published Thursday, December 30th, 2010

More than satisfying

Name: Eric Scealf.

Hometown: Chattanooga.

High school: Chattanooga Central High School (Class of 1986).

Family: Wife, Lysa; daughters, Destiny, 19, Evie, 8.

Claim to fame: lead singer, The Unsatisfied.

Day job: landscaping.

Name: Doug Bales.

Hometown: Chattanooga.

High school: Tyner High School, 1984.

Family: Sons Elliott, 21, Dylan, 19.

Claim to fame: Drummer, The Unsatisfied, Uncle Lightnin.'

Day job: studio manager, Revolution Sound.

Favorites

Book

Scealf: Bible

Bales: "Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command"

Movie

Scealf: "A Clockwork Orange"

Bales: "Streetcar Named Desire"

Performer

Scealf: Iggy Pop

Bales.: Woody Guthrie

Quote:

Scealf: "That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."

Bales.: "Forward!"

Eric Scealf remembers the day he decided to become a rock star. He was a student at Brown Middle School. Weeks earlier, his father had been paralyzed in an accident and his uncle had been killed in a separate incident.

Partly to escape reality, he painted a Paul Stanley star on his face and performed a Kiss song during the school's talent show.

"Later, I was photographed with ["Shock Theater's"] Dingbat, and I knew right then I wanted to be a star," he said.

In 1986, he graduated from Central High School, formed The Unsatisfied and started mowing grass. He's been doing both ever since.

"I've never had a boss," Scealf said.

The first drummer in the band was Doug Bales, though his initial tenure was short-lived. Over the years he played with several other bands, including Uncle Lightnin'. Bales rejoined the group six years ago.

The Unsatisfied have toured the country several times over the years, opening for acts such as Iggy Pop and The Misfits, and they've played legendary clubs such as CBGBs in New York.

They've released several demo cassettes and nationally released albums. They have played at most of the live music venues in town over the years and recently did an unplugged set at Hamilton Place to an enthusiastic crowd of shoppers. Last week they were part of the lineup for a benefit show at JJ's Bohemia.

The band recently finished a new CD, "Songs the Belt Taught Us," and are currently shopping it around to labels.

Scealf and Bales sat down over coffee at Greyfriar's earlier this week to talk about the band.

Q. How did The Unsatisfied start?

Scealf: He [Bales] put up a flyer in the old Camelot Records in Hixson. We got in touch and started playing.

Q. I was the original drummer, but I broke my elbow. It took a year to heal, so they found someone else. I came back six years ago.

Scealf: He's the taskmaster and he handles the business stuff. He pays attention and catches everything I miss.

Q. How have you managed to keep the band together for so long?

Scealf: I have know idea, except that I'm addicted to it.

Q. The people that I've interviewed over the years that are still playing music for any length of time have one thing in common. They love doing it. Does that describe you guys?

Scealf: Definitely. I have to do this. It's like when we practice, it's maximum volume, maximum effort, maximum energy. It's like I have X amount of time to do this and I have to give everything I have to The Unsatisfied.

Bales: If you have it inside you, you have to get it out. If you are doing it for the big payoff, don't even pick it up. You're better off going to college.

Q. You guys had kids pretty early on. Was it tough being in a band and having children?

Bales: It's probably why I'm single. Being on the road is tough.

Scealf: It's probably why I'm still married. Because I was on the road. I'm serious. Really, Lysa is the perfect person for this. She's very supportive and has even traveled with us. I told her when we started that she had to accept this because I have to do it.

Q. When will the new record be available?

Bales: We are shopping it right now. It's the best record I've ever had anything to do with.

Scealf: We recorded it here and mixed it in Athens, Georgia. Some of the songs we wrote 10 years ago and some we wrote two years ago. It took about a year and a half to finish.

Q. What is your favorite moment with the band.

Scealf: Opening for the Misfits. Joey Ramone had died the same month. I quit drinking that month too and haven't had a drop since. That night I raised my fist and dedicated 'Smash It Up' by The Damned to Joey Ramone and 1,300 people raised their fists at the same time. It was an awesome moment.

Bales: For me it was hearing the finished master for this CD. It was a long process and stressful and hearing it felt like a huge accomplishment.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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