1) Is it correct to say that, if I study scales in regard to chords, the benefits will be a) figuring out chords in a song (if I recognize the key), and constructing a song if I start writing those things?
Curt, it's my take that attempting to undertake a study of scales is something for beyond the beginning guitar player. Maybe other than understanding the major scale and it's intervals. It's also my take that, no, I think that a study of chords
will lead you to recognize scales. You'll be able to recognize and study songs this way. And the same goes for when you start writing them.
2) Does this relate to leads in a similar manner? For instance, Tennesee Stud or Amy have leads in the rhythm (pick your song here), should I expect those leads to be based on the key notes?
They are related to the key notes. Those riffs come from the notes within the chord. The melody always can be found within the chord!
3) Am I missing the boat, is there a generally sound approach regarding how I should be building a foundation here?
I'm not going to tell you that you're missing the boat. But I will tell you that I think you should learn the guitar from a chord and chord formation aspect first. You'll see how all notes can be found from the chords. There are five basic chord formations: C, A, G, E and D. These formations move up the neck. Think of the neck as a sliding scale. But think of that later. My take is to learn chords, the major scale and it's intervals in the key of C and then take it from there.
After you get in touch with this info, this will lead you right in to Kirk's Plane Talk method when you're ready.
P.S. I thought that an instrument might be a player in the nickname story Steve but for some reason I was guessing an acoustic. I have a Les Paul as well (that I love but don't play much, more of an acoustic guy I guess).
I consider myself more of an acoustic guy, too. I think that my acoustic playing has helped my electric playing. They're two different animals, but they come from the same mold.