One IUP graduate student has had an extensive musical career.
Scott Sinclair is a communications media graduate student at IUP. He arrived in Indiana after graduating with a journalism degree from Penn State’s New Kensington campus.
“I really liked the writing and video editing part of that because I could equate it to my music production,” Sinclair said. “I graduated in 2020, and it was suggested by a Penn State New Kensington staffer that I take the communications media master’s program here.”
Prior to his education at Penn State and IUP, Sinclair was living his dream as a drummer in the Pittsburgh music scene in the 1990s. Having been a part of several different groups, Sinclair got the chance to play numerous musical styles, as well as in many different venues. From the Dave Matthew’s Band-esque Barefoot Serpents, to the pop punk energy of The Drag Strippers or the rockabilly nature of Highway 13, Sinclair has been part of it all.
Sinclair said that the split in the music he played was further represented in the city of Pittsburgh itself, with pop and rock music being the powerhouses. The music genre was not the only difference, either, as the venues that the groups played at had their differences.
“At those (pop) shows, there was a distinct headlining band on a given night and a supporting opener,” Sinclair said. “Rock and punk were more equitable; we would decide who was the headlining band on a given night.”
Sinclair said that, despite the differences between the different styles of music that were going on at the time, there was a sense of community and family amongst the different bands. The musicians were all part of a big family, and they really went through the effort to acknowledge when another band or musician did something very impressive or talented.
The bands themselves may have had a sense of family, but that was not so much the case for the fans. As is the case with anything, fans are often very polarized towards the music that groups play.
Despite never making it big as one may think, Sinclair’s various groups always managed to gain a steady following of fans that would listen to them, which was Sinclair’s favorite part. According to him, being able to play for an audience at a concert is something that could not be beaten.
Even though his groups had only a small following, Sinclair was still able to spend time in a studio recording music.
“We would play the song straight through so that I could lay down the drums tracks,” Sinclair said. “So, I got done early and would lend my ear to the rest of the parts.”
This is why, in Sinclair’s mind, drummers make good producers, as they are able to pick out different notes and riffs.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck when a small financial crisis caused Sinclair to have to sell his gear in 2010.
Despite this loss, Sinclair says that he wants to get equipment back after getting through grad school.
Despite the fact that he may never get back into the music scene like he was in the past, Sinclair says that he would love to be able to play with the younger generation, as well as his former contemporaries, if he ever gets the chance.