John Taglieri has been playing the Jersey scene for many years, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. He currently has eight albums to his name, and with work commencing on a new CD, and an upcoming “Best Of,” by the end of the year, he’ll be up to 10. His music has brought him all over the world and enabled him to play for just about every type of audience. I recently caught up with John to find out about his latest project, TAG, and what he has planned for the future.
Who are your current band members?
TAG has already been through a lineup change in the first year of its existence. Three of the original members left due to creative differences and career path changes. The band is currently comprised of me on lead vocals and guitar, Tom Darby on keys/guitar/vocals, Luke Kessel on bass and Pete Green on drums.
How did the band get together?
Tom’s been with me seven years. We met at an Edwin McCain show at B.B. Kings. Luke and Pete came through friends who knew I was looking for drums and bass. I wanted to put something together that had more of a “band” feel rather than just me and three or four other guys. We really all just love to play and that brings a great energy to it.
How would you describe the music that you do?
It’s alternative modern rock… think Third Eye Blind meets Vertical Horizon with My Chemical Romance being the weird uncle.
How does the writing process work for you?
For the last five years, I’ve been writing with my former guitarist, Brad Whitley. We have a great chemistry. He’s a very riff-based writer and I’m a very power chord kinda guy. He’d come in with a bunch of riffs and we’d go through them till one hit us. Then we’d work that as I wrote lyrics and just go where the song would take us. I’m not a big ‘re-writer.’ I believe that a song should tell you what it wants to say and be. So when we’re happy with a song, that’s it, we’re done.
Who are your musical influences?
Man, I have so many, it’s crazy. I grew up on big arena rock like Journey, Triumph, Rush, Boston and Foreigner, then took a lot of stuff away from the ‘80s, both from the hair metal side and the pop/punk/new wave side. The Cars, Blondie, A-Ha, I loved, as well as Bon Jovi, Warrant, Winger, etc. The ‘90s brought in a ton of influences. Lately it’s been bands like Train, Default and Lifehouse that have been doing it for me. I love just about every genre of music and my iPod shows that. I’ve been criticized in the past for my CDs not being ‘cohesive,’ but I don’t just write one style. As long as I think a song has good qualities, I’m gonna work with it.
What are your goals, musically and professionally?
Just to keep things going and growing. My main goal was always to make a living doing what I love, and that’s playing music. That goal has been met for six years now. I’m trying now to keep growing my business and my record label, Leap Dog Music. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing my company grow each year. I get to tour, play music, run my own label, and more. So as long as I can continue to do this, then I’ll be happy and the goals will have been met!
How did you end up going overseas to play for the Navy, and what was it like?
My agent is a big supplier of entertainment to the Armed Forces. The reps from the Navy first saw me perform at a college showcase and dug the performance. They contracted me for some stateside shows—Camp Lejeune, Norfolk Naval Base, Fort Stewart, Fort Sam Houston, etc. It’s an amazing experience to play for the troops. They are so welcoming and so appreciative.
The shows have always been fun and the Navy was interested in having me go to Europe. I got to see Amsterdam, Athens, Crete, Rome, Naples and Catania. They were easily some of the most amazing and memorable shows of my life and career. I’m not a political person, but the folks that go around the world and put their lives on the line for us deserve all the respect they can get so it was an honor for me to go and play for them. The shows were a blast, well received, and man, they party! The best compliment I got was from a group of sailors in Naples who came up to me and said, “This felt like we were back home on a Friday night tearing it up with our friends at our favorite local bar.” To me, that’s the best thing I’ve could have heard. I managed to bring a little bit of home to them for a night.
Are there any particularly interesting stories from your travels?
Man, too many! When you play 220 shows a year, things happen. I get to go to Key West for Fantasy Fest, Panama City Beach for Spring Break and more. The band and I get to see things you wouldn’t believe! And it all helps to make some of the best memories I could ever hope to have.
You can find out more about John Taglieri at johntaglieri.com, TAGTheBand.com and Facebook.com/johntaglierimusic.