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A Dirty Dozen with TAYLOR MCCLUSKEY – August 2021

| 24 August 2021 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Montreal’s burgeoning alternative rock artist TAYLOR MCCLUSKEY continues his upward trajectory with a brand new single released today, titled “Freedom Fighter.” The guitar-driven track is a prime example of his enthralling songwriting skills and immense ability create memorable rock anthems. TAYLOR MCCLUSKEY is a Montreal based (By way of Sacramento, CA) musician, filmmaker and actor who’s appeared in films like Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Star Trek (2009) and TV shows. As a musician, he is the founding member of The Maddest Of Madmen and The MFICs and has made four solo albums, the most recent being 2020’s Star God.” We get Taylor to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Freedom Fighter: “Freedom, determination, and resolve: These are my fighting words, and these fighting words from the ethos behind my latest single ‘Freedom Fighter.’ I’m proud to present Freedom Fighter, now streaming everywhere. Fight on.” My favorite part is my opening riff and the hook. After that, it’s just a straight rocker. I would be interested to hear what the fans feel when listening to it. Favorite part lyrically. “Just Rise Above It.” (Nugget) ; )

O- I see freedom; It doesn’t matter anyway; I was left there and defeated. O- I see freedom; It doesn’t matter anyway; No defense just rise above it.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I wanted to be honest about my place in the world and conquer my inner demons. But, instead, I learned that I had to release my ego and let life guide my crew and me on a solid path. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that life is short, and we must enjoy the ride. When I heard The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction” when I was six, the tones and vibe made me want to be a rocker, and I originally formed a band in college during my studies at UCLA. Along with one of my classmates and friends, we started The Maddest Of Madmen. My friend Sam Madil, a sound engineer from Skywalker Ranch, went to Guitar Center in the early days, where I bought my first Ephone Dot 2006. And from then on, I couldn’t put it down, constantly writing songs with friends and testing out new sounds. But, unfortunately, the Maddest of Madmen was short-lived. But after meeting some new bandmates, we decided to form The MFICs. We played local venues such as The Viper, The Joint and Molly Malone’s, and The Whiskey A Go Go. During this fantastic time, we recorded “Climbing The Hill,” “Amen,” “New Light,” “Static In Her Head,” and “Bang Bang (My Fires For You)” together. Many more releases came with the MFICs and self-titled, which allowed me to build a strong salvo of albums and get into music full time.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

The Rolling Stones, Goats Head Soup, Mick/Keith, Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones – “Baby Please Don’t Go” from Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981.

4. If you could call in any collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Josh Homme because he’s the man. Similar taste in sound.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I like to run, play guitar and do some kung fu.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I think my sound is distinctively me, others may sound similar, but there’s only one Taylor McCluskey sound. As far as my influences, I always tell people I’m like what you would get if Queens of The Stone Age, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, U2, Coldplay, and Black Sabbath had a baby. All have been good, and nothing stands out that makes me cringe. Oh, I believe someone once said I sounded like “Creed.” But, of course, they were big fans, so I took it as a compliment. Lol.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We like to order in and enjoy each other’s company. Lots of jokes and pranks keep us laughing. Then, I want to break out the acoustic and jam. Songwriting all the time keeps me sharp and the band creative.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck, and who was it?

I met Chris Cornell when I was a salesman at H-Men’s on Sunset Boulevard in my early twenties. I helped him get ready for an event in Hollywood that night. The most incredible artist and one of my favorite singers/songwriters.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is freedom and lifestyle: the ability to live your life like art. I want to be a full-time filmmaker.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

What can we expect from you in the future once life returns to normal? I am releasing a new single every 4th of the month in the future for the next two years. Along with each new single, there will be more videos and live performances, and live streams. I’m working on a tour in the states as well. How has the pandemic affected you as a band and/or artist? Has it made you more robust, more inspired, or the same as you always were? It’s been challenging not to play in front of people. Live-streaming has been a great experience, but the energy is not the same. The pandemic has made me stronger and taught me a lot about what I can achieve musically.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep, or would you like to have a “do-over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No, everything has happened for a reason. I’m supposed to be where I am now.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Recording: Let It Be – The Beatles’ last recording session as a group. Sunday 4 January 1970.
Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Producer: George Martin Engineer: Phil McDonald

Released: 8 May 1970
Recorded: February 1968 (“Across the Universe”), January 1969, January and April 1970
Venue: Apple Corps rooftop, London
Studio: Apple, EMI and Twickenham Film Studios, London
Length: 35:10
Label: Apple
Producer: Phil Spector

One of my favorite records and the most influential band of all time; I would have loved to be in the control room, listening to the raw playback with George Martin. They have inspired so many talented musicians and me. I had the privilege of working at Handmade Films in my early 20’s which was George Harrison’s film company. That’s where I learned film production and music history from my boss Thomas Adelman.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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