A local Neil Diamond performance artist will be featured in a documentary set for world-wide release.
Jason Scott will be performing on Feb. 14 and that performance will be filmed for the documentary.
Back in the spring, Scott got a call from a director in Florida. The director, from Midnight Pass Entertainment, told Scott he would be doing a video documentary project he’d been planning for a number of years.
The movie is entitled “Play Me” after one of Diamond’s songs.
“It’s going to be a documentary on Neil Diamond performance artists,” he said. “There were originally 10 of us who were chosen, now there’s 12. It’s worldwide.”
The other artists are in places like U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Malta.
Scott is the the only Canadian performing for the show.
The director looked up Scott’s background and performances.
“The movie isn’t about who’s the best one, it’s what goes on in our lives to do this — what drives us to do it,” Scott said. “Most of us have got, if not a heartbreaking story, then a motivational story that has culminated in us finally doing what we are all doing now. What our story line is.”
He said he doesn’t like the term tribute artist or impersonator.
He is unique in that he’s the only performer that doesn’t use a live band.
“I use tracks, I’m a one-man show and I carry an audience for near two hours by myself, without a band and no nets,” he said. “So it’s kind of like a high wire act.”
Scott then went to the Columbo Lodge and explained the motion picture and what he was hoping to accomplish with his act.
“We struck up a deal,” Scott said, adding that his overhead is paying to pull the show off. “But I wanted to have a show that illustrated what I do when I go and perform on the road.”
Scott said he strictly performs at Royal Canadian Legions now. He used to play venues like the Key City Theatre and Royal Theatre in Nelson, but liked the atmosphere and audience at the Legions.
“I come from a military family, going back to my dad’s dad, who was in four wars for Canada — he fought from the backs of horses to the backs of tanks, and he survived it all. So it’s kind of special to me to be playing the Royal Canadian Legions.”
For the documentary he wanted to get the same kind of atmosphere and so opted for the Columbo Lodge. The pre-performance dinner was also an important part of it.
The documentary will be a two-day shoot.
The show is on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and show at 8 p.m.
“There are only 32 tables — eight per table,” he said. “A good way to do it is to buy a whole table. Tickets are $50 a piece. That includes the full-blown, traditional Columbo Lodge, they-never-stop-bringing-you-food dinner.”
He advised everyone coming to skip lunch that day.
“The filming of the motion picture will be going on during the performance,” he said. “They might have a chat with the people in the crowd before hand, I’m not sure.”
PB Pro Audio will be doing the sound.
“They’re going to make sure it’s going to be huge quality sound,” he said. “The lighting is going to be a little bit more and will set a really nice mood.”
Scott has been a professional singer since 1979, and was part of the West Coast rock music movement — the one that spawned Loverboy, Sweeney Todd and Brian Adams.
“I know all those guys. We were part of the same family. We were all playing the West Coast. We were all playing in Rock and Roll cover bands.”
He was working with Brian “Too Loud” MacLeod from Headpins on a band called You Are One Too.
“We were working on the fourth song of a nine song album, and Brian up and died of cancer. It just killed him in six months.”
At that point the U.S. side of the record label dropped all distribution.
“That was it,” he said. He looked in the mirror, wondering if he’d just wasted the last two decades of his life and wondering what he was going to do now.
“You can’t start again. You can’t go back to playing bars on Hastings Street,” he said.
He eventually made his way to Cranbrook to help a friend run the Tudor House.
“I had this one experience with my family where we ended up in a Karaoke bar,” he said. His sister asked him to sing Love on the Rocks by Neil Diamond. The bar had the Canucks game on and most people were watching that with the sound off, while people sang.
“I started singing and I got to the second line and I hear this scream from the crowd. I thought the Canucks had just scored,” he said, but the crowd was looking at him. “It hit me that Neil Diamond was falling out of my face.”
He thought that maybe he wasn’t done with his old life yet. He said he never knew because he’d always sang in his high register.
That lead to his new career.
Tickets are $50 and for sale at Cranbrook Drycleaners (beside Safeway).