Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ep 33 - Song 1: "She Was the One That Got Away" by Gloom Balloon, plus Joe Lawler on Chad

For years I knew that there would be little overlap between the bands I interviewed for Juice/The Des Moines Register and the articles in Cityview. But one day I opened the weekly and saw a new music writer, and he had interviewed the same shitty pop singer I had.

This Chad Taylor asshole and I were going to have issues.

But when we eventually met in real life, I found that just like all assholes, he gets covered in a protective layer or three around the general public. If you don't focus on the asshole part, Chad is a pretty decent guy. The asshole is still there, but tucked away and forgotten, blending into a sea of similarly covered assholes.

I know Chad and I didn't always see eye to eye on Gloom Balloon, which I likened to the Plastic Ono Band to Poison Control Center's The Beatles, and Chad probably compared to "wet fart noises filtered through Chris Ford's trumpet." But I know he at least had an appreciation for "She Was the One That Got Away."

If this were our radio show, this is the point where Chad would start making silent jerk off motions, so let's just play the song.
- from Joe Lawler for this podcast
- Joe Lawler is the music writer for Cityview, Chad's old job, and the former music reporter for The Des Moines Register and Juice

"Your nervous breakdown doesn't deserve sound, but you want a soundtrack I got your back..."
- from the Gloom Balloon home page

"So what can you expect at a Gloom Balloon show? According to Fleming: grey hair, tight pants and two dudes that can drink a lot of cheap beer."
- from Abigail Thomas on the Little Village website

"...classic Gloom Balloon; bright and shiny, and fun and light, but full of a melancholy that is neither crushing nor even really all that tragic. Gloom Balloon deals in the melancholy of knowing that the 15-year-old version of yourself wouldn’t necessarily approve of how your life turned out but also knowing that the 15-year-old version of you is an idiot who had garbage opinions about almost everything. Plus, I love trumpets."
- from a Casey Erixon review on the DSMShows website

"Gloom Balloon is the Grand Canyon of the burgeoning Des Moines music scene."
- from another Casey Erixon piece on the DSMShows website

"Both performers can be entertaining, creative and engaging, but Gloom Balloon (officially just Fleming, joined on stage by Ford as a special guest) is something different. Both Ford and Fleming have always been part musician and part performance artist. The split’s usually around 60/40, which will vary on any given night. But Gloom Balloon crosses that line from 'I’m avant-garde' to 'you just paid to watch me mess around for half an hour.'"
- from Chad Taylor in Cityview

Pat Fleming
Christopher Ford

Home page:



Chad's review of Pat Fleming’s All Flugelhorn Review:

To download the podcast (right click and hit "Save as..."):


Ep 33 - Song 2: "I'm Giving Up on Rock & Roll" by Christopher the Conquered, plus Madison Ray on Chad Taylor

Chad taught me the importance of honest expression and believing in a standard. Be critical because you love something and want to see it improve!

I'd like to dedicate "I'm Giving Up on Rock and Roll" by Christopher the Conquered.
- from Madison Ray for this podcast
- Madison Ray is a local Des Moines, Iowa, musician

"Christopher the Conquered is the real deal."
- Ryan Adams on Twitter

"His winning charm is subtle and earnestness; if he has to sing a downbeat ballad rife with wary words straight from the heart, he’s going to do it. But if his piano solos are unconventional and his ponderous lyrics seem coy, it’s often downplayed into the decorous blend of instrumentation."
- from a Jeff Milo article on the Paste Magazine website

"Christopher has known what he wanted to do since growing up in an Iowa town of just 1,300. Without even an antenna for the family TV let alone cable, he became obsessed with music through listening to Motown and classic rock & roll with his parents and repeatedly watching Disney classics like The Lion King and The Jungle Book on repeat. He taught himself drums, trumpet, piano, and guitar, even auditing a college Jazz History class at just 12-years-old alongside his dad. He also found music via faith. Living in a devoutly religious home, he spent a lot of time in church.

“'Our church was full of music, and I even played for a while as part of a worship group there. The experience taught me the power of music to connect with people on an emotional level. That spiritual feeling is something that has stuck with me, and that I try to inject into my performances.'

"Throughout, Christopher architected a sound that’s both poetically ponderous and theatrically bombastic. Now, he’s officially sharing it."
- from the Christopher the Conquered home page

Christopher Ford - vocals, keyboards, piano
Drew Selim - drums
Dustin Harmsen - bass, guitars
Gary Topper - alto saxophone
Reba Russell - background vocals
Susan Marshall - background vocals

Engineered by Adam Hill
Produced by Patrick Tape Fleming at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN

Photo by Britt J Fowler
Home page:



Ep 33 - Song 3" "I, I, I" by Peace, Love, and Stuff, plus Lavonne McRoberts on Chad Taylor

photo by Cody Osen
I can always trust Chad to give his honest, unbiased opinion. He is a fantastic, objective writer who I am also proud to call my friend. I'd like to dedicate his favorite song by my former band, Peace, Love &Stuff: I,I,I. Thanks for everything Chad.
- from Lavonne McRoberts for this podcast<

"From a talent standpoint, it can be easy to envy Peace Love & Stuff. Bassist Jacob Doll and drummer Joe McGuire provide as solid a rhythm section as you’ll find in the capital city, and they’re backing two of the area’s most irrepressible talents in guitar magician Dylan Boyle and effervescent, eminently lovable front woman, Lavonne McRoberts. "The vintage rock four-piece provides one of the most entertaining local shows around, and it doesn’t do it through pyrotechnics, flashy costumes (though McRoberts’ style has its own group of fans) or lighting gimmicks. Instead, the group engages its audience through the power of old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll played really well."
_ from Chad Taylor in Cityview

"Peace Love and Stuff, the evening’s opening act, is a polished, high-energy act that’s a comfortable fit in a wide variety of lineups. Its sound is rockabilly infused and tight, with nary a weak link in the band. Timekeeper Joe McGuire and bassist Jacob Doll keep the low end hopping, while the band’s flash and sizzle is supplied by incomparable front woman Lavonne McRoberts and the sensational slide work of lead guitarist Dylan Boyle."
- from Chad Taylor in Cityview

"It can be hard to look at Peace Love and Stuff and see much besides singer Lavonne McRoberts. Not only because she looks the part — all vintage style with Kewpie doll looks — but because she’s loud, bombastic and bursting with energy on stage. She also has the good fortune of being backed by some really excellent musicians. Guitarist Dylan Boyle’s slide work was absolutely blistering, and the rockabilly rhythms churned out by bassist Jake Doll and drummer Joe McGuire were spot-on. “I, I, I” is my favorite track from the band..."
- from Chad Taylor in Cityview

Lavonne McRoberts - vocals
Dylan Boyle - guitars
Jacob Doll - bass
Joe McGuire - drums


Ep 33 - Song 4: "Make It Stop" (live at ARC) by The Envy Corps, plus Dave Murphy on Chad Taylor

I really like Des Moines Register/Juice and I think Joe Lawler does a great job. So, I don’t read Cityview in some sort of misguided attempt to avoid the mainstream and fight the corporate overlords; I just think Chad Taylor is a really good writer and seems to always have something interesting to say. Even if I disagree from time to time.
- from Dave Murphy on an Ames Tribune article

"The best part about any art is when you can see someone succeed with honesty and reckless abandon. Like, they don’t care what the world thinks and they’re just going to make the art they know they can make. The best writers are the ones who can be completely honest with themselves and their thoughts (which is something I struggle with on occasion), the best actors are the ones who can engulf themselves fully in the character they want to portray, and the best musicians are the ones who can say this is the sound I want to make and I will make it. The Envy Corps have clearly made something that is exactly what they wanted and how they wanted..."
- from Dave Murphy on the Des Moines Is Not Boring website

"'Envy Corps is Radiohead for Coldplay fans.' That’s how the band has referenced itself in T-shirt form. And curiously, whether you take that as a statement of self-congratulation or one of oblivious pretentiousness, it doesn’t make the sentence any less fitting.

"The Envy Corps has always taken a high-minded approach to its own music. That some of it has brushed up against mainstream success seems more incidental than outright planned, and that suits the members of the band just fine. After the band found a measure of notoriety thanks to the song 'Gnats' being featured on an episode of HBO’s 'Entourage,' it has undergone a minor rebellion of sorts with the release of 2011’s 'It Culls You,' which eschewed a large amount of the pop sentiment found in 2009’s 'Dwell' and replaced it with the above-mentioned Radiohead pastiche.

"'We’ve had a troubled relationship with pop music over the last few years,' said guitarist Brandon Darner. 'I think a lot of that comes from the feeling that that’s what people wanted from us.'

"The members of The Envy Corps have never seen themselves as momentum chasers, and the idea of releasing an album full of songs like 'Gnats,' just because it seems to be where the money is, has always kind of appalled them. At first blush, that seems like a contradiction for a band that’s gotten a paycheck from HBO, but Darner is quick to remind you that it was the mainstream that came calling on The Envy Corps, not the other way around."
- from Chad Taylor in Cityview

Luke Pettipoole - vocals, bass
Brandon Darner - guitar
Micah Natera - synthesizer, guitar
Scott Yoshimura - drums
Home page:



Ep 33 - Song 5: "King of the Devil's Highway" by The Other Brothers, plus Lorenz Inez on Chad Taylor (special extra: The Other Brothers' cover of Kanye West's "Golddigger")
Chad Taylor brought a much needed voice of criticism and controversy to Our Fair City. Maybe because he wasn't a musician, he was unafraid to say the Emperor has no clothes. Now to be fair, he was and is an enthusiastic supporter of "the scene" in general and his favorite artists--we were lucky to be one of those.

He was also responsible for our first recording: this "cover" of Kanye West's "gold digger".

Here's his favorite from the new album, King of the Devil's Highway...
- from Lorenz Inez for this podcast

"Clark has never been a patient person, a trait that shows on stage, giving Other Brothers shows a feeling of manic immediacy, a feeling that is reflected in “Live at Gas Lamp”...

"Clark is a songwriter who never lacks for material. Coming up with enough new songs to fill an album was the least of the band’s worries. Once the trio had the songs rehearsed and ready to go, Clark saw no reason to wait, even though the last album was only 3 months old.

“'I don’t know how most bands sit on material,' he admitted. 'I know some local musicians who sat on stuff for years. I couldn’t do that, dude; it would drive me nuts.'"
- from Chad Taylor in Cityview

Eli Clark - vocals, guitar
Larry Enos - bass
Jason Kadiwhompus - drums


Ep 33 - Song 6: "One Last Tear" (live) by Sara Routh, plus Sara Routh on Chad Taylor

You do not spend three weeks in a goddamn Prius with two other people and not learn a few things about them. I do not know what (Rae) Davis and (Sara) Routh learned about me. But in them, I witnessed two of the strongest, fiercest, most amazing individuals I've had the honor of meeting. I've seen them play their hearts out to a room that was 95% empty, just because that 5% deserved their best. I have seen them deal with the ache of missing their children and their loved ones and their family members. I've seen them battle fatigue, cold, pain and plenty of whiskey. I've watched Davis struggle with running a non-profit organization from 2,000 miles away. I've seen them both surrounded by some of their closest friends in the world for a few fleeting hours before getting back into the Prius and moving on.

What I have seen, is the best of two people.

But here is the difference between me and Davis and Routh: This is quite possibly the only time I will do this. After this trip is done, I will sit back down on my couch and continue to write from the comfort of my own home. Some of it will be good. Some of it will be sub par. None of it will appeal to everyone. But at the end of the day, I will close my computer up and turn on my TV. But Routh and Davis—and thousands of artists like them—will do this again, maybe even later this year. They have to. When the whole point of your passion is to share it with other people, you put yourself out there on the road over and over. It takes a conviction, a level of strength that not everyone has.

It's been said over and over in these posts, but it bears repeating again: these indie artists are not out here making money. They don't have the luxury of million dollar budgets, and they certainly don't have the benefit of blowing $40,000 on lodging and meals. They set out with nothing more than the cash in their pockets and the songs in their hearts, and often come back home with just the songs.
- from Chad Taylor in his Culture Myth blog

UPDATE 9-27-16

From Sara Routh's Facebook page...

This... a fine and true dedication to our sometimes controversial but always truthful friend Chad Taylor (the journalist who followed Rae Davis Fehring and me around on my west coast Black Sheep Tour)  If you missed any of his writings... be sure to check them out.  The link to his site, Culture Myth, is on this blog post... thanks Dan Wren for shining a light on our cheerleading brother.
- from

Ep 33 - Song 7: "High Octane" by The Nadas, plus Lou Sipolt, Jr, on Chad Taylor

Do you want to know where to find all the GREAT MUSIC in Des Moines...It was as easy as TURNING ON THE TV when Chad Taylor is on CW Iowa LIVE (formally GreatDay) Thursday Mornings...

He is PASSIONATE about Local Music, PLUGGED IN to what is going on around here...& A PRETTY COOL GUY, to boot!
- from Lou Sipolt, Jr, host of "CW Iowa Live" (formerly "Great Day"), and he dedicates this Nadas song to Chad

"In 2001, Playboy Magazine named The Nadas 'the best band you’ve never heard of.' Now, in 2014, The Nadas are officially 'the best 20-year-old band you’ve never heard of.'

'Twenty years. That’s a lot of time logged on the road, a lot of opening gigs for national touring acts, and a lot of time at the Iowa State Fair. And The Nadas have done it all as a completely independent band. Sure, they might not have the importance or gravitas of, say, Pavement, but to do what this band has done as well as it’s done it and for as long as it’s been happening is an impressive feat that combines talent, perseverance and old-fashioned hard work.

"And though the cast of characters performing under The Nadas banner has changed from time to time, the unifying factor has always been talent. The Nadas have consistently housed some of the best names in central Iowa music, from Tony Bohnenkamp to Jon Locker to Becca Smith, all of whom have left their specific imprint on the band’s sound.

“'We asked Becca to be in the band to bring that specific element to it,' said guitarist Jason Walsmith. 'We invited Tony to join the band to kind of bring in that rock sound. So we invite people in and allow their talent to dictate the direction (of the band).'

"That’s helped create a sound that’s remained distinctly theirs over the past two decades, but that has evolved enough that each album is a singular experience.

“'We always tell (new fans) to listen to the new stuff,' said vocalist Mike Butterworth. 'Because we’ve done it so long, we’ve always tried to change it up. And so we always go with the new album, because we want people to go along with us for that ride.'"
- from Cityview

Mike Butterworth - vocals, guitar
Jason Walsmith - vocals, guitar
Neil Stoffregen - keys
Brandon Stone - percussion
Brian Duffey - horns and bass

Home page:



Ep 33 - Extra: The Pants Off podcast episode with Chad Taylor

The Pants Off podcast is an interview podcast where Brian Campos chats with folks about arts and entertainment. It usually features musicians, most of which come from Iowa. In this episode, though, he interviews Chad.

"Chad Taylor is the 'Pop Culture Critic' and writer for Cityview Magazine, managing editor of Band Bombshell, and co-host of Critical Mass radio show on KFMG. A man of most media, Chad added podcast guest to his expanding resume' when he took time to come chat about a number of topics including: his Iowa roots, the unconventional way he became a career writer, the music scene, dumps, movies, likes and dislikes, and a shit load more. Chad's opinions have occasionally caused controversy and has caught the ire of more than a few people around Des Moines. We definitely talk on that. He names some names. And the answers he gives might surprise you. An absolute hoot."

Pants Off podcast on Facebook:

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