The return of The Taildraggers

Posted by Dee-Ann On August - 15 - 20103,814 views

Chris Isaak once said in an interview: “We always dress up for a show, because people show up and pay to see us, so why not put a little effort in how we dress. They don’t want to see people on stage, looking like them.”
Well maybe not in those words (can’t find the interview because I wasn’t the interviewer), but I always remembered that. You don’t have to pull out your mirror suit, or be Lady Gaga (Lady who?), but try to be a bit different.

Photo's by Bart Thurlings & Maurice Bouwens


No need to tell that to The Taildraggers, because they dress as well as they sound, and they sound fine to me. Really!

Let me introduce you to
Pascal: vocals/rhythm guitar
Marco: drums
Tiny: guitar
Peter: bass/vocals
They started in 2001 as a rockabillyband from Limburg (The Netherlands), but after a while they moved to Eindhoven where they still rehearse. At that time they already played unknown rock and roll covers as well their own songs. It was a challenge to find and play the most unknown, but coolest songs. That’s what made them special, because they played almost weekly everywhere in Europe. From Italy to Sweden. The top years were 2005 and 2006 when they did a 100 shows. And the cherry on that pie would be in Greenbay Wisconsin where they played at the 50’s Rockin’ Fest II in 2007.

The Taildraggers

Photo's by Bart Thurlings & Maurice Bouwens

Bit by bit, chord by chord, they moved to the hillbilly boogie, old swingin’ country bop, western swing en bakersfield country (Buck Owens style). When steelguitar player William van Hoof joined they changed the name to Kingsize Playboys. However, it was not the successformula they hoped for, and after the steelguitarist quit, they were back to the The Taildraggers again. So back to basics, rockabilly, rock and roll with an attitude and a twangy/country twist.

How are things going now Pascal?
We’re getting there. Years ago we played a lot, especially in the rest of Europe, more than in The Netherlands. But slowly were coming back to that again.

How did your love for rock and roll start?
When I was a kid I listened to Elvis, Everly Brothers as well as country music like Jim Reeves. But my first rock and roll love was Elvis. I still am a huge fan.
When I studied at the conservatory I was the drummer of a Rock-coverband. But as soon as I discovered the Stray Cats I became the drummer and leadsinger of a rock ‘n roll band and wanted to play nothing else than rock and roll and country etc.
I started to collect music of bands like Big Sandy, Dave & Deke, Rusti Steel & The Tin-Tax, Sure-Shots. Never liked bluesy rock and roll bands like the Paladins though.

How do you build your own songs?
I write the lyrics and the basic composition. Together we complete the whole song. Most of them are inspired by old music styles: country, western swing, rockabilly, mixed with things happening in my private life. We play more of our own songs live and on the next cd.

The Taildraggers

Photo's by Bart Thurlings & Maurice Bouwens

I am curious about your do’s and don’ts on stage
Ha ha funny question. My personal ‘Do’ is a bottle of Jim Beam on stage. Once we played in Paris and my throat got sore. After a glass of whiskey I could sing again. I never forget to bring my buddy Jim Beam ever.
And indeed, we have agreements on our clothes. A gig in a simple cafe we go casual, like in Jeans.

You do?
Yes, but then we all wear jeans.
And at festivals and bigger gigs we often wear western style clothes.

Do you like aother music styles besided rock and roll?
I speak for myself when I say that I also like folk music, oldtime, bebop jazz, swing en big band. As well as Americana bands like The Jayhawks, The Avett Brothers, The Derailers, Gary Bennett, Chris Hillman, Dave Alvin, CCR, Eleven Hundred Springs, Red Meat, The Hollisters, The Hoyle Brothers, James Intveld, Chuck Mead, Dale Watson and so on.

To tell the truth, when I have listened to roots music too much I like to skip to Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Metallica, The Beatles, The Black Crowes, Jim Croce, Led Zeppelin, oude ZZ Top. They all sound good to me too.

Which celebrity would you like to play with?
We have played with Charlie Thompson a couple of times. That was awesome. But I would love to play with Chuck Mead or James Intveld. Or the old guys Jack Earls, Charlie Gracie, Gene Summers.

Do you admire other todays bands?
Well, the Americana bands I mentioned before but also The Lucky Stars, Big Sandy and Deke Dickerson.

Where do you want to play next?
Viva Las Vegas!
Yeah, me too!;-p

Photo's by Bart Thurlings & Maurice Bouwens

Tell us a crazy story
Once we drove all the way to Bedrock in Denmark. I have a hernia, so I’ve been taking morfine pills for years. I forgot to bring it with me, but I found out just before we were building up our set. I became terribly sick, (cold turkey). We had to stop the show and I couldn’t do more than lying in the bus, curled up and throwing up. The guys wanted to drag me to a hospital, but I made it home, the next day. I don’t ever want to go through that again, so I always bring two pills in my wallet.

And another crazy story, I have put my autograph on a naked woman’s brest.

Are there things you regret??
Ofcourse I played once or twice with broken guitar strings without bringing a spare set.
And we had a broken carbattery just before we wanted to drive up to a gig. So we were very late.
One winter we drove to Munich (Germany). Our old Opel Blitz bus (1972) was driving 40 km/hr on the autobahn which was covered with snow. We couldn’t see a thing. It was freezing in that bus, and very dangerous ride of 14 hours. We should have played at 8.00 but we arrived at 11. The venue was half empty. They were not too happy about it. Shit happens.
With that old bus we had a lot of car trouble or with an empty tank, pushing it with three guys and one gal to the nearest gasstation in Luxembourg. But that was the day after a show.

What are your plans for the future?
We are negotiating with El Toro, a Spanish label, for our 3rd CD with mainly our own songs and a show at Screamin’ 2011.

Photo's by Bart Thurlings & Maurice Bouwens

Do you have tips for rockabilly newbies?
Tip 1: Listen to old music a lot. Explore the roots of music instead of listening to what everyone is listening to. You’ll discover the most beautiful things and you’ll get a broader view on music. I think it’s a pitty that a lot of music lovers in our scene are a bit narrow minded. It has to be loud and wild. No one listens to the lyrics anymore.

Tip 2: don’t bother what the scene expects you to do. Stay true to your own style. At festivals I think people pay too much attention to the real vintage blouse, are those pants the right ones, is that dress just a H&M… so fuckin’ what! Just do what you like. Well years ago that was just much more extreme than nowadays. I mean that in a positive way.

Complete this sentence: I would love to….
see people listening more to the music of the bands. Not just the same bands and songs over and over again. There is much more than just rockabilly or “Pistol Boogie”

Can’t wait to hear their third cd!

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