Industry Noize: Getting To Know Moo
Scovill went all the way back to 1987, talking about what he thought was the lowest point of his life.
“I was in college, kind of lost and not doing very well. The girl I was seeing was killed in a car accident, I was flunking out of college and at rock-bottom,” Scovill told Pollstar. “I didn’t know what to do with my life. Then in 1987 a Silver Eagle [tour bus] pulled into the restaurant I was working at in upstate New York and I waited on U2‘s road crew. It was during ‘The Joshua Tree’ tour. It blew my mind that you could actually do that for a living. I thought you had to be Bono’s cousin or something to work with them on the road. I had them laughing and they insisted I come to a show. I went and had an amazing time.”
After witnessing first-hand what it took for the crew to put together, and stay on top of, a concert production, Scovill was hooked.
“I got a feel for what [the job] was about and I asked a lot of questions. I decided I was going to go on the road with them so I sold my Super Sport Camaro, quit college and my three jobs and showed up in the next city they were in when they got back from Europe. I told them I was going to work [with them] and there was nothing they could do to stop me.”
During Scovill’s equivalent of an unpaid internship with U2, he discovered what he wanted to do for the rest of his life – video production. The technology was new and just coming into play. Scovill spent a few years gaining experience with the equipment and learning about video, which eventually led to an opportunity to work on the Rolling Stones’ “Steel Wheels Tour” in 1989.
Tours with David Bowie and Paula Abdul soon followed. And it was a Paula Abdul show that caught the attention of reps for the then up-and-coming Alan Jackson and led Scovill into country music production as Jackson’s video director. A move to Nashville in 1992 while working for Lee Griffin at Production AV was the spark that led to launching Moo TV and Moo Creative Media.
“Lee was a mentor and a huge father figure to me in my life. We started the Nashville office in 1993 and we were successful. We got a number of acts and I was hiring people and running the acts. About a year into that I asked [Lee] to create a company that designs shows and creates footage for shows,” Scovill explained. “Back then video was still pretty new and [people] were hiring their brother-in-law to be a film director or music video director. But if you’re a film or music video director, you’re taught to tell a story within a rectangle. People didn’t understand that sometimes the screen should just have flames on it or clouds or colors or words or, better yet, be off.
“I proposed that we start a company that understood that and designed shows that look great and made sense, where video is part of the big picture and not a rectangle that happened to be stuck in the middle of the stage. That was our focus and our mission.”
Tragedy struck in 2002 when Griffin was killed during a carjacking at his home, which nearly derailed the future of the company. Thanks to the strong support of staff and clients, and a lot of soul-searching, Scovill chose to continue Moo TV as a tribute to Griffin and the legacy that he and his mentor had built. With 15 tours including Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Zac Brown Band, Peter Frampton, and Miranda Lambert currently on the road with more this summer, and Scovill traveling the States in his own tour bus, that chance meeting with the U2 crew continues to pay off.
“I’ve taken on a more creative role with my clients [over the years] but I still really enjoy the roar of the crowd,” Scovill said. “When the lights go down and the crowd goes wild … that’s just a cool feeling for me. “What we create for a living is applause and I think that’s amazing. We make people happy.”
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