INTERVIEW: Rufus Tiger Taylor (THE DARKNESS)
This morning I was lucky enough to grab a few minutes on the phone with Rufus 'Tiger' Taylor, drummer extraordinaire for epic UK glam-rockers The Darkness, and son of rock royalty Roger Taylor (aka, of course, Queen's legendary drummer).
The Darkness will be hitting our shores headlining their own tour as well as the Groovin the Moo festivals around the country in April and May - and in the lead-up Rufus Taylor took a few minutes to reveal what to expect from this wild and wonderful bunch in the near future, and also set the story straight on the proposed Groovin the Moo 'Ashes' cricket match between Violent Soho, The Smith Street Band, Architects and The Darkness.
TIANA: HEY RUFUS, THANKS SO MUCH FOR CHATTING TODAY!
RUFUS: No worries, thank you!
TIANA: SO IT'S PRETTY EXCITING THE DARKNESS ARE FINALLY GOING TO BE BACK ON AUSTRALIAN SOIL THIS APRIL AND MAY, BUT IT'S NOT YOUR FIRST TRIP TO AUSTRALIA IS IT?
RUFUS: No, no, I've been a few times before and the once with the guys!
TIANA: AND IS IT FUN TO BE COMING BACK? WHAT'S BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT AUSTRALIA THE LAST FEW TIMES YOU'VE BEEN HERE?
RUFUS: I've always loved Oz, it's a great place, it's a beautiful place - it's a massive place. And do you know, I learned how to surf there for the first time. I learned how to surf in Byron Bay years ago, so that’s pretty special. But, yeah, you do have a lot of sharks there!
TIANA: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING WHILE YOU GUYS ARE IN AUSTRALIA?
RUFUS: Um… we haven’t planned anything yet! I think just touring a festival in Australia will be really fun.
TIANA: AND THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE GROOVIN THE MOO FESTIVAL IS THAT IT WILL SEE YOU GUYS GETTING OUT OF THE CITIES AND SEEING MORE OF REGIONAL AUSTRALIA TOO..
RUFUS: Yeah, exactly, because that’s all you usually see, those big name cities.
TIANA: SO SPEAKING OF GROOVIN THE MOO FESTIVAL, I DON’T NOW IF YOU’VE HEARD BUT THERE’S BEEN A BIT OF SOCIAL MEDIA BACK AND FORTH WITH THE VIOLENT SOHO BOYS – AND THEY’VE BEEN TRYING TO GET A BIT OF A CRICKET MATCH TOGETHER WITH THEM AND THE SMITH STREET BAND BOYS VERSUS THE DARKNESS AND ARCHITECTS – A BIT OF A GROOVIN THE MOO ASHES SHOWDOWN, DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT?
RUFUS: Oh right? I have not heard of this, no. Not yet. It’s been a long time since I’ve played cricket.
TIANA: WOULD YOU BE KEEN?
RUFUS: Yeah! If as long as they don’t mind getting COMPLETELY beaten in front of everyone they know. Then, yeah!
TIANA: SHOTS FIRED! I LIKE IT! IT COULD BE AN INTERESTING ONE, I’LL BE INTERESTED TO SEE HOW THAT TURNS OUT!
RUFUS: (laughs) Yeah, they should know we get really violent as well. We once did this festival in…ahh…I can’t remember where. Somewhere in England. And, we decided to have a little walkaround during the day just to see what we could find…and we found this mini-football pitch that they’d set up with walls around it, like hay bales stacked up on top of each other. And then every player who was on the pitch had to play in this sort of inflatable orb – so it fit all around you apart from your knees, like it stopped at your knees so that below your knees you just have your legs so that you can run and kick the ball. And so we played this team of five and six year old kids. And (laughs)…we did NOT hold back! There were little kids flying around all over the place, it was brilliant. Us just winning.
TIANA: WERE THERE ANY TEARS? ANYONE CRYING AFTERWARDS?
RUFUS: We didn’t pay attention, we were too busy scoring goals and cheering. Like, rubbing it in their faces. We never look back.
TIANA: WELL, I HAVE TO SAY I’M QUITE WORRIED NOW FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GROOVIN THE MOO ASHES SIDE. YOU GUYS SOUND SAVAGE!
RUFUS: (laughs) Yep. Doesn’t even matter if you’re five years old – you will get destroyed.
TIANA: NOW I HEAR THE DARKNESS ARE DROPPING A NEW ALBUM LATER THIS YEAR, IS THAT CORRECT?
RUFUS: Yes we are!
TIANA: AND ARE WE GONNA BE GETTING A TASTE OF THE NEW ALBUM WHILE YOU GUYS ARE TOURING DOWN UNDER?
RUFUS: I couldn’t possibly tell you that! (laughs) But it is VERY possible.
TIANA: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE NEW ALBUM?
RUFUS: Well, I think it’s a fucking good one! I can tell you that. It’ll be good – it’s a really heavy one, there’s an interesting little collection of different stuff in there as well. I think people will like it. Well, we all do, we really like it.
TIANA: WELL HOPEFULLY AUSTRALIA MIGHT GET A LITTLE SNEAK PEEK WHILE YOU’RE HERE..
RUFUS: I think that can most definitely, maybe, most probably, possibly happen in Australia!
TIANA: SO LET’S GET TO KNOW THE REAL RUFUS TAYLOR A BIT BETTER – IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE OTHER BAND, WHO WOULD IT BE?
RUFUS: Hmm. Probably would be the Foo Fighters, cos I love those guys and they’re really funny guys. And I think that would be a good island team!
TIANA: AND OBVIOUSLY WE ALL KNOW YOU’VE GOT A BIT OF ROCK ROYALTY IN YOUR GENES (HIS DAD IS NONE OTHER THAN THE LEGENDARY ROGER TAYLOR, AKA THE DRUMMER FOR QUEEN)...BUT DID YOU EVER PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS BESIDES THE DRUMS GROWING UP? OR WAS IT ALWAYS INEVITABLE YOU WERE GOING TO END UP A DRUMMER?
RUFUS: It’s what I always wanted to do. I was always way more interested in that than any of the other instruments. But, I did play piano very early. And I’d try and have a tinkle at a few different things here and there. But you kind of learn things as you go, you know as you get older you just pick stuff up. I’m self-taught, I don’t know if that’s the best way to go being a pianist and stuff like that.
TIANA: WELL, YOU GET YOUR OWN STYLE THAT WAY!
RUFUS: Yeah, you definitely do. I regret giving up my piano lessons as a young child. If I could go back I would definitely carry on doing those.
TIANA: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE! MAYBE WE MIGHT SEE YOU HITTING THE KEYS ON THE NEXT DARKNESS ALBUM AFTER THIS?
RUFUS: (laughs) You never know! You never know!
TIANA: SO WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE DARKNESS SONG TO PLAY LIVE?
RUFUS: Well…it’s been ‘Stuck in a Rut’ for quite a while.
TIANA: IT’S DEFINITELY A BANGER.
RUFUS: Yeah, it’s a real banger that one! It’s just great to play, it’s got a lot of energy, smack the sh!t out of the drums. It’s just great all round. ‘Get Your Hands off My Woman’ is another good one. But I also love ‘Love is Only a Feeling’ just because when you play that to a festival crowd or a big outdoor crowd, they just absolutely love it. They just go crazy for it. And you can feel it, it brings back a lot of people’s childhood, which is cool.
TIANA: I THINK YOU’LL SEE A LOT OF THAT HERE WHEN YOU PLAY THE FESTIVALS AND VENUES FOR SURE.
RUFUS: Awesome! But I will say – after this album is done, there’s at least three songs on this album that will overtake all of my previous live favourites. And I reckon that the guys would say the same.
TIANA: ONE FINAL QUESTION – ASIDE FROM ALL THOSE FAVOURITES, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE GREATEST SONG OF ALL TIME?
RUFUS: Wow. That’s a hard one. There are so many – cos you get songs that are brilliant in their own different ways. (pause). I couldn’t name it. I couldn’t name just one song.
TIANA: THAT’S ACTUALLY THE BEST ANSWER BECAUSE IT’S TRUE – THERE ARE SO MANY OUT THERE, AND I THINK THAT COULD BE THE ULTIMATE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.
RUFUS: (laughs) Good! Well I appreciate that.
TIANA: WELL, GOOD LUCK WITH THE TOUR AND WE ABSOLUTELY CAN’T WAIT TO HAVE YOU BACK IN AUSTRALIA. I HOPE THAT WE ALL SHOW YOU A GOOD TIME, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THE RESULT OF THE GROOVIN THE MOO ASHES CRICKET MATCH.
RUFUS: Yeah, well we both know what the result is, ok? We knew it before it started (laughs)
TIANA: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!
RUFUS: Thanks so much, you too!
THE DARKNESS AUSTRALIAN TOUR:
Tickets available at: http://selecttouring.com.au/tours/the-darkness/
Thursday 27th April - Eaton's Hill, Brisbane (18+)
Tuesday 2nd May - Max Watts, Melbourne (18+) - 3rd AND FINAL MELBOURNE SHOW
Wednesday 3rd May - Max Watts, Melbourne (18+) - SOLD OUT
Friday 5th May, Max Watts, Melbourne (18+) - SOLD OUT
Wednesday 10th May, Enmore Theatre, Sydney (18+)
Friday 12th May, Metro City, Perth (18+)
GROOVIN THE MOO 2017
Friday 28th April, Adelaide Showground, Wayville SA
Saturday 29th April, Maitland Showground, Maitland NSW
Sunday 30th April, Murray Sports Complex, Townsville Cricket Grounds, Annandale QLD
Saturday 6th May, Bendigo's Prince of Wales Showground, Bendigo VIC
Sunday 7th May, University of Canberra, Bruce ACT
Saturday 13th May, Hay Park, Bunbury WA
BY TIANA SPETER