Gatos musician releases holiday CD
Whitney has sold 15,000 [in 2002] "ChristmAcoustic' albums
Scott Whitney of Los Gatos is self-taught in both music and web
design—his two favorite forms of creative self-expression.
The quality of that expression, however, and the passion with which
Whitney engages in it belie its humble beginnings.
Whitney is an acoustic guitarist and recording artist who released
two Christmas-themed albums in just three years and has already
sold his 15,000th CD [Actually, we've
sold over 21,000 in three years! -Scott]. Their
names, appropriately enough, are ChristmAcoustic and ChristmAcoustic
II. And then there's his "day job" as founder and president
of Whitney Communications, a professional web design firm.
It's all quite a change from the noisy, hyper, skinny, geeky boy
Whitney says he was growing up in Southern California. Although
academic pursuits didn't do much to float his boat in junior high
and high school, music did. Before he strummed, however, he drummed.
"I always loved drumming. I think it was probably the rhythm.
There's these syncopated thoughts that just feel good," Whitney
says. "It was inherent for me. I never had an actual drum set
in the house; I just had the drum pads."
"Even today, I'm always tapping my feet or drumming my fingers,"
he adds with a grin, rapping his fingers for emphasis and likening
his wife and two daughters to saints for putting up with his energetic
By his freshman year at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove—having
already drummed his way through junior high—Whitney found
himself marching with the high school band in the 1977 Tournament
of Roses Parade in Pasadena. "I was 98 pounds and I carried
a 25-pound snare drum," he recalls, laughing.
Despite the physical difficulty, Whitney says this pursuit had
a major impact on the rest of his life. "Band saved me—I
didn't really care much about anything else in school," he
admits. "I'd focus all my attention on band and music things
in high school."
And then there was the fateful day when Whitney was walking to
high school and found a beat-up acoustic guitar (missing its E-string)
in a trash can. "I thought it was pretty neat, so I took it
home!" he says.
He didn't know how to read music at the time, nor had anyone shown
him how to play or tune a guitar. However, he says, once he studied
the guitar fingering diagrams in his father's collection of 1960s
and '70s sheet music, he correctly guessed how to play chords.
"It was like smelling salts—it just came across me like
a wave. I loved it!" he exclaims. "I still did drumming
in the high school band, but when I got home, I'd practice my guitar
for hours, until my fingers would bleed."
After high school, Whitney joined the U.S. Air Force, where he
worked in electronic warfare and countermeasures. In his off time,
he played electric guitar, began learning bass guitar and recorded
hundreds of songs on a friend's reel-to-reel audio equipment. He
also took his first actual guitar lessons from Joe Onzo.
"Joe opened the whole world of musical theory for me. I learned
about different schools of thought and learned how to play classical
guitar. All my music before that was hard-rockin' stuff in minor
chords," Whitney recalls with a chuckle.
After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Whitney held
various jobs in the high-tech industry over the years. It was during
a particular business trip to Monterey, he says, that he met someone
who changed his life as much as Onzo had. That person was Jeff Linsky,
a professional solo acoustic guitarist playing in a Monterey hotel
lobby at the time.
"I was enchanted by his work and bought his CD. I was just
flabbergasted. I thought I was a good guitar player before I heard
Jeff," says Whitney, who two years later "hunted him down"
with a proposition: If Linsky shared the secrets of his craft, Whitney
would design and maintain a website for Linsky.
ChristmAcoustic had its genesis in the fall of 2000, when Whitney
recorded a holiday-themed CD as a gift for family, friends and Whitney
Communications clients. He also posted information about it in an
Internet discussion group on Vulcan motorcycles to which he belonged.
Thanks to word of mouth and "word of web," the Whitney
family spent most of December 2000 burning, labeling and shipping
Since then, Whitney has built a website just for his musical endeavors,
released his sophomore album, ChristmAcoustic II, and has secured
a respectable presence on Amazon.com. Despite his growing financial
success, Whitney says what he loves best about music is still the
ability to make and share it and the chance to make some discoveries
along the way.
For more information, call 866.962.7569 or visit www.christmacoustic.com.