In memory of my old friend Scott, who passed away in 2005. A popular Atlanta musician, Scott played with such bands as Shades of Shame, Dixie Tramps, The Valentines, and an early incarnation of The Black Crowes.
I worked with Scott at Fellini's Pizza back in the late 80's/early 90's. We were close friends during those years, and we remained in touch until early 2005.
Exile on Peachtree Street: Musician Scott Shamel dies at age 40 By Lee Valentine Smith
"A lot of people didn't know Scott as a musician," says veteran Atlanta singer/songwriter Ray Dafrico about his longtime friend and fellow musician Paul "Scott" Shamel II. "Even people where he worked [Fellini's on Howell Mill Road] might not have known he was in a band." But Dafrico knew him well. The pair met when both were in eighth grade in Alpharetta and bonded through a shared love of the Rolling Stones and Cheap Trick. They later played in several local projects, including Shades of Shame and Kickstand. Shamel's recent death at age 40 was quite a shock.
"We hadn't been playing together for a while, so I don't think he was doing anything apart from working, buying a new condo, and just trying to get his life together," says Dafrico.
Even though he wasn't the best known artist in town, the hard-living Shamel was active in the local music scene. In the late '80s, he was the bassist for Mr. Crowe's Garden, which later became the Black Crowes after he and his friend, Ted Selke, were booted out.
"I think he was always bitter about that, but he didn't make a big deal out of it. That's the kind of guy he was." Even though rock stardom escaped him, Shamel went on to play in a series of modestly successful bands including the Dixie Tramps, and collaborated with a who's who of the local elite.
"When I got home from the funeral, I watched a video I made at Scott's birthday party in 1989," says Catfight! bassist Katy Graves, who knew Shamel for two decades. "He always had big, huge, cool birthday parties. Since Scott was in the Dixie Tramps at that time, they played the party - it was at Clarence Foster's - and then everyone in town, it seemed, got up to sing. Chris Robinson sang on 'Honky Tonk Woman,' Kevn Kinney sang 'Sweet Home Alabama.' Shane Morton got up and did '18' and 'Jumpin' Jack Flash.' Scott sang 'I Need Lunch' by the Dead Boys.
"Scott's big present that year was a pair of leather pants that his wife, Ashley, got him," recalls Graves. "He is wearing them in the video. After a food fight involving the birthday cake, the pants were pretty covered in white frosting. There were so many people on that tape who I still hang out with, even after all these years. Then again, there are several people who have passed away, and damn, what a waste. Scott was just flat out one of the nicest guys I ever knew."
"He just had a big heart," says Dafrico. "And that probably led to his addictive personality and I guess, from that, his early death." Shamel's penchant for excessive partying was a part of his image that friends tried to discourage but he embraced it and even joked about it, says Dafrico.
"He played with us for two months or so," says Bryan Stuart of Motor 76. "He had a really great heart. We still talk about the time when he almost blew up the singer's house one late night when he left the gas on after some ill-fated cooking episode. We still keep his vodka bottle from that night proudly on display."
"He was the real deal," says Lars Nagel, also of Motor 76. "He really was Exile on Main Street, a true rock 'n' roll pirate with a great human quality about him. We'll all miss him."
Scott Shamel was born Sept. 29, 1964 at Piedmont Hospital, and died there June 22, 2005. Cause of death was still unknown at press time.