"Taproot's members 'Plead the Fifth' with their latest effort." - Interview

Taproot saw its up’s and down’s in the beginning of the band’s career. However, once the band formed a solid foundation in Michael DeWolf and Stephen Richards, there was no stopping Taproot from gaining wide success in the music industry. And like taproot being the main root, the same goes for DeWolf and Richards.

Michael DeWolf, who plays guitar, and Phil Lipscomb, who plays bass, recently stopped by to chat about the band’s inception, the new album, and the real story behind Fred Durst’s role with the band.

Q – Real quick, where did the name Taproot come from?

PL - Our guitarist Mike found it in a book and he really liked the meaning of it. It's the main root of a tree that the other roots come off of.

MD - Came across the name in a thesaurus and it just felt right.

Q – Taproot kind of had a rough start, with members coming and going. How difficult/frustrating was it knowing that if the band put the right pieces in place Taproot could be a kick ass rock band?

MD – Ha ha. Steve (singer) and I were in quite a few bands prior to Taproot so we kind of figured out what would work and what wouldn't. I wouldn't say it was frustrating, but it took a minute to get everything to fall into place.

PL - They never even played a live show before they left. I know Steve was frustrated from every band Mike and he had been in, which is why he stepped up to be a singer in the first place because no one could do what he wanted. Even before I joined the band I knew those guys had the drive and ambition and talent to be something. Like you said, it was all about finding the right pieces, and I'm happy to have been one of those pieces that helped.

Q – The band really turned it around when Stephen Richards quit drums to become the lead singer. How did this decision come about?

MD - Like I said, we had been in a few bands and he and I were already writing all the parts and whatnot. It was always hard trying to get the singers to pull off what we were going for so I think we figured that if he were to sing then it might be easier to find a drummer.

PL - It was simply he (Steve) was doing most of the song and lyric writing anyway then telling whatever singer was in the band how to do it, so he decided to try his hand at it himself.

Q – Fred Durst tried to get you signed but Taproot eventually went to a different label (Atlantic), which Durst blamed System of a Down for doing so, and eventually left an expletive message on front man Stephen Richards’ answering machine. First of all, is Fred Durst a tool?

MD - It was actually System of a Down’s management that helped us search to find a label. We were just doing what we thought was right for us. Fred helped us out in the beginning and gave us some confidence to move forward, so, I won't call him a tool. Ha ha.

(Photo by Matt Wysocki)

Q - Secondly, what did signing with Atlantic Records, a major label, do for Taproot in the beginning as opposed to signing with a smaller label or independent one?

MD - Atlantic gave us the opportunity to release our music and tour worldwide. It gave us the opportunity to do many things that I don't think would have been possible on a smaller label. We've been very fortunate.

PL - Back then, being on a big label was where it was at. Big recording budget, promotion, distribution, touring, etc. They had the budget. Problem was the money wasn't necessarily spent in the best way possible. Nowadays we're on Victory Records, and the difference is although we don't have the budget we had back then, we're getting just as much accomplished by being more careful with how we spend out budget.

Q – The new album, which is the band’s fifth, is titled, “Plead the Fifth.” How is this album different that previous ones?

MD – “Plead the Fifth” is smashing. Ha ha. We consciously brought back the low tuned ‘heavy’ elements that a lot of people were missing. I think it is a very good blend of all of our previous albums.

PL - I look at it as a culmination of everything we've been doing for the last 10+ years. We've experimented with different sounds and feels on our albums, but I think "Plead the Fifth" is the best of everything we've ever done, and it comes the closest to capturing our live energy than any of our previous albums.

Q – The first single released was “Fractured (Everything I Said Was True).” I love the chorus on this song. How does a band decide which song becomes the lead single?

MD - That song was the first song written for the album. Once we worked it out a bit I think everyone agreed that it had all the elements we were looking for in a first single.

PL - We have meetings, focus groups, make pie charts and graphs, lol. Depends on the album. Sometimes there's a big discussion and arguments, but with "Poem" and now "Fractured" it was pretty much a no brainer.

Q - Is there going to be a tour for this album?

MD - Yes. We just got off our first tour for the album. We headlined for about two months. We have a few shows in between and then start again in September with nonpoint.

Q – Other than merchandise, what do you want fans to take away with them from leaving a Taproot show?

MD - We put our hearts into our shows so we hope that people can walk away thinking that they had a good time and saw an exceptional show. Some nights are better than others, but we always give it all we got and I think people appreciate that.

PL - I want them to want to come back for more and look forward to the next time we're around.

Q – Thanks for doing this. Anything you wanted to add?

MD - Thank you! Stay up to date with us at myspace.com/taproot and have a great day! :)

PL - Come to a live show, that's where we have the most fun. Support good music.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.

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