Interview / Dallas Taylor April 2010.
Interview By: Hannah Collins
Dallas Taylor (DT), the longest standing member of southern rock/metal band Maylene and the Sons of Disaster talks to LifeMusicMedia’s Hannah Collins (LMM) about divine justice, family, touring and their new album “III”
LMM: I’m sure you’ve probably told this story a million times, but can you tell it once more? That is, how you guys got the name “Maylene and the Sons of Disaster”? And what it does actually mean to you all?
DT: Well it’s taken from the story of “Ma Barker” who was a mob boss in the thirties. She really thought she was doing the work of God but they’d go around robbing banks and killing people or whatever she thought Gods work at the time was. It was almost like a spiritual thing for them. So the whole name thing is taken from that scenario and the message behind it. What you do in life comes back to you. What comes around goes around, you know? For instance, in her life, all of her sons were eventually shot and killed. It’s Divine Justice, how you treat people and how you live your life really effects what comes back to you in the long run.
LMM: I know in the past, you’ve made mention to how much you believe the Ma Barker story is a symbol of what goes around comes around, and that Divine Justice is at times unavoidable. Being a Christian, and playing in a Christian band, do you believe in the power of Christ so much that it really overrides the basic theory of you get what you give? And that Christ is responsible for an individual’s retribution? For a non Christian for instance, they’d just call it Karma. Do you think the two; Karma vs Divine Justice, are actually any different?
DT: I guess for us it’s a little different, I’m a strong supporter of anyone who’s out there living their life, to help other people, and to better themselves. I would rather be around people that like that, than someone that just thinks they’re better, has something to prove, or tries to put other people down to bring themselves up. They’re a little different, Karma and Divine Justice, but it’s the same principle. All religions have a different analogy, but they all have the same idea. In the wide scheme of things, they’re all pointing to the same thing, what’s different, is the way we get there I guess.
LMM: Okay, so how much does God and his Divine Justice influence your life, and your music?
DT: Well for me the feelings are strong, and sometimes it’s what keeps me going. I’ve recently been having a bit of hard time, I’m going through a really bad divorce, which is terrible but may be for the best as it’s helped me to really find out who I am spiritually. It’s helped me realize that no matter how people in this world treat me, or how it is when people, that I think would never hut me, hurt me…I can see that God still loves me, and only wants the best for me. So It’s been a huge impact on my life, how I see things and how I go about things, how I live, how I see myself and how I see other people. I really do think that if I didn’t have God in my life I would probably be a bitter, angry, negative person. Just having that relationship with God and I guess, being into the bible and a lot of the teachings and life of Jesus, it makes me a better person and makes me want to be better. Like yeah, I’m going through a bad divorce, but now I just want to help people that have gone through that exact same thing you know. Or I want to be a light to people that might not see the light at the end of the tunnel like I have.
LMM: Life experience does make it easier to turn it around, and share some of it with other people.
LMM: So Dallas, back to the band. You’ve had a rather large turn over of band members since Maylene’s conception. Why do you think that’s the case?
DT: Yeah that’s a fair call, well I think that a lot of our guys just didn’t want to tour anymore. The more you tour, the more you have to really take it seriously and the farther you go down the road the harder it gets you know. The first couple of years for any band are always pretty awesome, but as you go on, it gets harder and people start to wonder if they really want to be there. They may want to settle down and get married. So we get along well with all the guys but just had to find a few that were dedicated and ready for the long, long haul. Some people just don’t realize that being in a band is a pretty difficult job. I mean you are almost like a loner, and mixing that with being away from family, because you’re hardly ever at home means it takes people that are really dedicated, and truly believe in what they’re about, to keep persevering through the hard times.
LMM: Do you think extensive touring might have had an effect on your family life, and your marriage? Maybe contributed to the divorce?
DT: Oh definitely. I mean it’s had an effect on both sides. I wasn’t around much, so when she wanted the divorce, it was like “you’ve been on tour for forever you know, and it’s not going to change”. So it was easier for her to just go with it, because I have traveled so much, compared to other people. I realize, going back to God and divine justice etc, that the picture is so much bigger than just me. I can play music and depict through music how I may have hard times but there’s much more of a bigger picture and it does get hard. Our drummer has a two month old, I have a four year old. Particularly when your children say Daddy I miss you or I want to see you right now, it is hard. But I do know that when I finally do see my family, I get to have so much more quality time with them and appreciate it a whole lot more. I just get torn you know, but I do now really appreciate the little things I used to take for granted when I was always home.
LMM: On the subject of touring, you’ve said you like to maintain a Christian lifestyle, and that it’s very important that the message that you speak on stage is in line with the way you live your lives off stage. What does that mean to you guys? Does it mean no drinking / partying? Do you find it difficult being on tour, and being on the metal scene with a lot of the hard nuts that are out there who do like to party non stop?
DT: Well I think for us, like um, we do try to be constant off stage and on, but we’re just real people you know. We’ve never really been the partying types. We do take our music very seriously. I don’t know how other guys think of their music but we’ve toured with bands that party every night, and I can never understand how they do it, getting to the point of passing out every day, it’s not for us. We get out off and on, but we’re also very real people, and that’s why I think we get along just as much with non Christians and bands that have completely different audiences. They see that we’re real, and we get treated just like them. We have our views and we have our ideas but uh, we just try to keep it pretty low key and uh…
DT: Yeah exactly! The only bad thing to do with us not being healthy is food! Sometimes we eat the worst foods, we’re all about food! It’s like our party, we get excited at every place we go to, thinking about all the different foods we can try, and the coolest foods we’re gunna find. But we try and keep ourselves in the best shape as possible.
LMM: So you’re obviously on tour promoting your third album III, is it going well so far?
DT: Oh yeah! It’s going really really well; we’re playing in front a lot of new audiences that we’ve never played for before so it’s been really awesome. And it’s been cool to do a bit more touring, and see firsthand how the album has been received.
LMM: That’s great, so the fans response was good? The album definitely received well?
DT: Yeah absolutely, it’s been fantastic.
LMM: So are you happy with all aspects of production on the album? Were there any major hiccups during recording?
DT: Ah well there’s always hiccups during recording but you know, it happens. Every little recoding that you do, there’s always something; but you just learn not to do it on the next record. For the most part, we’re very pleased with how the record came out.
LMM: So if you could go back and do anything differently, either during the writing or recording process, would you?
DT: Looking back I know I’d always change something, but yeah, you just learn not to do that next time. But we did our best and just wanted to put out the record we have.
LMM: Being the longest standing member of Maylene, has the high turnover made it difficult to collaborate with the other guys and get down to the punch with writing / recording? Has it affected your music in any way and how quickly you might be able to produce new material?
DT: Well any person that we find, that does become a member of the band, we usually mesh really well with so it never feels like to much of a big job you know. Never feels like we’re writing with new people or having to change too much, about how we go about doing it. I write about the same sort of stuff, in the same way I always have. They’re all people we really get along with so every time we have something come up, that affects the band or we add a member or one leaves, it’s always for the better.
LMM: So do you all have equal input when it comes to songwriting or perhaps find that you do more of it than you might like?
DT: Oh yeah, we’re all a little, you might say bull headed, we all want to put our bit in and mesh it around a bit so it actually makes it good for writing, because we all end up coming to an agreement in the end, and having everyone contribute is good.
LMM: You’re coming to OZ soon, on tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan. Are you looking forward to it?
DT: Hell yeah we are… it’s going to be a really fun tour.
LMM: They’ve been around for a long time, and have really made a name for themselves. Do you think you’ll be at all intimidated by feeling like you have something to live up to?
DT: Well I think you have to love that challenge you know, because they’re ah, definitely on a different wave length, with heavy music, but we definitely like the challenge of playing with different bands. Like the tour we just got off with Saosin. Now we’re going out with Dillinger so it’s always fun trying to play for new people, and a different audience.
LMM:Your vocals, are fantastic. You’ve been described as “abrasively brutal”, do you think you’ll mesh some more clean vocals in future recordings?
DT: Well for the next record, we really want to make it more of a classic country rock style and for every record, I’d like to show a different side so yeah I think in future, there’ll be a lot more clean singing on it with kind of a lonesome country feel to some of the songs so I’m a bit excited about it. We always try to do something new on every record.
LMM: Been a pleasure Dallas thanks for your time and we’ll see you out on tour.
Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – tour details