Oct 1, 2012
Joe Taylor is always ambitiously on the road and hard to pin down, but I finally got my chance in Los Angeles, of all places. An interview was scheduled at the studios where he was shooting his new music video.
The studios were hectic, with everybody rushing all around us and interrupting, so Joe Taylor suggested that we find somewhere else to hang out and talk.
We jumped into a limo and headed into downtown Los Angeles.
When I asked where we were going, he said we were bound for the rooftop of The Standard, which is very uptown. I wondered if Joe would be allowed in with his skin-tight Hard Rock Cafe tee-shirt.
With Joe Taylor's obvious good looks and his rather folksy magnetic charm, the employees at The Standard turned doe-eyed and let us right on through. They were too enamored to notice his tee-shirt.
Never having been up on the rooftop, I was amazed by the layout, the colors, the swimming pool, the highrise buildings all around us, the city lights, and all of the Beautiful People.
Joe Taylor is younger than I am, and most of the people there were his age. It was very hip. Once Joe Taylor and I were seated, I looked around and noticed a couple of soap opera stars and someone who was recently kicked off "American Idol."
A very cool place for an interview, indeed.
I turned and looked at Joe Taylor to start asking questions. With his longish hair blowing in the slight breeze and reflecting the city lights, along with the tight tee-shirt and the big smile, I thought I was watching a video for a second.
That visual instantly reminded me that I need to work out more, maybe grow my hair longer, and be about 15 years younger. Time does march on.
I took a gulp of the vintage California wine Taylor ordered for our table.
So, you like California wine?
"Sure. I like just about everything California. It's a very cool place. My producer is here in L.A. and so are some of the professionals that make my music sound great. I have some gigs coming up in this state too. I really like it here."
Well, thanks for bringing me to this cool place, Joe. It's kind of like a mini-vacation, and I can't believe all these skyscrapers and all the lights.
So, you weren't born in New York, right? Aren't you originally from Canada?
"Halifax. I was born in Halifax but I also lived in Toronto. That's where I got my start. I ended up in New York but now I'm everywhere, I guess."
All Around the World?
"(laughing) Sure. 'All Around the World.' My publicist says you like that song, or was it the video?"
Both. The songwriting is tight, the hooks are there, your vocals are perfect, and it's totally cool. The video is phenomenal. I dig it. It literally takes you all around the world, and it's like we get to travel with you to all these world landmarks. I started thinking, 'Why isn't this the song of the year, or adopted by the United Nations?' It's so positive and so international.
"Wow. You really watched it! (laughing) Well, yeah. That's what we were shooting for. Obviously, you got it. That video took a while to shoot, but the finished product is great. A lot of people really like it, which is fantastic."
Your other big song, "The Sweetest Tune" is great too. Wasn't that kind of a surprise hit?
"Oh, yeah. I remember when I got calls telling me that 'The Sweetest Tune' was at the top of the charts in Toronto and going viral in Canada. I was shocked because I didn't even have a record label. It really blew my mind, but it also inspired me to keep going. Musicians live for moments like that."
(Just then, a young blonde came over and asked for Joe Taylor's autograph, saying "I love your last cover, but you look even better in person.")
What was that all about? Your last cover? Of what, like, GQ magazine or something? Did that surfer chick even know who you are?
"(laughing) You know, it doesn't even matter. I didn't want to offend, so I just signed my name. Geez, that's so L.A.! (laughing) This place is amazing."
Well, it's sure a lot more fun than that studio, so we'll just hang out here. Maybe we'll see Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. Oh! Did you see the video of Billie Joe from Green Day and his thing about "I'm not Justin Bieber!" and the rant?
"Oh, yeah. Wow, he was really pissed off, but he did have a point, don't you think?"
Yeah, he did, and I wrote about it, but back to our interview. Is this an interview or is this a PARTY? I'm not sure anymore.
"Me neither. But, hey, it's L.A., right? So what's the next question?"
What's "Subway Idol?" I read somewhere that you're "The Subway Idol." Is that some kind of a cheesy TV show in New York?
So, tell me the truth. Are you one of those temperamental rock stars that demands stuff like "only green M&Ms" or "only Clap-On lights" when you're on tour?
"(laughing) No way. I'm so happy to be doing what I do for a living that I would never be that weird. There are enough jerks in the world and I don't feel a need to be one of them. The answer is no. I'm all about making people feel better about themselves. If I can make just one person feel better, then all this sweating is worth it."
So, now that you're past the age of 30, and you've been "All Around the World," what has it taught you? I mean, seriously. Your songs are totally deep and meaningful.
"Seriously? You really wanna know? Straight out?"
Yeah. Just let loose. Tell it on the mountain. Say whatever, man.
"Okay. I see a lot of crap going on around the world, and I also hear people everywhere complaining about what's wrong all the time. You know, that's kind of my pet peeve --- people sitting around complaining and not getting off their butts to do anything about it. The ones that really care the most actually take action and make a real difference. Those people are the best. That takes guts."
Wow, dude. I've written basically that same thing. Simply whining reflects laziness. You're cool, bro.
"Thanks! You know, if people would just take two minutes a day to consider somebody else, this world would be perfect. Okay, so you asked what have I learned? In all the different cultures and countries, people all want the same thing, really."
You mean like "people are the same wherever you go - Ebony & Ivory?"
"(laughing) Yeah. Kind of like that. People want to love and be loved above everything else. That's how it is. That's the truth. You know, love really does win."
Agreed. So, would you say that you're a spiritual person?
Okay, so does that Golden Rule apply in the music business? What do you think? It is a BUSINESS, after all.
"Yeah, it is a business, but shouldn't it still apply? There are some people in this business who always look for the easy way out. There are others that work their butts off, sweat it out on-stage, tour like crazy, wear themselves out, and STILL treat others with respect. Those people deserve success in this business."
Totally agreed. Right on. So, are you really a backup singer for Rick Springfield on the side? THE Rick Springfield? For real?
"Yes. I sang backing vocals for Rick Springfield's latest album. Rick is the consummate professional musician and a really great actor too. Working with him is like a dream. To have the kind of following he enjoys is a fantasy. His fans are lifers. They absolutely love him."
Your album, Anything's Possible, is phenomenal. I assume that since you're doing a new video right now, a new album is forthcoming?
"Yes. A new video, a new single, a new album. The new album will be out sometime after the first of the year. I am so excited about the material, the production, everything."
Dude, I want a copy of it as soon as it's finished. You totally ROCK.
Visit the official Joe Taylor website for tour dates, music albums and singles by this cool singer-songwriter. Enjoy the following great music video for "All Around the World."
Joe Taylor | All Around the World