Interview with Chris Taylor of Rockets To Ruin; November 2006

Having promised to arrange an interview with Chris for what seems like an eternity, I asked him to give me a nudge every now and then, just so it was kept in the forefront of my mind. I'm sure he thought I'd never get my ass into gear, and when I told him I'd started working on it... well... did you believe me Chris? Probably not! *tehehe! But there it dropped... inbox a callin! Pretty sure he may very well have fallen off his chair.

I hold my hands up and apologise for this taking as long as it did...

But I also must make comment on how quickly Chris completed this interview... within 24 hours, the fastest I've ever received. Amusician that ain't gonna let you down. So everyone... if you run an ezine/magazine covering this style of music, INTERVIEW THEM! :)

Q1. Introduction time… who are you and what bands have you previously been involved with/are involved with and who are your influences?

My name is Chris Taylor and I'm the bass player. Some of my previous bands are Supermatic, Revolution Hazy, Love Star 69, Liquid Love Tribe, and a bunch of other shit you've never heard of. As far as influences it would be guys like Nikki Sixx, Duff McKagen, Rachel Bolan, Pete McClanahan, Dee Dee & CJ Ramone, and Twiggy Ramirez. To me it's not about how "technical" someone can play… it's about attitude / style and vibe.

Q2. For all those 'Rockets To Ruin' virgins, describe and sell your music.

We're a 4 piece Hard Rock band from Atlanta, GA. Our sound is very raw, sleazy, and loud. I hate comparing us to other bands, but people into Buckcherry, early GnR, Circus of Power, and other bands in that vein would be into us.

Q3. How do you see RTR's sound developing and where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

We've already been together for a couple of years, and in that time we have become better songwriters together and I see that continuing. I'd love to be touring full time and have another CD out.

Q4. It took you a weekend to record 4 songs from your 6-track EP (2 having been previously recorded), how long did it take to produce 'Love*Drugs*Rebellion' and would you work with Rachel Bolan again?

With that EP we went in and knocked out 4 songs in 2 days with us producing it. We basically recorded it the way we played the songs live with minimal overdubs. The song Revolution had just written before we went in the studio and we had never even played it live, so what's on that EP is a song that was only about a week old.
Love Drugs Rebellion took us a few months to record. We spent a couple of weeks in pre-production with Rachel and recorded it off and on between his shows with Skid Row.
Rachel gets us, and our sound, and didn't try to change that and make us into something we're not, so yes; we'd work with him again.

Q5. What was it like working with Rachel Bolan and Jaret on the new album? Any amusing stories to tell?

Not sure who Jaret is ha ha but it was cool working with Rachel. I think you mean JJ though… JJ is someone we've all known for a while. Rob and I have been in bands with him over the years. He owns Koda Studio….
Rachel is very easy to work with. Like I said before, he didn't try to change who we are as a band. He just wanted to capture "us" in the studio. He told me from the beginning, I'm gonna throw out a lot of ideas and if you don't like them, just say so and vice versa.
When we all get together it's like sitting in a room with a bunch of 15 year old boys with all of the shit and sex stories. I'll just leave it at that.

Q6. What made you decide to use KODA Studios again?

RTR had only used Koda once before to record 2 songs on the EP. Me or Rob weren't even in the band at the time. Rob played in the studio, but was in another band at the time. I hadn't even met them yet at that point.
When Rachel moved to Atlanta he had a bunch of studio equipment and went in as a partner with JJ at Koda. They remodelled it and everything, so it was natural for us to just go in there to record the CD.

Q7. You play a big part in writing the lyrical content for RTR. Is this something that comes quite naturally or do you find you have to work quite hard at it?

No, it comes naturally for me to write lyrics. Anyone that knows me knows that I always have something to say. Ha ha… It may sound cliché, but in a way it's like therapy. If someone or something pisses me off, I can just write about them in a song. Some singers are really weird about someone else writing lyrics for them, but Cleve is really open to it and we bounce ideas off of each other all the time.

Q8. What makes a good song?

It's a good hook, cool guitar riff, and someone singing it like they mean it and aren't just going through the motions.

Q9. Do you think musicians should make a conscious effort to sound contemporary?

I think musicians should just be themselves. That is the problem with what's on the radio and MTV. People try too hard to sound "current and trendy" that they don't even know who the fuck THEY are. I've seen so many bands and musicians on the local scene, that over years went from teasing their hair, to sounding like Pearl Jam, to trying to rap, now trying to sound like Nickelback or some shit. People need to grow and change as musicians, but they shouldn't forget who they are and shouldn't try to be something they're not.
It's nice having people tell you they love what you do, but at the end of the day, I do this for myself. If people like it cool, if not, that's cool too. I had this guy tell me one time that it was soooo cool for a band like us to be out there now, and he wishes there were more bands out there like us blah blah blah. I wanted to tell him to quit his shitty college rock band and go form a real rock band then and stop bitching.

Q10. Which musician/band do you feel are or were underestimated on the music scene and deserve(d) that extra push (excl. RTR…. of course ;oP)?

One of the most underrated bands was Warrior Soul. I absolutely loved them. Musically they had everything I love. Everything from trippy songs to straight up rock to punk. They were able to roll everything up into one and pull it off. Not many bands can do that.

Q11. You have played some great venues over the years, if you could choose any venue, anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why? Any sign of a British/European tour on the horizon?

There are sooooo many places I would love to play. When I started playing music, I lived in northern California and most of the concerts I would go to were at Arco Arena in Sacramento. To be able to play there where all of the bands that inspired me played would be a dream come true.
Not sure when we will go over there to play. We really want to, but we'll see. Then I would get to meet you Spice! ;) ha ha

Q12. You've recently been to London with your wife. What were the highlights and lowlights of your visit and how does London compare (in your opinion) to Atlanta?

London and Atlanta are like night and day. Nothing similar at all. I fell in love with London and can't wait to go back. The only thing I didn't like was how expensive it is, and it was a little too cold. Next time we'll go when it's warmer. Going to places like Decadence and hanging out in Soho and Camden I was like WOW, people fuckin get it here. In Atlanta it's all Hip Hop, "indie" rock and rednecks. We met a bunch of really cool people over there that we still chat with.

Q13. Besides bass guitar; do you dabble with any other instruments, or is there anything particular you would love to play?

I play a little guitar and that's how I write everything, but that's about it. I wish I could sing a little better, but other than that, I've never really been interested in playing another instrument.

Q14. I know you're a big Warrior Soul fan and you're influenced quite extensively by Pete McClanahan, however, what's your opinion was of Kory's new band 'Dirty Rig'?

I really like the New Dirty Rig CD. I thought it was cool that they re-did "Cities Scenes and Thieves" by Space Age Playboys (that's another band that should have been bigger).

Q15. Is there anyone you'd love to be able to work with on a one-off project?

I'd love to somehow do something with Nikki Sixx or Manson. Lyrically I think Manson is brilliant. Especially on "The Golden Age of Grotesque." Nikki, well because he's Nikki Sixx and the reason I became a musician in the 1st place.

Q16. What made the band decide to incorporate 'Rocket Girls' to the website, and why not the addition of your male audience?

Guys have asked that question too. Ha ha… We may change it… We did it because part of our logo has a Rocket Girl in it and we thought it would be a cool little play on that. Plus we like getting pix of girls in our shirts.

Q17. Are you sick to death of TV shows like Pop Idol? Would you rather see the music industry stick their necks on the line and rig up a full blown worldwide, publicised battle of the bands?

Yes I am sick to death of those shows. They ALL fuckin suck… all of them. "Reality" shows in general irritate me. What I'd rather see is the music industry actually take a chance on something and stop pumping out the same bullshit over and over again. Some of the lyrics to our song "Devil Girl" were actually inspired by my hatred for all these so-called reality shows made up of fake people.

Q18. If you had the opportunity to have 'An Audience With…..' say 20 major record labels, how would you convince them?

All we could do is play for them and see if they get it. What they don't seem to get it that the biggest / best bands in history came out during a time when what they were doing wasn't popular. Look at the time periods when bands like Nirvana, Crue, Ramones, Sex Pistols, KISS, etc. etc. came out. They were all going against the grain and someone actually had the balls to take a chance on them.

Q19. What should everyone shut up about, and what's your opinion on the joint venture between the US and the UK in Iraq?

I would love for people to shut the fuck up about Britney spears and "K Fed." Who cares.
I don't really discuss my political beliefs. I don't think many people really give a shit about what I think about that.

Q20. If you were asked to name one unique thing either about yourself or RTR that your mother doesn't know, what would it be?

My mom pretty much knows everything there is to know about me and the stuff she doesn't, she isn't going to find out in this interview. Ha ha…

Q21. If you 'personally' were going to be remembered for only one thing, what would it be?

I guess I would like to be remembered as someone who lived life to the fullest and wasn't afraid to take chances.

Q22. Any final Words… Insults… and/or Loving Messages?

Thanks to everyone that has supported and believed in us, and now go buy our cd's and t-shirts. We need the money!

Chris... It was a pleasure... as always!

Interviewed by Spice D. Warlock

Visit the Rockets To Ruin Website