Interview – Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger

If you’re here, you know what we’re plugged into. But we want to know what YOU have in the headphones! That’s why we’re introducing A Face in the Crowd. At any given time we may pull a perfect stranger out of the crowd and ask what you are listening to. We’ll even mix it up from time to time and pick the brains of some of your favorite musicians. For this edition of A Face in the Crowd, Mother Plug Music welcomes: Mike Taylor!

MPM: What’s your name?

MT: My name’s Mike Taylor. I go by MC Taylor.

MPM: What do you do Mike?

MT: I’m a musician! I play with a band called Hiss Golden Messenger from Durham, North Carolina.

MPM: You’re from Durham?

MT: I’m from Durham by way of California. I grew up in southern California, I lived in San Francisco for 10 years and I moved to the Piedmont section of North Carolina in 2007.

MPM: Did you grow up in a musical family or background?

MT: I did, actually. My father is a guitar player and singer. Not professionally. Both of my parents are, were public school teachers, but my dad always had a guitar out and around, so you know, that’s also where I really developed a thing for Martin guitars because he was always a guy who played Martins. It has nothing to do with Martins being fancy or anything. It’s just like that kind of guitar is the sound that I had in my house growing up. And my brother who is 2 years younger than me is a classical musician. So he plays trumpet in a bunch of orchestras in California.

MPM: Very cool. And, what did you grow up listening to? What were you inspired by?

MT: I grew up in southern California, and my parents were, you know, well they were listening to all the stuff that would have been contemporary for them when they were growing up younger than me. So, when I was growing up there was a lot of Byrds, the Byrds I heard. I heard Buffalo Springfield a lot. Bob Dylan. Um, the Beatles of course. My dad has a story that he saw the Beatles and the Byrds at different clubs on the same night when he was maybe 17. He went to the Hollywood Bowl and saw the Beatles play then went over to a place called, The Trip, which was a club over on the Sunset Strip and saw the Byrds play.

MPM: How cool is that!

MT: That’s pretty intense. Pretty intense.

MPM: So, what are you listening to right now?

MT: Well, um, you know I tend to go back to a lot of old records. So, like today, driving in the van, I was driving and it’s driver’s choice. So, I listened to a David Crosby record from 1970 called, “If I Could Only Remember My Name.” An incredible record! I listened to a Keith Hudson record. Keith Hudson is known as the dark prince of reggae. He’s a music producer and songwriter in Kingston. And, so that was a dub record called “Picka Dub,” by Keith Hudson. Those were the two that I listened to today.

MPM: And any new music that you’ve been listening to lately?

MT: Oh yea! We’re out on the road with our buddy William Tyler. He’s a huge inspiration to me, an amazing guitar player. He’s from Nashville. And he plays in Hiss Golden Messenger too when we can get him to. His records are always something that are in my rotation. Yea, he’s amazing!

MPM: Mike, it’s been a pleasure talking with you and having you in Birmingham!

MT: I’m really glad to be in Birmingham! You know, we’re pretty lucky in that we have a reason to travel around to all these places all the time. It’s not something that a lot of people can do. But you know, it seems like we’re always on the road. We’ve been in Europe for a month and a half total for the past three months and a lot of traveling around the east coast and the south. I don’t know, we’re lucky to do what we do. For sure, I don’t take it for granted.

MPM: Last question, for those of us who were lucky to be at your show tonight. Do you know Eddie Money’s real name?

MT: I think it’s Edward Money, haha! I’m pretty sure it’s Edward Money!

MPM: Haha, nice! Very cool Mike, I appreciate the time!

MT: Anytime, man! And we hope to come back to Birmingham soon! It’s a special place you got here.

Yes it is! And this was a special night for me as a mighty big fan of Hiss Golden Messenger. I’ve been listening to them for years now and they are a constant in my rotation. Special thanks to WorkPlay, Hiss Golden Messenger and William Tyler.

This interview was conducted at WorkPlay on March 11, 2015 by MPM writer, Josh Matthews.