Motor City Rides

May 13, 2009 at 12:00 am

Those who've known Scott Allen as the manic keyboardist in Thunderbirds Are Now! might be shocked. See, in Thunderbirds, Scott's high-energy, injury-defying (well, sometimes) stunts were perfect visual foil to TAN's Brainiac-inspired assault.

So you might not expect that singer Scott loathes the frontman chores and would rather kick out some singer-songwriter-inspired jams with his father and fellow music lover Brad in his Livonia basement studio. In fact, in the last couple years, Scott and pop (who has populated bands himself) have laid down more than 20 songs — under moniker Arranged Marriage — that wink more toward Paul Simon, Elliott Smith (like on the gorgeous "Is All Mine") or the Traveling Wilburys than they do, say, Enon.

The (tentative) plan is to edit out about half the songs for a late summer album release. "It's a meticulous labor of love that will surprise a lot of people," Papa Allen says, "It's headphone music made on a shoestring budget in Livonia."

And dad's studio houses much local music history within its walls. "Basically every demo, every album we ever recorded has at least in part been done here — most of the early Suburban Sprawl recordings basically happened in this studio," says Scott's bro and Friendly Foes frontman Ryan. (Indeed, one basement wall is lined with albums recorded here.) In short, Brad Allen is a rock 'n' roll dad.

"My parents put up with a lot of shit when we were growing up," Scott says, a grin creeping to his face. "Kids in and out, bands recording, bands crashing here all the time." After a moment, he adds, "My dad loved every minute of it."

Arranged Marriage makes its live debut at Detroit Unplugged III on Friday, May 22, at the Lager House, 1254 Michigan, Detroit. Dig the band's music at Also, check out Scott's other band, Big Mess, at