This month sees SkidMark.org's third interview with John Taglieri ,AKA 'Leapdogmus' since he joined the SkidMark crew back in 2001 - it's been a long five years since the last one and John's career has gone BALLISTIC in that time... SkidMcSkidder managed to pin the man down on one of his few days off to find out what's been cookin' over the past half decade since they talked last...
SkidMcSkidder: Hey JT! Great talk to you again - it's been a long five years since our last interview and you've been a busy dude since then! You've turned professional and gone full time as a musician, you've formed a new band (TAG) which you run alongside your solo performances & you've got married!! Life must be pretty hectic nowadays?!
Leapdogmus: Its VERY hectic! LOL. But I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything!
SkidMcSkidder: Well, let's work through some of the highlights of the past few years starting at the beginning - At what point did you say to yourself "now's the time to turn fulltime musician"?
Leapdogmus: 2005...Well, late 2004. I was always in the hunt for being full time, but I really figured it out at that point. So I put a plan together, got all the pieces in place and on March 10th, 2005, I walked out of my last job and went full time as a musician.
SkidMcSkidder: Cool - any regrets so far?
Leapdogmus: NOT AT ALL... Life has been truly amazing since then and just keeps getting better and better I've attained every goal I've set and keep growing more and more each year. I've truly figured out how to sustain a career at the moment and now It's just working hard to keep it going and growing.
SkidMcSkidder: I was going to say, It must be hard work - from following your career via Facebook and other internet channels, I've seen you, for at least the past year, touring extensively up and down the East coast of America - that's some serious travelling bruv!
Leapdogmus: LoL. Thanks. Yeah, I've been driving a LOT. Can’t complain though as I'm lucky right now to be as busy as I am. So I do what I have to do, I travel all I can and I go after every opportunity that comes my way. I've been driving about 4000 miles a month currently, and then some months, even more travel with flying and such.
SkidMcSkidder: Wow! That's some heavy milage!! I've seen also you've done a few stints akin to 'residency' at a bar in Florida - what was that like?
Leapdogmus: Not really a residency. Just that there was one chain of bars that was booking me a lot for a few months. Was a great time. Can’t go wrong going to the beach to play music! I sort of have the same thing going on now In Delaware at these two clubs... Conch Island in Rehoboth Beach & Nalu in Dewey Beach... have me booked a lot and Conch Island has me every Wednesday ‘til October 1st. Truly awesome venues and great people to work with.
SkidMcSkidder: From the photos you post on Facebook regularly from the gigs, it looks like you have some CRAZY nights! But I'm intrigued... Jagermeister - what does it taste like and how do you end up being sponsored by a German spirits manufacturer?!
What does it taste like!?! You mean you've never had some?! I'm ashamed
of you man! LoL... it's awesome. Flavour is good, and I love working with
Jager! Been under contract with them for 5 years now and can’t tell
you how wonderful they are to work with. It's a very symbiotic relationship
promo-wise and they treat their bands really well.
Leapdogmus: So I signed and they take great care of me with swag, and lots of promotional materials to hand out at my shows. Really makes a difference. When you start handing out free shirts and such, it gets the crowd focused on the stage and then I can pull them into the show even easier.
SkidMcSkidder: Nice... And where did the Jager supersoaker & ski first make an appearance??!!
Leapdogmus: Hmmm... The ski I've had for a year or so now... Forget where I first used it, but i think it was somewhere in Maryland. The Super Soaker started at Conch Island in Delaware. It's an awesome tool for messing with the crowd!
Leapdogmus: The band also has a toilet paper gun that we are starting to use and some other toys... It's a fun show.
SkidMcSkidder: Messing with the crowd? More like messing the crowd up!! I bet they get absolutely shitfaced! Hahaha
Leapdogmus: It's been known to happen! LOL... We sell a LOT of Jager at my shows...
SkidMcSkidder: on the subject of sponsorship - You've been been sponsored by Ovation guitars for long as I can remember - how'd that come about & how's that relationship going?
Leapdogmus: I've been playing Ovation guitars since I was a kid. When i put my first CD out in 2000, I contacted them about the tour I'd just booked, the CD release and working together. They were all for it and I signed a long term contract with them. It's been 11 years now and I still LOVE their guitars... Just bought another in fact... My main touring guitar has been with me since January of '01 and she still sounds AWESOME...
Leapdogmus: I own 5 Ovations at the moment and plan on getting some more.
SkidMcSkidder: And you've quite an eclectic collection of guitars nowadays from what I've seen online - what would be the two guitars you could not live without (Electric & Acoustic)?
Leapdogmus: Yeah, I own about 16 guitars at the moment... Some newer, but a lot of vintage ones. My two that I couldn’t live without would be my 2001 Ovation Elite Acoustic and my 1974 Les Paul Custom... LOVE LOVE LOVE them both. But I like a lot of my guitars for all different reasons.
SkidMcSkidder: I hear ya - my wifey doesn't understand why I've more than one too - in her words “a guitars a guitar...” 8-0
Leapdogmus: Ask her why she has so many clothes... LoL
SkidMcSkidder: Talking about wifey's... You got married since the last time I interviewed you! How's Mrs Taglieri doing?
Leapdogmus: She's doing wonderful! We just moved into a new house and things have been awesome.
SkidMcSkidder: Ha! I was going to talk about the move in a mo! But first - how does Laureen handle being a 'musicians wife' i.e. you're on the road a lot - does she travel with you much?
Leapdogmus: She handles it great. It's been like this since we've met and she's seen the growth and the successes as they've come, so she understands it all and is incredibly patient with it all.
Leapdogmus: We joke that we are on a perpetual 'first date' - always exciting to see each other, always miss each other, always looking forward to seeing each other... It's like when you first start dating, but it's never gotten old…
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds great - they say that 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' and I guess you don't get time to take each other for granted... respect!
Leapdogmus: Exactly. It never has a chance to get old
SkidMcSkidder: And whilst on the subject of 'new'... the move - You've moved to Michigan from your native New Jersey how's that suiting you?
Leapdogmus: LOL...NO NO..
Leapdogmus: I moved from NJ to Massachusetts...
SkidMcSkidder: HAHAHA!! That's my grasp of American state abbreviations!!!
SkidMcSkidder: What a dumbass!!! So where is MA in relation to NJ?
Leapdogmus: Northeast...about 4 hours North of NJ
SkidMcSkidder: A fair drive then!
Leapdogmus: Yeah...not horrible. I do enough driving to be used to it anyway! LOL.
SkidMcSkidder: You designed the house from the basement up to include a recording studio and office space for your indie label, Leap Dog music - how's that working out?
Leapdogmus: Working out well. Still in the process of being set up as far as both go... But when they are done, it's going to be an awesome place for my business.
SkidMcSkidder: Sweet - sounds almost Utopian!
Leapdogmus: Mman, the house is awesome. Our bathroom is killer. Truly a spa environment. Really a great place to get home to.
SkidMcSkidder: Oh! While I remember... Over the last few years I've seen you post on Facebook about the 'Rock Boat'- what's that all about?
Leapdogmus: The Rock Boat is a floating music festival. Hosted by Sister Hazel, about 25 bands get on board, about 2500 fans and then it's four days of concerts, hanging out, and partying.
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds awesome!
Leapdogmus: It is. It's been going for 11 years now and it's a great time. The company that runs it, Sixthman, are great people and host a number of different cruises.
SkidMcSkidder: Fair play John, you really are livin' the dream when it comes to the gigging! It's like I was reading you recently entertained the troops at some European naval bases - how'd you get that gig & where did you go?
was amazing. I got to go overseas and entertain our troops...
Leapdogmus: I've done a bunch of stateside shows for the military over the last few years and it's always an honour... Was truly amazing to go overseas where they don’t get a lot of stateside entertainment and bring them a little piece of home.
Leapdogmus: Some of the most appreciative audiences I've ever played for too...
SkidMcSkidder: That's great - what would be truely fantastic would be for the "Taglieri world tour bus" to stop off for some gigs in the UK - it's about time you got your ass over here and rocked us Brits!!
Leapdogmus: I would LOVE to. We have to make that happen somehow. Maybe you can be my booking agent there and find me a weeks worth of dates!
SkidMcSkidder: Haha! Stranger things have happened!! Would be brilliant to finally hook up together in the flesh after over a decade of communicating over the net!
Leapdogmus: I agree my friend.
SkidMcSkidder: 8-) Okay, so far we've talked about John Taglieri the solo artist, but last year you formed a new band TAG. It's gone through a few line up changes in that time - how's the current crew working out?
Leapdogmus: So far, so GREAT.
Leapdogmus: the new line up is pretty bad ass. Made up of some seriously great players, and wonderful people.
SkidMcSkidder: Tag (the band) released their debut album "Foreward" in November last year to some rave reviews from the likes of webcast radio show www.bumpskey.com - And I agree it's got some great tracks on it - any plans for a follow album anytime soon?
Leapdogmus: The new CD is going to be very modern rock...I'm excited to really bring it out. The first few tracks are written and are great songs...
SkidMcSkidder: have you got a projected release date for the new album?
Leapdogmus: No...I don’t want to do that. but I'll say Spring of next year
SkidMcSkidder: Cool... has it a title yet? Or am I asking you to give too much away? 8-)
Leapdogmus: No title - that usually depends on the songs
Leapdogmus: My studio being down at the moment is slowing me down. I was usually good for two releases a year of EP's or one a year of a full length, but without my studio, it's a little different
SkidMcSkidder: Right - yes, you were pretty prolific on the writing / recording scene in latter years - I gotta admit I missed out on the "Lives" series due to taking a forced sabbatical from SkidMark - they were themed albums right?
Leapdogmus: Yes. Lot’s about that project, but that’s another conversation... LoL Great thought, bad people involved...screwed the whole thing up. We actually wound up re-using a lot of the songs from that project on the first TAG CD...
Leapdogmus: : I wanted them to have a better shot at life and they got one. We've moved a good amount of CDs for TAG vs what LIVES did.
SkidMcSkidder: So that turned out okay in the end then!
the recording front, the main focus at present is to get the studio back
up and running right?
Leapdogmus: I want to get it set up so I have a place to go and lock the door where theres no phone, no internet and I can just disappear into the studio and make great music...
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds perfect! Out of interest - what software do you use? Sonar? Cubase? Or do you have a hardware-based studio?
Leapdogmus: I have a Sonar 8.0 Producer set up. I'm using a PC that’s loaded, and runs like a dream. Dual 19" screens, a ton of plugin's, Roland V'Drums, and various outboard gear. In the new studio, I'll eventually have live drums and a few more amps.
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds a sweet set up - I'm still getting me head around Sonar (and I'm only using a single 17" screen! One day...!!). So you play drums as well John?
Leapdogmus: Sonar is SO easy to learn. Just keep working with it and you'll get used to it pretty quick.
SkidMcSkidder: I got the hang of basic recording pretty quick but there's just SO many FX and things you can tweak that I don't ever actually get around to recording anymore!
Leapdogmus: I play guitar, drums, bass, piano, keys, percussion and a few others. On all the early John Taglieri CD, all the music and voices you heard was me.
SkidMcSkidder: What? you played everything on “Leap of Faith”??
Leapdogmus: Yes...except Piano on one track.. I've played just about everything on almost all the JT CDs, though in recent years, I've been having a lot of fun having some amazingly talented friends jumping on for some tracks as well.
SkidMcSkidder: Respect! - Not just a pretty face then..! hahaha
Leapdogmus: HA... not sure on the pretty face part.
SkidMcSkidder: Nor me - but I wasn’t going to say that as I want to finish the interview!! Hahaha
SkidMcSkidder: One thing we haven't talked about is your web site - http://www.JohnTaglieri.com
SkidMcSkidder: it got a serious make over recently and is totally pro looking now - it even has it's onsite social networking for fans set up! Who's brainchild was that?
Leapdogmus: That’s my awesome web designer Lisa at Infused Web Design....she ROCKS!
Leapdogmus: She’s not only created a GREAT site for me, but all of my pages... Facebook, MySpace, Twitter...all cohesive. They are all blended together visually so that when someone goes from one to another, they have the same feeling and don’t feel like they've left the John Taglieri world... LoL.
SkidMcSkidder: No I agree there is a nice, seamless transition from one to the other almost like corporate branding... Are there any 'special' areas on the site that are 'must see' sections for new John Taglieri fans?
Leapdogmus: Well, I dont know about ‘Must See...’ but I post regularly on the site in the notes section and we keep the site very updated as far as news. Nice thing is that all the sites are tied together for updates. If I twitter, it updates my website, Facebook and Myspace. And that goes for them all. Anywhere I post, updates the rest.. even if it's from my phone. So it's cool. I'm a big Facebook junkie and you can always find me on there...
SkidMcSkidder: I had noticed! LoL
dude, I'm running pretty dry now - anything you wanna discuss?
SkidMcSkidder: Don't forget: http://www.skidmark.org/Artists/John_Taglieri.htm
SkidMcSkidder: Well Johnny Boy, it's been an absolute pleasure as always (still can't believe it’s over 9 years since our first interview!) - good luck with all your projects & the house - hope the last six months of the year are as jammed packed full of successes as the first six!
Leapdogmus: Me too... though, I could use more sleep!
SkidMcSkidder: yeah, we ain't getting any younger!
Leapdogmus: Speak for yourself!
Leapdogmus: Thanks for doing this brutha.. Stay in touch man!
do! Take it easy bruv & catcha soon…
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Virtual Interview conducted using AOL Messenger™ 11-05-2011
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