Kevin Taylor had a steady gig playing drums with Canadian glam punk band, Robin Black when he started sitting in on drums for Crash Kelly; a group of dynamic, ‘70s-influenced rockers lead by his friend, guitarist Sean Kelly. “I played with Sean for about a year when Robin Black wasn’t on the road or recording,” the drummer explains. “Things got busy with Robin again, but I kept going to see Crash Kelly shows and I realized Sean had something really good going on.” Less than a year later, Kevin was back behind Crash Kelly’s drum kit fulltime.
As a drummer who’s passionate about 70s and 80s rock, Kevin feels Crash Kelly is the perfect band for him. “Robin Black’s music only needed very straightforward punk/pop drumming,” Kevin offers. “Joining Crash Kelly allowed me way more flexibility in my playing, because I wasn’t just laying down a straight 1-and-2-and-3-and-4 beat. There’s lots of room to do interesting things, which I really love.” Flaunting songs that pay homage to the finest aspects of the Alice Cooper Group’s vintage, gritty glam and Cheap Trick’s classic power pop, Crash Kelly have toured non-stop with kindred spirits like Backyard Babies, The Black Halos and The Illuminati in support of its critically acclaimed 2005 debut, Penny Pills. The band recently released its amazing sophomore CD, Electric Satisfaction, which was produced by former GNR axeman Gilby Clarke. Kevin talked drums with Metal Edge during much needed break from the road.
Metal Edge: In the studio, how did you approach your drum parts for Electric Satisfaction?
Kevin Taylor: Because of time and budget constraints, we couldn’t do any pre-production. What we did was choose the six songs we thought were the strongest and rehearse those to death. That way, those songs were very structured and everything was set when we went into the studio. Then we just banged them out with maybe a few minor changes. With the other six songs that we didn’t have a chance to work on, we learned their structure and, basically, when we got into the studio we just went with what felt good that day. I’d do two consecutive takes and end up with two completely different drumbeats. When I listened back to the tape, I realized it was a good idea to have done that because I came up with fresh, innovative ideas in the studio rather than having my parts already planned. From doing records in the past and listening to them two months later, I’ll often wish I had played something different than what made the record. This approach was great because it was a spur of the moment decision based on what felt right.
Metal Edge: How did Gilby Clarke influence you in the studio, if at all?
Kevin Taylor: We made some major drum part changes on two songs, thanks to Gilby: “Turn It Around” and “…Shock In My Rock & Roll.” The changes weren’t anything really complicated, but were just suggestions to make the songs more unique. In “Turn It Around” I originally had 8th notes on the hi-hat going through the verses. Gilby suggested I do the 8ths on the snare instead, which gives it that marching cadence you hear. I don’t have an ego and I’ve never been a producer. As soon as he said, “Let’s do this,” I was like, “you know better than I do.” He was in Guns ‘n’ Roses, so who am I to not trust his judgment (laughs)?
Metal Edge: When Crash Kelly toured with Alice Cooper, what did you think of Eric Singer’s playing?
Kevin Taylor: I knew Eric Singer from Badlands and the live Kiss DVD, but I had no idea that he was such good drummer until I saw him live with Alice Cooper. Every night that I watched him was just like a clinic; he’s solid but stylish and the tricks he has are so amazing. I always like a bit of showmanship in drumming, though never at the expense of playing. If you can pull it off live and do it well, then I say go for it. Eric was great.
Metal Edge: Crash Kelly has played with so many great new rock and roll bands that all share a kind of ‘70s rock or garage rock spirit. How does it feel to hear that kind of music enjoying a rebirth?
Kevin Taylor: The best thing is when I walk down the street and see a ten-year-old kid with long hair wearing a Led Zeppelin T-shirt. I just feel warm that kids get it. It goes to show you that a Led Zeppelin record is timeless, but in 30 years no one will even remember who Limp Bizkit was.
Drums: Pearl BLX White four-piece
Sizes: 22” x 18” Kick, 12” x 10” Mounted Tom, 16” x 16” Floor Tom, 14” x 6.5” free floating Snare with metal shell.
Heads: Remo ambassador coated heads on toms and snare, Remo pinstripe on kick.
Sticks: Rimshot 5A’s with wood tip
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crashkellymusic/
This article was originally written for Metal Edge Magazine as part of a monthly column by Gail Worley (under the pen name Jayne Rollins). With the magazines’ dissolution, the article has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.