When you listen to the music of Super XX Man (pronounced "super double X man") and watch frontman Scott Garred perform, it's hard to believe he spends much of his time in the maximum-security wing of the Oregon State Hospital. That's where Garred works as a music therapist, helping psychiatric patients cope with drug addiction, severe mental illness and other assorted disorders. For him, music can heal, and he says he counts the troubled patients he helps among the most creative and beautiful people he's met.
It's been nearly 15 years since Garred started Super XX Man as a solo project, making four-track recordings at his home in Pullman, Wash. He's since relocated to Portland, Ore., and Super XX Man has evolved into a five-piece band. The group has released an impressive string of studio recordings, the latest of which is last year's Volume XII: There'll Be Diamonds.
The music of Super XX Man is often introspective and deeply personal. It's sometimes playful, bittersweet and dreamy, but Garred's songs are also heartfelt and reflective. When he stopped by the NPR Music offices, he gave an intimate solo performance at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen, playing two tracks from Super XX Man's latest album ("There'll Be Diamonds" and "Big Balloon"), as well as "Collecting Rocks," from the 2006 release Vol. VI: Collecting Rocks. This performance was recorded Oct. 22, 2008.
- "There'll Be Diamonds"
- "Big Balloon"
- "Collecting Rocks"
Cameras and production work by Bob Boilen and Frannie Kelley