Here is a translation of a German interview with Chad found here. Thanks to Veerle and friends for translating it!
Live – An atypical American Band?
The American rock musician is well off. Here and there he gives a concert or makes a new album. If he’s bored, he destroys his hotel room, or kills the time with drugs and groupies. Is this only a cliché? Well actually it is. Live for example are different. E-house met the pleasant guitarist Chad Taylor for an interview in the Hamburg’s Hyat-hotel on the occasion of the release of their fifth album. Simply called “V”, it designs without a doubt the temporary highlight of their worldwide career.
Although the band already exists for 16 years, and on many places belongs to the big Rock stars, Live is, here in Germany, only known in small circles. The question certainly is: for how long? After their about 3 hour energetic showcase (unplugged) at the Hamburg’s Grünspan, all the fans and media were completely convinced that Live, here too, will have a high ranking in the charts. Like ahead, singer/guitarist Ed Kowalczyk, guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dalheimer and drummer Chad Gracey shine with their impressive arrangements and intelligent lyrics. Moreover ‘V’ doesn’t have to be a match for the successful predecessor ‘The Distance to Here’ (1999). In particular with songs like ‘Simple Creed’ or ‘Deep Enough’, the quartet persuades with multiple guitar sounds and exciting rhythms. About time to take a close look behind the scenes of Live.
E-House: ‘The Distance to Here’ was so successful that you toured 14 months around the world with it. Don’t you miss your family then?
Chad Taylor: I feel very good on tour; there I have few worries; you have the room service, the catering, and the parties. At home, in Pennsylvania, is indeed my house and wife, but there I also have to organize my life, and that isn’t that easy for me. I look at the band as my family and my passion and we’re friends and colleagues since the mid 80’s. After the last tour in the USA we had a break, but instead of going home we went to a studio in LA and worked spontaneously on ‘V’ and recorded 5 parts, which was new and pioneering for us.
E-house: Are there countries or cities you really like to remember or where you really would like to perform one time?
Chad T: Concerning exceptional performances, I’d like to mention Africa and thrice Brazil. There we had splendid shows in front of an enthusiastic audience. In South Africa we could play immediately in a big stadium for our first tour. Then you have Carnegie Hall in New York, the Theatre in Boston, Holland, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, all great places. I really would like to play in Thailand, China and in Vietnam as well, because my father was there during war; these are personal reasons.
After 16 years together we managed to do what less bands didn’t succeed in: “we’ve survived without losing our importance”.
E-house: When did you record the rest of “V” and with what team?
Chad T: The intro and the other 8 tracks came into being following on “The Distance to Here” world tour. For that we needed about 3 weeks, incl. mix. We decided not to engage Jerry Harrison (ex-Talking Heads) as producer, but to use our own skills. Together with co-producer Alain Johannes and our tour keyboarder Michael Railo it all worked out fine. It did good to shorten our normal length of 6 months for an album, and nevertheless to be 100% satisfied with the result.
E-House: in spite of all the disposal to all kinds of technical possibilities, there’s only occasional use in the direction of electronic music. What else was important for you for the songwriting?
Chad T : We were all extremely inspired by the tours, especially Ed . For Live, songwriting still takes priority. He wrote his lyrics everywhere we went; in the bus, in hotel rooms, in clubs…The rest retired and put the music on the lyrics, and made some ideas for stringed instruments and keyboards. Concerning the lyrics, Ed remained constant to himself: he asks questions, gives answers, although without giving someone a lesson. At first the rock song comes about as a lyric, then we make the whole music, and then comes the loops, the samples and the technical plays. Ed is a brilliant writer, who reminds me of John Lennon or Marvin Gaye. Take for example ‘Deep Enough’; its spiritual and sexual at the same time. Simply magical.
You can find again all those elements, which make Live a real rockband, on “V” : Ed Kowalczyk’s excellent lyrics, Chad Taylor’s outstanding guitar-playing, Patrick Dalheimer’s articulated bass pieces and Chad Gracey’s dynamic drums.
E-House: Worldwide, Live has sold over 17 million albums. Don’t the expectations run incredibly high every time you bring out a new album?
Chad T: In the first place we’re musicians, getting fun out of releasing albums and playing live. We want to convey honest feelings, and we managed to do that with ”V”. It’s a side issue for me whether the album sells or not.
E-House: It’s definitely not easy to name one of the 14 tracks as your favorite track. To boot that "Simple Creed" is a cooperation with Tricky?
Chad T: Well first of all we’ve got "Nobody Knows"; which is a special thanks to all our fans out there which we don’t know personally, although we are close to them anyway. And of course there’s "Transmit Your Love", a real love song, totally terrific. With regard to "Simple Creed", it went like this: Tricky called Ed to recruit him as singer for the track "Evolution, Revolution, Love" on the album ‘Blowback’. They wrote it together. In return Tricky came to us afterwards, and he cooperated in the studio with "Simple Creed". He’s a great musician, who became a good friend of ours because he has the same background as we have.
Ed Kowalczyk: "There are so many problems out there, we can’t solve them by our songs, but nonetheless we can set people thinking."
E-House: Will you think about a remix of Live songs in the future?
Chad T: You can dance to the Live music as well. But anyway we already did something like that for the "Pain Lies on the Riverside"-thing in 1991. According to my solo-stuff its like Drum & Base, Jungle. I put some beats over guitar parts and there you go…a dance song. Pretty good to imagine, but you shouldn’t misrepresent the song.
E-House: Thanks a lot for the conversation and good luck for the future! With this a short review of the career of Live so far:
In the US Live succeeded in 1992 with the album "Mental Jewelry" to make a break-through via the school radio and MTV. Before that the former school band had signed a contract with the Talking Heads manager Gary Kurfirst. Little by little they also became popular in Europe, the performance at the Woodstock anniversary did the rest. With "Secret Samadhi" and "The Distance to Here" they have earned a reputation as one of the most interesting rock bands of these days. They have overcome heights and depths in music business successfully and deliver with "V" maybe the best album of their career up to this day.
"Mental Jewelry" 1992
"Throwing Copper" 1994
"Secret Samadhi" 1997
"The Distance To Here" 1999