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"You’re going to hear the music done in a way that a lot of Queen fans would want to hear it done" - Ty Taylor
 

Ty Taylor Interview



Debbie Seagle (for Rocknworld):  I’m with Ty Taylor.  Ty plays Britney Spears in the new smash rock opera We Will Rock You.  Ty, you have quite an interesting background on Broadway.  You sing, you dance, you write and produce music.

TT:  Yeah.

DS:  Do you sew your own costumes too?  I mean you are pretty much a full service guy.

TT:  The producing and the writing is rock music, not Broadway.  Do I sew my own costumes?  I paint t-shirts. 

DS:  Tell me a little bit about the show for our readers who don’t have any idea what they are getting into. 

TT:  Well, let me see.  It takes place in the future and it takes place in a future that, according to the way things are going now, it could be pretty dismal.  There’s no more live rock music and it’s only a lot of computer generated pop music.  Not that there’s not a place for that, but then you know, what would the world be like without rock and roll?  (laughs)  And so it’s the future and there are a group of Bohemians headed by myself, and two new members of the Bohemians, which are Galileo and Scaramouche.  They’re on a quest to bring back rock and roll to the world.  Through their journey they figure out the importance of rock, not only just as a music base, but also how good it is for your spirit.  You know, what would love be like without rock and roll?  All these things that people don’t even think about.  So it’s just their journey from going from a world that has no rock and roll to being the people who bring back rock and roll and making the world a better place again.

DS:  Right on.  Is there a message in this story?  What’s the major message people should take away from this?

TT:  Well I think everyone can take away a different message if they want, but for me the major message is that no matter what we do in this world that’s becoming so convenient through computers and everything else; you can’t forget what the basis of life is about.  Life is about a primitive, raw spirituality and computers have nothing to do with that.  So that’s what the message is about.

DS:  Well rock music is THE international language.

TT:  Exactly, not only a universal language, but universal emotion, everything.

DS:  What would you say to hard core Queen fans that want to know if this is something that does the band and Freddie’s memory justice?  You know, the real hard core fans.

TT:  Well first of all, a lot of people that see the show think that we’re singing the show to tracks, to old Queen tracks, because the band is so slamming and so . . . I mean, everyone is hand picked for the show.  The guitar player Paul Crook is destined to be a legend in his own right. 

DS:  I just talked with him this morning!

TT:  He uses all of Brian May’s tone set up, so his entire guitar rig is set up like Brian’s guitar rig.  So you’re going to get the same kind of sound – different player of course.

DS:  He does nail it.

TT:  Yeah he does nail it and the songs are just slamming.  You know there are a lot of rock singers in the show so it’s not only theatre performers.  It’s a combination of theatre performers and rock musicians so you’re going to hear the music done in a way that a lot of Queen fans would want to hear it done.  Its louder, the production itself is louder than most theatre productions because that’s how Brian and Roger wanted it.  You know, to feel a little more like a rock concert.  Looking at the faces of people as they leave it’s, you know, satisfaction guaranteed.

DS:  So Freddie’s smiling down on all of this?

TT:  I hope so.

DS:  Tell me a little bit about the dynamics of the cast.  How does everyone get along?  How do you house all that energy in any one place for any one length of time?  One thing I’ve noticed is that the cast is very high energy – especially you.

TT:  Right.

DS:  I mean you’re wired.

TT:  I know.  Good drugs, good drugs.  I’ve got the best dealer (laughs).  Well first of all because there’s so much energy and because we are all in such a confined space that’s why it reeks of explosion when you see the show, because everyone has so much energy inside of them just wanting to . . .

DS:  Get the lead out?

TT:  Yeah, and you know contrary to popular belief, theatre performers grow up listening to a lot of rock and roll music and so for a lot of people in the cast that aren’t even rock and roll performers, to them its like the first time in their life they’re getting to have this kind of energy be exuded through the music coming from behind them and out to the audience.  So it’s like a rage every night.  You don’t, well we try not to contain it at all, we just plain spew it like anyone would do if they had Queen music behind them and thousands of people in front of them. 

DS:  So that’s kind of the difference between you doing a play on Broadway and having an orchestra in front of you and this where you have the music in back of you.

TT:  And the sound is rushing right through you.

DS:  Any other differences?  The loudness of this production?

TT:  It’s not necessarily the loudness.  Again, going back, I think it’s just a rawness.  I think the fact that we’re doing rock and roll music every night makes everyone walk around like rock stars.

DS:  That’s a pretty nice place to be, isn’t it?

TT:  Yeah and the cast get a long so well.  We play just as hard as we work so there’s always inside jokes going around because we have so much to draw from.  Its great and there are a couple of people in the show that have this joke about . . . like they have every Queen record, every poster, whatever, so its odd for them because they’re like the “fan that got in.” 

DS:  Like look what I’ve gotten away with!

TT:  Exactly. 

DS:  What’s your favorite part in the show?

TT:  Besides mine?  Just joking!

DS:  Well, who’s your favorite character besides you?

TT:  Besides me? 

DS:  It has to be besides you.  Because we all have you as our favorite character, it’s a given – a given.

TT:  Let me see . . . okay, so my favorite part in the show besides anything I’m in . . . probably, regardless of the lack of spectacle it has in it, my favorite part is "Bohemian Rhapsody".  Because I can so clearly remember the video when it first came out.  And I just remember the stillness of it and all that music was happening and all you saw were the faces in the light.

DS:  I know, beautiful huh?

TT:  Yeah, it’s like a yin and yang thing.  Like you heard all this stuff going on but what you saw was so simple and I’m definitely kind of a person who likes things that are specific rather than have a lot of things going on.  So for me, my favorite part is "Bohemian Rhapsody".

DS:  It’s the climax for the fans too.

TT:  And who ever thinks you’re going to get to sing it, you know what I mean?  Like who ever thinks they’re going to get to do "Bohemian Rhapsody"?  That’s kind of like a dream come true to do that.  And my favorite character besides me in the show . . . is um . . . I’ll say Oz, my girlfriend in the show – Carly Thomas.  Just because in that way, I’m sweeter. 

DS:  So in case she reads this interview she’ll be like “Oh . . .”

TT:  Yeah my kisses will be longer, the hugs will be a little longer.  Carly, she is amazing, she really is.

DS:  Yeah, she’s dynamite.  As far as the songs go, you’ve got the part of Freddie.  You’ve got the music up there going and you’ve got Freddie’s part.  What does that feel like?  Is that like an awesome responsibility? 

TT:  It is an awesome responsibility.  Its funny, I was watching the VH1, you know, countdown of the best voices of all time and just mad about who they were picking and then of course, luckily they got to number two or three and it was Freddie Mercury, you know?

DS:  Well, three and a half octaves isn’t chopped liver.

TT:  I know and it was just a huge relief that they recognized him because some people just forget about rock singers when they are talking about the best voices of all time.  They want to go to Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, that kind of stuff.  And so, just all that being said, of course it’s a huge responsibility.  And for me, I remember being seven or eight or however old I was when "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" came out and I remember singing that song every day with a brush in front of the mirror.

DS:  Who didn’t?

TT:  Right, but its odd that 20 years later I get to sing it on stage with a band and its just crazy.  It’s a little surreal actually.  But at the same time, you’re just exited and you have to represent.  You can’t not do your all in order to make sure that his songs and Queen’s songs are represented to their fullest.

DS:  Is there a better gig than this?

TT:  Na, well maybe.  But this is way up there.  This is way up there.

DS:  Tell me a little bit about the songs you write, your band, your thing.

TT:  Kind of like, they’re definitely rock songs but it’s a little more rather than classic rock, its kind of like a fusion.  Like the current Sting music, you can hear all his rock base, but like Annie Lennox, you know she’s a rock base performer but the musicality is sometimes a little more . . . not sophisticated in a sense of complicated, but its sophisticated in a sense of not as traditional rock structure.  Like Seal’s music is rock based but its got . . .

DS:  A little more groove to it? 

TT:  Yeah, a little more groove to it.  As much as I love singing rock music, being black, I’ve got a lot of rhythm in my base, so I like to incorporate a lot of groove to the rock music.  I kind of make a fusion of it.

DS:  Well I can’t wait to see you again tonight, especially with Brian actually performing.  It should be a night to remember!  - Learn more about Ty at TyTaylor.net
 

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