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Musician doing it his way

July 19, 2005|by TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Dubbed by his fans as the "Internet's first rock star," Scooter Scudieri has been hard at work earning that title. Music has been a major part of his life.

His new debut video, "Mother of God," is promoting peace, and more than 100,000 free copies have been downloaded off the Internet.

"It needs to get out," the 36-year-old said. "We learn to love and we learn to hate. In order for all to survive, we have to learn that we are all human. All people on the planet are one race."

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"Armageddon does not have to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let the human race begin. God is love, life and we are all human," Scudieri said.

When he was 6 years old, he said he saw the rock group Kiss and he was inspired. Bob Dylan, David Bowie and John Lennon also influenced his writing. Dylan had "no voice per se, but he gave the world a perception with songs like "Hurricane," Scudieri said.

Lennon's "Imagine" was a fabulous song, he said.

"He was trying to get people to look at things differently.

"Lennon, Dylan and Bowie spoke a message; Kiss showed me how to entertain," he said.

Singer-songwriter Scudieri is a self-taught musician who writes his songs quickly. He said he knows a new song is coming a few days ahead of time, and he knows he must block out time for it.

"I start thinking about things, and it just comes."

Born in Passaic, N.J., and by way of Spokane, Wash., he and his family moved to Berkeley Springs when his father was stationed at the veterans administration hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va. Scudieri said he entered 10th grade at Berkeley Springs High School.

The following year, his family moved to Martinsburg so his father could be closer to the hospital. Scudieri said he did not want to change schools, so he shared the commute every day with one of the teachers at the high school.

In 1986, he graduated second in his class, he said. He made good friends, he said, and is still in touch.

He spent more than two years at Shepherd College and majored in psychology, he said. He met his wife, Kelly, there 17 years ago, he said. For more than 18 years, Shepherdstown, W.Va., has been home.

"Why don't I live in L.A., New York or Nashville? Because with Internet technology on the rise since the early '90s, there is no reason to go to a big city. What do you gain by playing in Greenwich Village for the next 20 years?"

He said he spent many years performing in clubs. He remembered seeing Nils Lofgren perform and people were talking right over his performance. Scudieri said he got tired of people walking by the stage on their way to the restroom and dishes and silverware rattling during his performance.

"If you believe in yourself, you don't have a problem saying 'my music is more important than this,'" he said.

He was part of a group called World Without Fear, but there was a "high turnover rate," he said and he decided to go it alone.

What's unique about Scudieri is that he promotes himself.

Scudieri said he took the time to learn about Internet technology. He said he built and tore down Web sites. He is "utilizing high tech and high intensity to promote his music around the globe," he said.

Scudieri said he is reinventing the rock star and redefining independent.

"This is my purpose, which was borne out of necessity. I was the only one that could create my own art. The 'first rock star' campaign is a means to an end. It was my vision. I don't need an editor."

He sells his music over the Internet through INTENT MediaWorks, the largest distributor of download entertainment media using Peer-to-Peer (P2P). He said a person can purchase individual songs for about a dollar, he said, through a secure Internet service, like PayPal. They get a portion of the sales. Scudieri's CDs can be purchased on the Internet as well.

He does this without an agent, a manager or a record company. He said there is no need for those because "it's between the musician and the fan. It's that simple," he said.

On a 19-date tour, he was the opener for the rock star, Jewel, and he said that was the closest temptation to working with an agent. Lenedra Carroll, Jewel's mother and agent, talked with Scudieri about representing him, he said. Because he has been so successful on his own, Scudieri said Carroll told him: "You don't need me; if anyone can do this, you can."

What he does is a marketing analysis, he said. First, he gives away a lot of copies of a song. Then he'll rework it and sell it via P2P on the Internet. Sponsors can be added to link to their sites for a fee.

Instead of contracting with music promoters, Scudieri does it himself.

"The tables have turned," he said.

Scudieri lectured on the future of music, "Capture Your Spirit, Keep Your Soul" at The Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2002. He now tours colleges and universities across the country lecturing and conducting workshops on the art of self promotion, he said.

This fall, Scudieri will perform with four other artists on the east coast for 30 days. The theme is protecting children, he said, called "The New Voice of P2P."

Scudieri will perform Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Berkeley Springs State Park as part of the Morgan Arts Council's Concerts in the Park. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held at the Star Theatre on Washington Street.

"Use your art wisely; it can be the ultimate messenger of peace," he said.

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