A Conversation with Ben Taylor (continued)
PM: So can we talk a little bit about each of the guys you were playing with yesterday? Such a super talented bunch.
BT: I would love to.
PM: Yeah, and a really good feeling of fraternity going on.
BT: Yeah, there really is. We're all brothers. Okay, so let's break it down one at a time. Adam MacDougall, the guy whose keyboard broke, is really the most phenomenal musician that I've ever had. He's not only the best keyboard player I've ever played with, he's the best one I've ever heard.
BT: He's just--are you coming to the show tonight?
PM: Yes, I believe so. [In the end I didn't quite get there.]
BT: I can't wait for you to hear what this guy does when he's let loose upon a working keyboard.
PM: Right, of course--and keyboards.
BT: Yeah, I mean, he's really--there are some people who are plugged into the earth, and it flows through them, this natural earthly energy. And there are some people who I feel are just flying around plugging into heaven. And it comes through the heavens right through their hands or their voices, or whatever it is.
BT: He's one of these cats who's plugged in at both ends.
PM: Where does he come from?
BT: He grew up on Roosevelt Island, New York.
PM: That guitar player was fabulous. What's his name?
BT: His name is Rick Musallam. He's originally from Lebanon. And he's been with us the shortest amount of time, but we auditioned people--we had been playing with two other guitar players, and when we looked to replace them, we replaced both of them with just Rick because he was the only guy who came to audition who could play both of their parts simultaneously. [laughs]
PM: Yeah, he was unbelievable. And when Adam's keyboard broke, he stepped up to the plate in a remarkable way.
BT: Yeah, he always does. He's really phenomenal.
And then Joe Dunne, the bass player, he's a close friend of the guy I recorded the album with. And the guy I recorded the album with needed to stay at home more and also was just too kind of thoroughbred to do this hard sort of back breaking phase of our project development, and so he recommended a friend of his and taught him all the parts, and Joe stepped up to the plate.
PM: And the drummer is one of your closest homies, I take it.
BT: Yes. Larry and I started the record company together, and he is my boy from back in the Sony days. He actually recorded the Sony album with me. And he's the guy in the band I've been with the longest. He's also the one who convinced me to come, sort of, out of hiding in Martha's Vineyard to make another record. And he's really great.
PM: If you hadn't made another record, what might you have done instead?
BT: I don't know. I haven't figured it out. I'm not that qualified. I'm only qualified to do music, or farming. Agriculture or wilderness guiding and traveling, so one of those two other things, I guess. But when it came right down to it, the idea that I was scared to death to get on stage and sing made that the obvious choice.
PM: "I can't do that, I better do that."
BT: Yeah, yeah. I mean, in life, you only have so many opportunities to face and overcome incredible fears. And then there's pretty much nothing else that gives you a greater sense of empowerment if you stay with it and manage to actually feel good about what you do.
PM: And is it any longer a fear? You looked awfully comfortable in your body.
BT: No, I'm still scared to death. And hopefully to some degree I will be until I'm ready to be done being on stage, because that fear, I've come to understand, it translates into strength, and it translates into energy on stage. The audience doesn't perceive it as fear, they perceive it as just energy, really.
PM: Yeah. Wow, yeah, because that's what I saw, I saw energy. continue