Music maestro

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 May 2007 | UPDATED: 11:49 06 May 2010

Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor

Threats by a pub landlord in a dodgy area of a dodgy town, and playing with Tony Hadley at an army base in Bosnia – Phil Taylor has seen just about everything the music industry has to offer PRODUCER, musician, marketing man, web wizard – Phil Taylor wea

Threats by a pub landlord in a dodgy area of a dodgy town, and playing with Tony Hadley at an army base in Bosnia - Phil Taylor has seen just about everything the music industry has to offer

PRODUCER, musician, marketing man, web wizard - Phil Taylor wears many hats.

He's recently been giving the Jukebox Vandals a helping hand recording their Stevenage Boro FA Trophy final song, Yeah, No, Definitely, for Wembley.

So he has been wearing his producer hat while the lads have been recording the song in his Walkern studio.

But he's also been up to a lot more of late.

Phil said: "Apart from helping The Jukebox Vandals, I've been out on the odd live date with Tony Hadley, and in my studio I've got two album projects in their initial stages so at the moment there's a bit of juggling going on.

"I also have my own virtual band which goes by the name Faint Signs Of Intelligence and is pretty 'out there'.

"I sell the album, like many other artists do now, over the internet, and that also takes up a bit of time - being the artist, record company, studio, marketing department, all rolled into one."

He may go by the guise of Faint Signs of Intelligence but he has obviously made some smart moves over the years.

Phil, who lives with his wife Daniella and their four children Scarlett, 16, James, 14, and eight-year-old twins Edward and Oliver, moved to Walkern in 2001.

Before that he lived in London for many years after growing up in Colchester.

He has known Tony Hadley, the former lead singer of Spandau Ballet, for about 15 years.

Phil said: "After Spandau Ballet split, Tony went to America to make a solo record and then came back to the UK to start from scratch on the live circuit.

"At the time I had been playing with various bands around London but was eager to take things to another level.

"I guess some of the musicians Tony knew from his former life would not have relished getting back into a cramped van after touring the world in Lear jets so there was an open door for me there.

"I was immediately struck by his 'normality' when I met him. Tony is a thoroughly decent bloke who, apart from having an amazing and instantly recognisable voice, inspires great loyalty amongst those around him.

"I often equate our band to a football team. We have our 'all for one, one for all' approach to touring, and have our pre-gig rituals too.

"Onstage things are always incredibly relaxed and fun. I only appreciate how special this is when I go and do other things, and realise that the team spirit and confidence we have is actually the result of hundreds and hundreds of shows done in a huge range of situations, from the Albert Hall to a makeshift stage in an army camp in Bosnia."

He's also toured the States twice with Nick Heyward.

He said: "They hadn't made any of the Austin Powers movies then, but I am sure Mike Myers must have met Nick around that time because they seem virtually indistinguishable.

"Nick is a great songwriter and a true English eccentric. I played briefly too with Rick Astley, Curtis Stigers and Kylie Minogue before throwing my lot in with Tony full time as a live musician.

"Kylie was already a huge star and I remember being hugely impressed by the fact that she just wanted to be treated as one of the team.

"She is a smart person with a very keen sense of the ridiculousness of the pop business."

Phil had always wanted his own studio and his Walkern studio has allowed him to branch out much more into his main passion, writing and recording.

He said: "As a writer I am a bit of a late developer as I put so much into touring, but I've had a couple of songs on films in the last few years."

Overall, the show that stands out in his mind was in 2005 at the Albert Hall with Tony Hadley's band as it represented a landmark for them and he remembers being overwhelmed at the audience surrounding them.

But he's also had some scrapes along the way.

He said: "In my first ever band the singer had foolishly promised a landlord, in order to get a gig, that we'd bring a coachload of our own people.

"We turned up and it was in a dodgy part of a dodgy town, and when it became apparent that our promise of punters was not going to materialise, the landlord basically locked us in and got very nasty about what would happen to us and our gear.

"Luckily the drummer's girlfriend was small enough to escape through the toilet window and get the police to come and rescue us!"

And as for the future?

Phil said: "I got into music because it seemed like fun and I then worked hard to become good at what I do.

"That striving never stops, it's only in other people's eyes that you 'arrive' somewhere.

"The inevitable progression over the years is from live playing to studio work and production, but I never see any reason to stop playing live as long as it is fun.

"The whole hit machine is so vacuous that I really don't align my ambitions with it.

"My ambition is really to be able to fulfil my potential, whatever that may be, on the condition that it enables me to support my family."

And music and family aren't his only passion. You may just catch him at Wembley for the game on May 12.

"The Jukebox Vandals are friends of mine, and I am a fairly regular home fan of the Boro with my boys!" he said.


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