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Muskie McKay Interviews Jeremy Taggart

As it is no longer on the web, here is the complete transcript of the interview.

Excerpts from an interview with Jeremy Taggart, the drummer for Our Lady Peace, conducted before their sold out show at Vertigo in Victoria BC.

Muskie Mckay The first time I heard you guys was on the Neil Young compilation that you guys were on you did Needle and the Damage done, did that come out before Naveed the album

Jeremy Taggart No that was after.

MM Because I picked that up first.

JT That's cool

MM You guys did an electric version of needle was that a conscious decision?

JT Pretty much, we wanted to take the song some where else. It's pretty hard to ruin a song like that so we tried to take it some where a little more Our Lady Peace I guess. We couldn't really pull it off too acoustically.

MM Neil's never done it electric until this tour, he has actually started doing it electric now,

JT Oh yeah

MM maybe you guys influenced him.

JT Yeah, I don't know...

MM Did you guys have any particular reason for choosing needle over any other song? Or was it just a song you liked?

JT It was one of the songs available and we said yeah we would love to do it basically.

MM You guys covered a Beetles song on the Craft soundtrack

JT Yep

MM That Beetles song is pretty obscured too.

JT Oh yeah It was one of the first songs they did that took them a little bit outside their realm.

MM It's not exactly "Day Tripper"

JT Yeah

MM I was looking at the liner notes to Craft ( the Soundtrack) and I noticed your new bass player was on that one. Was that one of the first times you had your new bassist with you?

JT Yeah

MM I found out on the web, that your old bassist left in September of 95, was that amicable both ways?

JT No it was very much a... it wasn't working, we started writing for the new record. Things were really strange, it started getting like three against one for everything. He was starting to get... you know Chris was a very... keeps to himself, it became kinda almost a really selfish situation. We couldn't, there was no way we could write together, we could barely be in the same room together without some kind of tension in the air. So we just had to change it you know. So that's when we brought in Duncan (Coutts the new bassist) it's been like great ever since. It's been so awesome.

MM You guys got signed to a label and it was a major label, after hardly any shows together, it said something like 12 in your bio, how did you manage to do that? And do you have any advice to new bands?

JT Yeah, I think what happened, the biggest thing that helped us was having a strong collection of songs to play before we started doing the indie live circuit. Rather then going out their with nothing. I mean we weren't the strongest live band at that point. So if we had bad songs and we were crappy live we were destined to fail. So we worked on the songs, and put a tape together you know thinking we were just going to sell it side stage as an indie band. We were totally ready to go that way. It got into the hands of some labels in America. It started a little bit of a war, you know a bidding thing or something. Then Sony up here was probably was the most... they offered us creative control and stuff like that. So basically Naveed is an indie record, it was the first record we did.

MM Yeah it doesn't sound too commercial, it has like a different sound to it.

JT Yeah, We were very lucky to have that control and we still do. That's why we decided to go with them and obviously we were just very lucky to get signed so fast.

MM Naveed was out for a while and you guys were touring and stuff, but it didn't seem to really to get popular at least among people I knew until the Naveed single came out

JT yeah

MM That video seemed to get really heavy rotation on Much Music

JT Yeah

MM It was a pretty cool video. Who did you film it with? Who thought up the concept?

JT We did the last four videos we did was with George Vale. We have always had a lot to do with the concept of those videos. Naveed was the probably only one, where we said "we wanted to perform live." We did a show, a small show with some fans and we would play a song, a few songs then do Naveed, then play a few more songs. It was really fun for us, just to be able to.. it was very relaxing. And we just told George do what ever you want to do with the other stuff. In the end it came out pretty good. We have done four videos with him. And Superman's dead was the first video we co-directed with him. We were more involved. I think now we are trying to go somewhere else.

MM It was around then that you got your 'Plat and Page' opening and then Van Halen, and then over the summer you opened for Alanis. Obviously playing for a larger audience helped you guys out a lot. But did you guys enjoy being the opening band and not the main reason people came to the show.

JT We don't care. As long as people are listening and interested we don't care. I don't think it's a situation were we are worried. We are pretty honest people we don't get on a high pedestal or anything.

MM Could you maybe relax a bit more, when you weren't' the main focus of attention?

JT Yeah it's a lot easier to just do your thing. And at the same time it's harder to try and...

MM Win over an audience?

JT Yeah It's very easy to go into a place when you know everybody is pumped and wants to hear you and have a better show because your interacting with the audience. Where as when we were on the Van Halen tour it was a battle all the time to get the audiences attention and to listen. So that made us a better band and when we came back to our own fans it was like wow you know!? They were that much more... I guess in touch with what we were doing because we putting so much energy forth. Because we were so used to playing to crappy audiences that didn't care.

MM Do you guys very your set list a lot between shows or do you plan it out for the tour and stick with it?

JT What's that?

MM Do you very your set list a lot between shows?

JT A bit, we very it a bit. But every song has a little bit of improv in there. There are some songs where we just take breaks in the song or extend parts. Where we have our opportunity to get out any ideas we have or have to get out. We are that kind of band where if we did the same thing over and over it would get kind of stagnant. And you know we would start getting bored. We have a lot opportunity to release that energy which is really important I think.

MM Obviously you are touring in support of your latest release Clumsy, but will you have any surprises in your set like a cover. Like the Beetles cover or another cover.

JT Yeah we are still doing the ":Tomorrow never knows" (The Beetles song) cover.

MM Not a lot of people know that (song). I played it on my radio show, and anyone I talked to never even knew it was on the Craft (sound track) I found it out from some magazine.

JT Yeah that's cool. The movies horrible.

MM Yeah I haven't seen the movie. The sound track is all right.

JT It (Tomorrow never knows) opens up the movie, like the credits, it's a terrible movie.

MM I was talking to some people who had never heard of you. And they asked me what you sound like. I had a difficult time describing your sound. How would you guys describe your sound?

JT I think labels come from people who want to find something in a record store you know. I think all we are is just a modern rock band that are trying to keep good songs and to keep them fresh. Trying to make something that will stand the test of time hopefully you know.

MM I couldn't put it into words very well either. And then some girl asked what bands you were similar to and another guy not me suggested "I mother earth" who you've toured with. Do you guys feel you have any similarities to "I mother earth"? I didn't agree with that.

JT Three syllables in our names.

MM Yah cause I didn't feel you were very similar at all.

JT Four syllable band that's it. I don't know.

MM That was in the ticket line for you show.

JT We have a lot of the same fans. Just because we have played together so much. That a lot of their fans are our fans, and our fans are their fans so... We're good friends and stuff so I don't know.

MM What bands and records have you been listening to lately, anything in particular?

JT I'm listening to... as a band I think we all really like the last Tool record. We like a... It's been pretty slow. It's been a bad few years for records. There has been a lot of crap records. We like the last Jeff Buckly record, Ben Harpers record... Then there are just songs you know that we like collectively, but there have been so many bad records they have been coming out with one good song and the rest is just crap.

MM Clone bands?

JT Yeah I don't know there seems to be to many of those kind of one hit wonder things going on. Where as you buy the record. Were just the same as everyone else you know we love music and we love to buy records. Just like when we were kids and we listen to Zeppelin records and every song is great. And you buy this record by say some band and it's like a song you heard on the radio that you liked. And you buy the record and you hear that song and the rest is just filler you know. I don't know what the hell... Work ethic is kind of gone in the toilet.

MM You guys are on tour right now, and I found out it's like an all university tour. Who's idea was that?

JT I think it was basically our idea that we wanted, necessarily wanted to do a college tour and keep it small. This is what like 200 people.

MM 300 maybe... And tickets were gone in like 35 minutes.

JT Yeah we are just trying to polish up our show. And play in front of smaller audiences. Keep it more intimate and get more of a feel for the new record and stuff like that. I think it is great for us. We have had a lot of fun so far. And we are getting better everyday and the shows are getting better so it's cool.

MM What are your tour plans for the summer? Any possibility of seeing you on an outdoor festival...

JT Yeah we are putting together a festival actually.

MM Like a traveling one?

JT Yeah and we are going cross country.

MM Any bands your with?

JT Right now we are working on it, you know there are going to be a lot of Canadian bands on it.

MM I have "Roadside Attraction" written down here. I'm not sure if there is going to be a "Roadside Attraction" this year.

JT I think... Yeah there is.

MM That was mainly Canadian bands.

JT Yeah it's similar to that, but it will be more of our kind of thing that we have been doing. I don't know we'll see how it goes. I don't know.

MM Supposedly like about two years ago you played a gig at Harpo's? Do you remember that?

JT Yeah we played there like four times.

MM Wow.

JT We played the Forge twice.

MM Wow, The Forge is a crappy venue.

JT Yeah

MM The ceiling is so low. They have remodeled it and renamed it. I saw the Odds there it is not a good venue.

JT Yeah

MM Oh well I missed those shows. I heard about a Harpo's show but never got there.

JT Yeah we played there a few times.

MM This is sort of to deal with an incident in Kingston (Our Lady Peace cut a show short because of lack of crowd control barrier) What is your opinion on moshing and crowd surfing at shows?

JT Umm, crowd surfing and moshing is fine. I mean as long as the security staff is well informed and know what they are doing. Cause a lot of the time you'll get... just because people are strong they think they can become security or staff people or whatever or crew. And they tend to just... there is a right way and a wrong way to be a security (staff at the) front. I mean in the pit. You get people pushing kids back rather then keeping the flow of surfers on and off the crowd. And you get people that are you know jock no-neck like losers who absolutely couldn't care less about the kid and there just there to try and hurt people and get there kicks like that. But we have had both situations where you know, but usually it's pretty cool and the guys (security staff) know what they are doing, and they are really supportive. And they know that it's for the kids. I don't care how many time they are getting kicked in the head. That's their job and it is supposed to be fun for the kids. Well not kids, just the fans or whatever. So if people are being losers about it we'll stop and try and fix the problem but usually they are ok.

MM I mentioned the university tour which I think is a cool idea, it's more of your fan base then say a big arena. I mean not arena, but younger fans.

JT I think it's just more intimate. A smaller version of what we are about.

MM And then I understand you released a live CD to just you fan club and did a special show in Toronto for fan club only. So obviously you care about your fans. But what do you think about bands that treat there fans like crap?

JT I think it's just lazy bands you know. There are lot of lazy bands. There are lot of bands that could just care less about their fans and stuff like that. We try and keep them informed and keep them on top of what's going on. I mean it is very difficult because , if your playing and your recording and doing shows you have to still keep an eye on what's going on. And get your info and fan letters going. What was good about the radio show was that it was across Canada on every radio station pretty much and we could kind of get in touch with what was happening.

MM People could call in?

JT Yeah an open forum radio show.

MM I only have two questions left after this. One of them is kind of an oddball question and the other is about guitars and seeing as your the drummer.

JT Ahh I could probably help you.

MM I was just reading your liner notes and I noticed it said exclusively used Mesa Boogie amps, NHT speakers and Gibson guitars... I wondered... it also said about the drums Zildjian cymbals.

JT Ayotte, Zildjian, all that stuff, Keplinger

MM Is that a sponsoring?

JT It's companies we endorse, that we use. Were not getting money from them, we are just getting gear from them. But those are the companies we like to use. I use Greg Keplinger snare drums, he's a guy from Seattle that makes drum for like Mack Cameron and Alvin Jones and stuff like that. He's great, he makes great drums Ayotte drums are great. It's just stuff we use. For Zildjian cymbals and for Mike (the guitarist) Gibson guitars these are things as kids growing up listening and playing music. These are things we wanted to use and the fact that we can use them is just kinda cool. These are companies we like.

MM So as the bands gotten bigger you have replaced your old equipment and gotten newer stuff?

JT Along the way, we done stuff here and there yah. But the more you play, and we are musician so any money we get tends to go to musical instruments. The fact is, the funny thing is when I first starting out I couldn't afford it. Now that I can afford gear, you don't have to pay for it anymore. That's the weirdest part. I don't understand that.

MM The last questions is really odd ball, it is what's your favourite brand of beer.

JT Ahh, I don't drink beer.

MM At all?

JT I don't drink at all. I don't think anyone really drinks.

MM The entire band is dry?

JT We don't do that.

MM That was my friend Dave's question he wanted me to ask it.

JT The road manager likes Labatts I think. That's the closest your gonna get.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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