DORIAN TAJ

dorian_D.D._editHow did rock & roll reach you? 
As a city of Chicago toddler I had a brother and sister about 10 years older. They would baby sit me with a soundtrack of classic rock and the times were ripe for that type of consciousness. So I started licking S&H Green Stamps to fill enough books to get an acoustic guitar so I could feel a part of it.

Are songs more real than reality to you?  Well on the first Dorian Taj record The Puppet Record it could not get more real in terms of songs from a basis of what the realty was at that time in my life. If reality is truth then I was just copying it to songs for that release. Have been trying to get away from that since then but I do find that even so the songs still become more of you than what is actually happening and can shape you who are.

Is music still the best way to send a message?  Music can send a message still but on the most part I always though it was about sending a “feel” in total that all could understand. There could be no direct message but you know something is going on and you want to be part of it, against it, learn about it, discard it, it could give you an upset stomach or simply make you want to dance.

What is your favorite track on the new record Giant today and why?  Today it is “Rocket” because I want the energy feel. I’ve had days when it was “No Future” but you cant go on thinking those words for too long so then I will hate it for a bit. “Janitor Song” makes me feel “nice and sweet” and works for most days. 

How did you feel (this time) when the record was “in the can” and what did it take for you to reach that point comfortably?  Well we did the basic tracks at Pieholden in Chicago and then took a little time coming up with parts to add to the songs. At this point I was sure that we had the right 10 songs for “Giant” and felt it was “in the can” even though it was no where near done as something who could here (except for in my head). We then went to Austin to do the overdubs but at that point we were all comfortable with it.

For the kids and late bloomers: what’s the best way to write your first song?  Melody is the key. Forget about your computers and phones and take a walk, ride a bike, get on a train or bus and look at things around you. Then let a soundtrack happen in your mind. Put in words that happen to in your thoughts at the time to the melodies and you’re on your way. Then arrange what you got with your technology.

1430995072_11203129_863476210390242_8206459690216717649_nIf you could record a duet this Saturday with anyone whom would it be with, why, and what tune might you try together? I think it would be the best to do a duet with the Dalai Lama. I would love to grasp on to that energy of body, soul, and mind mixed with music. The song I hear in my head of us doing is “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

Take us behind the scenes with a producer: what makes your relationship w/ Alex Moore work on this record?  I have known Alex for some time. He actually played drums for me during the “Tobacco Record” time. His drumming was very essential to that record and his sense for music was very evident. Being a drummer makes one a great future producer because who learn to listen to everything and Alex became one. We worked well because he knew my stuff from the past and what I was about. We could bounce ideas and both play them quickly to see if they would work.

When are you happiest: on stage or in the studio? I definitely am a live animal. The live switch in me is always working at any spot in time. This is when I am at my best with a clear mind and a good feeling all around. That switch can turn on whether at noon or 3am.

Your guitar is entered in the ‘Indie Rock Legends’ section in a new wing at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and you are asked to contribute a single line quote for the exhibit….how does it read?  Sorry for pawning you that one time but you know without you I wouldn’t be me. ~ Dorian Taj

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ANTON FIG

figWhen did your love affair with the drums begin?

I don’t remember ever deciding to play drums. I was always interested and drawn to the sound of them as far back as I can remember.

Who were your heroes growing up and do you still listen to them?

Earl Palmer – though I did not know it was him at the time Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, Ringo, Keith Moon, John Bonham – English Invasion guys

Tony William, Elivin Jones, Jack deJohnette  –

Just to name a few – and yes I still listen to them

What was your first full kit?

My grandfather bought me a snare and bd at age 6 and every year added a drum – so I had a full set by the time I was 9 but it was a mutt of a set

Did the playing the drums come naturally to you or does one have to work hard at it to get to your level?

It came pretty naturally but when I work at it it pays huge dividends. There are periods in my career when I practice more than others and that always pays off.

What’s your kit of choice these days?

I endorse Yamahas – they are very consistent and good. I don’t use the same set up each time – especially in the studio – and enjoy changing the configuration to suit the music or just give myself a different perspective on things

What is the greatest drum track of all time?

Impossible to answer but anything by Tony Williams

I also love Mirolslav Vitous’ version of Freedom Jazz Dance – Jack de Johnette is the drummer

frehleyWhat’s your favorite thing about being in the “The World’s Most Dangerous Band”, and now The CBS Orchestra for all these years?

Steady work with great musicians and guests, high visibility, great hours – a dream job and life changer

Is it me, or is Dave even more into your musical guests these days than ever?

Dave is a very keen listener and appreciative of the music. He is very supportive of our band  – which is great for us

You guys are also the house band for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, any favorite magic moments so far?

It’s always great playing with the originals. You see how good they are up close and why they were groundbreakers and have endured through the years

You’ve worked with Ace Frehley as far back as 1978 when you played on his first solo album, did you guys have fun getting back together to track Anomaly in 2010?

I love that first album and have worked with Ace and maintained our friendship over the years since then. It was great to be back in the studio with him again. It’s always good to see him. – ANTON FIG