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GearFest 2010: Kurth & Taylor

By Michael Summers

michael_summers@fortwaynereader.com

Fort Wayne Reader

2010-06-07


The music industry has more than its fair share of improbable success stories and “happy accidents,” and one of the more interesting of these will perform at Sweetwater’s 2010 GearFest on June 26.

The band is Kurth & Taylor, a five-piece that during the 90s performed regularly on ABC’s General Hospital under the name Eddie Maine & the Idle Rich. Wally Kurth played Ned Ashton on the popular soap for 14 years (he’s currently on Days of Our Lives as Justin Kiriakis). He met Christian Taylor in 1992, and the two formed the band with high school friends Lee Beverly (bass), Jim Bloodgood (drums) and Pat McCormack (lead guitar).

What followed was a strange sort of semi-fame. From 1993 through 2000, Eddie Maine & the Idle Rich performed to a television audience of some 6 million viewers. They even won an Emmy. They toured extensively to enthusiastic crowds, and though they enjoyed some of the perks of rock star life, they also did a lot of charitable work, performing concerts for the Ryan White Foundation (they eventually formed the Kurth & Taylor Foundation to continue raising money for various Children’s Hospitals and direct services programs).

But despite all the exposure, that major label record deal didn’t materialize — according to Kurth, they kept hearing that the band was a little too rock for country and a little too country for rock. “We were labeled a ‘Tweener’,” Christian Taylor has said. “Something in-between the two genres which defied the traditional marketing avenues.”

The band made their own albums, releasing them through mail order, but eventually their tenure on General Hospital ended, and the band went their separate ways, becoming involved in their own projects and the demands of family life.

But of course, about five years later, the band members felt that familiar itch to perform together again. The result is Greatest Hits? 1993-2010, a “best of” compilation featuring songs selected by fans, plus two new tunes, “Tread In the Tires” and “Let’s Get the Band Back Together Again.”

It’s the latter song and its accompanying video that’s garnered Kurth & Taylor a lot of attention. The title sort of says it all — “Let’s Get the Band Back Together Again” is a catchy, mid-tempo rocker that basically says “Yeah, it’s probably a mid-life crisis, but we don’t care. We’re having fun.”

The tune contains the line “reliving our youth with brand new toys,” and the accompanying video includes a shot of the band leafing through one of Sweetwater’s massive equipment directories. The band’s Sales Engineer at Sweetwater brought it to the attention of Mike Ross, the company’s Director of Marketing. “It was funny, the songs were good, and most of all it was really well done,” says Ross.

The band was featured as part of Sweetwater’s April Gear Giveaway promotion, and invited to perform and give a talk at this year’s GearFest. Ross said it seemed like a natural fit. “I think a lot of customers can identify,” he says. “There’s a good core of our customers who are in that age range where they’re family guys, working guys, but the idea of still having ‘tread on the tires’ is going to resonate.”

But more importantly, Kurth & Taylor’s approach to making their album and videos seemed to epitomize what can be done with a little talent, drive and imagination. “They really are the ‘poster children’ for somebody who has the talent to be able to use what we consider to be basic recording tools — Cubase 4, I think, a mic and Sony Vegas video editing software — and next thing you know, look what they put out.”

Kurth and Taylor will be putting on a mini-concert and talking about their D.I.Y. approach in Sweetwater’s performance theater at 3:30 on Saturday, July 26.

To see the videos for “Let’s Get the Band Back Together Again” and “Tread On the Tires” visit kurthandtaylor.com.

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