Two Global Events Celebrating the Memory & Music of a Rock Legend
September 3 at Wembley Stadium September 27 at The Kia Forum
Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear and Rami Jaffee will come together with the Hawkins family to celebrate the life, music and love of their husband, father, brother and bandmate with The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts.
As one of the most respected and beloved figures in modern music, Taylor’s monolithic talent and magnetic personality endeared him to millions of fans, peers, friends and fellow musical legends the world over. Millions mourned his untimely passing on March 25, with passionate and sincere tributes coming from fans as well as musicians Taylor idolized. The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts will unite several of those artists, the Hawkins family and of course his Foo Fighters brothers in celebration of Taylor’s memory and his legacy as a global rock icon—his bandmates and his inspirations playing the songs that he fell in love with, and the ones he brought to life.
The all-star rock and roll shows will take place September 3 at London’s Wembley Stadium and September 27 at The Kia Forum in Los Angeles.
The lineups for each show will be announced shortly. Sign up to receive information on timings, ticketing links and on sale dates at https://www.foofighters.com/.
Taylor Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997, first appearing with the band on the tour supporting sophomore album The Colour & The Shape. He made his recorded debut with Foo Fighters with 1999’s There Is Nothing Left To Lose, playing on every subsequent FF album, including One By One, In Your Honor (the first FF album to feature him assuming lead vocal duties on his song “Cold Day In The Sun”), Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Wasting Light, Sonic Highways, Concrete & Gold (also featuring him as lead singer on “Sunday Rain”) and Medicine at Midnight. As a member of Foo Fighters, Taylor was a 15-time GRAMMY Award winner and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He lived and loved music to an insatiable degree, with Foo Fighters as well as his numerous solo and side projects and collaborations.
Global PPV Streaming Event Takes Place TomorrowIn Celebration Of The Release Of Corey’s Debut Solo Album CMFT Pre-Orders AvailableHere
With just over 24 hours to go until the broadcast of “Forum Or Against ‘Em“, the highly anticipated, global PPV concert event from Corey Taylor, the GRAMMY® Award-winning singer / songwriter has dropped a brand new teaser featuring footage from show rehearsals and giving fans a taste of the pyro-laden spectacle that awaits. The show, filmed at iconic Los Angeles venue, The Forum, kicks off at 2pm PDT/5pm EDT tomorrow (Friday, October 2nd) in celebration of the release of Corey’s debut solo album “CMFT”, also out October 2nd. Watch the new trailer here
Tickets are available from watch.thecoreytaylor.com Ticket holders will have unlimited, on demand access to the show for a 72 hour window after the initial broadcast and access to exclusive event merch and bundles. For those who missed getting a ticket for the initial broadcast, tickets will be available for the duration of the 72 hour viewing window. Ticket bundles are also available including a t-shirt, hoodie, poster, and access to watch an exclusive Corey Taylor acoustic set.
A limited number of one-on-one video chats with Corey Taylor are also available with some bundles. Forum Or Against ‘Em will be a full arena production complete with a visual feast of pyrotechnics, a stacked set list featuring all tracks from CMFT, select fan-favorite cuts from Taylor’s Slipknot and Stone Sour catalogues, a handful of covers and an incendiary guest performance from rock n’ roll girl-gang dance squad, The Cherry Bombs. Kicking off the event’s festivities will be a special pre-show event hosted by presenter/journalist, Beez that will feature exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, starting at 1pm PDT/4pm EDT on Corey’s Facebook Page. Speaking about his upcoming streaming extravaganza, Corey Taylor tells us
“I’ve been saying since the beginning I’d find a way to bring this music and this band to the people. And I’m honored that The Forum let us do just that. It’s CMFT in its entirety. It’s songs I’ve shared over the years. It’s a celebration, and I’m so stoked to party with all of you.”
In the rapidly evolving sphere of streamed events, Forum Or Against ‘Em is set to be an industry first, as Corey Taylor and his management team at 5B Artists + Media partner with Danny Wimmer Presents, the largest independent festival producer in the United States, to put on this one-of-a-kind, pay-per-view concert experience. In utilizing The Forum for this special steaming event, the team are not only able to put together a world class rock extravaganza with a massive arena production, in total, they are also providing work to approximately 80 event staff.
Taylor’s debut solo album,CMFT, is set for release on October 2nd via Roadrunner Records. Garnering widespread critical applause already,FORBES declare, “Corey Taylor’s singing is undeniably the best it’s ever been. From Slipknot’s last album to his new solo material, Taylor is easily among the best sounding rock singers alive,” andKERRANG! describing the new material as “A celebration of life, and one that shows him in a whole new light.”
Taylor recently released a music video for “Black Eyes Blue,” which has entered the Top 10 at Active Rock Radio, surpassing previous first week chart numbers from both Slipknot and Stone Sour. Additionally, Taylor hit #1 on Billboard’s “Hard Rock Songwriters” chart following the unprecedented debut of lead singles, “Black Eyes Blue” and “CMFT Must Be Stopped” [feat. Tech N9ne & Kid Bookie], the latter of which has racked up in excess of 3 million YouTube views for its star-studded music video. He most recently unveiled his “HWY 666” with an official lyric video. All songs are available on all streaming platforms.
Pre-orders for CMFT are available now with limited edition vinyl and merch bundles available at www.thecoreytaylor.com. On the fiery and fearless rock ‘n’ roll opus, Taylor touches on lifelong influences ranging from hard rock to classic rock, punk rock to hip-hop. CMFT has been a long time coming, with newly penned songs appearing alongside a few dating back to his teens. Recorded at Hideout Studio in Las Vegas, with producer Jay Ruston and his band – Christian Martucci [guitar], Zach Throne [guitar], Jason Christopher [bass], and Dustin Robert [drums] – the album traces a wild and exhilarating roadmap through Taylor’s musical psyche.
Now, with Forum Or Against ‘Em, Corey Taylor is bringing his wildly diverse musical collection to life. Do not miss out on catching Taylor’s vision for this incredible streaming event, purchase tickets now from watch.thecoreytaylor.com.
“GET THE MONEY” ALL-NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUM FEATURING ALL-STAR ROCK ROYALTY SUPPORTING CAST OUT NOVEMBER 8 ON SHANABELLE/RCA RECORDS
On November 8, Taylor Hawkins will descend from the levitating drum throne on which he’s spent two years on tour supporting Foo Fighters’ international #1 album Concrete and Gold. The forthcoming third Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders album, Get The Money, will be released by Shanabelle/RCA Records on that date, and can be pre-ordered now with all pre-orders receiving the instant grat track “Crossed The Line” (featuring guest turns from Hawkins’ bandmate Dave Grohl and Yes vocalist Jon Davison).
Pre-Order Get The Moneyhere. Listen to “Crossed The Line” here. Exclusive Merch bundles are also be available here.
Produced by John Lousteau and Taylor himself, and mixed by Sylvia Massy, Get The Money follows Taylor’s 2016 six-song mini-LP KOTA by three years almost to the day, and features a scope far wider than KOTA’s takes on suburbia’s bizarro underbelly. The new album finds Taylor and Coattail Riders Chris Chaney, Brent Woods and John Lousteau accompanied by an all-star supporting cast including Taylor’s fellow Foo Fighters Dave Grohl and Pat Smear, Roger Taylor, Joe Walsh, Duff McKagan, Nancy Wilson, Chrissie Hynde, Perry Farrell, LeAnn Rimes and more, collectively creating a staggering, epic sprawl that swerves from classic rock to prog and glam and all points between.
The track listing for Get The Money is:
Crossed the Line (featuring Dave Grohl, Jon Davison)
Don’t Look At Me That Way (featuring Duff McKagan, Nancy Wilson)
You’re No Good at Life No More (featuring Dave Grohl)
I Really Blew It (featuring Dave Grohl, Perry Farrell)
Queen Of The Clowns (featuring Mark King)
Get the Money (featuring Joe Walsh, Chrissie Hynde, Duff McKagan)
C U in Hell (featuring LeAnn Rimes)
Middle Child (featuring Dave Grohl)
Kiss the Ring
Shapes Of Things (featuring Roger Taylor, Pat Smear)
Since the Texas-born Laguna-bred force of nature made his Foo Fighting debut on the tour supporting 1997’s sophomore opus The Colour and the Shape, he has been an essential element of the sound and personality of the last great American arena/stadium rock band. He’s played on Grammy-winning FF albums including “There Is Nothing Left To Lose” , “One by One” and “Wasting Light”, and contributed lead vocals to Concrete and Gold’s “Sunday Rain,” as well as “Cold Day In The Sun” from 2005’s In Your Honor.
Taylor’s previous extracurricular output includes two albums from Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, one with The Birds of Satan, the above-mentioned KOTA mini-LP that featured Hawkins on lead vocals and nearly every instrument.
America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”
Author: Corey Taylor
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 256 pages
Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars
In America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”, Slipknot/Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor directs his signature combination of humor and outrage at today’s America, sparing no one along the way. Taylor doesn’t shy away from thorny issues as he draws a brutally honest portrait of his country, outlining the good, the bad, the unflattering and the patriotic. Whether it’s politics or social media, race or pop culture, religion or reality TV, “America 51” digs deep into the roots of contemporary America.
The 4th book from singer turned best-selling author Corey Taylor titled America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World” is easily the brashest in your face collection of rants from the out spoken front-man. Having struggled my way through Taylor’s last two literary offerings l was a touch apprehensive about subjecting myself to another 256 pages of rambling. However being a long time fan of both Slipknot and Stone Sour I was willing to still give this book a shot. Within the first several chapters I could see that this book was going to be just like the others as Taylor becomes so wrapped up in his thoughts that he quickly loses site of the actual. I found this to very distracting and despite Taylor’s off the wall comedic jabs at society and his take on the current political climate there were just too many thoughts going on at one time causing the book to come off as very unorganized and poorly edited.
If you liked Corey’s previous three books then there is no doubt in my mind that “America 51” will fit right in with your collection as by now you have become a custom to the author’s chaotic style. However, if you are looking for this to be your first exposure to Corey Taylor outside of his music then you may want to hold up and check out some of his earlier works first.
“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left”
Author: Corey Taylor
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars
“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left” or “You’re Making Me Hate You” for short is the third book from Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. The book is a no punches pulled critique of the strange world in which we find ourselves as documented by the one and only Mr. Taylor himself.
Never one to shy away from his opinions or thoughts Corey Taylor delivers and honest and in your face account of daily occurrences that well as the title suggests makes him hate you. The first few chapters are fun and fairly enjoyable to read however as the book progresses I quickly lost interest as the chapters became predictable and somewhat repetitive. At times Taylor seems to ramble off on side topics which may or may not directly relate to the chapters unique title and no matter how much was or wasn’t related to the initial topic the stories lost my interest.
Fan’s of Taylor’s will surely want to check out the book if not just to have but to also take a little peek into the writers interesting thoughts however if you are looking for some sort of tell all behind the scenes like Taylor’s previous works then you may want to skip this one
Corey Taylor is best known for his work as the front man of the platinum selling heavy metal groups Slipknot and Stone Sour. Corey has also penned a New York Times Best Seller titled “Seven Deadly Sins” and is now back with the follow up titled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven: (Or, How I Made Peace with the Paranormal and Stigmatized Zealots…)” which is a collection of stories documenting Taylors experiences with the paranormal and his efforts to understand the how and why of those events. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Corey recently about the book, his recent foray into comic book writing and the future of Slipknot.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us an overview of your new book? Corey Taylor: Essentially the book is about my various experiences with ghosts and the paranormal. I am basically trying to figure out what these things could be as a lot of the research I have done has left me unsatisfied. This is me trying to figure things out balanced with some of my stories and things I have seen. I think everything came together pretty well.
AL: What was it like revisiting some of these experiences? CT: The cool thing was when I would start writing about a place or experience I got to learn a little more about the history of things. The mansion we wrote one of the Slipknot albums in is a good example of that. I did quite a bit of research on the place and looked in to the various owners in an effort to dispel some of the myths and rumors. I found out Houdini was never connected in any way to the property which was a big thing that was always brought up when talking with people about the property. In doing that I was really able to trigger some of the experiences I had there. I also talked to some of the other guys in the band and had them recount their experiences. It was really cool to be able to go back and look at things from this point of view. It helped trigger a lot of great memories.
AL: Did you have to edit the stories down in anyway? CT: Pretty much everything that I could gather made it into the book. Weather things came from my own memory or from someone else’s. I don’t think I left anything on the table as I wanted to make sure that I covered all of the bases. If I did leave anything out it was probably something I forgot. Really for the most part I tried to get as much of my experiences on paper as possible.
AL: The book also features some really interesting photos which transition the chapters. Can you tell us about those? CT: That was an idea I had in order to be able to bounce back and forth between pictures that represented what the chapter was going to be like and being able to show people that the book isn’t all heavy. Everything I do I try and balance with a little bit of humor. I know stuff can get really heavy so during the photo shoot I wanted to make sure that people knew this was from my point of view. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t trying to change the world or anything I was just trying to make up my own mind. My mind wouldn’t be anything without balancing the seriousness with a sense of humor. Another really cool thing about the photos that I am in is that I am wearing the actual costume that was worn by the actor who played John Wilkes Booth in the movie “Lincoln”. My photographer and friend Paul Brown was able to get that actual suit. I think he did it knowing that I am such a history buff. That era especially is a favorite of mine. I just freaked out and thought it was awesome!
AL: Being this book is quite a bit different from your first how did the writing of the two compare and contrast? CT: The thing I loved about the first book was the format. I was able to come at things from two different ways. On one hand I was able to tell a bunch of crazy stories and on the other hand I was able to take a topic and just write about it. I could just go off on whatever it was. With the first book where I talk about the seven deadly sins and try and take the wind out of those sails. You know going in that you have seven built in chapters that you’re going to be writing about. I love the way that before I even started writing that book the format was in place and sort of showed it’s self. I loved that! That gave me a jump start on this second book. I sat down knowing I wanted to write it and that each place I had an experience was going to be a chapter. From there I could jump in and out of those formats while also telling stories about the places while making a point of what I think these spirits or bundles of energies actually are. The book was half written before I even started typing.
AL: Also within the past year you have written a comic book. How did that opportunity come about? CT: The comic book came about because of the two part concept album Stone Sour was releasing. What really triggered it was the short story I had written which encompassed both sides of the story that was being told throughout the album. While I was writing that short story I thought that it would make a really great comic book as I was trying to be very visual and evocative. Being a huge comic book fan this was something that I really wanted to do. Luckily when I sat down with Dark Horse Comics they saw the vision for what I wanted to do and they thought it would be a really cool mini-series. I had never written a comic book script in my life and thankfully Dark Horse sort of held my hand through the process and helped me figure out how to write it. It was a real big thrill.
AL: What do you feel was the biggest difference between your previous writing and writing a comic book? CT: With a comic book script you sort of have to write for two different audiences. You are trying to write a script that will draw in the reader but at the same time you’re trying to format the story for the artist as well. I really had to jump back and forth between what I assumed the audience would want to read and see and also what I wanted the artist to come up with. I really had to rein myself in and not get too far ahead of the process so that the artist didn’t have to call me with a thousand different questions. It was a good challenge that I loved doing. I liked getting in to that mind set where I thought things were going to look great. I lucked out working with Richard E. Clark as he is fantastic. With writing something like this new book you just sort of type until you are tired. (Laughs)
AL: Have there been talks of you doing more comic book writing in the future? CT: I haven’t put it away so to speak. I don’t have any ideas as of yet but the one thing I realize is that the best way to make god laugh is to announce your plans out loud. I just never say never and if an idea comes to me for an original comic book then I would definitely take it to Dark Horse first as they were so good during the process of this first comic. Right now I don’t have any plans to write anything but again if something down the line comes my way and its different and something that I would enjoy reading I would be open to that.
AL: Can you give us an update on the status of Slipknot? CT: We have two shows scheduled for October in South America. Other than that I have the rest of the year off which is awesome. The plan right now is that early next year we will get together and start throwing new music at each other. It feels like it’s time so right now everyone is putting demos together and starting to get ideas together in our heads. We all have stuff going on outside of Slipknot and are very busy so there is no time table other than sometime next year. I think we are all in the position now to where we are looking forward to it.
AL: In your position as a singer do you wait until you hear demos before writing or do you write on your own before hearing anything else? CT: It’s kind of both. I definitely get excited when I hear new music from those guys but at the same time my skills at writing and my proficiency on guitar has gotten better over the years. Now not only do I get excited when I hear other people’s ideas but I am also starting to write more and more Slipknot stuff. That’s something that I didn’t have the confidence to do before but now I am starting to feel really confident in my abilities. I love being able to write stuff for Slipknot but still enjoy hearing and writing to the other guys material.
AL: Being Slipknot is a very intense and demanding project how soon do you start preparing both mentally and physically for your work in the group? CT: We do try to really get our heads ready for things as there is really no other preparation that can be done. We try to go into things with the mind set of excitement as we are going to be hearing something that no one has ever heard before. We are going to write something that hopefully people haven’t heard before. That’s what drives us. The excitement and new ground is what we love. We try to go into things very open and that I think helps us capture the energy we need for Slipknot music.
Author: Corey Taylor
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven” is the second book release from Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. After the success of Taylor’s New York Times best selling tell all titled “Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument between Born Bad and Damaged Good” Taylor and Da Capo Press are back with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven”. The book recounts Taylor’s personal experiences with the paranormal and his relentless approach to better understand the unexplained.
If the interesting title doesn’t grab you the stories contained within Corey Taylor’s new book “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven” will certainly hold your attention. At several points throughout the reading of this book the hair on my arms was standing completely straight up. From the story of “Cold House” to the paranormal events that plagued Slipknot recording sessions there were definitely points where I should have put the book down but couldn’t. Though the more technical chapters contained in the book were at times lengthy and somewhat dry forging through that material proved fruitful as Mr. Taylor made sure to deliver with the following chapters.
Fans of Taylor’s previous works may be a little disappointed that “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven” is not the second installment to “Seven Deadly Sins” as this new book at times skirts around some of the debauchery Taylor and his fellow band mates are known. However those looking for that type of material are for warned in the opening paragraphs that the book is not designed to be a tell all. Taylor clearly delved in to the depths of his haunted mind to bring some of this material to light and that alone will surely entice readers to pick up this book.
“James Taylor At Christmas”
Label: Universal Music Enterprises
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Running Time: 50 minutes
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
“James Taylor At Christmas” was released back in 2006 and it is being released this year with two new tracks. The first track is Taylor’s French rendition of “O Christmas Tree” titled “Mon Beau Sapin”, which is only available on this collection. The second track isn’t really a Christmas track per se but it is Beatles cover for “Here Comes The Sun” with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Still a fantastic and moving track. Also appearing the album are talented guest starts including Chris Botti, Natalie Cole and Toots Theilemans. This album has always been successful in getting into the holiday spirit over the years and I am sure it will continue now with this expanded release.
This collection includes some really great holiday favorites performed within Taylor’s unique sound. There is a jazzy renditions of both “Winter Wonderland” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”. “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) is really a perfect track for the holidays. Natalie Cole and Taylor deliver a wonderful duet with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. I have to say though my favorite track is the cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and my least favorite is still “Go Tell It On the Mountain”, which is the one I always skip. The album also ends perfectly with the New Year’s classic “Auld Lang Syne”. James Taylor’s voice is really a nice marriage with the Christmas season. I personally am a fan of simple and quiet Christmas songs and there is something for everyone here. This will leave you not only inspired and but also full-blown in the holiday mood.
1. Winter Wonderland
2. Go Tell It On The Mountain
3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
4. Jingle Bells
5. Baby It’s Cold Outside
7. Here Comes The Sun
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Some Children See Him
10. Mon Beau Sapin
11. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
12. Who Comes This Night
13. In The Bleak Midwinter
14. Auld Lang Syne
James Arnold Taylor is currently voicing Obi-Wan Kenobi on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. The show is currently airing its fourth season. He also was the host of Star Wars Weekend in 2011 at Walt Disney World, also where he performed his one man show. Media Mikes was able to get James Arnold Taylor to answer a few questions about “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, “Johnny Test” and his one man show as well. It is a must listen…trust me!!
Taylor Spreitler plays Lennox Scanlon on ABC Family’s “Melissa & Joey”. She stars along side Melissa Joan Hart and Joseph Lawrence. The show just finished this its first season and is already in production for its second season. Media Mikes had a chance to chance with Taylor about her role and the finale.
Mike Gencarelli: So what do you like best about working with Melissa Joan Hart and Joseph Lawrence on “Melissa & Joey”? Taylor Spreitler: It’s very cool to work with people who know what it’s like to work in this industry at my age. Melissa was staring in her own series when she was my age so it’s very cool to have people there to help me out and understand what I’ve been through and they are very supportive. It’s very great to have both of them there.
MG: Give us a little background on your character; what do you like most about playing “Lennox” on your show? TS: There’s not really anything I don’t like about her. She’s a really fun character to play because with the situations that she gets herself into there’s never really a dull moment with her. It’s always fun to play that out. She has cool style as well.
MG: When you first started, what did you like best about the character. Was there anything in particular you did to prepare for the playing her? TS: Well when I read the breakdown of Lennox everybody who had already read it was calling me, including my manager, and telling me that is was basically me. There wasn’t really anything I had to do, it was kind of like playing myself just a more dramatic version. I think the thing to adjust to was just getting close to everyone and figuring out the whole family dynamic of the four of us.
MG: What has been your favorite episode so far in shooting season 1? TS: There has been a few but the episode with Andy Lawrence where Melissa takes me in to the club, that was a lot of fun. I had just graduated right after we were done filming that episode and they threw a surprise graduation on set. That was really cool for me. Any episode this season, part of it was filmed in Maui, where I go to prom and it’s formal. I didn’t go to High School so I didn’t get to experience that so it was nice to dress up and have a date and all that stuff.
MG: How do you feel working on this show is different or similar to working on “Days of Our Lives”? TS: They’re both completely different. My schedule now is a lot better. “Days of Our Lives” was a great thing for me to do, it was really good training and a lot of fun; I was really close to everyone there and it was hard leaving. But you know it’s such a big cast and you can get lost in the shuffle. So it’s definitely nice to be in a smaller cast. We are more like a family here. We only do one script a week, so that’s nice, and not like learning 60 pages at once. That’s definitely a lot easier.
MG: When do you expect to start working on Season 2? TS: We actually have already been filming it. We are filming the 3rd Episode on Season 2 this week.
MG: How does it work when you get a script for a show? How far in advance do you have to prepare for each episode? TS: Usually we get our scripts the Friday before we start on the next episode, after we finish the taping of whatever we are done with that week, so we have a weekend to look over it and that Monday we do our paper read and start our week of figuring everything out.
June 2005. On the island of Martha’s Vineyard I meet Jim Beller at JAWSFest. As a fellow “Jaws” fan I have been well aware of the man they call Jimmy Jaws for the better part of a decade. But we hadn’t met face to face until that summer. During our conversation Jim tells me an idea he has. A coffee table book consisting of behind the scene photos telling the story of the making of our favorite film. “Good idea,” I say.
June 2007. Back on the Vineyard and moments after I propose to my future wife in a room filled with “Jaws” fans, I am introduced to Matt Taylor, who Jim has told me will be writing the coffee table book.
April 2011. I am as giddy as a school boy as I am given the first look at the new book, “Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard.” Did I mention that I thought it was a good idea?
Over this past 4th of July weekend I had the unique opportunity to shadow book author Matt Taylor and conceptualist Jim Beller on Martha’s Vineyard as they met with film fans and discussed their new project. During some rare down time in their whirlwind schedule, as fans gathered for a screening of the film, they took a few moments to sit down with MovieMikes and talk about the book.
Mike Smith: Why “Jaws?” Jim Beller: Why not “Jaws?” (laughs)
MS: What is it about that film that, 36 years later, you and I and all of the people standing in line behind us still love it? JB: I think it’s because it’s a movie that still holds up today and will still hold up 20 or 30 years from now. People will always have that fear of not knowing what’s under them when they’re swimming in the ocean. It’s a movie that has everything: great directing, great acting…editing, score, art direction, great writing…it’s a film that has everything. It’s a comedy, it’s a drama, it’s a horror movie, it’s a thriller. It’s a movie that will go on and on. Like (“Jaws” production designer) Joe Alves says, it’s like “The Wizard of Oz.” Years from now other generations are going to watch it and love it.
MS: Matt, you spent three years traveling across Martha’s Vineyard and discovering stories that even serious “Jaws” fans had not heard. Was it an easy task tracking down people? Matt Taylor: It was an easy task tracking down the people I knew. Islanders are very set in their ways. They may not do things the same way that off-Islanders would. Often times it was very difficult to lock them down for a time to talk or to show up. They might say “yes” to something then keep you waiting for five months. It was either very easy or extremely difficult.
MS: Did the fact that you yourself are an Islander…you’re family has lived here for 15 generations…did that give you an advantage that another author might not have had? MT: I think so. I didn’t think Hershel West was even going to answer the door. So I dropped my grandfather’s name and after about 20 seconds I heard him undoing the latch. (NOTE: Mr. West played Quint’s first mate early in the film) It helped that I could drop the name of a family member that they were familiar with. Lynn and Susan Murphy have been friends with various family members from way, way back. Susan told me that as soon as Lynn realized who my relatives were he really opened up. So yes, it definitely worked to my advantage.
MS: Is the book your first writing project? MT: Actually I’ve written a lot. I’ve had three screenplays read by major studios, though nothing yet has seen the light of day. But the book is the first thing that’s been published.
MS: Jim, what is your rarest “Jaws” item? JB: I have a “Bruce” tooth. It’s not really rare but it’s up there as far as collectibles go. I really have two very rare items. The first is a standee that stood in theatre lobbies in 1975. For years I had no idea it even existed…I had never seen one. But then I saw a photo of another fans collection and I was like, “what is THAT…where did you get THAT?” (I should note here Jim was talking about MY collection and finally did track down the standee in question). The other item is a hard back copy of the novel, “Jaws,” which spent the summer of 1974 on board the U.S.S. Loreno, which was the name of one of the sea sleds that carried the sharks used by the crew during filming. The crew member that had it would have everyone that came aboard sign it. There are probably close to 75 autographs in it, including Bob Mattey, who created “Bruce.”
MS: Matt, what are you working on now? MT: I have a film that I have to go back and finish. I shot it in 2007 and was assembling a rough cut when I decided to drop everything and concentrate on the book full tilt. I put it on the back burner but now I’m going to go back and finish it up. It’s a documentary on the history of agriculture on Martha’s Vineyard.
MS: I know that the book was a roller coaster ride for you both, with lots of ups and downs. Now that you’ve climbed that last hill it should be all fun on the way down. What do you hope for next? MT: Money. JB: [Laughs] JB: For me it’s knowing that I can finally talk with fellow fans about stuff I’ve known for years but couldn’t talk about because of the book. It’s great to finally have this book out…with over 1,000 never-before-seen photos and probably as many unheard stories…that “Jaws” fans will be completely blown away by. It will be great to talk with fellow “Jaws” fans about their favorite new stories. [Laughs] And money.
MS: Any chance you two will collaborate on another project? JB: We’ve talked about a couple things. There are still many photos…and stories…that the fans haven’t seen or heard. MT: I had to cut about 50 pages out of the book. Two months before we turned it over to the publisher it was 50 pages longer. I had to trim a lot of it and find a way to rearrange the photos after all of the cuts had been made. There are still completely edited stories and photos that were once part of the book that we didn’t use because we had to get it down to 300 pages. And they were great stories!