Jackson Taylor is quite a unique character. He’s had a very eventful life, having lived in Austin, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. Jackson could write a book full of his life’s tales but we’ll start off with only 20 Questions. His brand of rowdy yet thoughtful honky tonk is starting to catch on statewide and beyond. Check out what this great talent has to say in 20 Questions with Jackson Taylor.
1. What’s new with the Jackson Taylor Band?
We just finshed our 4th cd “Goin’ Down’ Swingin”. The record company wont let us put it out for a few months though because “Hollow Eyed & Wasted” has only been out for about 8 months. We are just out there trying to fill up our calender. So come see us.
2. How many instruments do you play and how long have you been playing them?
I can’t play anything. I strum the guitar, but by no means can I play. The sad thing is I’ve been at it since I was a kid.
3. Word association. First thoughts that come to mind about the following people:
-Billy Joe Shaver : Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Plato, Homer & the list goes on.
-Jason Boland : Kelly, The Stagglers, Soulful, non judgemental, amazing talent & great friend.
-Randy Rogers : Up & Comer.
-Stoney LaRue : Too much talent for one man.
-Kevin Fowler : Yee “f*cking” Haw
-Willie Nelson: Uncompromising, indescribable, wonderful, higher than a $100 kite.
-Pete Benz : Underrated. Misunderstood.
-Rusty Wier: True Grit
-Merle Haggard : Every thing we all aspire to be, the real thing a force of nature.
-Dwight Yoakam : The man that saved country music. Best singer songwriter of the last 3 decades.
-Dewayne Blackwell: Mentor, craftsman, Pal
4. You lived in California for a time. If you had been eligible to vote in the recall election last fall. Which of the following candidates would you have voted for? And why? -Arnold, Mary Carey (the porn star), Gary Coleman.
Arnold, cause he was the Terminator & he kicked the Predator’s ass. I think leaders should be physically intimidating.
5. You have moved all over the U.S.A. Explain the pull of Texas.
I grew up all over, but Texas was the first place I remember leaving, so it always seemed like home. It is the only place in the US with any type of music seen. I love the pride people have here. Plus, the girls in Texas have the nicest asses.
6. While in California as a kid, you had to work on fruit ranches. Was it like the “Grapes of Wrath”, a Haggard song or not as bad?
Not just California, also: Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Washington. We didnt have as much trouble as the Joads’s did in Grapes, but it was as close to that as our generation had. A real good visual of it is in Labmba at the start of the movie. I recognized alot of the places Hagg talked about in his book. Dewayne Blackwell grew up the same way and it always freaked him out that we worked the same ranches and places because he is about 40 years older than me. We know the same stops like “The Oasis ” on Hwy 20 above Sacramento. It is the bar he talks about in “Freinds in Low Places”. My Dad and I slept alot of nights in that parking lot , just like Dewayne & Merle had done.
7. Give us a favorite touring memory of the following towns/clubs.
-Ft Worth: All a blur.
-Lubbock : Some drunk Frat guys getting all worked up during “Long Leggs & Long Knecks” and breaking chairs & tearing the bath room door off at Bash Rip Rocks. I love shows with energy.
-New Braunfels: This is actually one from San Marcos…I was too stoned too climb on the stage at Gordos.
-Houston : Was with Boland one night and fell of the stage. He didn’t even get mad at me.
-Stillwater, OK : Playing there for the first time on April 16th 2204.
-Executive Surf Club : Playing there for the first time March 17th 2004.
-Blaine’s Pub : Playing there for the first time on May 28th – May 29th 2004.
-Adair’s: Going to Jail. Not my favorite but it sticks out in my memory. Dallas cops ain’t gentle.
-A favorite memory of a NYC gig: Robert Deniro & Christapher Walken came into a bar in the Lower West Side. I was stunned. That type of stuff happens all the time in NYC.
-A favorite memory of a California gig: Got invited to a stripper pool party after a show. We partied like Caligula.
8. Be honest, who’s homeless people have funnier signs: LA, NYC or Austin?
I never saw too many signs in NYC. The best I ever saw was actually in Nashville “I want beer, why lie?” I gave the guy 20 bucks and a fatty.
9. When you lived in Nashville and were a songwriter for hire, did the publishing company employing you put pressure on you to write certain kinds of songs or were you free to do your own thing?
Everything in Nashville is very controlled. You write what they want or you loose your deal, the only thing worse than selling out is a frickin day job. In all fairness I think I really learnd how to write in nashville. There are some great song crafters there, like Dewayne Blackwell, Rich Fegan, Steve O’Brien. When a publisher pairs you up with a writter who has 5 or 6 number ones, pay attention.
10. Give us the story behind the following songs, some you’ve written and how you decided to cover certain songs instead of others on your albums.
-“Long Legs and Long Necks”- Wrote this one by myself. I was taking stock of my life & coming to terms with what was important to me.
-“Eleven Roses” This is an old Hank Jr tune. It was my son Waylon’s favorite song at the time I was recording “Hollow Eyed & Wasted”. He thought my version was pretty cool, but I think he likes Hank’s verson better.
-“Mystery Train” It is mine & my Dads favorite Elvis song. I was very insecure about recording it. Elvis is God, you can’t screw up.
-“High on You” I wrote this one about my ex-girl freind. I met her just after being kicked out of the Army. Shame, self doubt & hatred were eating me alive. She helped me turn around. I was a mess when I met her. She got me soberd up and I truly belive she saved my life, the song is about how she made me feel and how she got me strait.
-“Going Back to California” I was on a stone drunk in alittle town south of Teaquana with my buddy Randy. We had been there for about a week wallering & bathing in the debotchery & decedance of the local night life, it made boys town look like Feasta Texas. After a week of it I was ready to get back to So Cal and a sence of moralaty & sanity.
-“Gypsies and Drifters” I was homeless and sleeping on the floor at a freinds shop in North Hollywood. I had an epiphany about where I was & where my chosen life was going to lead me. I accepted it, and the song came to me.
-“Drinking Song” First song I ever heard Jason play, It was my life at the time. It just seemed like it was written for me.
11. Tell us the story behind the “Sexy Bitch” line of ladies merch you have. Was it inspired from watching the Austin Powers movies,yeahhh baaby yeah, I’m a sexy bitch?
I have always used that term. I don’t know where it came from. I call every one “Sexy Bitch” It really caught on with my old Guitar Player Scott. Every one called him Sexy Bitch.
12. While living in New York City, did you ever ride the subway? If so, what’s the craziest thing you saw on the subway?
I rode it every day. There is so much crazy shit that goes on. I guess one goofy thing was seeing two middle aged guys throwing blows because one had on a Mets hat and the other had on a Yankies hat. It was at the height of the Subway seiries in 1999.
13. How frustrating was it to part ways with George Tobin and his record label? Were you nervous about having to start over? Or refreshed to have a new chance?
I was both, I was frustrated cause I wasted a year, but it was liberating & rewarding cause I stood my ground about what kind of music I wanted to do. He is a remarkable guy, we just have different ideas about making music.
14. You’ve covered several Billy Joe Shaver songs, “Ride Me Down Easy” and “Black Rose” to name a couple. What artist/s have you not covered yet that you would like to?
We just cut “Ragged Old Truck for the new CD. I plan on cutting some Kris Krstofferson, the guy is the greatest writer ever. Shel Silverstien has some great stuff that Bobby Bare cut in the late 70s I would like to do.
15. Your first three cd’s, Humboldt County, Gypsies and Drifters, and Hollow Eyed and Wasted have all been recorded under different circumstances and in different places. What effect if any do you think that had on the way they turned out?
I am always being influenced by my suroundings. I was living in NYC when we did “Humboldt County”, LA when we did “Gypsies & Driffters” & Austin when we did “Hlollow Eyed & Wasted” Also Austin with our new cd “Goin’ Down Swingin'” I do have a good sense of what I am, so the cds are all consistent regardless of where I was when I wrote the songs.
16. Rodney Carrington or Larry the Cable Guy? And why?
Rodney, cause he wrote “Titties & Beer”. We cut it on the new cd.
17. Did you have any friends from your days in NYC that were involved in 9/11?
Several, a good bartending buddy who also worked a a fire man was missing for a day, he was found in a New Jersy hospital. He is ok, but it was very sobering.
18. Rapid fire:
-Beatles or Elvis: Elvis!!!!
-Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath: Zepplin!!! Ozzy pissed on the Alamo, am I the only one who remebers that.
-Dr. Pepper or Coke: Coke is it.
-Pacino or DeNiro: DeNiro
-Chevy or Ford: Ford
-Shania or Faith: Norah Jones
19. Favorite George Strait song.
Easy Come Easy Go
20. Compare/Contrast the music you and your peers are making versus the stuff Nashville, LA and NYC are pumping out.
There are good & bad in all areas. Nashville just has more bad than most & Texas has more good than most.
For the ladies of Galleywinter: Do you wear “Sexy Bitch” boxers or briefs?