RICKY TAYLOR + ARTIST RELATIONS
There are few people in my life that I still keep in touch with from high school, Ricky is one of them. Before we met our sophomore year in architecture 101, he was already a talented guitar player and song writer. I was the pretty much opposite. I played sports, ran track, cared about my grades, yada yada yada. One evening around dusk when I was sixteen I got in a horrible accident on my bicycle that left me in the hospital. Three surgeries, a metal rod, titian plate, four phillips head screws, and many many months later, my arm was just about fully recovered. Life changed for me; that down time allowed me a moment to think about and figure out what I really want. To play music. To be in music. To tour. To record. To live life out of a fifteen pass van and trailer. I decided to take up the drums. Bought an early 1970s Pearl kit, and took some lessons, and a few months down the road ended up in a band with Ricky. We had this brilliant idea for a band name, we called it 'Hear Ricky Sing'. That was just the beginning of our friendship. One fairly boring night in slo, Ricky and I were hanging out; over the downtown scene, no movies out, it's Friday... we have to do something. We decided to get in the car and go for a drive, which we did often to kill time. We ended up in San Francisco. Crashed for the night. The next day we saw a few friends, grabbed a bite and decided to keep going north. Around midnight we were crossing into the state of Oregon. It's been so long but I believed we met up with friends in Portland and then decided to visit my Aunt in Seattle. Arriving just after dinner we explored the amazing views of Peugeot Sound. Now we're on a roll, we didn't have passports at the time (well I didn't, Ricky's been traveling his whole life), so instead of continuing north to Canada we headed east. I still have a photo I took on the first iPhone of Ricky standing next to a three story wall of snow in the pan handle of Idaho. I'll speed this up, we hit all the spots. Yellowstone, saw some bison, Mt. Rushmore. We avoided a crazy snowstorm by heading south towards Kansas. Only to fight through the worst rain I've ever driven in to this day. We stopped when we wanted, got food when we wanted, slept when we wanted; we switched off DJing and driving for literately days. Finally deciding to take some time off from the road we called Nashville home for a few nights. The furthest east we made it on the trip was to Ricky's brothers house in Georgia. I know we both agree that that trip lit a fire inside us to travel. The world is a big place, and the more you see of it the more you realize you haven't seen but the tip of the iceberg.
The true test of friendship is travel. If you can spend hours and hours, I'm talking hundreds of hours with someone, whether it's backpacking Europe together, or in our case crammed in a Honda Civic on Highway 40 east cross country. You run out of things to talk about, but still sit comfortably in the silence, that's a friend that will last a life time. As the years go by, people change, and you're not able to see your friends as often as you would like. While I ended up bowing out of playing music, Ricky continued on. He choose to saturate himself in the industry and it's lead him down an amazing path full of some pretty awesome stories. I'll never forget the days in the garage trying to figure out a good fill to transition into the bridge or reminding myself to not play so fast and let the song breath. Music, creativity, and collaboration can be the strongest glue in a friendship. While we don't play music together anymore, I believe our time creating formed a bond that will never be forgotten. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to catch up with him and hear about what's going on in his life. From hanging out with Jeff Bridges at work, to extending his travel experience globally, and gearing up one of his favorite bands Modest Mouse as well as some of the most famous bands in the world, Ricky has been killing the music scene. Cheers man! Read the interview below.
JOSH: Tell me who you are and what you do. RICKY: Hi, my name is Ricky Taylor. I do Artist Relations for LR Baggs.
To someone unfamiliar with the music world, what is L.R. Baggs? What do they do? What’s your job title? LR Baggs is an acoustic amplification company. We’ve been awarded numerous patents, player choice awards and have become the industry standard for craftsmanship and reliability. If you’ve ever seen a band playing an acoustic instrument live or on TV, chances are they were playing through LR Baggs.
Favorite video game as a kid? Today? Tetris - Tetris
Talk me through a typical day for you at work. It’s different every day. Today so far I’ve been emailing back and forth with Joe Kwon from the Avett Brothers and with Justin Bieber’s guitar tech. Sometimes I’m in contact with the artists themselves, other times it’s their tech’s or management.
Name some artists/bands you’ve worked with. I work with a wide range of musicians. Anywhere from Miley Cyrus to Tom Petty. Pretty much any band with acoustic instruments.
What do you think of garden gnomes? Not really my thing…but don’t have anything against them.
Of all the talented people you’ve told me about working with, is there any particular moments that have stood out, perhaps some highlights of really rad shows? I’ve had the opportunity to meet up with lots of different artists. A lot of country artists use our stuff. I recently met up with Alan Jackson, Kristian Bush (Sugarland), Brett Eldredge, Dwight Yoakam’s band, etc… I’m not super into country music, so it’s always cool to meet up with bands that I’m actually a fan of. I will usually meet up with artists at sound check and then hang out with them before/after the show. Modest Mouse was definitely one of my favorites. Isaac (singer) was running up and down the hall with cowboy chaps on and free styling lyrics. Also have met up with Of Monsters & Men, Kansas, Devil Makes Three, Sturgill Simpson, Nickel Creek, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Keb Mo, and the Lumineers to name a few.
You’ve traveled the globe for work, and personally. Talk to me about that, name some of the places you’ve been. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the places I want to go. I usually like going to places that aren’t super touristy and prefer to stay with locals rather than hotels to really immerse myself in the country and their culture. I’ve traveled to Moldova, the Philippines, South Korea, the Netherlands, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Canada and at least 30 states.
Tell me a joke. Knock, Knock…….no answer.
Any upcoming plans for more travel this year? I hope so. I can’t think of anywhere I don’t want to go.
You’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember. We were in bands together in high school even. How has your love for music affected what you do for a living? Do you still play music? Yeah, it’s kind of like the old cliché “it’s not work if you love what you do.” Not only is it great to meet a lot of high level artists, but I also get to play really expensive instruments that I normally wouldn’t be able to. I’ve played Peter Frampton’s guitars, Tom Petty’s guitars, and others that send their instruments to us. Jeff Bridges came in and took a tour of the shop while getting his guitars outfitted with our pickups. Also Robert Carradine is a friend of Lloyds, so he comes in every once in a while.
Dive bar or the club? I dive right in head first.
What's the crew like that works at LR Baggs? The whole crew is like family here. But it’s great to have actually family members too. I’m the AR manager, my brother is the pickups manager, my cousin is the electronics manager, and my other cousin is the sales manager!
Can you share any insight into what LR Baggs has coming up in the future? Any cool projects We have some very cool things in the works but I can’t say what they are right now!
When did you realize the tooth fairy wasn’t real? March 17th 2009
When I think of converse I think of you, you’ve worn them your entire life. Thoughts on the converse 2? Need to try those! Look comfy
Do you collect anything? Dust?
Worst meal you’ve ever had? Mexican food in Nebraska…tasted like feet!
If you could live anywhere in the world for 6 months where and why? It might be cool to live in space for 6 months….but that would be out of this world.
What did you have for breakfast? Coffee
Craziest thing that has ever happened to you? Exiting the womb…..I remember bright lights and strange noises. Then some dude in a white coat started spanking me. What a jerk.
Thanks man, good catching up as always. See you at the show.
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all photographs and interview questions by joshua caine