One of the fastest growing bands in the north of England with fans now travelling from far and wide, A Joker's Rage, fronted by clown-in-chief Zakk Taylor, have a winning mix of powerhouse rock, hugely memorable tunes and a delivery not unlike being trampled by a herd of dinosaurs with their hemorrhoids on fire. We also have a track by track of the band's upcoming, Black Sheep EP, which can be seen after the interview.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
[Zakky Boy Taylor] We are: Zakky Boy Taylor on vocals, Adam “Twiggy” Gauton on Guitars, Al Scott also on Guitars, Geordie Ginface on Bass and Matt “Bam Bam” Collinge on Drums and Keys!
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to A Joker’s Rage? How long has the band been around?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] I used to be in a sleaze rock ‘motley crue esq’ band called Kid Ego, Al came from the metal band With One Last Breath, Adam was in an electro pop band called Testtone 3 and tours as the lead guitar player for The Pink Floyd UK Show. Matt has played drums for industrial rockers ‘Digicore’ and Geordie played in a classic rock band called Breakout Degree. As a unit we’ve been together a little over a year. It took a while to find the right official line-up and secure that chemistry that allows us to do what we do.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] The band has always been A Joker’s Rage. It evolved over a process of self discovery which included jamming and fucking about with lots of different musicians and friends to find something that was exciting and different but natural. When I decided to start this project it was merely an experiment to test myself and step outside my previous comfort zone musically. It was also a platform to creatively unleash a lot of frustration and anger. The name speaks for itself really, the joker of the pack puts on a smile for everybody yet rages within and at some point just has to blow up.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] We all collaborate on every song. There is no particular formula and we like it that way. It allows us to eliminate rules and breakaway from regurgitating the 'same shit different day’ routine that makes up 90 per cent of the music industry. The best part is we each might come up with an idea that isn’t even based on our own instrument. I might start a song by writing a drum part or our drummer Matt might start an idea off by arranging and writing an orchestral piece. One thing that is consistent throughout is that every song is based on real situations that we face in our own personal lives.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] The diversity in our music taste is massive. Each one of the guys has a completely different style of inspiration from one another. Most of our inspiration comes from historical music as apposed to what’s ‘currently trendy’. We take inspiration from hard working bands that we meet on the road that stay true to themselves and don’t follow the heard or let their egos run away with them. When it comes to the actual music, well…anything from Abba to ZZ Top!
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] When I was a kid my uncle took me to see Michael Jackson at Roundhay Park in Leeds, West Yorkshire on his Dangerous world tour. From that moment on I was hooked on the idea of performing. I saw him again on the History world tour. I’ve seen many great acts in my life but it all stems back to MJ. Nothing will ever come close to that experience.”
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect…
[Zakky Boy Taylor] Well, we are certainly past the novelty stage of being a pretend rockstar, so we stay away from the booze and any distractions that might curse our performance. A huge amount of effort goes into choreographing lights, smoke and our set-list in general so preparing for a show can be stressful.
We aim to push the limit of possibilities within our means so once everything is set up and appears to be working, we tend to go somewhere quiet, put our ‘gameface’ make-up on and start our own individual rituals to get in the zone. Personally I like to do a few stretches then sit silent and still in a dark room while the main support band are finishing their set and just wind myself up and switch into character. Tim Burton soundtracks and sometimes Kate Bush in the headphones assists the whole process. A quick cigarette and my first swig of beer as I walk on stage to our intro music and I’m ready to destroy everything.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] I think it would have to be supporting The Darkness on their summer tour in 2013. We played in front of 2,000 people who didn’t have a clue who we were, in a town we had never played before and within five minutes we had every person in that room in the palm of our hands. Justin Hawkins could’ve taken the night off if he wanted to!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] I think we all share an admiration for Muse as a live act. The diversity of their audience is fantastic and thats what we aim for. The theatrics and use of technology in their shows keep you on your toes which is something we constantly push within our reach. Supporting Iron Maiden would be a dream for similar reasons. Maybe Dolly Parton too, I mean say you had a bad night and need a cuddle? who better to mother you and embrace you in those sensational mammary glands.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
[Zakky Boy Taylor] My face paint doesn’t want to come off tonight, and we’ve just played in Hull, UK. I’ve just washed my bed sheets as well!
"Black Sheep" Track By Track
[Zakky Boy Rage] “Bounce" is about rebelling against routine and the confinements we find ourselves in physically and spiritually due to what we perceive is expected of us. It might be your boss at work telling you how you should be. It might be the media poisoning and corrupting your spirit with their false propaganda. Either way fuck it all and ‘Bounce’.
2. ”Black Sheep"
The song came about from watching other bands, and other creative people in general falling into the trap of ‘following the herd’ and walking through doors that they perceive to be already open instead of creating their own path and staying true to their own spirit and agenda. We represent the black sheep who stands proud and goes his own way.”
"Temptress" is the only song on the record that has a basic ‘boy meets girl’ scenario. Again based on a real experience off the back end of some very dark times. It’s a fun, funky and groovy song that just creates somewhat of an interval between the intensity and darkness of the others.
I can’t talk about it. That book is closed and that's a good thing.
5. "Just Another Ghost"
"JAG’ as we call it for short, is our way of reaching out to the lost boys and girls who feel inadequate or outcast in some way. Usually brought on by the mind-numbing fuck-wits who think they are better than everybody else and feel the need to put people down and look down on someone who they don’t feel fits in to their deluded ranking of society. It’s another deep and personal one for me. It questions things like loyalty, revenge, and basically is a warning not to put the knife in anyone’s back because karma is a bitch and wears white make up, black eyes and lipstick.