Josh Scogin thrives on chaos. If you have followed his prior bands, Norma Jean and The Chariot, you already know this. You have seen things set on fire, death-defying jumps from the rafters and swinging guitars that could take your head off if you were too close. Scogin spent more time in and on top of the crowd than on stage during their wild shows!
When ’68 became Scogin’s new mode of expression, one would think the chaos would die down. He might be too busy onstage to think about jumping around. The subversive element of ’68 became something more subtle… the attitude. There is clever repartee between Scogin and the audience, wild interplay between Scogin and his ’68 bandmate, Michael McClellan and music that will stun audiences of alt/indie rock and hard rock varieties.
Scogin revels in his non-traditional approach to music and all that surrounds it, down to the name he gave the 2017 album, Two Parts Viper. “I was in Australia last year and had a dream where a man in a nice suit and tie came up to me,” explains Scogin of the album name. “He said that I would fail if I wasn’t two parts viper… The dream goes on and takes a few more twists and turns but that is the essence where the title came from.” He goes on to explain “The dream was terrifyingly parallel with my mental state and conflict at the time. Even the phrase he used in the dream “Two Parts Viper” shared two different meanings as the dream progressed… it struck me as interesting and so I used it for the title.”
Another way Scogin rocked the proverbial boat was in his recording process for Two Parts Viper. Since he is in perpetual motion – touring incessantly so he can meet fans from everywhere – he broke down the process of writing and recording into ‘a few days here and there’ at Glow In The Dark studio with Matt Goldman. Scogin explains “We would record a song or two, then leave for a tour. On a couple of breaks, we recorded parts of songs and left them unfinished until we returned a few months later.” Over 7 months’ time, the puzzle came together. It was a complicated process of which Scogin says “I really enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll ever do it like that again.”
There are some wild song titles on Two Parts Viper, which is certainly different than their untitled songs from the previous album. “The Workers Are Few” and “This Life Is Old, New, Borrowed And Blue,” “Death Is A Lottery” and “Without Any Words (Only Crying and Laughter)” are among them. The sound is equally unique – a rollercoaster of sonic emotion. Just when you think you know what will happen next, the song takes an unexpected turn.
As for lyrical content, Scogin usually makes the album a time capsule – writing his lyrics in short periods of time. Since the making of this particular record was prolonged “It reads more like a journey. Nearly each song is coming at you through a different set of circumstances,” says Scogin. “Some are written while I’m outside sweating because it is summertime. Some are written while I was on tour in Europe freezing in December. Plus many other random scenarios. So, the lyrics are all over the place, and nearly each song puts me in a totally different headspace.”
The headspace that Two Parts Viper puts the listener in, is one of constant discovery. Highs and lows, subtleties and blatant elements, things that require attention. This is just what Scogin was looking to achieve. Every step of this journey was designed to keep you on your toes… provoke thought… and, of course, entertain. Wild, inside and out. If you get it, you are ’68 too.