Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil, a freshly founded quartet of Nashville-based rock figures formed by film director and Chagall Guavara frontman, releases its 11-track ‘Goliath’ Nov. 18 via Splint Entertainment.
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign asking for $40,000 and yielding yielded more than $120,000 –Taylor boils the band’s biography into a helpful nutshell:
“We’ve been a secret society controlling and manipulating all aspects of the entertainment world, and we’re so drunk with power we’ve decided to go public,” says the group’s frontman. Fair enough, but there are also some less Illuminati-like aspects of their origins story to illumine.
Taylor had a GRAMMY-nominated solo career in addition to a run with the band Chagall Guevara, of whom Rolling Stone’s Parke Puterbaugh said: “Not since the Clash has a group so effectively turned militant discontent into passionate rock & roll and still maintained a sense of perspective and humor, however black.”
Not since the New Radicals did a band break up so quickly after one acclaimed album, but Taylor emerged from the embers of Chagall Guevara to move more to the production side of things and start his own label, Squint, which had a massive hit with Sixpence None the Richer’s Taylor-produced “Kiss Me.” Disillusionment with the business side of the music industry pushed Taylor toward filmmaking, with two theatrical features to his credit, including Blue Like Jazz, the funding campaign for which helped put Kickstarter on the map. That project’s success led Taylor to also use the same crowdsourcing site to raise money for ‘Goliath’, his return to music after years in the indie-film wilderness.
And his foils? Bassist and multi-instrumentalist MVP John Mark Painter may be remembered as half of the duo Fleming & John. Wild-man guitarist Jimmy Abegg was a member of the California-based Vector before a long extramusical sojourn as a visual artist in Nashville. Drummer Peter Furler was the founding lead singer of the Newsboys before splitting from that Australia-based band five years ago.
“Our secret weapon is that John Painter can freakin’ play anything,” says Taylor of the group’s bassist, who has worked as a studio musician on sessions for everyone from Kings of Leon and Yo La Tengo to Kelly Clarkson, on top of composing the score for the animated film Hoodwinked. “If you suddenly think that a weird horn section would sound good here, John grabs the bari sax and plays that, then grabs a tenor sax and plays that, and then plays an alto and a trombone.” Then the challenge became not to make the album so studio-eclectic that it would only sound grand in the studio. “We wanted to make an album that could be performed live without disappointing fans who heard scores of different sounds and then only saw four people on stage” – and which is in effect a power trio, since Taylor doesn’t play – “so we limited the palette a little bit.”
‘Goliath’ releases Nov. 18 via Splint Entertainment.