Scott Brown’s Musical Return to Wrentham
Photo by Micah Gumel.
By Grace Allen
He called Wrentham home for close to twenty years and might be considered its most famous citizen. Later this month, Scott Brown will return and he’s bringing his band.
Scott Brown and the Diplomats will play on Wrentham’s town common on Sunday, July 17 at 6 p.m., part of the Concerts on the Common series. It will be the second appearance for Brown, who made his musical debut in Wrentham during last summer’s concert series.
“I’ve always loved music,” said Brown, in a phone call. “I enjoyed singing in high school and college but then I got away from it. After I lost the election to Elizabeth Warren, I learned to play the guitar.”
Turns out he was pretty good. He played some guest gigs with Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, and the James Montgomery Band, among others. And of course, he played with his daughter, country music singer Ayla Brown, now the morning co-host at Country 102.5 in Boston.
“There’s always been music in our family,” Brown shared. “Before Ayla was born, I would sing to her and when she came out she would actually quiet down when I sang.”
Scott Brown and the Diplomats formed after Brown’s return to the United States from New Zealand and Samoa, where he served four years as Ambassador. That post capped off his extensive political career, which started when he was elected to the Wrentham Board of Selectmen in 1995.
Brown brought his guitars with him to New Zealand, where he formed a band, engaging in what he calls “rock ‘n roll diplomacy” to break down barriers and forge connections. He says one of the highlights of his time as ambassador was playing in front of 15,000 fans at Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
“When I got home, I said I’m going to continue playing,” he explained, seeking out talented area musicians to reform his band.
Now living in Rye, New Hampshire, Brown travels to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, weekly to practice with his band at Jamstage, a recording studio. Along with Brown, who’s on rhythm guitar and vocals, the other musicians include Rich Eisner on drums, Jesse Bastos on bass/vocals, Jon Hathaway, on guitar and vocals, and Robin Hathaway, on vocals. The band members hail from N. Attleboro, New Bedford, and East Greenwich, Rhode Island.
“I’m the martyr,” quipped Brown. “It’s about an hour and forty-five minute drive for me but it’s well worth it because we get the whole stage and we can practice like we’re performing live. I don’t mind, and it gives me a chance to stop at Café Assisi or Aroma,” two area eateries.
The band’s set list, which is rock ‘n roll heavy, focuses on music from the ‘60s on. Familiar tunes include “Johnny B. Goode,” “I Want You to Want Me,” “Lola,” “Born to Be Wild,” “Lonely Is The Night,” “Rock And Roll All Nite,” “You Really Got Me,” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”
The band has garnered good reviews in the last year, playing in front of crowds at Hampton Beach Casino and Indian Ranch, an outdoor music venue in Webster. Last month, the band performed during Franklin’s Strawberry Stroll, and upcoming performances are scheduled in N. Attleboro, Salem, Cape Cod, and several venues in Hampton Beach, along with Wrentham. The band also plays private events, appearing at Wrentham businessman and Republican governor hopeful Chris Doughty’s convention-eve party in Springfield on May 20.
Along with his musical career, Brown, 62, is busy with family activities—he’s a grandfather now—and says many of his relatives live nearby, noting his family has had roots in New Hampshire for generations. He also coaches junior high sports teams, including cross-country, and serves on several boards.
In April, Brown became chair of the Competitiveness Coalition, a newly-formed conservative group advocating for less regulation while promoting American high-tech innovation. He is also supporting his wife, former WCVB/News Center 5 reporter Gail Huff, who is running for Congress.
Brown, when asked if his music career was truly his second and final act, just laughed.
“We get paid real money and have to be good,” he said. “We have very, very talented musicians and we’re getting a lot of very good responses. It’s fun and a great outlet, and I’m working very hard.”