Lancaster Sunday News
as transcribed by Ian Fedorchick
Falcon Jones is not just another opening band to LIVE's lead guitarist Chad Taylor. The young Lancaster band members opening for LIVE Friday in Franklin & Marshall College's Alumni Sports and Fitness Center are his protégés.
Taylor engineered and produced Falcon Jones' eponymous debut album. He even recorded its five-track EP in his suburban Lancaster carriage house studio.
"Playing with LIVE is paramount with me-these guys are my brothers-but I have fallen in love with the art of making records," Taylor said over an import beer at a downtown Lancaster watering hole. "And I think this is the band that could define me as a producer."
When Taylor and his York junior-high-school buds Ed Kowalczyk, Patrick Dahlheimer, and Chad Gracey formed Public Affection 18 years ago, record labels really believed in bands, Taylor said. "They spent years developing artists, getting their records in stores. Now, all the labels are owned by major conglomerate corporations. They are publicly held and have to show quarterly earnings. A band gets one year now, if they're lucky, not 10."
If that had been the case in the mid-90's, LIVE's career-making sophomore album, "Throwing Copper," would never have survived, Taylor said. Even with label support and a no.1 alt-rock single, "Selling the Drama," the album took 52 weeks to reach no.1. By forming the Lancaster-based MoonTree Artist Management Group with partner Terri Gleason-Givens this year, Taylor aims to cut the industry odds against Falcon Jones by making a long-term investment in it's success; promoting radio play, live appearances and internet exposure to attract a major label that will carry the ball from there.
"I love to write and interact with young artists who are fresh and unspoiled," said Taylor, 31. Falcon Jones fills that bill and then some. "There is genius in Zander's songs. They remind me of Talking Heads, with polyrhythmic instead of simple chord structures," Taylor said.
Taylor can identify with Falcon Jones on more than a musical level. Its members (McCaskey High School grads Zander Lefever, vocals and guitar; Steve Brecht, guitar and vocals; Johnny Resch, bass; and Ian Fedorchick, drums) are now about the same age-21-as Live's bandmates were at the time of their major label breakthrough with "Mental Jewelry" in 1991. And like Live, they began playing together as young teens-seven years ago-and are totally committed to originality and maintaining their individuality.
"Live was never about selling records," Taylor said. Our goal was always to take rock'n'roll to a new level. I miss the days of Smashing Pumpkins and the genius Nirvana. Live is now carrying the flag. Purity, truth and honesty-that's still what we're about." He found those same qualities in Lefever's songs, he said, including the " Falcon Jones' EP's otherworldly electronic opener, "ZOOM," and four more earthy alt rockers: "Kids," "Bum Bum Dana," "Way Down," and "For Two."
Moonlighting with MoonTree has taken no toll of Taylor's Live commitment. The muscle guitarist's riffs, chords and bridges still resonate powerfully throughout Live's latest CD, the revved-up rocker "V". After 18 years of leaving Live's record production to others-something he does not plan to change-Taylor has now picked up enough expertise from those top-shelf producers to guide the work of others through MoonTree.
"I was always watching everything they did and asking, 'why are you doing that?," said Taylor, who made his producing debut by shepharding two tracks on Solution AD's eponymous Atlantic CD, betweeen Live's "Throwing Copper" and "Secret Samadhi."
Together with Gleason-Givens, Taylor is making sure that Falcon Jones gets every chance to fly. The band has it's own website, www.falconjones.com; they recently played live on FM97 and the X; and they opened for Live last summer before a crowd of more than 5,000 in Bruce Springsteen's home turf-Asbury Park, NJ.
Taylor is Live's last link to it's home turf. The band members, once headquartered in the former Lancaster Trust Building at 41. N Market St., are now scattered coast to coast: Kowalczyk in L.A., Dahlheimer in Miami and Gracey in Oregon.
Taylor and his wife, who live in Lancaster Township, are expecting their third child in December. "I feel it's important to remain near my roots, " Taylor said. "Lancaster has so many artists who are serious about what they do, and there are a lot of hard-working, good people here. It inspires me and keeps me honest. If I were going to
become jaded, I think that it would have happened by now." Besides, he joked, "I've written so many hit songs in this town, I'm afraid to leave it."