Blind couple finds each other after 20 years, starts funk rock band
Beyond Sight is a Kalamazoo funk rock band with a 70s feel. Husband and wife duo Steve and Rhonda Scott started the band less than a year ago in their early 40s. Rhonda plays keyboard and Steve is on drums. The band will play at The Dock at Bayview in Richland, Friday at 8:30 p.m.
The couple has gone through a lot to get where they are today. Rhonda and Steve were both diagnosed with serious eye conditions before their first birthdays. Rhonda went blind at age two. By the time they met each other as teenagers, Steve had undergone 22 eye surgeries. As teens, the two were inseparable.
“And Rhonda actually is the last person that I saw, was able to see, before I went in for my last eye surgery where they removed my eyes—period. When they did that, I became very angry. I thought the world owed me everything and I just didn’t like anybody, anything. I was just miserable. And Rhonda did the right thing, you know. She said ‘Hey, get it together or hit the road Jack.’ And I wasn’t very nice to her and people around me. The bottom line, I was just quite a creep. So, she gave me the old boot.”
Steve says it was a rough time, but music helped him through it all.
“It saved me," he says. "And the transition, going from seeing to not seeing, that was probably the easiest transition for me musically, I should say. You know, from being able to see your kit to not being about to see it.”
Twenty years after they broke up, Steve hired a private investigator to find Rhonda. Steve says he just wanted to apologize for how he acted. At first, Rhonda wouldn’t talk to him, but then she had a change of heart.
“I remembered how we felt about each other when we were kids and it was one of the most divine things. So I thought well, it couldn’t hurt,” Rhonda Scott says.
Now they’ve been married for five years. The Scotts are busy people. They own a lawn and outdoor power equipment repair shop in Portage. They have two kids and manage their own band. Despite this, Steve says they’re serious musicians dedicated to the project. But it’s been hard finding band mates with that level of commitment. The group has already changed bassists and lead guitarists, and they no longer have a percussionist. But Steve says they have good chemistry with their new lineup. James Powell III plays lead guitar and Gary Salinas (formerly from Iron Cowgirl) plays bass.
"We really seem to mesh,” says Steve Scott.
That chemistry comes in handy for the bands many solos. Rhonda Scott says, just like in jazz, the solos let everyone express themselves.
“We’re proud to play with the people we play with, so we want them to be able to display their talents too,” she says.
Beyond Sight is hoping to release their first full-length album this spring. Steve Scott says he and Rhonda might not be rock stars, but he doesn’t regret starting the band for a minute.
“You know, if you have a dream—no matter what it is—if it’s being a musician or an artist or just anything I don’t care. Go pursue those dreams," Steve Scott says. "And love the one you’re with and love yourself. And you will find happiness and strength in what you do.”