On Friday, March 13, Gas Monkey Live will host something they are calling "Freakers Small," an event that will host seven bands, five of them tribute bands and three featuring one man, Paragraph Taylor, whose tendency to ... embellish ... his words earned him his moniker.
You might have heard about Taylor's real-life mortician band ManifestiV, but he is also the singer for the Marilyn Manson tribute MObscene, the drummer for Rammstein tribute Krautstein and the guitarist for Nine Inch Nails tribute Mr Self Destruct — all of which are playing Freakers Small back to back.
"Gonna be a blast!" Taylor, aka Taylor Walding, says, laying out his plan for the night. "Arrive all Manson-like, scream my ass off, take a contact out, put pants on, smudge myself like a coal miner, drum meditation to Neue Deutsche Härte, douse myself in cornstarch, lose remaining self into destruction of NIN catalog, kick back and watch Type O Negative and Tool [tributes] with any remaining life."
Taylor is no stranger to pulling a triple-duty performance, but the last time he did something like this, he was playing guitar for ManifestiV, Secret of Boris and Mr Self Destruct. This "Para-fest" (as he calls it in jest) may demand more of his body than of his spirit.
"I find it takes less of the soul to do material that came from my youth ... so the energy needed should even out," Taylor says. "I see these as rent shows, meal tickets, homages to teenage Paragraph."
Meal tickets though they may be, Taylor has found these odes to his angrier youth as a place to develop himself for his other projects.
"I used to think it chiseled away at integrity, but I’ve grown to appreciate it as one of the only ways an up-and-coming original music artist in the States can make a living while taking time needed to craft artistic style and take notes," he explains. "Doing this has certainly influenced my original acts as well. The Mansonite croons and Euro Techno of creating Rammstein samples found their way into ManifestiV. The guitar aggression and ambiance of Nine Inch Nails slips into Secret of Boris. It’s like going to industrial music composition university."
If you're doing the math, you should've counted five bands that Taylor lends his hand to, and yet that's not all. He also plays guitar for Limp Bizkit tribute band Significant Others, and any other project that strikes his fancy such as acting as Rosegarden Funeral Party's touring drummer in their joint California tour. Then there is his full-time job as a mortician.
"I’ve found my whole life that the only way to conquer darkness is to embrace it, beat it at its own game, and realize it’s a thing separate from myself." — Paragraph Taylor
Despite his penchant for playing in some of the darkest and hardest bands in Dallas, Taylor maintains his energy and focus by running a tight ship in terms of scheduling and managing his health.
"EvE [Taylor's wife and bandmate in ManifestiV] is like my own personal Sharon Osbourne, knowing and helping manage my energy as I put it where the hustle beckons," he says. "Eating super healthy, plenty of sleep, not too much coffee, zero alcohol or nicotine to recover or withdraw from, and daily meditative yoga altogether makes it even possible. You put 40-plus hours a week into it, the big energetic spurts on a night like [Freakers Small] pay off in downtime later in the week."
Taylor also says he is trying to clean up his language and keep the swearing to the lyrics of his tribute bands.This isn't really what one would imagine a heavy metal rocker guy to be like, is it? But Taylor has lived that life before.
"I used to be all about In & Out burgers, Turkish Silvers then a Juul, vodka then craft IPAs, and barely stretching or sanctioning off quiet time," he says. "Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those, and I don’t judge anyone who still likes any of it — I’ll indulge in the occasional animal-style fry — I just have way more energy as a result of each choice."
With Taylor's concern with finding the right words, the right thoughts and the right actions, one has to wonder why he also finds an attraction to darkness.
"Oh man, it’s absolutely appealing if not essential," he says. "... I’ve found my whole life that the only way to conquer darkness is to embrace it, beat it at its own game, and realize it’s a thing separate from myself. That empowers me to play with it, to imagine and remember a less energetic life, and bask in gratitude as to how far I’ve come."
Whether he is playing in three tribute bands back to back, working with his original bands or whatever side project he's got going on, Taylor wants his music to make those who feel forgotten and neglected instead feel acknowledged and accepted.
"This music at one time or another all reflected dark feelings within myself and saved me from them by revealing I wasn’t alone," he says. "Loneliness results from darkness, and that’s what I find the public appeal to be for this corner of music. Someone else who feels the same, not right about the world, not right about their feelings or how they’ve been made to feel ... unite in uniqueness, darkness and hope past it all. Darkness feeds light and vice versa."