The Barker-Karpis Gang were gun-toting outlaws robbing as they pleased. As a child, Dallas Taylor would accompany his grandfather to the small Florida town of Ocklawaha to watch annual reenactments of the FBI shootout that ended the illustrious career of this early 20th century crime family, allegedly led by Kate "Ma" Barker, in a hail of bullets.
Which makes it fitting that as an adult, Dallas Taylor would lead a band of musical outlaws who rob and steal the best parts of heavy metal, punk rock, down-home classic rock n' roll and bluegrass and reshape it in their own image with the true-life morality tale of Maylene and the Sons Of Disaster as their backdrop, muse and namesake.
Dallas Taylor is a commanding frontman with a natural charisma who can charm a crowd like he's arrived to drive the serpents out of the local swamps. There's really nothing Maylene and the Sons Of Disaster can't accomplish with their exciting blend of mystery, mystique, literary allegories and straight-forward sass. Hard-hitting but not without depth or catchy angst, Maylene and the Sons Of Disaster refuses to rely on trendy formulas to be memorable, choosing instead to delve deeply into the past to draw upon the most invigorating elements of rock n' roll's best grooves.
When Maylene and the Sons Of Disaster founders Dallas Taylor and Roman Haviland (bass, backing vocals) found themselves without the triple guitar armada who flanked them (although Josh Cornutt remained as a writing and recording member only) and drummer-less as well, they relied on their own well-rooted underground musical ties to refresh the band's blood.
Dallas Taylor is the former singer for gold-album selling metalcore / screamo outfit Underoath and he knew Matt Clark (drums) and Kelly Scott Nunn (guitar) from when they played in an early configuration of that band together. Nunn also played with Further Seems Forever, the band that launched Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba. "He just has a good ear for vocal patterns and a great sense of melody," Taylor enthuses. And then there's Jake Duncan (guitar), who was originally drafted to replace Cornutt on the road only but who ended up adding a ton as well.
As soon as the new guys came onboard in January of 2008, Maylene and the Sons Of Disaster started writing, even trashing some songs they had put together previously. Writing for III resumed in the fall of 2008 after some touring (over the years, Maylene and the Sons Of Disaster has gone out with bands like P.O.D, Throwdown, Zao and the aforementioned Underoath) before they hit the studio.
"The cool thing with having new guys is it's an open slate," Taylor says. "We were able to do things that we weren't able to do before. Some songs were, vocally, way heavier for me and a chance to branch out and do different styles of vocals. It was a chance for us to do whatever we want and introduce the new guys with it. It was really cool."
"Listen Close" displays a heretofore uncharted vocal range that's decidedly stronger than the majority of the band's peers. "Step Up (I'm On It)" is a barnstormer with a ZZ Top vibe. "Oh Lonely Grave" features a guest singer from Atlanta as the song careens from bluegrass to one of Maylene's heaviest moments with a string arrangement to boot.
III is infused with Maylene's by now signature esoteric themes of final judgment, redemption and justice. There's a sense of swagger throughout and a none-too-subtle country vibe bubbling beneath the surface.
"What we really want to do with this record is crossover in a way that older and younger people can both get something out of it," Dallas offers. "I want to relate to people in a lot of ways, in a sense of being down-home... Everyone can get something out of it: the guy next door that's mowing your lawn or working on your house."
And with that down-home vibe and broad appeal comes a healthy dose of Southern humility and hospitality. "We want people to know we're not a big 'rock star' type band. We try to make the music and the imagery larger than life but not to the point that it's unattainable or inaccessible. We're just normal guys that play music. We know what people are going through and if we weren't in a band, we'd probably be hanging out with you on the weekends."
Listen To Maylene and The Sons Of Disaster Here
|Maylene and the Sons of Disaster||2005||Mono Vs. Stereo|