Taj Motel Trio

Interviews | By on Feb 8th, 2012

1) The Taj Motel Trio formed around the height of the ska craze in the late 90’s. What was it that made you want to start your own ska punk band?
I’m not really sure what made us want to do this, we just like making music I guess. We didn’t intentionally start a ska punk band, it was an accident. When we started, the plan was just to be a band with horns. We didn’t even know what ska was. We wanted to be like Cake w/ more horns. Eventually we became a ska band.

2) Was it difficult trying to book shows and get your music out there when the popularity of the third wave movement was dying down?
We played our first show in January 1998, and to be honest we didn’t play all that many……5-10 a year, maybe. We started touring in 2003 and by then the third wave movement had more or less come and gone. Honestly, it may have been easier to get our music out in 2003 than it would have been in the mid Nineties. By then we had mp3.com, myspace, yahoo…remember those???

3) Were there any times early on when the TMT thought about jumping ship and forming an emo band like so many ska bands did at that time?
Where’s the fun in that? Emo sucks!!! I am going to start a bluegrass band at some point…..but I’ve been saying that for 5 or 6 years now, so we’ll just have to wait and see if it happens!!!

4) What are some of the band’s biggest musical influences?
That’s a tough question and you’ll get different answers from each member of the band. If you were riding in our van you’d be subjected to music from: Boston, The Specials, Poison, Waylon Jennings, Rush, Queen, Andrew WK, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Four Year Strong, Hall & Oats, Foxy Shazam, Hank Williams Jr, Limp Bizkit, and many more…..Musically, we’re all over the place!!!!

5) The Taj Motel Trio hails from Georgia which is more known for crunk and Hotlanta than it is for its ska bands. Is there a vibrant ska and punk scene there?
There is a ska and punk scene in Atlanta, but I don’t know that I’d use the word vibrant…. We love Atlanta, and we love the people there……but to have a stronger scene we really need some hard working promoters that are willing to take a chance on ska shows, and we need more local bands. For some reason ska bands don’t last long in GA.

6) Do you guys get a lot of support from the local punk/ska community?
Yes, and we really appreciate it!!!!

7) Not just locally, but do you see more of an acceptance of ska music, your band and in general, more or less now than when you guys started out?
For the most part, yes. I think the key, whether you’re playing ska or not, is to really be genuine and enjoy the music you’re playing. If you’re having a good time, other people probably will too!

8) The Taj Motel Wikipedia page shows that you’ve played with a lot of bands ranging from the OC Supertones and the Planet Smashers to the Toasters and Bon Jovi (!?). Do you have any favorite bands that you’ve played with or particular shows that stand out above the rest?
We’ve played a lot of shows, and naturally some are better than others, but we try not to pick favorites. If you compare every show you play to your “favorite” one, you’ll just make yourself miserable. Fact is, we love to make music and we love to hang out w/ cool people….as long as those two requirements are met, we’ll have a great show!!!!

9) What’s the scoop on the Bon Jovi show? How did that end up happening?
How did it happen? Well, we entered a radio contest as a joke and wound up winning. We were surprised, the station was surprised, everybody was surprised. One of the DJ’s told us that some bigwig’s
daughter was supposed to of won…..oops. The show itself was pretty fun but it wasn’t exactly our “scene” if you know what I’m saying? Punk shows don’t generally have catered food and massage therapists back stage.

10) Give us one of the band’s funniest road stories.
One time Pete got kidnapped by a cougar….. you can use your imagination, but I don’t think I’m going to give any more details.

11) A few years ago the Taj Motel Trio released the song “OaOaOa” on the Rock Band Network for play in the Rock Band 3 video game. Why did the band decide to release music via the RBN?
We thought it might be a good way to get our music out to some people that otherwise might not hear it. Also, being in a video game is super cool!!!

12) What was the process like in getting that track on to the Rock Band Network?
I was really easy for us. We were contacted by a programmer who wanted to work on our music. We gave consent, signed some forms, and he did all the hard work. He did a hell of a job too!!! Thanks Steev!!!

13) Are any of the band members avid gamers? If so, what games are you currently playing?
Yes. I really like the Assassins Creed series….but I play Magic: the Gathering more than any video game. I’m a different kind of nerd. Peter and Kevin are really into Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Josh is pretty passionate about Mario and other Nintendo franchise games, and we’ve all been known to indulge in some Pokemon while we’re on tour. Also, Cory seems to be good at all video games, even though he doesn’t own a console……it’s kind of freaky. I think he’s a wizard.

14) One thing that I’m fairly certain of is that a few members of the band are comic book fans. I ask this question in almost every interview but no one ever answers it. I think that I may finally get that elusive answer. Here goes: If you could compare the Taj Motel Trio to a superhero team or describe your sound as a super power, who or what would it be?
Our sax player Bo used to claim that we actually ARE a superhero team, and that “TAJ” was an acronym for “Totally Awesome Justice.” I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations…. Would rocking people’s faces off (like in “Face Off”) be a super power? If so, I could totally be down with that!

15) If the band were to write a song about one particular superhero/villain, who would it be about?
We’ve already got a song about Darth Vader (Pete’s favorite BTW). Does that count?

Be sure to visit the band’s website here and their Facebook here.

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