Q: Not only another textbook lesson in songwriting Mr Taylor but a lovely piece of production with every song having a seemingly perfect arrangement to suit its message. Do those arrangements come to you as you write or evolve during the recording process? I’m thinking specifically of Would You Mind.
LT: Arrangements, like a great meal, result from the skillful assembly of great ingredients and they evolve as new talents become available.
Q: You Can Take Me Home and Pick Yourself Up: where these real incidents and if so, what was the incident that sparked the latter and for the former, did you buy the puppy? ☺
LT: These are not real incidents. I’m a story writer and my life isn’t anywhere near as exciting as my songs.
Q: You’ve chosen three cover versions for this album (Paperback Writer, Here You Come Again and On And On). Does your choice of covers from anywhere in particular (melody, lyrics, etc)?
LT: I cover songs for only one reason: they amuse me. And to only one end: I hope they amuse my audience.
Speaking of covers…
Q: Your version of Paperback Writer. I could never have envisioned it performed in that style with that arrangement; where did it come from?
LT: I don’t know where it came from. I’m still looking for its address, so I can go back there again.
Q: On Our Turn To Dance, you did a lovely arrangement of The Way You Look Tonight from the 1936 film Swing Time and on Good Friends, a couple of songs from The Wizard of Oz. Are you an old movie buff and if so, what are some of your favourite scenes or songs from them?
LT: I’m not necessarily an old film buff. That said, I’m a sucker for Audrey Hepburn and John Wayne.
Q: You’ve cited Broadway as one of your influences and on your second album you covered The Drifters’ On Broadway. Which classic shows would you go to see if you’re feeling a little bit down?
LT: My Fair Lady and Oklahoma come to mind.
Q: Your demeanor when playing and singing, either live or on record gives me the impression that your songs come to you quite naturally and easily. Is that the case or do you sometimes spend hours sweating over a hot desk with a blank piece of paper?
LT: It’s hard to write a song that sounds easy to write. Every note, chord, and lyric are tumbled a thousand times till they are as perfect as I can make them.
Q: Is songwriting cathartic for you?
LT: It’s my greatest joy.
Q: Your lyrics are always positive. Is that important to you – to always give a positive message - and in your lifestyle and way of life, do you always look for the positives?
LT: Nothing makes me feel better about myself than being in the middle of a creative blast. So it’s only natural that when I’m writing and feeling good about myself, it shows up positive.
Q: You’re a very attentive performer and by that I mean attentive to what your audience wants. You obviously go onstage with a set list in mind; do you ever adapt and change it once you’ve started a show to suit an audience’s needs?
LT: I change my set list continually to suit the reality of the moment.
Q: Most successful performers work on their show but you’re the only person that has analyzed it, broken it down, written about it and now teaches it. I can think of a lot bands in this day and age who would benefit from your book (several shoe-staring, shabbily dressed bands I saw at a festival last weekend for a start!); what was the catalyst for you to start examining it?
LT: Teaching and critiquing performance teaches you how to to disassemble the 10,000 parts of every performance. Students pay in both money and time to discover what works and what doesn’t and why.
Other stuff – your Forest Gump Box of Chocolates questions
Q: You’re a qualified pilot: do you ever fly yourself to a show and if so, are there any restrictions such as having to have a certain amount of hours break between a performance and a flight?
LT: As a private pilot, there are no restrictions on flying and playing. Both endeavors energize me, so it’s rare that I’m on stage and not in the best of spirits.
Q: Have you ever met a Beatle and if so, what’s your fondest memory of it?
LT: I’ve turned over many stones and seen many fine beetles, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking about. And no, I haven’t have the pleasure of meeting a musical Beatle.
Q: Which book are you currently reading?
LT: I am reading Physics For Future Presidents by Rich Muller and The Frozen Water Trade by Gavin Weightman. (P.S. I’m pure non-fiction)
Q: Pick Myself Up has a great feel and would work in a Broadway show (or a film). Given the opportunity and if the subject was right, would you take up the offer to write the music for a Broadway production?
LT: I would love to pin the music for a big Broadway production!
Mr Taylor, thank you very much for your time and consideration. We are really looking forward to your shows at Billboard in Japan.