Veteran performer, producer and business entrepreneur
Scott Ellison Ebright’s energy and enthusiasm is legendary among all of his business associates throughout his life. He had a reputation for dreaming up profitable concepts in the entertainment realm that were successful and earned respectable notoriety throughout his career. Scott began performing in 1966 when he played drums in a dinner music trio that hauled in an impressive $10 per 2 hour show back when the minimum wage was only $1.00 per hour. Donald Sovey was the band leader-electric guitarist and pianist Tom McCarville completed this trio as they played low profiled dinner music venues around Bay City and Essexville, MI.
At 15 years old, Scott was asked to join a rock band of older musicians called, “The Ides of March”. Within months, the Ides of March won first place in a Midwest Battle-of-the-Bands contest sponsored by WKNX radio – one of the two Top 40 Radio Stations that owned a large audience segment across central Michigan, including Flint, Saginaw and Detroit. The battle of bands marathon was a 10 week span where the best of four bands competing every week earned the right to play in the semi-final rounds. Next, the winner of each of the semi-final rounds would compete head-to-head in a final battle. Michigan recording acts that appeared along with the Ides of March were Paul Revere and the Raiders, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, Bob Seger, the Rationals, and the Bossmen (later called The Frost). The previous year’s winner of this annual Battle of the Bands was Question Mark and the Mysterians. Capitalizing on their win, they recorded and released their first single, “96 Tears“. They toured the U.S. to promote their record and it soon scored hit over a million record sales.
The Ides of March played at schools, resorts, and teen adult nightclubs throughout Michigan. After a year passed, the Ides of March recorded and released a single 45 RPM record where both sides of this single hit the record charts in the summer of 1967. (Click here and scroll to bottom of this page link to hear the earliest “Ides of March” recordings). The band became more and more popular as radio airplay reached audiences throughout Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio and Canada.
When the Ides’ lead singer left the band to attend college, the band broke up and members went on to play with other local musicians in bands until they graduated from high school. After one year of taking broadcasting classes at college, Scott packed up all he owned in a single footlocker and flew out to San Francisco to meet the SF State professor who wrote his college textbook about broadcasting. But, when confronted by a 2 year waiting list for more broadcasting and filmmaking courses, he grew impatient and forged his way into the music business. He soon became a member of one band, then another, and four years later he was running his own talent agency from Mill Valley, CA. Several of the bands he played in or managed had a high public profile among a sea of other hippie bands in that golden era of California music.
From those early decades up through today, Scott’s stage appearances rotated back and forth between stints performing as a musician, studio drummer, singer, DJ, MC, or actor. He explains the alternating roles very simply: “I always went where the money was best. My basic goal was to keep a full calendar of booking dates”. The end result was a multi-faceted exposure to audiences that groomed him on his way to becoming an all-round performer.
Bookings increased at nightclubs and military bases in the early days to larger arenas like concert halls, and sports stadiums where Ebright has entertained millions of people over his career. His career path often included pairing him up in shows that included “A- List of Celebrities” from the music and movie industries. He has played live on TV and Radio and appeared in television shows and movies. When asked about his movie experience, Scott confesses,”I just don’t have the drive nor the time to sit around on movie sets waiting to become a known actor while paying my union dues and scrapping in the trenches among an army of wannabe actors for every audition that comes up.”. His lament continues, “It’s mostly a war of attrition: you have to go through an arduous audition and interview process and in the end – it just ‘ain’t worth’ the low pay”.
The strategy: “Combine business with talent”
But Scott Ebright’s career wasn’t just limited to that of a performer. He developed a strong foundation of big business protocols and standard operating procedure (SOP) from his first corporate job with AT&T in San Francisco. Hired at 20 years old, Scott adapted quickly to the 40 hour work week and commuting on Greyhound bus 50 miles everyday. Wearing suits and ties everyday, he assimilated into AT&T’s business model and learned all he could for three years. This three year proving ground built his confidence to the point he resigned and launched his first entrepreneurial company: Ellison Scott Promotions (ESP). He played dual roles of booking agent and drummer for local Marin County bands. To his surprise, he had a natural born flair for business marketing and his reputation grew as a respected and accomplished Personal Artist’s manager and producer of very profitable show bands.
His unique stage shows gave birth to innovative new career directions for singers and musicians. Scott spawned the earliest form of “tribute show bands”. In fact, co-managed the worlds first band that ever used that actual phrase. It was “Alan: A Tribute to Elvis”. Fans and critics described his showbands as “Dazzling….High Energy….and Slick”. This was a fitting description since his show bands incorporated costume changes, choreography and intricate stage lighting. “Jesse King as Elvis” was one of the very first Elvis Tributes. This band enjoyed a high degree of success touring the West Coast, New York, the Southeastern United States and especially Florida. After a greedy investor wrestled the corporation’s majority stock shares into their favor, Scott was pushed out of his own creation and sent on a plane back to California where he came from! Jesse King, whom Scott had discovered and trained to become Elvis, gave in to the promises and lies of the other investor, Ron Ray, so he voted to oust Scott out of the company. But, within 3 months of returning to California, Scott received a phone call to move to LA and help to manage and promote the BIGGEST Elvis act in the world, and this led to his involvement with Alan: A Tribute to Elvis.
Produced shows with Dick Clark (American Bandstand) and Jerry Lewis
When Elvis died in August 1977, this triggered a joint venture between Scott and producer-manager Chet Actis (ICA TALENT, Hollywood) and Dick Clark (American Bandstand). This trio went into high gear while promoting Alan – A Tribute to Elvis” which was the first Elvis tribute to ever perform in Las Vegas and on nationally syndicated TV shows world-wide. Other show bands benefitting from their management and promotion were RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles, and Vince Vance and the Valiants (aka Andy Stone and the Valiants).
Scott’s role with this management team was Booking Agent, Public Relations and Record Sales. He kept a heavy stream of press kits and phone communications flowing to over 5,000 mainstream media contacts across the entire world. Alan’s Elvis act appeared in several foreign countries like Germany, England, Israel, Italy, Australia, and Japan. His record album went SOLID GOLD, generating over 500,000 units sold at concert appearances or by direct mail. Alan was interviewed and promoted on the covers of national magazines like People Magazine, US magazine, the National Enquirer, and Rona Barrett’s Hollywood Gossip magazine, along with hundreds of other magazines and newspapers world-wide. Alan: A Tribute to Elvis performed on syndicated TV network shows like the Donnie and Marie Osmond Show, Phil Donahue, Midnight Special, In Concert, American Bandstand, the Jerry Lewis Telethon (annual TV special broadcast live in Las Vegas), the Mike Douglas Show, Merv Griffin and The David Susskind Show (NY).
Jerry Lewis booked Alan: A Tribute to Elvis for three annual live telethons in Vegas. Jerry’s fondness for Alan’s Elvis tribute culminated into producing a TV special based upon Alan’s Las Vegas Show and the behind the scene story of Alan’s Elvis tribute breaking house records at the Tropicana Hotel. The hottest movie production company at that time was the Robert Stigwood Group, production company for hit movies, “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease”. The timing for the production of this specials came about three months after the death of Elvis Presley. With their loving idol gone, Elvis fans quickly accepted the next best performer to their idol: Alan: A Tribute to Elvis.
Generated sales over twenty million!
During the late 1970’s through 1980’s , Ebright’s talent and music marketing skills resulted in corporate job assignments of as Entertainment Director, Head Disc Jockey, Creative Events Consultant, and VP of Marketing for the Hilton Pointe Resorts in Phoenix, AZ (Gosnell Development Corp.) and the Hilton Hotel in Sacramento, CA.
During the early 1980’s, he revived over a dozen tired and worn out nightclub properties owned by the Grace Corporation. His creative marketing strategies and music programming finesse filled the cash registers of many properties in CA, NV and AZ. Known for a successful track record of profitable entertainment concepts and unique creative ideas, Scott was considered to have a “Midas Touch” with every fledging business property resurrected. The nickname of “Nightclub Doctor” became a moniker stemming from his ability to inject new life into dying nightclubs. This amounted in a very impressive track record of 33 wins, and 0 losses! (Based upon large increases of annual gross sales compared to previous years.) His primary focus always began with an energetic focus on music formats appealing to Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers. Popular music formats included big screen music videos and monthly theme parties that grew cumulative corporate profits by well over $50 million dollars from 1977 to 1991. (Adjusted for inflation, this is comparable to well over $100 million dollars in terms of 2017).
From the 1990’s through the present, Ebright became a playwright and he produced a popular acting troupe of movie and TV actors to perform a higher caliber version of Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Shows. Their performances were always exclusive private dinner parties for his corporate client base from the Silicon Valley in California. He has booked over a thousand shows with top corporate management in many Fortune 500 companies. His client list includes repeat bookings with Intuit, Apple, Google, eBay, Twitter, PayPal, Facebook, IBM, Genentech, Cisco Systems, Oracle and EUarts to name only a few. (See expanded client list).
If you really like people, you’ll be successful
Scott considers all of his business clients and associates to be family and social life all wrapped into one package. His work preempted any long term romantic relationships, vacations, long-term dating relationships marriage or children. But Scott’s dedication to a jam-packed work calendar never left him much time to reflect on the absence of a private social life. Instead, his psychological reward always came whenever the public flocked to enjoy his successful themed nightclubs and popular show bands on tour.
He really enjoys meeting new people, and he is blind to social classes or financial status. Scott claims, “Everyone has something to offer and it’s up to me to discern what their gift is.” He likes working with people from all walks of life and is dead serious about a strong work ethic backed with honesty and integrity. Add to this a keen sense of humor and you have the sum total of Scott’s winning success formula.