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Monday, January 26, 2009

Taylor Hicks, the Return of The Dead

Taylor Hicks is sometimes referred to by those critics trying to be clever, as the Idol that shouldn't have won. Now while his ardent fans may differ with this, he is at a point in trying to make a comeback of sorts. Granted his brush with fame has been limited to his cult like following and the win off that reality show, but he was pretty much a household name for at least a short while in 2006. Mr. Hicks has a dream to be more than that 2006 reality show winner.

Taylor Hicks, hasn't been granted much in the way of respect as a viable musician in today's music scene. Writers when talking about Idol past and present, often refer to him as an after thought or joke. This in comparison to Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry or Carrie Underwood, never comparisons to musicians outside the Idol franchise. While his post-Idol CD nabbed him 'platinum selling' status, Hicks did not impress the majority of music critics. Much of the negativity following Hicks was the post-Idol CD itself. For many fans of whom he captured attention of, from his time on the show, that record was not exactly what they expected, myself included. I'm not saying it was bad, just not what I expected.

Hicks has some new tunes coming out soon on his album, "The Distance". What is striking about this new body of work is the caliber of support that Taylor Hicks has somehow amassed to aid in the success of this album. He has famed producer Simon Climie as a consultant and a back up of musicians who have worked with Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton. If Hicks can't wring some positive praise and accolades out of this new album, I just don't see it ever coming for him. I do retain high hopes.

From reports I've recently read, Hicks not alone in his quest for that one more chance grab at the brass ring. Several other artists who had, in the past far surpassed anything Taylor's done to date, are trying to step it up and do it again. This next year we should see Eminem, No Doubt and Natalie Imbruglia returning with new music. One of the most exciting, for me, The Grateful Dead.I never thought I'd see the Dead return after the death of beloved Jerry Garcia. They have modified their name to just The Dead but are getting back on the road for a 20 gig tour. I guess I'll be dragging out my tie-dyed Dead shirts: Long live The Dead, RIP Jerry Garcia.

Exciting news reverberates around the band's line up - we'll see original Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, but they'll be joined by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and - here's an exciting part- Allman Brothers Band/Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes! Oh yeah baby! All venues will be indoor arenas except the one near San Francisco. Be still my heart - they'll be performing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, May 10!

One thing that The Grateful Dead was known for - okay there were many things - they were a band that toured relentlessly and encouraged their fans, the "Dead Heads", to tape and share their exploratory and always jamming free-flowing concerts. This was a Grammy-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band - yet even from the beginning - were never a media squelching group. They understood the value of letting the fans celebrate them, share experiences. On tour, in concert, the band allowed and encouraged fans to record, to film and to then share live bootlegs of their concerts.

The Grateful Dead formed in San Francisco's electric Haight-Ashbury neighborhood (how I love that area) in the mid-'60s. The Dead's sound a combination of bluegrass, country, electric rock and jazz. They never gave their sound a name or a brand, they just went with it. How The Grateful Dead managed to create one of the most iconic repertoires in rock music was through continuous touring, never relying on radio hits or latest trends, never penning tunes with a goal to enter into the mainstream.

I point out the Grateful Dead's history to show some of the Taylor Hicks' fans who are fighting about whether to film, to record him on tour that there are two sides to each coin. Of course, with word from Hicks to the fans, he does not want filming or recording of his live concerts, that says how he feels about having his show out on view for those not ticket-paying fans. Many times I have read Mr. Hicks say how he'd like a fan mass like the Parrot Heads. This will never happen with the socio-environment currently established within Hicks' inner circle, nor the often times combative on-line fans who like to think in antiquated terms such as 'hierarchy' and 'proper ways to conduct oneself in his name' (yeah, send me a telegram) in the fan base.

The 'secrecy' with which much of Hicks' music and activities are currently handled could very well work to the opposite of what the man claims he wants as fans and career. He's said he wants a following like the Parrot Heads, like the Dead Heads, but he doesn't handle his fans the way say, Jimmy Buffet nor Bob Weir handle their fans. Too, I'm struggling with what kind of fans Mr. Hicks really wants. Is he really in it for the music, or does he prefer more of a "Tom Jones" type fan base? On this album coming out he works with different musicians than he has in the past. Since this album's creation he's not been really talking about his 'band' or if he has a regular 'band'. Sure there are guys he plays with more than others, but are they actually The Taylor Hicks Band? If so why were they not on the album? Is he just in it for himself, for what he, as Taylor Hicks, can gain from fame or is he wanting to really make a statement in music?

Taylor Hicks' said to a fan, after a show recently, "I know what the fans want before they know themselves." But does he? Importantly does he really know what he wants for himself?

"The Wheel/(at 2:19)Touch of Grey" The Dead, Obama Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball, January 20, 2009 One thing, Obama has great taste in music.

Grateful Dead perform Uncle John's Band as the encore for the famed Halloween show at Radio City Music Hall in NY, NY. 10-31-80

To catch The Dead: 2009 ARENA TOUR DATES

Sun 4/12 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
Tue 4/14 Washington, DC Verizon Center
Wed 4/15 Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena
Fri 4/17 Albany, NY Times Union Center
Sat 4/18 Worcester, MA DCU Center
Sun 4/19 Worcester, MA DCU Center
Tue 4/21 Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena
Wed 4/22 Wilkes-Barre, PA Wachovia Arena @ Casey Plaza
Fri 4/24 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
Sat 4/25 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
Sun 4/26 Hartford, CT XL Center
Tue 4/28 E. Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
Wed 4/29 E. Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
Fri 5/1 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum
Sat 5/2 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum
Tue 5/5 Chicago, IL All State Arena
Thu 5/7 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
Sat 5/9 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
Sun 5/10 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheater


  1. jerseyirish7:24 PM

    Sunny, Just my opinion I think the difference this time out Taylor doesn't want recordings/videos/cellcerts because this is unreleased music and he wants folks to hear it as he presented it either at one of these shadow dates or when the CD comes out. Back during the 2007 tour the music had been released didn't matter if the quality wasn't good folks had the real deal. I think once it is released he will lift the ban because folks will have the CD by then. I could be wrong just my thought on it.

    I see the Grateful Dead will be in Pa not far from me will have to tell the old boy, I'm sure he will want to go. The other night him and my son had a love fest in the den playing along with Pink Flyod and Grateful Dead, hubby on the guitar and son on his bass, they played/ listened for about two hours.

    Tiedyed shirts I have to have one of the uguliest Grateful Dead ones going that I have saved. Pulled it out a couple of years ago for my daughter they were having a 60's night at school. Gave her my hippie fringed boots and suede long fringed vest to wear that night. She made quite a fashion statement that night!!!


  2. Anonymous7:39 PM

    If Taylor Hicks stops fans from videos and photos, he should go back to the Florbama cause he wont have anymore fans.

  3. Anonymous2:09 AM

    Everyone seems to know just exactly what Taylor should be doing to achieve success. Everyone seems to have something to criticize. Sometimes I think he is the most maligned celebrity ever. People post on blogs, people who don't know Taylor from Adam, yet they seem to know what he 'means', what he's trying say, what he wants. Does anyone have any faith that maybe the man has a method to his madness? That perhaps he knows things we don't about his choices, that he may have a different career path than the one we would like to foist on him? Taylor seems to be a very intelligent man. I say 'Keep the Faith'. It's his career. All we can do is support him. If you can't, then maybe you should just let him get on with it. This is simply meant as my opinion. I'm not a hater, or anything like that. I read your blog daily, and mostly enjoy it. I just wonder what Taylor feels when there seems to be so much second guessing of his decisions.

  4. Anonymous at 2:09, rather than respond to you just in this box, I'll dedicate a blog post just for you. I appreciate you reading me daily, I have hundreds of folks who do, few post though, with exception of JI. I have no idea why that is, perhaps my loooong posts leave them tired. LOL

    It is encouraging the number of people interested in Taylor Hicks and his music, his career. (I get a lot of seekers looking for Jason Castro information too. ha.)

    Anyway, I'll put up a post on your input and my thoughts. Thanks.

  5. Anonymous10:20 AM

    Sunny, Taylor has yet to prove himself as a serious musician. How in the world can anybody who shouts out "Soul Patrol" be taken seriously (other than his fans, of course, but that's a whole other discussion)? Taylor wants fame. If he was serious about music, he would have never done Grease. Hey, if he finds his niche and comes up with music that truly touches me, I will be the first to say, "you knocked it out of the ball park", but until then, thumbs down for me.

  6. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Hey, It's ok Anonymous if you don't like Taylor's music, but to say he isn't a serious musician it just wrong. The poor guy paid his dues ten years of begging for gigs and listening to his family urging him to get a real job. So what if he calls out to his fan base. I don't think anyone would say Elton John was not a serious musician yet look at the crazy things he did on stage and his outfits were more out there than Taylor's sparkly suit. LOL. Now before someone jumps on me I'm not saying he's another Elton John but some very respected musicians think Taylor has the chops and that is good enough for me. He is at a very crucial time in his career trying to take it to the next level. I wish him all the luck. Does he stumble at times? Maybe but I don't know enough about the business to judge. Will he ban videos forever? I really doubt it I think it's just until the new CD comes out. Sometimes I think he just enjoys letting the fan base get the panties in a bunch and then he steps in and explains things. LOL. JMO. Don't know if it's true. LOL


  7. Hahaha! Dee you may be right about those panties. Good one!

  8. Sunny, I'm curious. You said that Tay wants his fans to be like the Parrot heads but he doesn't treat them the way Jimmy Buffet does. How does Jimmy treat them? What's different?

  9. Hi Lubiana, that's a lengthy topic. You'd have had to be a fan of Buffet's a while to get all of the differences.

    Short version, Buffet is up front. He spells out what's coming up, no BS. His websites are free, up to date, music and concert footage to watch on the free site. He's always been this way. He doesn't try to play it sly with interviews or press. Of course, folks will argue, he's been around a long time. True. My answer would be ... so?

    It's a matter of style. Hicks prefers to play man of mystery. That's him, likely how he likes to play it and will always do so. Just my observation. Not intended to be a slam, but he lead the observation with his statement.

    Thanks for coming by.

  10. Thanks for answering my question. :)

  11. Anonymous9:23 AM

    I don't care about anybody paying their dues. Fact of the matter is we all pay our dues. But, in Taylor's case he was given something on a silver platter and didn't do anything with it. Those are the facts!