Taz Taylor will drive trucks for rock

"I couldn’t imagine having a job where I’d have to be around other people constantly."

Taz Taylor: “The emphasis is always on the musicianship.”
  • Taz Taylor: “The emphasis is always on the musicianship.”
  • photo by Jon Naugle

"I have dual British and USA citizenship,” says guitarist Taz Taylor, who grew up in England before moving to San Diego in 1997. Since settling in Imperial Beach, he’s released a series of guitar-centered albums, all of them carried by multiple overseas labels, including Welcome to America (2006), Straight Up (2009), Big Dumb Rock (2010), and Deja Voodoo (2014), the latter featuring cover art by Michael Schenker Group cover painter Tristan Greatrex, who also created the original MSG logo.

Past Event

Tony MacAlpine and Taz Taylor

  • Friday, September 1, 2017, 8 p.m.
  • Brick by Brick, 1130 Buenos Avenue, San Diego
  • 21+

As one can probably tell from listening to him play, Taylor is a self-professed Schenker superfan. “He’s my guitar hero. I sold my vintage Marshall amp to him…. We’ve opened for Michael six times, so it’s been an incredible experience just to be around that.”

Taylor has been known to tap MSG vets for his own band, including singers Graham Bonnet and Keith Slack, while his records have included guest players like Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey. “We’ve made albums that feature vocals, and we’ve made albums that are purely instrumental. The emphasis is always on the musicianship. We play melodic hard rock, or classic old-school hard rock, but not heavy metal or prog.”

The Taz Taylor Band’s fifth album, Pressure and Time, featuring original members Val Trainor and Barney Firks, was released in June on Escape Records (Europe) and Rubicon Records (Japan).

WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?

— “Crossing the Line, by Simon McBride. Simon is a fairly recent discovery for me. He’s a blues-rock guitar player from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Back when he was around 19, he actually replaced his high school buddy Vivian Campbell in a band called Sweet Savage when Viv got the Dio gig. Somehow, he stayed off my radar until a year or so ago.”

— “Slash’s self-titled first solo record from 2010 is a great collection of hard-rock songs, well recorded and performed.”

Taz Taylor Band, 9/30/16

MOST PLAYED CD?

Corridors of Power, by Gary Moore, all the way back to 1982 for this one.”

ANYTHING YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?

“I’m not embarrassed by any of the music that I like. If I like it, then I like it, and I’ll crank that shit up!”

TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER JOB.

“I drive an 18-wheeler at night. It allows me to live in my own head. I couldn’t imagine having a job where I’d have to be around other people constantly for eight hours, doing something completely unrelated to music.”

SOMETHING FREE AND FUN?

“My wife and I spend a lot of time riding our bikes around San Diego, and that’s free.”

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?

“Hang in there, it does get easier.”

BRUSH WITH FAME?

“A couple years ago, me and my wife were in Vegas for Halloween. We had a show to do four days later at Ramona Mainstage, opening for Rob Zombie’s guitar player John 5. Just out of the blue, we ran into John walking around the Venetian with his wife. He was super cool. We’ve opened for him three times now at three different venues, but what were the odds of running into him so randomly, four days before playing a show with him in another state?”

FAVORITE VOICE?

“My wife’s when she tells me dinner is ready.”

WHAT WOULD YOUR GRADE-SCHOOL TEACHER SAY ABOUT YOU?

“Really? He’s doing what? He had so much potential.”

WORST BAND NAME?

“Puddle of Mudd.”

BEATLES OR STONES?

“Neither. Two of the most overrated bands of all time.”

ARENAS OR CLUBS?

“The artists and bands that I like don’t typically play in huge venues, they play in clubs, so it’s really easy to get to see my heroes from just a few feet away.”

ANYTHING STILL ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

“Headline at Madison Square Garden, get a front-page feature in Guitar Player magazine, and find my car keys from this morning.”

SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

“I don’t eat junk food.”

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