Since the early 1970s, many men joined and left Scrimshaw, but Marlin Glenn Collins (guitarist, bassist, flutist, keyboardist, and singer) grew to write, and still play to this day, more than 90 tunes that Scrimshaw is proud to share with you. Marlin continually harnesses inspiration to craft complex, yet steady, rock music. Now the band relives their Uphill Journey…
In the “old” days, the band played many gatherings (powered by generators and youthful ambition) in the woods and on truck beds for power line parties. They also preformed at many clubs in Seattle and Tacoma before the grunge era wiped away classic rock appreciators. Club owners always asked for cover tunes, and the band always played their original songs!
The first years consisted of three folks playing guitar, drums, and flute respectively: Marlin Glenn Collins, John B. Hanes, and Bob Fulbright. The music consisted of lengthy jams, which later made up the first “real” songs that the band put together. That configuration lasted a couple of years and then disbanded – John Hanes just disappeared, Bob Fulbright moved to Portland to act in a mime theater, and Marlin Collins retired to quiet solitude with many hours of reel-to-reel tapes from the band.
Sifting through the reel-to-reel tapes, Marlin gleaned good ideas that he turned into songs. A year or so later, the next incarnation of Scrimshaw began. It consisted of: Marlin Collins on guitar; John B. Hanes on drums; and an energetic man with big ideas, Steve Bunton, on bass. These were the days of the first, original Scrimshaw tunes.
Again, John Hanes left the band; this time, John joined the navy. Scrimshaw got Mike Miller for drums and a very talented Sax player named Paul Christy. That era of Scrimshaw consisted of Marlin Collins, guitar; Steve Bunton, bass; Paul Christy, Sax; and Mike Miller on drums. They were able to play numerous gigs around the Seattle area and record hours of music. Finally, about 1977, the band broke up with Paul and Mike pursuing other musical interests and Steve Bunton, being disillusioned, quit the music scene altogether.
Late one evening, in 1974, while playing guitar, Marlin heard a knock on his door. It turned out to be a 12-year-old boy, Tracy Giles, who more or less became his roommate for the next six years. Tracy was at every practice and gig he could come to. His guitar skills quickly advanced, and his knowledge of the Scrimshaw repertoire grew.
In 1978, Tracy Giles suggested to Marlin that they start a band. Well, it made sense as he knew all the tunes and had become an amazing guitar player. Thus, Tracy and Marlin started a rock duet sort of thing and played some tunes at parties. They sometimes wore really strange outfits like: diapers, scrubs, capes, and more.
By 1979, Marlin and Tracy had met a young drummer named Brian Decker, and for the next 44 years (as of 2023) the three of them: Marlin, Tracy, and Brian have been Scrimshaw.
In the middle of those three decades, Scrimshaw had a thirteen-year stint with Tracy’s big brother, T-bird Giles, on bass. T-bird is featured on the albums Mirage and Audiosyncrasy.
Between bass players, Scrimshaw ultimately was a trio. Early on, Tracy and Marlin switched off on bass and guitar. Later, Tracy would exclusively play guitar, and Marlin would handle the bass and vocals. Of course, Brian has always been totally devoted to his drums!
Around 2005, Brian’s son Jeremy Decker started jamming with Marlin. He was nine years old. As seems to be the case with young aspiring guitar players in Marlin’s life, Jeremy became a great guitar player, while learning dozens of Scrimshaw tunes and writing a few of his own. Today, Jeremy is in his mid 20’s and featured on the newest Scrimshaw album, Jammin’ with Jeremy.
Over the last few years, Marlin has experimented with some different forms of music and recorded over two dozen Scrimshaw tunes that the band never played or quit playing years ago. These make up the material on three solo albums by Marlin Glenn Collins. Even though these albums are indeed solo albums, with the exception of an all-acoustic album Marlin 11, Marlin’s old friend Brian Decker is featured on drums throughout all of them.
Therefore, Marlin, Brian, Tracy, and Jeremy remain the pivotal force in this four-decade-old rock project known as Scrimshaw!