Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: July 2007
Brian Rademacher: Let’s go back to your childhood days, what were some of the bands you listened to?
Baxter Teal: I’d say some of the influences you hear on the record are a throwback to the seventies stuff, I grew up listening to classic rock. Bands like JOURNEY, BOSTON, KANSAS, DEEP PURPLE, BAD COMPANY, & FOREIGNER. In the 80's it was anything from TEARS FOR FEARS to LIVING COLOUR. Then onto my school years-bands like METALLICA, MEGADETH, SOUNDGARDEN, TOOL, ALICE IN CHAINS and lot of metal. Then when I went to college and opened my mind to other music--really the one record that blew my mind was “Ok Computer” (1997) by RADIOHEAD--the production was amazing and it gave me a vacation from the head-banging. It made me pay attention to lyrics as well as take-note of intricate parts to the music that metal and hard rock would cover up with noise, screams and drum fills. I guess it lead me to what pop music and hooks were all about--not “Ok Computer" necessarily but my newly opened mind in music. That record just stood out from everything else. My influences range from Jim Croce and early Bonnie Raitt to SLIPKNOT and REFUSED.
When I got involved with Bill McGathy and In De Goot, I knew his bread and butter was radio and I was more than ready to write a record accordingly--he gave us a great deal of freedom making the record and I think it shows--there are some eclectic parts that maybe showcase the musicianship a bit but still have the hooks needed for radio rock--we stuck to our formula. We knew we could write what we wanted and make a decent living at it, but why not try to go to the top (with having potential "cross-over" singles)? Why not write the best possible music to reach the most people possible? If success is defined by simply being cool, I hope I win the lottery along the way! Cool doesn't necessarily pay the bills.
Brian Rademacher: What kind of kid were you in school?
Baxter Teal: I was a jock; I didn’t play music at all until around 17. I played football, basketball and baseball. I was an athlete growing up and came from a very athletic family. My brothers both played college football and my father and his brothers played division one college sports. My cousin was 4 year "all-ivy league" at Columbia University, beating several of Lou Gehrig's records there. At 5’10, I was sort-of the runt of the litter, so I said to myself I need to find something else to do, as pro sports were not going to be my calling.
Brian Rademacher: What positions did you play in sports?
Baxter Teal: I was the centerfielder, basketball I was a shooting guard--I’m tied for the record with seven three pointers in one game (twice) at Chapin High School (SC) and I played Quarterback in football.
Brian Rademacher: What was the very first band you were in?
Baxter Teal: My junior year I started playing some music w/friends. We played METALLICA, STP and some very bad originals. I fell in love with it and looking back at it, I was really terrible then, and how I could've seen having a future at it, I do not know! In college, I got a double major in history and philosophy-making the deans or president's list almost every semester. The very first band I was in was called LETHE which is a river in hell you drink from to forget all of your wrong-doings while on earth, as read in Dante’s Inferno.
Brian Rademacher: What was the very first job you took on?
Baxter Teal: Since college I’ve been in the golf business (was also a bartender for around a year). I did everything from caddie to mow greens. It gives me a chance to go out and play golf which is one of my passions. I’m not sure if it’s cool playing golf and being a rock guy. (Laughing) it’s like my ying and yang, it’s a release for me. I was the 2001 Keller Williams Amateur Tour champion in Charleston. I'd love to play in a U.S. Open one day.
Brian Rademacher: Hey Alice Cooper does it.
Baxter Teal: Absolutely! You'd be surprised how much golf comes into play w/the music biz. I've played w/program directors, DJ's, people at the label, etc.--it's nice because it's sort-of a common bond also.
Brian Rademacher: When you were in QUENCH did you release any material?
Baxter Teal: 2 EPs: "Failure to Thrive" and "Progress".
Brian Rademacher: Do you still talk with Eric Bass?
Baxter Teal: I haven't spoken with him in years. We are so much alike it’s hard to explain. We occasionally say hello through mutual friends. I wish him the best, but we don’t talk.
Brian Rademacher: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
Baxter Teal: It was FAITH NO MORE, METALLICA & GUN’S N ROSES. I was 17 and it was at Williams Brice Stadium. That was when i realized I'd love to do it for a living. Well, that and watching DIAMOND DAVID LEE ROTH doing scissor kicks on MTV as a kid. Who wouldn't want to be that guy!
Brian Rademacher: How about the first cassette or CD you bought?
Baxter Teal: Ooh, they were gifts so I didn't really buy them, but DURAN DURAN, Michael Jackson, or MEN AT WORK. Can't remember which one came first.
Brian Rademacher: Is it frustrating trying to break into the music industry?
Baxter Teal: It really is, the whole "hurry up and wait" game--that’s the way it works for everybody. You have to pay your dues. I am thankful to be where I am in music; I do get frustrated at times. It’s like you have people working for you but you have to have one more person working for you to have all the pieces working as a unit. I think everything is working well; we just found a booking agent who seems passionate about the band. That’s been a HUGE missing piece for a while now. I am told having a booking agent is harder to get then a record deal now.
Brian Rademacher: I saw a picture with a dove flying out of the sky, looked like a CD cover can you give me info on that. (www.garageband.com/artist/Deepfield)
Baxter Teal: That is one of our logos. It's a piece of stained glass from an art museum in Chicago.
Brian Rademacher: When you play live do you guys do a cover of “Elenor Rigby” and PINK FLOYD’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”?
Baxter Teal: We do “Eleanor Rigby”, but "metal" it out with guitar squealies and such when we toured with national acts (SALIVA, SHINEDOWN, CHEVELLE, & PUDDLE OF MUDD) we play in front big crowds that have no clue who you are, so playing something familiar to them(with an edge)gives them something to remember you by. Sometimes we end the show with TEARS FOR FEARS “Head over Heels” the big nah nah nah goes over killer with the crowd. I'm sure the alcohol level plays a part in it also.
Brian Rademacher: You were signed to In De Goot for a few years before releasing the CD. What was going through your mind and did you think you were basically a write-off band?
Baxter Teal: (Laughing!!!) That goes back to paying your dues. Now that I look back on it, we weren't as ready as we are now. The songwriting has matured. The line-up has changed. We have certainly grown into our own. If we would've put the record out two years ago it would have sounded more PINK FLOYDish. When Eric Bass was in the band, PINK FLOYD was a big influence and would have come through on his guitar playing. We are a different type of band now; looking back it was for the best
Brian Rademacher: You worked with Bob Ezrin for a while. How was that?
Baxter Teal: He came down and spent the weekend with us to review the music and give his 2 cents. It is slightly intimidating to work with a legendary producer like Bob. Since he did “The Wall” we were a little star struck at first. We went in there and hashed out some stuff. I wouldn’t say he would've tried to change our sound had he done the record--I think he would have changed us more than Paul Ebersold & Skidd Mills did. They basically sifted through the demos (70+), picked their faves and we cut the record. Paul & Skidd actually became more like members of the band when we went to Memphis.
Brian Rademacher: “Archetypes And Repetition” will not be released for another few weeks, but are the songs on the CD experiences you had or just imagination?
Baxter Teal: Depends. Lyrically I have a lot of songs that deal with religion. I try to stay away from the typical songs that deal with relationships but we do have some of that standard "Someone Done You Wrong" lyrical content in the...."easier listening" portion of the record, but most of it is fictitious.
Brian Rademacher: So are you religious?
Baxter Teal: No. I think religion is a business just like any other. Most religions were created to establish order among the masses--like any form of government. There are spiritual aspects that I admire in religion, aspects that were established with good intentions originally--but there are so many things about religion, especially Christianity, that bother me. I like to write songs about it, voice my opinion about it to encourage free-thought. I think most people have a hard time thinking for themselves, compromising their doubts out of fear or societal standards.
History has shown that religion is responsible for some of the most violent acts and wars the world has ever known--not nearly as beautiful, loving or tolerant as its books may have you believe. I have a particular problem with television evangelists and I like to speak my opinion about them. Most days I just laugh at their absurd lack of intelligence. On the days it offends or sickens me is when I grab my pen and paper.
Brian Rademacher: My favorite track is “Your Forever” which has a BEATLES feel, what‘s your favorite track on the CD?
Baxter Teal: I would say to listen to “Fall Apart” because the mix on it, Skidd did an amazing job. Live would be “Into the Flood” and "Dead Horse". “Wayside” is a song I tend to skip it on the record. It's been a part of the band since our inception--we were signed off a 3 song demo that included "Wayside". So as much as it's ignited our fire, it represents a long, hard road we've traveled--with many stops I’d rather forget. A lot of the people in the press like “The Bleeding”. It feels good because people like a lot of the songs, not just one or two. We also get a lot of media and radio people liking the song “Dead Horse” which almost didn’t even make the record. It was two days before the record where we decided to add it because it was a great live song. The 1st single for the CD will be “Get It”.
Brian Rademacher: I read that you feel that your constantly under the microscope? Tell me some of the things you think about now?
Baxter Teal: Did I say that? Maybe something in the context of being in the music business. You have to be smart about what you do, what you say, and the decisions that you make--because it is truly a business. It doesn't happen overnight but it can certainly end overnight. It may seem like "all play and little work,” but, trust me, that’s not the case.
Brian Rademacher: What’s your feeling about downloading songs?
Baxter Teal: I’m not a fan of (illegal) downloading simply because my opinion on it is, when Van Gogh made art people didn’t steal it. I am not saying our music is compared to masterpieces, but it IS art and when people steal your music it takes away from the record sale and without record sales you’re not going to be in the business very long.
Brian Rademacher: You went on tour with PUDDLE OF MUDD & SALIVA what do you ask for on your rider?
Baxter Teal: (Laughing!!!) Our rider, we don’t have a rider. We’re happy they just feed us. We just go in there on the first day of the tour, introduce ourselves to band, the tour manager and crew then try our best to stay out of their way. Your job, what you're getting paid to do is "support" that national act while getting your name out there at the same time. The last PUDDLE tour was amazing; the crew was fantastic we did not have to lift a finger at load-in/load-out. Traveling non-stop following a tour bus can be tough, because they leave the night of the show and we leave the next day and drive to catch up.
Brian Rademacher: Tell me your feeling towards the other members of the band starting with J. King, Dawson Huss, & Russell Lee?
Baxter Teal: J. King is a silly, silly boy, definitely the comic relief on the road and in the studio. We bartended together before all of this. Great guitarist and a guy who will do anything for you. Including get you a job as a bartender. Russell Lee came with me from QUENCH. He’s a fucking animal behind the drum kit, but (despite his intimidating look) he’s one of the most laid-back guys I’ve ever met--seems to always be at peace with himself. If you can get him to laugh, you've said something pretty fucking funny.
Dawson Huss is the newest member. We refer to him as baby d. One of the most intelligent guy's I've ever met that begins EVERY single sentence that comes out of his mouth with "ummmm." His first show with us was sold out show with SHINEDOWN on New Years Eve at House of Blues. We've been through several bassists, but he has definitely been our missing piece of the puzzle, especially live. He’s a solid bass player and harmonizes well with me. The harmonies on the record are not easy to sing--he's worked hard to learn them and it shows at shows.
Brian Rademacher: Have you ever done an acoustic set?
Baxter Teal: Yes we have and we will be doing more--we love to do that. When you play with SHINEDOWN, CHEVELLE and others, people want the rock. So you can’t play the “Your Forever’s” and “Fall Apart’s” in a lot of sets, Playing acoustic we can play our more laid back tunes. Our CD is half rock/half-ballad… no, let's say half-mean/half "soft and fuzzy", so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to see us doing full acoustic sets in the future. Right now, we do those at in-stores and such.
Brian Rademacher: So how is Kayos doing with Promotion?
Baxter Teal: I’ve never spoken with Carol, but she hooked us up with you and you gave us a great review of the record. Thanks, by the way. Carol’s doing a great job I am hoping to meet her when we come up to New York for press.
Brian Rademacher: If you were going to do a benefit show what cause would it be for?
Baxter Teal: That’s a good question. Honestly I would do something for animal cruelty; I am a big animal lover. Maybe something to help out with cancer research, I’ve experienced death in the family from cancer. And DEFINITELY an anti-smoking campaign. Not only will it kill you, but it kills my voice since I am allergic to it.
Brian Rademacher: If you got to tour with another band, who would you like to tour with?
Baxter Teal: I really can’t name an artist I would like to tour with; the easy answer would be 3 DOORS DOWN or NICKLEBACK--simply for size of audience. Playing to 55,000 people would be great, and I'm sure the money can't be half-bad either. If I had to go back in time it would be JOURNEY. I'd come out and do "faithfully" just so I could scream "get those fucking lighters up!"
Brian Rademacher: What are your expectations with the debut CD?
Baxter Teal: I’m staying level headed as possible. We've had a long, hard road getting here, so I hope for the best but expect the worst. It’s out of my hands at this point. I know we did a great record and we're getting some great press, the rest will be getting the music out there to the people.
Brian Rademacher: Do you have material for the next record?
Baxter Teal: Oh yeah, we did like seventy plus demos for this record, so we have material. We kept on grinding it out until we got it down to twelve. We have some exclusives that will be available at some of the major retail stores.
Brian Rademacher: Do you have any endorsements?
Baxter Teal: Our drummer is endorsed by D Drums. Myself and J. play Gibson guitars. If Gibson gives us an endorsement that will be great, but if they don’t, we are still going to play Gibson guitars. J. has a couple of classics (Les Paul’s) that sound great, but I'm a sucker for a custom shop.
Brian Rademacher: I wish you guys the best, my feelings are in my review. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
Baxter Teal: Thanks for your time and the awesome write up. I look forward to getting up there and playing for you guys when we're in the area on tour. I can’t wait for the people to get the CD in their hands. Let’s stay in touch thanks for everything, Brian.