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Koolaydium Interviews Phil Lipscomb of TAPROOT

  What were some of the deciding factors in choosing Victory Records after being tied to Atlantic and then releasing "Our Long Road Home" in a partnership with Velvet Hammer?

 First off, we didn't want to be on one of the big majors again. Been there, done that, and with the changing landscape we knew that wasn't where we wanted to be. We also learned our lesson in a big way with "Our Long Road Home" in trying to release a record mostly on our own. Hardly anybody even knew OLRH came out. Victory made sense for us because they have the history and know how to properly release and promote a new record, and they had expanded their roster and were open-minded enough to want to take us on.

  Has being involved with Victory offered you an audience you wouldn't have expected to reach in the past and the opportunity to take new bands on tour?

 I think somewhat, but it’s harder for the strictly hardcore fans to embrace us as quickly as we’d like them to. We've taken out a few Victory bands on the road and the experience has always been good. I still talk on a regular basis with Ari from Otep/Destrophy.

  Have you met the infamous Tony Brummel?
 Yes, and he's been great to us. I was definitely intimidated at first, but I have only good things to say about him. He's come to one of our shows and came down to watch us shoot the video for "No Surrender.” He’s got a big, bad reputation, but at the end of the day, Tony is a great businessman, first and foremost.

  Do you feel like you've had the last laugh when it comes to band longevity?

-I think we're all simply doing the best we can in this business. They (Fred Durst + Limp Bizkit) were on top of the world and you have to respect that.

  Do you think you'd ever be able to resolve your differences and put the past behind you?
 We've exchanged some twitter messages with Fred and there doesn't seem to be any more animosity between us. I will watch them live any day of the week as long as Wes is still with them. That guy is inspiring.

  How does a Limp Bizkit/Taproot world tour sound to you?

 Sign us up! That would be a lot of fun!

  Looking over the producers for your previous albums I see Ulrich Wild and Toby Wright were used, both being major players in the music world. For the last 3 albums now, you've been working with Tim Patalan who I see is from Michigan as well. Is he an old friend of the band or did he just manage to be the most convenient producer to work with back home?
 We've known about Tim Patalan and his studio at the Loft for a long time, but we hadn't met him until we started working on "Our Long Road Home." We immediately clicked with him, loved his energy and personality, and the convenience of having him so close just makes working with him that much better. When you’re an artist it’s very important that you find someone to work with that understands and shares the same passion for your message(s).

  Have your found your niche with him, or do you have anyone else in mind you'd like to work with in the future?
 Tim is the man, we feel very comfortable with him. He doesn't let us be lazy, he makes sure we're pushing ourselves. We've made three records with Tim that we're very proud of, each record has its own unique feel, which sometimes can be hard when working with the same producer in the same studio again and again. But with Tim it just comes naturally. We're open to working with other people, but right now it just makes sense to stick with Tim. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  Were there ever any other guest appearances you'd like to have happen?

 It's something we always talk about, but timing is everything. We'd love to have Dave Grohl do either a guest appearance or even produce a track. Stephen's a big Emmure fan and there's been talk of getting Frankie to do a guest appearance. I'd love to see Chester and/or Mike from Linkin Park repay the favor of Stephen singing on "P5hng Me A*wy" and do a song with us. Billy Corgan was amazing to work with and I'd love to have him on a song. Chino Moreno from Deftones would be a perfect fit I think. I'm down for anyone that can bring a different flavor to what we do.

  How do you feel the style of the band has progressed from the days of "Blue-Sky Research" working with Billy Corgan and Jonah Matranga as songwriters through "The Episodes"?
 That's always a tough question, and usually words like "matured" and "growth" get thrown around, but what do those words really mean? Looking back at our records and the directions we've gone, I've learned that I never know what our next album is going to sound like, and I think that's part of the magic that keeps us going. We still get excited about writing, we still feel like we have more to offer, and I can't wait to hear what our next album sounds like.

  What made the band want to go back to another record label after doing it on your own for one record?
 I kind of answered this earlier, but the main thing is a record label can help promote a record in ways that you can't do on your own. Victory has a great team of people and they work hard and have played a big role in helping Taproot able to continue to make music.

  Speaking of band longevity, I've always been impressed with the long time line-up the band has maintained over the years. To have so few former members after 10+ years is a small feat in itself. What keeps the band fresh and forward moving after all this time? How do you feel a band has to treat their careers and fellow bandmates to make it the long haul?
 I think we all just love what we do, it's all we know how to do, it's all we want to do, and that's what keeps us going. Our job is something we love to do but we're not making millions of dollars, so I think that helps us keep some perspective. We were friends before and we're still friends to this day so that helps. Another thing that helps is we hardly ever see each other off the road. When you spend months on tour together in such close proximity, I think not spending time together off the road is key. Lastly, we realize as much as we love what we do, this is a job and we treat is as such. We take it very seriously and work hard and as we all know, hard work is its own reward.

  Does the band have any rules on the road to abide to in order to keep the peace?
 No, we don't, which is probably why still fight sometimes! I could come up with a list of what I think the rules SHOULD be, but it would probably cause a fight! We’re all grown men with our own ways of living, living in a close space together is always interesting...

  After seeing the band so many times over the years, I'm always happy a band like yourselves with a large body of work still manages to touch on the old songs and play the fan favorites just the same. What setlist decisions does the band make along the way?
 We mainly try to include a couple songs from every album. Our fan base runs back 15 years and 6 albums, so it's impossible to play everything, but we do try to please our fans. We read the requests on Twitter and Facebook, and this last time we played at The Machine Shop we played "Now" because some long-time fans had made a plea for it. Side note: Stop yelling out for us to play “Poem”. We're going to play it. Lol.

  Do you ever get tired of any songs and want to stop playing them altogether?
 As long as people still want to hear it, I'm more than happy to play it. Playing the song is the easy part, but performing and connecting to the audience is the fun part.

How do you keep playing songs you've played hundreds of times fun and still enjoy what you're doing on each tour?

 If I may quote our friends in P.O.D. "Every day is a new day…" Even if we play the same set, we're playing to a new audience in a new city, and that's what makes it unique. It's the energy we get from the fans and talking to them afterwards and signing stuff and hearing stories about what our music means to them and when they first heard us and all of that combined, that's why it's still fun. That human connection makes it worthwhile. Plus I love playing my bass and I love the fact I get to do that for a living.