Interview: Taproot’s Stephen Richards

Hot on the heels of their recently released Plead the Fifth, Taproot’s Stephen Richards was kind enough to talk to our very own [UTG] Hurricane about the band’s history, the new album, and more!

UTG: When your career first started, you sent your demo to Fred Durst and he offered to hook up a contract with Inerscope Records but yet you guys didn’t go through with it. What happened that made you guysgo and sign with Atlantic ?

SR: Basically, we were contacted by System of a Down’s management (Velvet Hammer), who had some exciting potential opportunities 4 us as well, while Bizkit was blowing up.. So we kinda got scared that we’d miss a major opportunity just sitting around, so we went and got a deal w/ Atlantic records thru Velvet Hammer.

UTG: How was getting exposure on Ozzfest early on help your career andopen doors to other major tours for you guys to be on?

SR: It was amazing.. @ that point we’d only toured for 2 months with Papa Roach (which was awesome), but jumping onto a 2 month tour of the entire country, w/ so many great bands was a fun way to get our tour legs if u will, and getting to play in front of such supportive fans was just great exposure, every day, and of course having sharon and Jack’s (osbourne) support was very comforting

UTG: How did the Billboard success help your future albums?

SR: Unfortunately, it didn’t I guess.. Right after our most successful single (poem) and record (welcome) in 2002, we kinda threw our listeners and fans a curveball, by tuning up our guitars, and getting a little too experimental, for no reason in particular, but it’s what we chose 2 do, so…

UTG: What did everyone do on the two-year break after the Music as a Weapon Tour?

SR: Believe it or not, pretty much writing and preparing for the next record the entire time.. While we kinda dissapeared for that length of time, it was actually just us trying 2 be creative and we shot ourselves in the foot trying to please everyone, label, management, fans etc, all @ the same time, and getting way too comfortable not knowing what we were trying to accomplish

UTG: In 2008 your album Our Long Road was released without a major labelbehind it. Why did you guys decided to release it without a label butfrom your management firm?

SR: We’d left atlantic, kinda feeling not supported as much as we thought we deserved, so by teaming up w/ management 2 release OLRH together, just figured we’d be in control more.

UTG: What do you guys plan to do on Victory Records that you guys haven’t done on other labels?

SR: Well we consciously decided 2 make a heavier record for sure, but not really just cause the victory connection, but more for our oldschool fans that missed that element to our sound, and figured it was about time to, so w/ victory on board, it only made sense

UTG: How is Plead The Fifth different from your previous four releases?

SR: Well, I think although there’s things in common between every record, I think this has the most elements of all 4 previous records, just leaning moreso on the baritone tunings, and more aggressive style, like the 1st two albums.. But still just melodic, heavy, good songs

UTG: Are hometown shows your favorite to play and what’s your least favorite place to play?

SR: Hometown shows are more stressful than anything.. The crowds are amazing, the support’s amazing, but there’s not enough time to spend w/ everyone ya know, family, friends, fans etc.. So it’s hard to not feel like a dick blowin people ya know off. I’d say there’s not really a least favorite place 2 play, cause so many factors are involved w/ making a bad show, and it’s never been a place in particular. But I love me some Vegas, Chicago, and east coast shows 4 sure!

UTG: How does it feel to be on a headlining tour again?

SR: It’s cool.. Touring’s what we do, and do best.. We’ve been road warriors for over a decade now, so we love 2 get out there and play for the people who’ve supported us whether supporting another band, or headlining.. The only downside to headlining persay, is playing over an hour for 5/6 nights in a row.. Our bodies have taken a toll over the years, and the drives are getting rougher, but it’s still as fun (..really just the hangovers are worse, ha!)

UTG: What’s the guilty influence that you have as a musician

SR: I’d say as a kid, adam ant/billy idol, and thinkin dressin like a chick would stick.. For me anyway

Thank u for your help- stephen steele richards

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • HomeyGStyle

    you may want to edit his replies… using “2” instead of “to”, or “w/” as opposed to “with,”… not very professional.