Simon Taylor: Finding the deep side of the music

Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2000

Monsters bass player: Simon Taylor is the bass player for the Juneau rock band Peabodys Monster. The group emphasizes its original music, and Taylor contributes to the compositions. He holds an undergraduate degree in music composition from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where he grew up.

Breaking the classical composition paradigms: As a student of music, his interest is in artists like Igor Stravinsky and John Cage, 20th century composers who tried to break the classical composition paradigms.

The whole point is not to try to create something the listener is (already) so familiar with, but to explore soundscapes. People listen to styles - blues, rock, country, metal, and those are all interesting in their own right. But whats interesting is finding where that music lives, what it expresses, what its feel is, how it makes the listener feel.

He said he and his bandmates in Peabodys Monster try to apply elements of that sensibility to their music-making.

With the band, theres a lot of emphasis on trying to find the music as opposed to nailing a particular style. Just playing blues or metal would not be that interesting to me. But with the band, theres a lot more exploration, he said.

He said songs are able to take musical expression one step further, combining sound with the intellectual content of words.

Bad bass: Taylor, 29, played trumpet for years in school bands and switched to bass 11 years ago. Bill Kozlowski, the guitarist for Peabodys Monster, got Taylor started on the bass when they were teen-agers.

One afternoon, when I was about 17 years old, Bill showed up at my house with a $70 bass. It was a pretty bad one, actually. He said I owed him $70 and I was going to play bass in a band with him, he said.

Custom Roadstar: Now Taylor plays an Ibanez Roadstar bass hes customized by switching out the stock neck and fretboard for a Fender Jazz-style fretless neck. He said its a bit more work to play fretless, but its fun, and he prefers the feel of the neck and the attack and sustain of the notes.

Stylistically, he prefers to play more melodic bass lines than is typical for a rock band bassist.

In addition to his work with the band, hes also collaborated with other songwriters and musicians. He recently played bass on Juneau singer-songwriter Sarah Hansons new CD, Breaking Strings.

Hes been in Juneau just over two years. He works as a database analyst and programmer for Resource Data Inc.

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