First Concert: Scorpions/Bon Jovi at Rosemont
Favorite Guilty Food Pleasure of the Moment: Homemade Rice Crispy Treats
Best New Hobby: Going to the gym to work off the homemade rice crispy treats
Spend a few minutes off-stage with Nick Scropos and you’ll find someone who gets along with everyone and has an undeniable comedic wit that leaves you gasping for air between laughs. Watch him on-stage and you’ll see someone who is a pure musician with an uncanny sense of rhythm and timing. Both of these scenarios are central to why he was picked to join Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers in March 2004.
Growing up in a Chicago suburb as part of a vibrant partial-Greek family, Scropos was influenced by music from day one. His architect father was a classically trained cellist and both his mother and sister played violin. Scropos started violin lessons at age three, learning the Suzuki method from a cadre of Catholic nuns who taught at a local Parochial school. On his 16th-size violin, he mastered “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and by age seven, was being invited to perform with the local junior high orchestra. He fearlessly accepted, and played while standing on a chair to be level with kids twice his age.
By junior high, Scropos switched from violin to the upright bass – while learning guitar simultaneously. In high school, he emulated his guitar heroes (Hendrix, Page and Van Halen) while jamming with drummer and close friend, P.H. Naffah on weekends. After graduation, Scropos headed south to Boca Raton, FL for college and joined The Funk, a rock band with a Red-Hot-Chili-Peppers sound and a penchant for performing shirtless. He studied liberal arts and hoped he could satisfy his passion by majoring in music. After a few years (mostly spent on the beach), he returned to Chicago to study music and one semester later, he was asked by Naffah to join a new band, Rain Convention, in Tempe, AZ. Within days, he was on his way to the Southwest.
By this time, Scropos realized that music was no longer a side job or a hobby. After Rain Convention broke up, Scropos pursued his dream with a laser focus. He co-formed Vitamin, which later was renamed Gloritone, and they quickly recorded “The Vitamin Demos” in 1996 and had a major label deal six months later. In 1997, the band released “Cup Runneth Over” and toured steadily for 18 months, opening for Sunny Day Real Estate and the Dandy Warhols, among others. Unfortunately, the band was dropped, but their drummer was a Howard Stern fan and dreamed up a crazy stunt to get more attention for Gloritone. In return, the shock jock spun their single, “Swan Dive,” for a week. This caught the attention of many labels and Warner-Chappell, a leading publishing house, who signed them and the band then returned to the road again.
While Gloritone provided “good music with good friends,” the band struggled with its publishing deal and returned to the local Phoenix club circuit. In 1998, Scropos also worked with Naffah and Roger Clyne to record a full bass guitar track for the single “Green and Dumb” for “Honky Tonk Union,” the first album from the duo’s newest incarnation following the breakup of their earlier group, The Refreshments. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers began so they could experiment with new musicians and sounds and they initially hoped Scropos would join them; however, his Gloritone commitments kept him from accepting a permanent place in the band at the time.
By 2004, Scropos had reached a crossroads and though his Gloritone gigs provided some income, he considered supplementing his career by opening a night club or possibly pursuing a career in occupational therapy on the side. However, in one of those “right time, right place” moments, Clyne and Naffah were now looking for a new bass player for their fast-rising, popular band and approached Scropos with the opportunity. Realizing he could now continue playing music as a full-time job, he joined the Peacemakers. With amazing musical aptitude and determination, he learned 70 songs in four weeks and hit the road with the band in March 2004. Scropos immediately assimilated into the raucous touring schedule and rock ‘n’ roll camaraderie of Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers. After years of ups, downs, false starts and changes in plans, Scropos’ choice to pursue music seems to have worked out just fine.