Scott is the drummer for Debbie Anthony and Level Best, the Swamp Kings, and Five Finger Discount. He has a BA in music from Northern Illinois University, and he is the owner of Scott Kovar’s Drum Studio in Rochester, where he teaches drums and percussion.
What sparked your interest in music?
When I was little kid, my mom used to buy a lot of 45s, and she would have these dance parties in our basement. It was like a miniature American Bandstand. I credit my mom for my very wide interest in music. I’ve played classical percussion, and I’ve been in a steel drum band, too.
Most memorable gig experience?
A year or so ago I was playing with Annie Mack at Buddy Guy’s club in Chicago. We were there for his 75th birthday weekend, and he showed up the night we were playing. He got up on stage and played with us. That was pretty special.
Kindest words from an audience member?
There are a lot of times friends will come up and say something positive, but quite a few people I’d never met before came up to me at the Debbie Anthony concert and told me that they really appreciated what I was doing. I’m the guy in the background, and I’m kind of ignored, so it’s always nice to hear.
Show rituals or superstitions?
I don’t have any superstitions, but I always try to keep my hands warm before I play. I bring a practice pad with me so that I can rat-a-tat-tat without annoying the people around me.
Best show you’ve ever seen?
My first concert was when I was a freshman in high school. I saw Pink Floyd during their ‘Animals’ tour at Soldier Field in Chicago. There were over 80,000 people there, and Pink Floyd had all their theatrics going on. It was pretty overwhelming.
If you had to outlaw one song from ever being played again, what would it be and why?
Either the ‘Macarena’ or Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart.’ If I never heard those two songs again, I would be okay. Even when I was asked, I wouldn’t play the Macarena song. Instead, I would put on a recording of the song so people could at least dance to it.
What makes you stand out a a musician?
I try to be as professional as possible. I am very much into raising the bar in my own playing and influencing those around me. I remember when I was first getting involved in music, some of the older musicians would have a real negative attitude. They’d say, “Forget about being a musician!” And I decided that I never wanted to turn into that kind of person. So I avoid that bad attitude because it comes through in a person’s playing.
What is your musical philosophy?
All music is relevant. I hate to see music programs cut in schools because people don’t think it’s important. Our brains need something else besides numbers and letters. We need something to connect to the abstract, something that isn’t tangible.
Thoughts on teaching music?
I enjoy teaching, and I want to make sure that I pass on that enthusiasm to my students by letting them know that there are other opportunities out there to make music a part of their lives. Music makes you a healthier person – a more well-rounded person.
What motivates you to keep playing music?
Playing music creates a connection for me – it’s a part of my personality, a part of who I am. I’ve loved music ever since I was kid, ever since I saw my mom put those 45s on the turntable. I knew then that music was what I wanted to do.