Taylor Hicks, The Return of The Dead

Taylor Hicks is sometimes referred to by those critics trying to be clever, as the Idol that shouldn’t have won. Now while his ardent fans may differ with this, we find him at a point in his career trying to make a comeback of sorts. Granted his brush with fame has been limited to his cult like following and the win off that reality show, but he was pretty much a household name for at least a short while in 2006. Mr. Hicks has a dream to be more than that 2006 reality show winner.

Taylor Hicks, hasn’t been granted much in the way of respect as a viable musician in today’s music scene. Writers when talking about Idol past and present, often refer to him as an after thought or joke. This in comparison to Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry or Carrie Underwood, never comparisons to musicians outside the Idol franchise. While his post-Idol CD nabbed him ‘platinum selling’ status, Hicks did not impress the majority of music critics. Much of the negativity following Hicks was the post-Idol CD itself. For many fans of whom he captured attention of, from his time on the show, that record was not exactly what they expected, myself included. I’m not saying it was bad, just not what I expected.

Hicks has some new tunes coming out soon on his album, “The Distance”. What is striking about this new body of work is the caliber of support that Taylor Hicks has somehow amassed to aid in the success of this album. He has famed producer Simon Climie as a consultant and a back up of musicians who have worked with Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton. If Hicks can’t wring some positive praise and accolades out of this new album, I just don’t see it ever coming for him. I do retain high hopes.

From reports I’ve recently read, Hicks not alone in his quest for that one more chance grab at the brass ring. Several other artists who had, in the past far surpassed anything Taylor’s done to date, are trying to step it up and do it again. This next year we should see Eminem, No Doubt and Natalie Imbruglia returning with new music. One of the most exciting, for me, The Grateful Dead.I never thought I’d see the Dead return after the death of beloved Jerry Garcia. They have modified their name to just The Dead but are getting back on the road for a 20 gig tour. I guess I’ll be dragging out my tie-dyed Dead shirts: Long live The Dead, RIP Jerry Garcia.

Exciting news reverberates around the band’s line up – we’ll see original Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, but they’ll be joined by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and – here’s an exciting part- Allman Brothers Band/Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes! Oh yeah baby! All venues will be indoor arenas except the one near San Francisco. Be still my heart – they’ll be performing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, May 10!

One thing that The Grateful Dead was known for – okay there were many things – they were a band that toured relentlessly and encouraged their fans, the “Dead Heads”, to tape and share their exploratory and always jamming free-flowing concerts. This was a Grammy-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band – yet even from the beginning – were never a media squelching group. They understood the value of letting the fans celebrate them, share experiences. On tour, in concert, the band allowed and encouraged fans to record, to film and to then share live bootlegs of their concerts.

The Grateful Dead formed in San Francisco’s electric Haight-Ashbury neighborhood (how I love that area) in the mid-’60s. The Dead’s sound a combination of bluegrass, country, electric rock and jazz. They never gave their sound a name or a brand, they just went with it. How The Grateful Dead managed to create one of the most iconic repertoires in rock music was through continuous touring, never relying on radio hits or latest trends, never penning tunes with a goal to enter into the mainstream.

I point out the Grateful Dead’s history to show some of the Taylor Hicks’ fans who are fighting about whether to film, to record him on tour that there are two sides to each coin. Of course, with word from Hicks to the fans, he does not want filming or recording of his live concerts, that says how he feels about having his show out on view for those not ticket-paying fans. Many times I have read Mr. Hicks say how he’d like a fan mass like the Parrot Heads. This will never happen with the socio-environment currently established within Hicks’ inner circle, nor the often times combative on-line fans who like to think in antiquated terms such as ‘hierarchy’ and ‘proper ways to conduct oneself in his name’ (yeah, send me a telegram) in the fan base.

The ‘secrecy’ with which much of Hicks’ music and activities are currently handled could very well work to the opposite of what the man claims he wants as fans and career. He’s said he wants a following like the Parrot Heads, like the Dead Heads, but he doesn’t handle his fans the way say, Jimmy Buffet nor Bob Weir handle their fans. Too, I’m struggling with what kind of fans Mr. Hicks really wants. Is he really in it for the music, or does he prefer more of a “Tom Jones” type fan base? On this album coming out he works with different musicians than he has in the past. Since this album’s creation he’s not been really talking about his ‘band’ or if he has a regular ‘band’. Sure there are guys he plays with more than others, but are they actually The Taylor Hicks Band? If so why were they not on the album? Is he just in it for himself, for what he, as Taylor Hicks, can gain from fame or is he wanting to really make a statement in music?

Taylor Hicks’ said to a fan, after a show recently, “I know what the fans want before they know themselves.” But does he? Importantly does he really know what he wants for himself?

“The Wheel/(at 2:19)Touch of Grey” The Dead, Obama Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball, January 20, 2009 One thing, Obama has great taste in music.

Grateful Dead perform Uncle John’s Band as the encore for the famed Halloween show at Radio City Music Hall in NY, NY. 10-31-80

To catch The Dead: 2009 ARENA TOUR DATES

Sun 4/12 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
Tue 4/14 Washington, DC Verizon Center
Wed 4/15 Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena
Fri 4/17 Albany, NY Times Union Center
Sat 4/18 Worcester, MA DCU Center
Sun 4/19 Worcester, MA DCU Center
Tue 4/21 Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena
Wed 4/22 Wilkes-Barre, PA Wachovia Arena @ Casey Plaza
Fri 4/24 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
Sat 4/25 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
Sun 4/26 Hartford, CT XL Center
Tue 4/28 E. Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
Wed 4/29 E. Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
Fri 5/1 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum
Sat 5/2 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum
Tue 5/5 Chicago, IL All State Arena
Thu 5/7 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
Sat 5/9 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
Sun 5/10 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheater
(yes that was another long-assed post)

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7 Responses to Taylor Hicks, The Return of The Dead

  1. […] Hicks, The Return of The Dead « Sunny’s Spin Shack Central Of The Best Music wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptTaylor Hicks, hasn’t been granted […]

  2. gigi says:

    While the point is made that the Grateful Dead wanted the fans recording their concerts and music, we must be reminded that at the time, the videos and music were not sent through cyber space for all to download FREE. These are different times in the music business and I don’t think the playng field is at all the same. It is difficult enough for these young artists to sell their music, but everybody being able to record it and send it over the internet changes things.

  3. marymagdalene says:

    “‘I point out the Grateful Dead’s history to show some of the Taylor Hicks’ fans who are fighting about whether to film, to record him on tour that there are two sides to each coin. Of course, with word from Hicks to the fans, he does not want filming or recording of his live concerts, that says how he feels about having his show out on view for those not ticket-paying fans.'”

    When Taylor mentioned that he did not want anything recorded at his after-Grease concerts, I read/took it as it was a temporary moratorium, just until his CD gets released on March 10th…
    If so, I do not blame him one bit…
    But then again, maybe I just misread the entire thing…

  4. spinshack says:

    I haven’t read any time limit on the ban on photos and recordings, mary, just statement reads, to not do it. There’s not anything about ‘until after’ in the statement on his sites. If there is I haven’t seen it and would appreciate a copy paste of that info. Too, by my pointing it out, doesn’t mean I’m slamming him, I’m pointing out that it may not be a great idea.

    gigi, The Dead are not the only bands who allow this to happen, and no matter the media age, they allowed film reel etc to get out and get shown freely. It’s an observation.

    Still, on this blog and my other no one has any comments about what they’re seeing with Hicks, the band situation, if he’s really in this game for the music or is he chasing Fame. Seriously considering he repeatedly says he’s interested in acting, all facets of entertainment, it sounds to me he’s not in this 100 per cent to make a music statement. He’s in this for Fame.

    This is not just about the media ban, folks but that’s all you can concentrate on. Why is that, don’t want to talk about anything else I’ve mentioned? You have no real interest in great music? You’re just TV Idol fans? Truly what is the deal?

    What say you?

  5. willpen says:

    Sunny,

    I always like to use Dave Matthews as an example of how an artist can maintain a loyal fan base without having radio time or success in terms of mainstream music.

    Dave is also very free about music sharing among his fans. His fan base spans all age groups from teens to 60 somethings. Every once in a while Dave will give a concert where you can view it for free through his web site. His web site is also run like a well oiled machine. He has managed to build this fan base with consistently good music year after year with little time between touring. This would be a perfect example of how Taylor could mold his career.

    I just don’t get what Taylor is doing now. I think I may have to agree with you on the being an entertainer thing. Sometimes I think that he is just too scared to really take that leap of faith in his own talent.

  6. tandjam says:

    Be still my heart – they’ll be performing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, May 10!

    Does this mean you will be at this show? I’m considering it…

  7. spinshack says:

    tandjam, I’m going to try and work it out; The Dead, open air venue in Mountain View. That would be beyond fantastic!

    willpen, Matthews an excellent example of yet another artist who knows how to do it. The first I heard of “Grease” I thought it an excellent idea – New York City, exposure and media prior to the new album debut. Likely he needed to be working. Now it appears he’s really doing it through the year. Had heard he might, now confirmed it appears. Granted it’s giving him the ability to tour the country on the “Grease” company dime, but face it this is the album tour, those shadow gigs throughout tour stops where he can secure a venue.

    His websites are ridiculous, all the secrecy about what he’s doing ridiculous. From what he told a fan in a M&G he thinks keeping information hard to find adds to fans’ interest.

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