by Alex Smith Barbieri
– Senior Columnist —
At Home and on the Road
Royal Bliss of Salt Lake City, UT is a band you should know about and check out. To help you get to know them better, Hardrock Haven caught up with guitarist Taylor Richards at home while taking a brief break from the road. Read on as Taylor talks about life on tour, Spinal Tap moments, advice to young bands, and much more.
HRH: Taylor, thanks for taking time out to talk with me and the Hardrock Haven hoard around the world. For those not yet familiar with Royal Bliss, how would you describe your music and philosophy?
TR: That’s a tough question. But I’d like to say we are a rock ‘n roll band. A little hard and a little soft. A little heavy and a little light. I think we are a mixture of Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Shinedown, and maybe Muse. This new album Chasing the Sun has a lot of synthesizer and piano elements, with memorable lyrics and melodies, more so than any other record we’ve done. I think our philosophy is to write and record killer songs, play kick ass shows, and to have a good time while doing it.
HRH: Do you feel your new album, Chasing the Sun, is Royal Bliss’ best album yet, and why? What are some of your favorite tracks?
TR: Yes, I do think it’s our best album. We expanded our musical horizons on this record. One of my favorites is “Welcome,” it’s the first song on the album, and it’s basically a straight-forward rocker. We also wrote this song with Kevin Martin and Adam Kury from Candlebox. They’re good friends of ours and they came to jam one week during Christmas break and we just hung out, drank tequila, and jammed. Really cool experience for me and this is a song that came out of those jam sessions.
HRH: Chasing the Sun is your ninth album? Are you finding it harder or easier to write and record as times goes on and you have more material?
TR: Well, I’d kind of like to say this is our fourth official album—the four being After the Chaos II, Life In-Between, Waiting out the Storm, and Chasing the Sun. The first few albums of ours really were just band demos. We have come a long way as a band and as musicians. I would say it’s easier now, but also more serious. We definitely have found a niche as a band, but I always like to expand our sound and experiment with new ways to write, record, or play instruments. I think this album really shows our growth and improvement of all of that.
HRH: The last few years have been busy for Royal Bliss. What are some tour highlights and favorite memories that come to mind?
TR: You know our band has always been growing. We kind of said as long as we are progressing and growing, we ain’t stopping. But to keep it simple, in the last few years we have met some killer bands and done some amazing tours, including Bobaflex, Candlebox, and Papa Roach, just to name a few. But being amongst idols and having a mutual respect through music is just about the coolest thing I have ever been a part of.
HRH: Imagine you could assemble your dream band, with you playing guitar. Who else would be in the band, alive or dead?
TR: Oh geez … uh, how about myself on guitar, John Bonham on drums, Flea on bass, Billy Joel on piano, and Bob Marley on vocals. That was random!
HRH: Sounds like an awesome band!
HRH: What’s a typical day in the life of Taylor Richards like, both on tour, and at home?
TR: On tour: Wake up, grab some breakfast, load-in sound check, check email/work, try and grab some lunch or dinner before we play, play some rock ‘n roll, sign some autographs, hang out, head back to the bus to wind down, talk about the show, catch some SportsCenter, maybe get a little more work done and then off to bed. I wish every day was like that. But the good ones are, ha ha.
Ya know, at home I usually play catch up to reality and real life, try and sleep in, pay bills, workout, clean my house, do laundry, hang with my girlfriend and dog, go to see my friends and family, go to the Royal and get drunk with my friends who I haven’t seen in a while too, ha ha.
HRH: Everyone loves a good road story. What are some funny or crazy things that have happened on the road or at Royal Bliss shows? You don’t have to mention names. (Laughs.)
TR: This was pretty funny: we were playing this show and we couldn’t put our banner/backdrop up behind us, because they had a huge TV projection screen, they said we could just send them our logo and they would put it up on the projector. Now the projection screen is roughly 20 feet wide and 20 feet tall. And right before we go on stage, they hit the lights, throw our logo on the screen, we walk out and start rockin’ and when they put our logo up it was about 2 feet by 2 feet. So tiny! We all laughed and decided to leave it up anyways. Spinal Tap moment. Stonehenge!
HRH: Ha ha – Stonehenge! That’s awesome.
What is the best and worst aspect of your current touring situation?
TR: The best is the shows are getting better and better! This year we have played 16 shows, and 13 have been sold out!
The worst is just plain missing my girlfriend, my family, friends and my dog.
HRH: You have very eclectic musical tastes, from Frank Zappa to Frank Sinatra. What newer bands and artists are you into? Anyone we should know about and check out?
TR: Ya know, I have always liked a wide variety of bands because I am a musician. I don’t dislike much music. But, lately I’ve been listening to the new Bobaflex, Muse, Macklemore, Lorde, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, and Avenged Sevenfold. Go check out your buddy’s local band, support them. You never know who’s gonna be the next big thing. But they all gotta start somewhere.
HRH: What music business advice do you have for new/younger bands?
TR: Write songs, record them, YouTube them, play shows, jam with other people, get some experience, and have a good lawyer.
HRH: Where are you currently on the road, and any upcoming shows you want to promote?
TR: I’m actually home for a few days right now. We have a show at The Royal this Friday March 14. The Royal Bar is a venue in Salt Lake City, Utah that Neal and I have invested in and we love playing there. Then, Phoenix, AZ for a pretty cool festival with Train, All American Rejects, Buckcherry, Fuel and more. The we are playing St Patrick’s Day up in Idaho Fall, ID at The Peppertree. Go to www.royalbliss.com/tour for upcoming tours and such.
HRH: Is there anything else you want to say to your fans, and Hardrock Haven readers around the world?
TR: Go check out Chasing the Sun—it should be available everywhere. Support your fellow musicians, your local record stores and I hope to see you out on the road at a show, come say hi!
HRH: Taylor, thank you again for your time. Taylor is also my son’s name, by the way. Cheers and please stay in touch!
TR: Thanks for the opportunity. Your son has the greatest name of all time. And cheers to you, sir.
Order Royal Bliss Chasing the Sun on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-The-Sun-Royal-Bliss/dp/B00ICUSTUS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394917735&sr=8-1&keywords=royal+bliss+chasing+the+sun
Visit the official Royal Bliss website. http://www.royalbliss.com/index
Friend Royal Bliss on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/royalbliss
Read Chasing the Sun CD review here.