Q&A: Everything Taddy Porter Touches Turns To Gold: Under The Influence Of Optimism And ‘60s Jams
By Cynthia Orgel; Photos by Anna Webber on December 13, 2012
After watching Taddy Porter’s music video for “Long Slow Drag”—the piano-laden heartbreak hit from their 2010 self-titled record—you might feel irked by the sadistic ending. A flaming photo of Brewer is dropped onto a trail of gasoline, ultimately leading to—yep, you guessed it—Brewer and the rest of the Oklahoma rock quartet.
Luckily, that scene was simply one of many in a well-executed video. We spoke with Brewer last week, who reassures fans that life is much less threatening at the moment. In fact, the band is currently taking a hard-earned break after touring for over two years straight—but not for long.
Taddy Porter’s sophomore album, Stay Golden, drops February 26 via Primary Wave Music, and Brewer has lots to say about this imaginative follow-up full-length, which was created with the help of two prominent producers: Mark Neill (The Black Keys/Dan Auerbach) and Dave Cobb (Shooter Jennings, Chris Cornell).
Songs on the first album were featured on programs such as Entourage, Monday Night Football, and The Newsroom (just to name a few) and Stay Golden is sure to make just as many special appearances, if not more.
Find out all about Brewer’s past in geology, his recently played albums, the first single "Fever" and the ominous date of December 21 below.
How has living in Oklahoma shaped your music?
The coasts are different musically. You can definitely tell the different genres as you go from coast-to-coast, and that’s really cool. But the thing about Oklahoma is that you don’t really hear about some kind of music scene that’s breathing and living and whatnot. It’s so funny that because of that, all genres it seems, are popping out of nowhere in Stillwater alone, [with] us being more of a rock band. There’s a band called Other Lives that’s from Stillwater. So there’s kind of non-competing genres that play in Stillwater, which allow there to be a surprisingly good scene being in a college town.
Did you say you were studying music at college?
I was studying at Oklahoma State University at the time, trying to be a geologist. I had this kind of hippie revelation where the money was in oil, and I was like, ‘I don’t really want to be a part of that’—some kind of nasty stuff, where I’m pretty much the guy who finds it, but I don’t want to be a part of it. So I joined the band and didn’t really look back there with the whole geologist thing.
Your single for “Fever” came out in November. What has been the general response to that so far?
It’s real funny about that. With our first album that we put out, it definitely had a certain sound to it. Now our second album that we’re putting out, we decided to kind of take a step away from where we first were—like, ‘let’s do something different and do something that’s a little bit more comfortable to us.’
So that being said, whenever you tour with these bands that are say, "heavier" bands, they tend to gravitate toward that genre, and us, not really fitting in totally, but it’s rock music. We played with Alter Bridge—a rock band, but just a different genre of our rock— bands that we didn’t mesh one hundred percent with.
So whenever we came across the writing on our second album, we knew that we may or may not woo some fans because it was not something that they’re technically into genre-wise. But we’re okay with that because being music fans as we are, we love to pretty much put our thumbs in different time periods—‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s—and different genres.
It’s a really great album. I’m enjoying listening to it.
Thank you so much! We actually just got back from Nashville and we recorded another song that we’re going to put on the album. We worked with Dave Cobb for two days and came up with a tune, got it down, and we’re proud of it. It sounds really cool.
It’s kind of reminiscent of the Rolling Stones with female vocals in the background. You can’t beat those female vocals. It’s the first time we’ve done that. The girl did an amazing job. She’s got the soul in her voice and she’s just a real skinny white girl.
Is there going to be a Stay Golden tour right after the album drops?
For sure. We are actually working on that right now, and trying to find the right time to tour. We’re just trying to find a cool band to play with. It’d be cool to jump on tour with Portugal. The Man. I’m a fan of that band—the heavy bands like that, that have that kind of lo-fi sound.
Are there any particular albums that are on repeat for you right now?
I’ve been listening to The Zombies nonstop and The Sonics. Our album, as we started doing some stuff to it, we started listening to that in the studio; listening to The Monkees and whatnot, and just how they did all these cool harmonies. It’s a cool sound I’ve seen bands do, when all the members are singing together. It’s just something that you don’t expect, when everybody busts off into a four-part harmony.
Since you don’t believe the world’s going to end on December 21, meaning Taddy Porter’s going to be around for a while, do you have a sort of message for your fans, or anything you want to say to them about the new album?
Optimism is something that has kind of been taken away somehow…you’re kind of just thirsty for a happy face, for someone that’s got a positive view. You’re very a part of a society as your songs are being sung—are being heard subliminally through wherever. The negative message of that definitely bleeds over; all these kinds of nasty things [like] taking advantage of the angst of kids. If we could be some kind of an optimistic viewpoint, that would be the main thing for us.
Are you guys playing a show tonight or are you taking it easy?
We are taking it easy tonight. We have a few days off. We’re actually getting together here to practice. We’re playing a show on the twenty-first: an end-of-the-world show. If the world does end, I guess I’ll go out playing a show, so that’s pretty cool. F