- Artist: Taz
- Label: Eonian Records
- UPC: 798576234096
- Genre: Hard Rock
- Release Date: 2023
West Hollywood is a city in Los Angeles, California. Incorporated in 1984, it is home to the Sunset Strip. The Sunset Strip is the name given to the mile-and-a-half stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood. In the 1960s, the Sunset Strip became a haven for several well-known music groups. Bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Byrds, Frank Zappa, and many others played at clubs like the Whisky a Go-Go, the Roxy, Pandora’s Box, and the London Fog.The Strip became a major focus for Punk Rock and New Wave during the 1970s. Still, with the arrival of Van Halen, Quiet Riot, Dokken, and Mötley Crüe, among others, it soon became the center of the glam metal scene throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, hosting some of the world’s most renowned bands and groundbreaking albums that would influence sounds and be imitated for years to follow. By 1987, West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip scene had exploded! Hard Rock and Glam Metal were now dominating the top of the Billboard Music Charts, selling millions of copies multiple times over, selling out worldwide tours, and producing chart-topping singles while opening the door to MTV and commercial success for other bands at the end of the decade.
Of all the “Almost-famous” Rock bands from Los Angeles in the mid-to-late 1980s, TAZ stands out as the biggest to not get signed to a major label deal. In 1985, TAZ was inspired by the exceptionally talented duo of singer K.K. & guitarist Ethan Gladstone and what a team they made. K.K. was the blond frontman with cooler stage moves than Mick Jagger, and Ethan was the virtuosic string-bender with an instinct for riffs that would lodge themselves on your brain and refuse to leave for days.TAZ sold out EVERY venue they played from San Diego down to San Francisco, and especially in Los Angeles when they played Gazzarri’s, Roxy Theatre, Troubadour, L.A. Country Club, & The Whisky, just to name a few. TAZ also were regulars at the famed Moby Grape Lounge in Las Vegas and the Mason Jar in Phoenix. TAZ was also regularly featured in well-known publications such as BAM, Hollywood Rocks, Rock City News, Screamer, BURRN!, RIP, Metal Edge, Metal Forces, and so many more. TAZ was a big draw, and fans were lining up.How TAZ never made it big is among rock music’s great mysteries, but at least we can now discover the band all over again. TAZ combined Pop, Funk, Alternative, Metal, & Glam with a stage show that would not let you look away because you might miss something amazing if you did. “I think we were trying to create music that came from our hearts, and at times we accomplished that really well,” K.K. said. “We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone, and because we all had so many different influences, no two songs sounded the same. You could tell it was us, but they all had their own flavor.”
Among those interested in taking TAZ to the next level was producer Rob Cavallo. Cavallo, later one of the top-selling producers in the world, produced or had creative involvement in albums that sold more than 130 million units. He worked with many of the Warner Music Group artists, including Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, and Green Day, just to name a few. “Rob was great; he loved what we were doing and worked with us on the tunes,” Ethan said. “Very talented guy, even back then. I think we might have been his first band. He got us a demo deal with Warner Bros. We recorded with big-time engineer Magic A. Moreno (Eric Clapton, David Lee Roth) and Rob producing. We thought this was going to be it. Unfortunately, Warner ended up passing.” Earlier in the band’s career, Kim Vincent Fowley produced four songs, ‘SEX,’ ‘L.A. Danger Zone,’ ‘She Does Bad Things Good,’ and ‘Missing You.’ Fowley was a renowned record producer, songwriter, and musician who was behind a string of novelty and cult Pop-Rock singles in the 1960s and managed The Runaways in the 70s. Fowley also produced the first demos for the iconic power pop band Candy, which featured Gilby Clarke and Kyle Vincent.
“Bringing a thought or a riff or whatever to life, and the sense that we did this together - that was so cool,” K.K. said. “Playing live anywhere, that’s where we thrived. Feeling a sense that we were onto something, that we were choosing to thumb our noses at society, and saying we’re going do this unapologetically, those were great memories - plus traveling and gigging, and of course, touring Japan was epic.” “We were really blessed,” K.K. said. “We couldn’t have asked for a more talented group of musicians to play with. Chris was an amazing bass player with a great image & stage presence, along with an incredible personality! We are still friends to this day. Rick (RIP), friends since childhood. Incredible, blues-based hard rock guitarist! Kenny & Joey… both very gifted with cool vibes!” “You have to move on,” Ethan said. “Those times with the guys were some of the most fun times of my life. We were young and on top of our game for a moment, and I couldn’t ask for more than that. It was all very exciting.”
Taz - Shipwrecked (CD) (2023 Eonian Records)