Nick Dastardly & the Escape Artists

Nick Dastardly &
the Escape Artists

by Kenny Kerner

Scott Miller confesses to having had some "real bad experiences with trying to learn an instrument." But ever since he could remember, he always had an uncanny ability for writing songs. Miller recalls listening to Carpenters albums while being put to bed as a child and when he became a teenager, he began writing songs seriously.

Unable to play a musical instrument, Scott would jot down lyrics and melodies in a notebook. "I did that for a real long time," Miller revealed, "because mostly, the words and melodies came together. I think I did it just to entertain myself until I was about nineteen. At that time I figured I should take it a little more seriously."

Miller always had dreams of being a musician/songwriter but didn't actually pick up a guitar until he was about 16 years old. "I joined a band then and played guitar but another guy wrote most of the songs. I just kinda played his songs and never mentioned that I also wrote. I felt insecure about it, I guess."

Name: Scott Miller
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Age: 25
Occupation: Paralegal
Joined TAXI: 1998
Songs Forwarded: 25
Deals: One (MTV Undressed) 

By the time Miller entered college, he began playing his own material on acoustic guitar but still wasn't confident enough about his vocals to perform live. "I realized that unless I started working my voice out, I'd never get the chance to play my songs to anyone. The more I sang, the more people started to compliment me on my voice. And that made me take the singer/frontman thing more seriously. And that's about where I am right now."

Scott put himself through college by studying business and then moved out to Los Angeles in an effort to push his songs. "I came out to L.A. with hundreds of songs. At that point in time, I remember having problems finishing things. So most of the songs were probably very mediocre. I'd have these half-baked ideas and not realize it until I actually had to play them for someone. I was trying to figure out ways of getting people to listen. I was sending tapes out to anyone I could. I was even practicing in one of those small, Public Storage spaces. I rented a storage space and used it to practice. It was pretty crazy. When people came in to load or unload their belongings, I'd have to hold off a bit." Scott came pretty close to making a deal for one of his songs while out in Los Angeles, but it eventually fell through. And making new connections seemed almost impossible.

Scott heard about TAXI in the early Nineties and regrets having not joined back then. "I wish I had researched it back then," he mused, "I didn't know anything about it and never took the time to find out." Moving from California to Washington, D.C., Scott put together his current band, Nick Dastardly & the Escape Artists, read the TAXI web pages and immediately joined.

"The critiques and other services they provide are really invaluable. I've heard of a bunch of the people who are the A&R staff there and they're all well-known in the business. You get one of those guys to write you a critique for only five bucks and it's worth it right there!"

Like so many other TAXI members, Scott Miller also realizes that hooking up with the Independent A&R Vehicle also gives him an outlet for other songs that he writes; songs that he might not ever perform himself. "There are so many listings there that sometimes I just try writing a song for a listing that's brand new to me and I might never send it in. It helps me get familiar with lots of different music styles. Sometimes I wonder if I can write a country song for Reba--so I'll try one. For me, it's a really good songwriting exercise. Sometimes I have songs that just don't fit my band."

Now more confident about his singing and songwriting, Miller wants everyone to know that you can contact his band at their cool website at www.nickdastardly.com. Their latest CD won the writer several awards and, the band made it to the Musician Magazine Battle of the Bands semi-finals last year. As an aside, he threw in the fact that MTV's new show, "Undressed," made a deal to use some of his CD music. Ho-hum!

With over 25 songs forwarded in about two years, Scott Miller is growing as a songwriter--by leaps and bounds. And that is just one of the services that TAXI provides.









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