind of sound cool together – so we stuck to that.
JBO: What Bands/Artists inspired you?
Gerard: As far as the jam band scene, it is definitely Phish. When me and my wife started going to shows, Phish was it. I’ve never seen the dead, but I love the Dead and the Allman Brothers are great. I love Paul Simon, I love James Taylor, I love the Beatles, and I love Radiohead. I love bands that are just great bands like Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, Phish is the best jam band ever. My favorite guitar players are Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews and John Mayer. I’m not too big into John Mayer’s voice – but his guitar playing is unreal.
JBO: I understand that Paul Simon, one of my favorites, is an inspiration. What is it that moves you?
Gerard: I think Paul Simon is a genius. The way he writes his songs is not traditional, but when you hear the song, it doesn’t seem that way. It just seems like a nice traditional pop song. He really takes the time to create the perfect words, the perfect line. I read an article about how he wrote Graceland. Usually a song is four lines, then the chorus is four lines and then the next verse is 4 or 8 lines. 4 or 8 lines is the standard. What he does, is writes three lines as the verse, then the next is 9 lines then the chorus is 7 lines. It’s all over the place and its unbelievable how he makes it flow. It’s so good. I also love the way he incorporates the African Beats. My favorite Paul Simon albums are Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Live from Webster Hall is the CD I’m listening to now – over and over again.
JBO: My favorite SCC song is “Faster” – and I know it’s one of the songs that you are most proud of. Can you tell us where this song came from?
Gerard: That song is about my wife Stella. It’s pretty straight forward about our love. We have been together for a long time. The reason I am so proud of that song is because if you listen to the lines of the song, that’s what I meant, that’s what I said, that is it the way I feel. Previous songs that I’ve written were in metaphors, and I’ve always written like that. With “Faster” I wanted to try to write exactly what I was feeling, straight on the page and that is what came out about my wife.
JBO: I understand you have been working on some new music, can we expect a new Album anytime soon?
Gerard: We have this plan to release singles one at a time. As soon as we release the single, we will put it up on ITunes, Pandora and Spotify. These days nobody wants to buy a full album. We figured it was a cool idea to do one song at a time. I don’t know how many bands do this, but we are going to try it and see how it goes. We are in the process of finding a studio to record the first song.
JBO: How does the songwriting process work?
Gerard: I generally write in groups of songs, and then I won’t write for a while. When I start writing I’ll write like 10–20 songs. Some are metaphors and some of them are straight forward. I like to write about what’s going on in my life at moment. I usually write the music first and then I just hum the melody and put lyrics to that. I have so many ideas but each idea is not good enough for me right now. I really want every song to be great, I don’t want filler. Recently I’ve been trying to write the lyrics first, and then I will put the lyrics to the melody. I also want to write some new stuff with the new members as well.
JBO: To those who are new to Scarecrow Collection, what can they expect at a live show?
Gerard: We try to make the show energetic and mellow at the same time. We don’t want our set to be too in your face – meaning hard rock and jamming all the time. We want there to be different dynamics to the actual set. We will start with three or four songs that are high energy and then a few songs that are mellow. We are working on learning the catalog of SCC music & will throw in about 5 or 6 songs from “Radio Frequency Disaster” as well as some older songs and a couple covers. Our main focus is on the new music.
JBO: What venue’s are your favorite & why?
Gerard: Mexicali is always a great room, always a great show. Any place with really great sound like Paradise in Boston. We’ve been doing an acoustic show at Van Gogh’s Ear in Union New Jersey. That place is one of my favorite places to play. We are playing the third Tuesday of every month & that’s an acoustic set. I like to switch it around where we are playing acoustic one night then an electric show. It’s nice to have a different vibe at different shows.
JBO: Is there anything else that you want JBOers to know about your music & the future of Scarecrow Collection?
Gerard: We are looking forward to getting back out there again and start a new family and friends. We hope people will come out to see us & hopefully enjoy the new music. We’re excited to pick it back up again and we are back.
I had the opportunity to see Scarecrow Collection recently at the Stanhope House in New Jersey. It was a homecoming for me; to a band I’ve loved and counted on for years. I was treated to some new music and some old scarecrow favorites as well as an incredible cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”. Gerard’s music, lyrics and voice shoot straight to the heart. The band sounded crystal clear, like a breezy summer afternoon, and they’ve always been there for me, and I’m grateful.
More Info: www.scarecrowcollection.com
Upcoming Scarecrow Collection Shows:
Van Gogh’s Ear: Union New jersey – August 20th https://www.facebook.com/events/1377713689114039/
Northern Soul: Hoboken, NJ August 22ndhttps://www.facebook.com/events/547990158582244/