- My motto “is it ain’t easy having this much fun :).”
- I wouldn’t say a child prodigy but I did start playing trumpet at an early age.
- It's been my belief that making music and business is one and the same.
Scott Page is not only an icon in the music industry having been the saxophone player for pink Floyd, Supertramp, and Toto, but he is also a technologist and an entrepreneur. 10Xs caught up with Scott regarding his musical career, his business ethics, and his technological advances….
Why did you choose the music industry as a career?
I was raised in a musical family and was around music all of my life. I originally studied to be an architect and then got into a kid band with Jeff Porcaro and David Paich, who later started the band Toto. We started playing gigs around town and we were winning all of the Battle of the Bands, but what really inspired me to be a musician was at my drafting gigs I would drink 10 cups of coffee a day sitting at a desk but at the band gigs there was rock and roll and most important lots of girls. As a young man at that point It was an easy choice.
During your musical journeys who comes to mind as some of the most fascinating people who have crossed your path?
Wow, tough question. I have had the honor to meet and work with so many interesting people through the years in both music and tech. Folks like James Brown, Quincy Jones, Brain Wilson, Cher, Bill Gates, and Michael Milken were all extremely interesting and fascinating people so it’s hard to say who was the most fascinating, but there are several that stand out.
One of the most memorable was when I got to meet Lady Diana during a Royal command performance at the Royal Albert Hall, when I was playing with Supertramp. Supertramp was her favorite band. It was for the Princess Trust to raise money for young entrepreneurs to help support their businesses, as an entrepreneur myself this cause was close to my heart. She was extremely beautiful and vibrant. Her eyes were gorgeous and that never really came across in her photos. You could tell right away that she was a very special person.
Another person that comes to mind is Diana Ross who gave me great insights. Her presence and magnetism is extraordinary and had the power to always get the crowd up on their feet. It was as if she had some magic powers. I would watch her closely every night perform in front of 16,000 people. By watching her I started to learn so much about her entertainment techniques. She had a set of patterns that would inspire everyone up every night. I studied her like crazy. She taught me the importance of show business in the sense of how to entertain the crowd.
What is Think:EXP?
Think:EXP (short for Think Experience) is an immersive entertainment company. It focuses on using technology to create new forms of live entertainment experiences and the platform needed to support this type of entertainment. We believe the next wave of entertainment will be based around unique experiences and the lifestyle associated with that experience. In a mobile world it’s completely oversaturated with media consumption and where you can’t really sell music anymore the question is what can you sell? The things you can sell as an artist today is the relationship, lifestyle and experience. My belief is that all artists need to focus more on their super fans. Roughly 60% of the revenue will come from the Superfans and what unique experiences you can offer.
Can you give an example of some of the technology Think:EXP uses to enhance the fan’s experience?
Aside from the actual immersive concert experience, Think is really all about using innovative technologies and really stretching the limit. One of the things we are working on now is interactive clothing. There is actually a chip built into the garment that allow us to connect and use the shirts as a piece of technology by using your phone and tapping the shirt that launches an interactive experience through the web.
What challenges have you had thus far in your career and how did you overcome them?
No question I’ve had my share of challenges in both music and the technology business. My motto “is it ain’t easy having this much fun :).” However, I’ve been fortunate to have learned not to view setbacks in a negative way anymore. I now understand these challenges are actually all positive if viewed from a different point of view, a point of reality. What I mean by that is: what at the time seemed like a major setback actually turned out to be a major blessing in disguise over time. I do my best to stay focused 100% on the moment or the ride, because this moment is the only thing that is real, 2 minutes ago is an illusion and 2 minutes from now is an illusion. I’ve learned it is much better and easier to deal with reality then the illusions the mind constructs. Looking back I am actually thankful for the challenges I’ve had. It’s strange how life works.
Aside from being in three super-groups, Pink Floyd, Supertramp and Toto, I understand you were also a child prodigy and appeared on television shows when you were very young.
Well, I wouldn’t say a child prodigy but I did start playing trumpet at an early age. My dad, Bill Page was wood wind player in The Lawrence Welk Band featured on a weekly television show for 14 years, so I grew up hanging out at the studios during the early days of TV. It’s crazy for me to think that today we have a global mobile broadcasting network in the palm of our hands. It’s mind boggling to see how far we have come in today’s media and technology. I remember one time on the show my dad and I water skied while he played two clarinets and I played my trumpet, they just don’t make TV like that anymore 🙂
Here’s a bit of trivia, I’m the only guy on the planet who has played in both Pink Floyd and Lawrence Welk, now that’s a claim to fame.
When touring with Floyd how did you spend any free time you might have had?
I’ve always loved business. My dad was a serial entrepreneur. We had a boat business, a candy business, merchandising business, lighting business, and reed businesses. He was also one of the inventors of the historic Wah Wah pedal, so business has always been a part of my DNA. I decided that since I’d be on the road for the next 2 years with Pink Floyd I would take all my free time to study business. I’d be reading all of these business books and Gilmour would always ask me what I was reading. I would explain that it was a business book and that I was going to build a business after we got off the road. He would smile and laugh. That truly just inspired me even more.
What or who’s influences have helped shape your career?
I’ve been blessed to have played with the best of the best in my career, and have learned from many of them. First and foremost there was my pop who taught me curiosity and a ferocious work ethic, he loved life. Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd is my music guru. He taught me the power of playing melodies and completely changed the way I play today. Pink Floyd also taught me the power of a brand and how a world class Entertainment brand operates.
When I played with Supertramp they taught me the power of teamwork and leveraging the individual’s strength. Each member of that band played a major but different role in operating the band and it was based on the strengths and weaknesses of each of the individual band members. Jeff Procaro, the drummer from Toto served as my mentor. He is without a doubt the single most important influence that motivated me as to why I am a musician today. He inspired me to practice and up my game. He taught me the “groove is a delicate thing’ how everything you feel revolves around timing, from playing your instrument to hitting a golf ball. Everything is centered around timing
I also had the extreme pleasure to work with Quincy Jones who really opened up my eyes and taught me the power of intense presence. No matter who you are when you spoke to Quincy his attention was so focused on you. the whole world stopped and he totally connected with you with no distraction. Everybody I know loves Q
You are a leader in the technological business world as well as a superstar in the music industry. How do you balance the two sides of the coin?
It’s been my belief that making music and business is one and the same. It’s either a business or a hobby. If it’s a business, it’s about generating revenue and sustaining that business. So for me when I take on creative projects I always associate it with a business model, unless of course there is another objective for the project beyond money. Generating money allows me to continue doing my art. Most of the time if the project doesn’t have a business model that can generate revenue, I will move on to the next one that does. I believe you can be just as creative if not more creative when you associate a revenue generating business around your art. For me the art of business is just as creative as making the product.
Do you have any advice for musicians just beginning?
Don’t put thy faith in the word of thy critic, for how is his record doing? 🙂
Many Music industry people are passionate about giving back. I understand you have a couple of passions yourself?
I believe in a conscious capitalistic approach to business of building “giving” into the business model. In 1992 I created a project called, “The Great Scientific Musical Theater” which was a multimedia concert and fundraiser to benefit The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.” The event raised $1 million through corporate sponsors. It was a one-time live concert event that married Hollywood and Silicon Valley together for the first time. It featured Cirque du Soleil, Jon Anderson from Yes, John Entwhisle from the Who, Graham Nash, Tower of Power, Todd Rundgren, Edgar Winter, and showcased the latest in Entertaiment technologies.
More currently, Think:EXP is involved in helping counter social and economic disparities in South LA along with Flea from the Chilly Peppers, Norwood Fisher from Fishbone and a host of other musicians and industry professionals in building The Watts conservatory of music.
The Markham Middle School is plagued with gangs on every corner. With the help of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, we are trying to raise money for the children in that area so that they will be able to become involved in music instead of the darker possibilities.
Photo Credits: Billy Hess