October 16, 2008
Scott Snyder is a quiet, soft-spoken young man with a deep voice. He’s polite, well versed in a number of topics and experiences and an all-around nice guy in general. PoopDeFlex, Snyder’s one-man blues-punk band, is really none of these things.
Call it a Jekyll & Hyde effect, if you will. When Snyder hits the stage, PoopDeFlex takes over. PoopDeFlex is mean, angry, vulgar, spiteful and, most important of all, hateful. All of this makes for a very interesting experience.
The transformation from Snyder to PoopDeFlex is not a conscious one, though. One might think the onstage alter ego is an elaborate act. “It’s all natural,” admits Snyder, “I just get frustrated or angry, and that’s what comes out. I’ll mess up a guitar riff or something and it will just set me off.”
Snyder began his musical adventures at an early age when he began a years-long affair with the saxophone in the second grade, though this was not totally his choice.
“It was either that or some other … class,” he says of his parents’ insistence he take up an extracurricular activity. “In fifth grade I had a ska band,” he adds. “We had one song that we played for the school talent show.”
He continued playing saxophone in the school band through the tenth grade, picking up the guitar only briefly when he was 15.
“It was a one-month attempt, two lessons,” he admits. He then left the music behind, until a few friends asked if he would join their band. “I never thought I’d get into the local music scene, really. Then I started playing saxophone in Pleasing Melani right out of high school, in 2004,” he says of his brief musical hiatus and subsequent joining of the rowdy local favorite.
But where did PoopDeFlex come from? Snyder says of the attention-grabbing moniker, “That’s been around since middle school. It was my rap name, MC PoopDeFlex. I kind of modeled it off of Funkmaster Flex.”
The “band” PoopDeFlex really didn’t start to take form until Snyder was struck by his influences. “I started listening to the blues, the Mississippi hill-stomp stuff, around 2005 – R.L. Burnside and (Fred) McDowell. My dad had all that stuff,” he says. “It just called to me.” He started playing guitar soon after.
Snyder then discovered a not-so-secret blues tradition in open tuning. “I wanted to play [the blues] because it sounded so easy and no one had written a new blues song in so long … then I found that open tuning,” he explains, noting the status of blues in the mainstream mindset. “Now I play an even more simplified version of open tuning.” One cannot hold his easier-than-usual guitar style against him. He is the only member of the band, after all.
When one mentions the phrase “one-man band” I immediately think of Dick Van Dyke’s Mr. Dawes in Mary Poppins and his ridiculous marching band apparatus. PoopDeFlex’s stage set-up is a little less extravagant, yet no less impressive. Gruff vocals, gritty, over-driven guitars, an occasional harmonica and a bass and snare drum played with his feet all factor into his sit-down rig. Those not paying close attention might think a full band was making all that racket.
They also may think a sit-down one-man-band wouldn’t be all that exciting, which couldn’t be further from the truth. At every round of this year’s whatzup Battle of the Bands in which PoopDeFlex graced the stage, he transfixed the audience with his bawdy brand of punked-up blues. It’s more than safe to say that once Snyder hits the stage, it gets a little blue. This might have a little to do with his preferred subject matter.
“Hate,” says Snyder, “A lot of songs about things I hate. I’ve come to find that whatever I like, I love, and whatever I don’t, I hate.” He adds, sounding like a grizzled bluesman thrice his senior, “Also there’s the loss of faith and whether or not I even care to find it again.” These two themes blend the punk and blues influences immediately recognizable upon hearing Snyder’s musical output. They also provide a little insight into the Mr. Hyde-like transformation alluded to earlier.
Snyder is not relying on solely punk or blues these days. “I’m sneaking in some hardcore. It’s getting a little heavier,” he says of his latest material. Don’t expect to hear the heavier PoopDeFlex on his upcoming debut album, though. Says Snyder, of the pending release, “I’ve been working on it now for about a year and a half. I’ve got 17 tracks, and they’re being mastered right now, actually.”
The album, titled Shut Your Mouth Around Me, is to be released soon, but Snyder has yet to cement the distribution method. “I’m thinking about splitting up the tracks onto two separate discs and title one Shut Your Mouth and the other Around Me,” he adds, displaying a pro-file sharing attitude when it comes to his own works, “Then you and a friend can buy one of the two and copy the other one for each other.”
Nearly rivaling Jon Ross for number of bands in which he is a member, Snyder is also involved in local lo-fi garage duo, Pliers, along with Cornfed of original Fort Wayne trash duo Cornfed Johnson. Says Snyder of the team-up, “Cornfed didn’t want to mess around with me. At first, he wanted nothing to do with me.” The duo, which has been playing a steady string of gigs since their inception early this year, features Snyder on guitar and vocals and Cornfed on drums and vocals. Listeners can expect it to be dirty and stomping, with a mid-tempo beat that is sure to get some fannies off of their bar stools in even the roughest of local watering holes.
With three active bands, a possible debut double album, and who knows what else to come in the near future, Snyder is suddenly one of the most noteworthy performers on the Fort Wayne music scene. Not bad for a guy that, a mere four years ago thought he’d never be involved in the first place.
Pliers will be opening for Joe Buck Yourself with Riverbottom Nitemare Band at The Brass Rail on Friday, October 17.
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