For New Jersey native Scott Chasolen, whose love of Pink Floyd goes back almost to birth thanks to his folks, getting an e-mail last fall inviting him to audition as the keyboardist for the nation’s best Pink Floyd cover band, The Machine, was an unbelievable opportunity.
“I still don’t who recommended they contact me,” said the talented young man with big eyes and a bigger smile. “It’s the mystery person,” he told me.
With one audition, he came on board, jumping into a fierce tour schedule that has included two stops at Falls Church’s State Theatre in the last six months.
His instrument, in particular, is definitive for the overall Pink Floyd sound. He replicates it by drawing on his life-long association with the music and the fact that he uses exactly the same analog equipment used by Richard Wright, his original Pink Floyd counterpart. It includes a Rhodes brand electric piano and Leslie speaker cabinet. He’s never met Wright, but would love to.
Another key factor is the “spirit” of the music, he said. “Wright has a lot of space between the notes.” Chemistry among the band members is also important. “We’ve really clicked,” he said, adding, “The most important thing is to keep it honest.”
Finally, there is the role of the audience. “They’re a very integral part of a performance. They really get us into it every night.”
Chasolen was invited onto The Machine because of his own musical accomplishments, having toured with his own band, Ulu, for seven years prior, including a number of stops at the State Theatre.
When not on tour now, he gathers a group to play Manhattan clubs, mostly, presenting his original music and lyrics that he describes as “complex pop,” with a mellow, introspective sound. It’s available on CDs.
Chasolen never touched an instrument until age 12, when he got a plastic calculator keyboard for Christmas. On a long boring road trip with his parents, he started trying to match the music on the radio on his keyboard, and found right away that he had a proverbial “ear for music.” He and his high school pals were playing clubs in Manhattan by the time he was 16. The rest is history.