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Interview – Steve Taylor – Steve Taylor’s Drum Boogie

Steve Taylor

Steve Taylor

What kind of set up are you using?

Mike Van Eyes and Ron Scott saw this kit in New West that was under a car port in a back alley. It has a cool brown/grey swirl to it. I think it’s called root beer swirl. They approached the owners and offered $50.00 for them and I put another $150.00 into them for new drum heads.

They’re some proto-type for maybe premier or Japan models. No name on them. 20″ BD,13″ rack, 16″ floor tom, matching wooden snare that’s 14×5 that I don’t use that much. No name on them.

For my band I use a 26×8 marching bass drum I converted into a BD, a 1959 12×8 rogers rack tom and a converted 1960’s marching snare drum that Is 14×12 and use for the floor tom.

For smaller gigs, I’ll use an 16×16 bass drum and the above floor tom and a trap tree ( wood block, cow bell, triangle, splash) that replaces the rack tom.

For most gigs I use my 1959 WFL 13×4 piccalo snare drum I’ve been playing all my life and know it inside out.

There is also a 1858/1960, 16×14″ red sparkle cocktail drum that I bring out once in awhile…use to play it more a few years a ago.

What do you use for heads, cymbals, sticks, pedals, snare?

Mostly use Remo coated. Diplomat on snare, Ambassador on toms, Emperor on bass drum and Power Stroke 3 on the 20″ bass drum. I also have a Fiber Skin on the front of the 16×16 bass drum

For cymbals, I have old school Zildjian 20,19 rides, 15″ paiste crash, paiste 2002 sound edge hi-hats, 10″ paiste splash.

Bass drum pedal is just standard Peal or Yamaha.

Sticks are Regal Tip 3A and brushes are also Regal Tip wooden handles. As mentioned above, I mainly use the 1959 WFL 13X4 Ludwig snare. I also like the 1960’s Ludwig Acrolite that I use mostly sometimes. Would love to try out a Ronn Dunnett snare, but there’s so many to choose from. And I’ve always liked the sound of the older Supraphonics…but I have to stay away from the ‘snare petting zoo’. πŸ™‚

Who are your fave players?

Charlie Watts for his rock and roll, organic simplicity
John Bonham… his power and creativity
Buddy Rich…technique
Gene Krupa…feel
Papa Jo Jones is hard to beat for his speed on the brushes
J.D. Fontana (Elvis) for his rockabilly innovation
Sandy Nelson, Joe Morello (Take Five solo, Dave Brubeck), Al Jackson Jr. (Otis Redding) and the many other early rhythm and blues drummers.

The blues drummers that could really lay down a killer feel ‘double shuffle’ like, Bernard Purdie, Sam Lay (Howlin Wolf, Little Walter), Fred Below (Chess Records) and the many, many more other genre of drummers that deserve a mention and salute and I’m thankful for their contribution to this art form.

What got you playing?

Fame, fortune, girls. Besides that, I was in grade 6 or something like that and had a kind of test to do at school that I didn’t do my home work for…so I played sick and got to stay home with my mother.

I still remember the exact moment. I was on the living room floor in my flannel PJ’s when ‘I love Lucy’ came on the TV. Desie and Lucy’s son, Ricky (their real son) came on and played a drum solo that was fantastic..full toms and melodic ( I thought so anyways) and he must have only been about 10 years old or so.

Something clicked with me and I felt like I found out what I wanted to be that very moment. A few years later, I shinned shoes and had enough to buy myself a 2 piece drum set with the help of my dad paying half. I think they cost $82.00

What tips do you have for aspiring road warriors?

It’s not where you play… it’s ‘how’ you play.

How long are you guys on the road a year?

I don’t go out much any more…it would have to be really worth it now. But I basically grew up and learned how to play drums on the road…spent years at a time traveling. When I was 16 I was in a band that would travel Ontario and Quebec, including parts up northern Quebec.

The clubs were all 6 niters, so there would be times that I would be gone for a year at at a time. I loved it and never wanted to go back home.

When I did return, it would be for maybe a month, then back out. Still back east, I eventually got into the US scene and toured up and down the eastern seaboard from Boston to Miami for a year and a half straight until I settled in Miami for 8/9 months playing 7 days a week in one place.

My last major touring was with Ray Condo and we would go out for a month to two months at a time (all one niters) down the states from Hollywood to New York City. We would then come home to Vancouver to play the local clubs for a few months, then back out again for another month or so.

And lastly I would go out on a steady basis with Cousin Harley (Paul Pigat) for no more than a week at a time.

I’ve been fortunate over the last few years to be able to play with 4/5 bands that have kept me fairly busy without doing the white lines.

What’s your fave song that you played on, what CD is it from, what do you like about it?

It’s a toss up between Pete Turland’s ‘Both Wheels Left The Ground’, or Ray Condo’s ‘Swing Brother Swing’.

The bed tracks were both done in a few days and Pete’s recording was 80% first takes… that one kind of pissed off the studio πŸ™‚

What song of yours do you think defines your style?

Songs I can really dig in. There’s a song that I play with Mike Van Eyes (Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone) that has it all for me. It’s up beat, it swings, shuffles. stops, fills, triplets, press rolls, drum solos, and Mike kills it with the piano and vocals.

What do you do in your down time?

I’m a fishing fanatic. Been fishing since I was 10. I love it all, from standing in a river with waders on fishing for salmon, to trout fishing small quiet lakes in a small boat.

I also enjoy tying my own flies.

What is your coolest road story – What is your most horrid road story?

Years ago, gigging my way down to Miami, I had a few days off when I got there. Buddy Rich was playing at the Playboy Club there. I had no reservations and it was packed. The door man must of took a liking to me or caught my desperation. I told him I was a drummer and wanted to see Buddy. He took me to a front row seat that was reserved… like man, on the road, stop in to see Buddy Rich and front row view…how cool is that?

To my total surprise, after the show, he went and got Buddy from his dressing room and introduced me to him. The most ‘horrid’ part of that trip was when I shock Rich’s hand, I said “Nice drumming”. He swayed back and looked me up and down with a smirk on his face, nodded his head and walked away.

What are you listening to these days?

The newest song for my band, (Steve Taylor’s Drum Boogie), I try to stay focused and listen to one song at a time until the song starts to come together. The song is by jazz drummer Cozy Cole and called ‘Topsy Part !!’

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