[Previously: The Birth of Something New]
Just who were, to borrow a phrase from Zig Jones, these “Musical Mussolinis”? Again, most of the information we have is from the Rock Waves interview, the only question and answer session the group allowed. The boys have been reluctant to discuss specifics of their past since the break, (we can only hold out hope the statute of limitations will eventually run its course).
In fact, the only quote Scot, the unquestionable founder of the band, has ever given in public was the now classic “Give me back my headphones, you!” Prior to the program, Frank had appropriated Scot’s headphones for Zig Jones’ use during the Rock Waves segment. Scot, realizing this three-quarters into the show, bolted from his undisclosed location, barged into the studio and issued forth his comment, which was picked up on the microphone and distributed simultaneously along the Rock Waves network. Little is known of Scot save for his insistence on privacy. “His bodyguards have physically abused so many reporters,” claims Ron Hendren, former host of Entertainment Tonight, “that even Frank Sinatra is impressed.”
Still, for all his shyness, we recognize Scot as the unifying force behind The Roommates. “Bob,” now a respectable businessman in Boston who spoke to us on the condition that his anonymity could be guaranteed, is a former member of Scot’s first group Scot and the Query Men. The only note of merit for this avant-garde group was their knack for asking questions in their song titles (the exception being their only song to make Billboard’s Top 100, “96 Beers”). “Bob” told us he understood perfectly why Scot had left The Roommates. He was impressed from the beginning of Scot’s desire to lead and need for a legacy beyond himself.
“Bob” says, “Once The Roommates achieved their popularity, it was clear to Scot the others were receiving much more attention than he was. In part, this was because he never spoke in public. I don’t mean to take away from the others, though. Ted really deserved his female following, Frank really did engineer their success by putting all the pieces together, and Rich, well, is darn right cute in his own naïve way. Though the others continued to look up to Scot (and for confirmation of this I need only point out that as soon as Scot called it quits, the group disbanded), feelings of complacency and ‘Is this all there is?’ had overcome him.”
Quite simply, it appears Scot felt he had achieved his objective and it was time to move on. “Bob” concluded with “Scot developed an urgent need to return to the days when he could invent again.”
Several days following our conversation with him, we tried to ask “Bob” some follow-up questions but his neighbors told us they hadn’t seen him. They also told us they hope he returns soon from wherever he is as the smell from his apartment is starting to seep into the hallway.
Perhaps “Why is Why?” should have tipped us off to Scot’s wanting to retreat from The Roommates and return to a better life. Recorded in early 1981 with a number of other songs, “Why is Why?” was released nine months later due to the legal entanglements of the split. Falling into the hands of Philip Spöke, a Swedish Easy Listening producer, all the songs from The Roommates’ last album Easy Gore seem uncharacteristically diluted. It had long been rumored Scot had already left the band prior to the production of that album. That’s the only possible explanation for its poor construction. Still, as testament to the legacy of the group’s popularity, the album topped the charts within hours of its release.