The members of Taking Dawn grew up
surrounded by the glitz and glam, the bright lights and big city of
constant vice. This LasVegas upbringing helped shaped the band into what
it is today: a rock 'n roll timebomb just waiting to explode on an
unsuspecting public with its Roadrunner debut, Time to Burn.
"We've spent our whole lives in Las Vegas and we're the only people from
Las Vegas who didn't turn into smack dealers," says vocalist/guitarist
Chris Babbitt, showcasing his signature humor. Babbitt and guitarist
Mikey Cross were born at the same hospital and brought into this world
by the same doctor. It's as though the stars were aligned and the duo
were destined to be in a band. Babbitt recalls the band's coming
together, saying, "Alan and I met sophomore year in high school when I
started playing guitar. I met Mike senior year, after I had been trying
to put a band together for many years and it finally happened when we
were 21." Babbitt fell into the frontman role, in what turns out to have
been a happy accident. "No one could sing so I was going to have to step
it up. Everyone sucked and I happened to suck less," he says, tongue
planted firmly in cheek. Babbitt admits the band started "screwing
around" at a local haunt – Roberto's Taco Shop— and everything spiraled
Babbitt and Cross also worked security at the Hard Rock Hotel, which
helped them remain surrounded by and immersed in rock 'n roll. This
rough 'n tumble day job led the duo to appear as the star security
guards on True TV's Rehab show. Babbitt laughs about his role on the
reality show, saying, "I save a lot of lives, kick a lot of ass!"
One other way Taking Dawn kicks a lot of ass
is in their band. "All the glitz and being immersed by constant vice has
steered us in the other direction," Babbitt admits. "We don't drink a
lot, smoke or do drugs. We're just about the music and the girls that
come with it!" While most of the members were just born when Guns N'
Roses was tearing up the Sunset Strip in L.A., Taking Dawn got up to
speed and on the quick, with their steadfast rock 'n roll dedication and
education. Chris' dad was a rocker and a hippie, and his son was
predisposed to a life of loving Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.
Taking Dawn "The
Chain" Music Video
played Sabbath while he vacuumed around my crib. When I got picked up
from kindergarten, he'd ask me what track was playing," he remembers.
Babbitt also learned to love the rock early and that's something he's
taken with him into his '20s and within his local scene. He says, "Las
Vegas is represented by The Killers and Panic At The Disco. There is no
real rock 'face' here anymore. Slaughter was the last rock band, so I
feel like we have a lot to carry on that end, as a rock band, to bring
attention to the scene."
While Taking Dawn are by no means a
throwback to 80s glam metal, the band is certainly inspired by the era
gone by and have chosen to take the foundation of that sound and scene
and update it in a thoroughly modern way: by shredding, soloing and
creating melody in their music. "I don’t get people who don't like Bon
Jovi and Skid Row and other classic bands," he says. "We want to bring
it to the kids, for them to understand it in a modern context. We don't
want to imitate. We want to do our own thing. We want the balls and the
Time To Burn has the desired cojones and
a whole lotta attitude. The title track was the one that attracted the
attention of Roadrunner, due to the fact that it's fast, oozes energy
and makes a big statement. "It goes, 'Homicidal, kill your idols / Your
heroes are whores and your only God is you.' It's a big statement about
what we want to say. We don't want to look like "some" part or image and
we're saying you don't have to do drugs and be complete fuck up to still
rock harder than the rest of them." Amen to that! The band is
particularly proud of the song, saying, "We can write an aggressive,
catchy song that shreds." The song even has a part where the band sings,
'Halle-Fucking-lujah.' Of that moment, Babbitt offers further
explanation, saying, "It builds differently, instead of being the same
formulaic, pseudo-anti-establishment and anti-organized religion song.
It has religious innuendo. You know, it's the one word Ozzy never said!
I needed one word he didn't already use. It's liberating and fun as fuck
to sing. We almost didn't keep that part but it's the hook of the song."
|"Take Me Away" is a playful romp about a
lady of the night, so to speak, and sonically, it lives at the other end
of the spectrum of the band's style: it has a metallic edge dosed with
the catchy pop the band cops to liking. "We like songs that are classics
and that have hooks. We want to connect with people," Babbitt says.
"Everyone agrees on the same top 50 songs that make up the musical
canon. We want to slide into that 50. This song is rock 'n roll with the
baddest guitars around and it's catchier than herpes." While it's a bold
statement for the band to make, it's hard to argue with confidence and
bravado when there is talent and skill to back it up.
The band also shows off its non-standard
side by covering Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." They originally planned to
do their own rendition of WASP's "Fuck Like a Beast," but decided to
switch gears. Babbitt says, "We wanted to do something more
ambitious, even though that song summed up the band and we want
to give that song limelight.
| Then we started thinking of alternatives and we didn't want
to be pigeonholed by the 80s scene even though we love bands from that
era. Mike was rolling through songs and that is our favorite Fleetwood
Mac song. We have the opportunity to do what Metallica did for 'Turn the
Page' and make it our own while retaining the original audience."
The band demoed with Jason Suecof (Trivium,
All That Remains) and eventually recorded with Elvis Baskette (Chevelle,
Incubus). In the end, Babbitt wants to write songs that sound like Randy
Rhoads meets Marty Friedman, merging the classic rock and modern metal
sounds into their own unique blend. He admits, "We're not trying to
write other people's songs. We're trying to write songs that kick your
fucking ass but have a vintage feel." He also eschews genre
classification, saying, "Our music is about attitude and being open to
rocking out to a song. That goes far for us. The genre barrier bullshit
is not for us. You can do both. You don't have to be a savior or a
martyr. That kills music."
Genres, compartmentalization and safe
rock 'n roll be damned.