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CKIII: Mann’s World interviews The Loners

In the third week of our Churchkey Three interview series, Karen Mann from Raleigh blog Mann’s World sits down with Eddie Taylor from rowdy garage duo The Loners. Enjoy the article, and check back next week when Triangle Music talks with Last Year’s Men.

The free day party action at Hopscotch is going to be almost as good as the main event. Case in point: The Churchkey Three Day Party taking place at noon on Saturday (Sept. 11) at Tir na Nog. The name is a celebration of this indie label’s third anniversary, and the line-up is a great one: Dirty Little Heaters, Free Electric State, Last Year’s Men, The Dry Heathens and Hammer No More the Fingers. To get everyone in the mood for the party, various local blogs are posting interviews with bands on the Churchkey roster over the next few weeks.

I chose to interview Eddie Taylor from The Loners because I’ve known him for ages, and think he’s a great musician and all-around swell guy. I can’t tell you how much fun I had during this interview.

This interview began and ended — and was briefly punctuated in the middle — with a round of shots. That’s how yours truly found out that Eddie really isn’t one for tequila or Jaeger. If he’s going to do a shot, which isn’t often, he says, he’d prefer to do something “girly” like a Lemondrop. That was the one in the middle.

I also found out that Eddie, one of the friendliest and most gregarious people I know, doesn’t much like talking about himself. In fact, he’s downright shy at times. Sitting in a dark booth at the newly opened Neptunes, with ska in the background, we downed that first round of 1800, and I tweeted that I was about to interview him. The Love Language immediately replied “tell eddie we said hey!!” He seemed flattered and almost a little embarrassed that his name was being thrown about on Twitter. That’s the sort of thing associated with rock stars, or people who think they’re rock stars, and Eddie definitely doesn’t want to be a rock star.

“I don’t like rock stars,” he says. “I don’t like seeing friend get changed into something they aren’t. I like them the way they were. I have a friend who did a video game. He’s making bank. I’ve had a lot of friends who have become real successful, and they’re not the same as they were after that.”

Really? Even if being a rock star meant that he, as a newly single dad, would have women throwing themselves at him, plus a nice nest egg for his daughter?

“It’s an integrity factor that gets lost in all that,” he says. “There are very few that hold on to that integrity. Neil Young has always held on to that integrity. There’s a lot of people I respect that have been able to granted they’re great, they’re famous, but they haven’t lost touch with where they came from.”

He doesn’t even care that much about playing anywhere other than the Triangle.

“I’d like to go out and play more in other places but I can’t dump money into that, get to that town and play for five people who don’t really give a fuck,” he says. “I just can’t do that, cause I’ve done it. If someone offers us something in New York, and have a weekend in New York and go play at WFMU, I’m there. But playing to nobody? I can practice and do that!“

Despite, or perhaps because of, this total lack of giving a damn, The Loners have gained a reputation around town as the band that you don’t miss. If you want people to come out and see your band, you make sure to get a show with The Loners. It doesn’t really matter if they play Slim’s three times in the same week. People will go see them, and will love them, all three times. That’s been especially true since they reformed in 2007 (at the goodbye party for the first Kings) after breaking up for several years. During their first incarnation, they were known for putting on shows that might be great and might be crap, but were always entertaining. Now they’re solid every single time.

The Loners formed out of the ashes of Big Joe, Eddie’s alt-country band that moved to Raleigh from Tucson (via Kentucky) after being invited to play the SPITTLE Fest at the Brewery. He struck up a friendship with popular local drummer Chris Jones, who shared his love of ‘60s garage and psychedelic music as well as ‘80s hardcore.

“Chris Jones is one of my heroes,” he says. “I have the utmost respect for that person. I like the fact that I’ve heard us referred to as a Raleigh tradition. That’s a nice feeling. we’re not a national act. we don’t tour. we are what we are.

The band’s sound has changed a little bit over time, he says, but still retains those two influences, but still retains a healthy dose of ‘70s punk and arena rock. That’s fitting because his first concert, back in Murray, Ken., was Rush, Angel and Blue Oyster Cult. He was 15 and tripping his balls off. His main memories are that he accidentally ripped up his own ticket, and the members of Rush wore silk outfits and appeared to over over a massive shag carpet on the stage.

Eddie says he’s had more time to write lately and that he’s been listening to a lot of Guided by Voices. One of his old pals has an “Eraserhead-meets-’50s-Sci Fi” film that will debut at the Fright Night festival in Louisville, and a couple of Loners songs are in the movie. There are a couple of other things in the works too, but he doesn’t want to jinx them by talking about them prematurely. Buy him a Lemondrop and maybe he’ll spill his guts to you.