Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith
More Gotta Start Somewhere
No matter how successful entertainers become, they’ll inevitably always remember the first gig—whether it was disastrous, wonderful, or absurdly strange. Gotta Start Somewhere embraces these nostalgic moments by asking established entertainers to retell the story of the first time they ever graced a stage. In this edition, The A.V. Club caught up with Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith before the band joins Blitzen Trapper Saturday night at Turner Hall.
Taylor Goldsmith: I remember some early shows, but I don’t remember anything that’s for sure the first show.
I do remember one show, though, that was at someone’s birthday party. They were turning 13 or 14. My dad and the guitar player’s dad both came to the party with us—I mean, they had to drive us there—and there was an In-N-Out truck there. We’d gone out and bought really tight T-shirts, and, probably back then, we had really lame leather wristbands, too.
The A.V. Club: What did you guys play?
TG: I remember we had two songs we’d written, and other than that, we just learned a bunch of other stuff, like “El Scorcho” by Weezer and “Why Can’t This Be Love” by Van Halen. That one was because the guitar player in the group was this genius guitarist who could play anything, and he loved Van Halen.
Nobody listened to our whole set except our two dads. All the other kids came to watch us start to see what it was about, their young friends starting a band, but then about the end of the first or second song, we were just playing by ourselves.
AVC: What were you called?
TG: Bridge 22. It’s for the bridge on the guitar and the 22 frets.
AVC: How did Bridge 22 get together?
TG: I started the band with the guitarist, Blake. He and I met at 10 or 11 because my family was moving into his town and his dad was a real estate agent. We had to stop by his house before we could go to the next property we were looking at. I was 11 and Blake was 10, but Blake was blessed with being very cool very early, unlike me. When we got there, he had spiky hair and was wearing tighty whiteys, playing Van Halen songs already.
His dad was like, “My son’s a guitarist. He’s really good. You should check out what he can do,” and then my dad was like, “My son sings. Maybe they should hang out.” Blake said, “So you can sing? Sing something,” and I started singing what I’d been learning with my children’s voice teacher, which was “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” from The Lion King. Blake was just like, “That’s cool. That’s not really what I’m into, but that’s cool that that’s what you do.” By the time we met up in middle school a couple of years later, I’d wised up and realized how terribly embarrassing that was.
AVC: When was this?
TG: I think the show we played was in 1998.
AVC: How did you book the party gig?
TG: I don’t think I even knew the people who were having it that well. They were more Blake’s friends. He was a skateboarder and girls liked him, so he was cooler than I was. I was chubby and had been in musicals and shit.
AVC: Do you remember what the songs you wrote sounded like?
TG: I remember the first one was called “Tell Me Why,” and I wasn’t aware of Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why” then. Mine was, “Tell me why you don’t like me,” as the main line of the chorus. The other one I think was called “Remember,” but I don’t remember that one very well. Both of them were very terrible songs that weren’t really about anything because I’d never even spoken to a girl, let alone had enough experience dealing with one to have a song written about it. I was just copying what was on the radio, and it was about me learning how to put chords, a verse, and a chorus together.
AVC: How did you learn that in the first place?
TG: My dad would help me out. I played piano for a while, but being trained in reading music for the piano doesn’t really teach you what you need to write a song. I stopped that at 6 or 7 anyway, and then took up the guitar when I was 12. I learned three chords and said, “Can I write a song now?” My dad helped me write that “Tell Me Why” song. After that, I got back into piano from guitar.
AVC: So what ever happened to Bridge 22?
TG: Blake and I are still friends. The band eventually turned into Simon Dawes, and I was in that until I was 21, and then that broke up. Blake and I are still close buddies, though. He’s Lucinda Williams’ guitarist now. His name’s Blake Mills, and our music’s been intertwined for a long time.