“Scott is presently on some sort of trek with hippos and crocodiles in southern Ethiopia,” says Amy Day, whose band the Local suddenly finds itself minus cofounding singer-guitarist Scott Walsh just as their debut album is about to drop. “[He] ended up in Ethiopia for a year because of a great opportunity related to his wife’s job.”
The band self-financed the recording of Mission Trails, due September 1, hiring Grammy-winning producers Steve Churchyard (Sex Pistols, George Michael) and Alan Sanderson (Rolling Stones, U2) and percussionist Michael Fisher.
“I never expected that we’d be presented with these kinds of choices,” says Walsh, whose environmental consulting business specializes in fertilizer optimization for farming. “Amy and I will keep working on writing songs together while I’m here; we’ve got at least a dozen that are half written already. From a musical standpoint, I see my year in Ethiopia as a chance to concentrate on songwriting, explore new sounds and styles, and try to incorporate them into new songs.”
In October, Walsh will be joined by Day in Spain for a pair of acoustic-duo shows, though further album promotion will have to wait until he returns to San Diego. “I really like my job, and I don’t want to give it up,” says Walsh. “There’s plenty of examples of bands that have balanced careers, recording, and touring. Wussy and the Magnetic Fields are two examples we like, but there’s gazillions of bands out there doing that.”
Day also plans on keeping her job as a law professor, teaching legal writing and family law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
“I think there’s a close connection between being a writing teacher and being a lyricist,” she says. “Our jobs are important to us. We don’t just do that stuff to pay the bills or dream of leaving our jobs. We care deeply about our careers and about our music and think it’s possible to be really committed to both.”
Bassist-guitarist Neal Hedegard owns Left Coast Studios in Kearny Mesa, and drummer Ray Daniels is a cardio/pulmonary services manager at Sharp Healthcare.
“Scott’s move to Ethiopia was the sort of opportunity his family couldn’t pass up, but it’s temporary,” says Day. “His choice to move was the type of choice that makes him the kind of songwriting collaborator and generally interesting human who I want to work with.”