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Band pay their musical dues and create infectious sound
Rock 'n' roll band Tax The Heat are living the dream by recording and touring just like their musical heroes.
Their latest UK trek plays The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on April 21, 2017.
Formed in Bristol by Alex Veale, Jack Taylor, Antonio Angotti and JP Jacyshyn, their aim was to keep alive the spirit of rock 'n' roll.
Living the dream: Tax The Heat (pic: Ed Fielding)
"We loved the idea of those great blues-rock bands playing in small, sweaty clubs in the '60s," Alex says. "That was the blueprint for the songs we were writing. But we wanted to be a little more riffy and raucous."
Tax The Heat played their first gig in January 2013 and, later that year, the band's self-recorded demos gained the interest of Chris Goss, leader of rockers Masters Of Reality and producer of Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Cult.
"Our management asked us for a shortlist of producers and Chris was number one on the list,'' says guitarist and vocalist Alex. ''He produced 'Rated R' for Queens Of The Stone Age, and that album is a massive influence on us."
After hearing the demos, Chris agreed to produce an EP for the band. It was recorded in Bath following a UK tour with Masters Of Reality, and engineered by Tom Dalgery, who went on to produce the Mercury Prize-nominated debut album by Royal Blood.
In 2014 Tax The Heat took their music to some of the biggest stages and festivals in the UK, including Download and Calling Festival. They toured extensively with the likes of Thunder, Reef, Black Star Riders, The Graveltones, The Virginmarys and The Cadillac Three.
In 2015 the band signed to Nuclear Blast Entertainment and in April 2016 their debut album, Fed To The Lions, was released to rave reviews.
True to their vision, the album's sound is inspired by the great bands of the '60s – The Kinks, The Beatles, the Stones, the Yardbirds, The Who – but is also comparable to contemporary artists such as Jack White, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Black Keys.
Alex says: "We love the energy of those '60s bands. Maximum R&B – that's the basis for Tax The Heat. But we're taking it somewhere else, bridging the gap between old and new, creating something that has raw energy but is also original."
Drummer Jack adds: "It was all about capturing that live energy on the record. We didn't want to go fully old-school with it – we used modern technology. But what you hear on the album is the four of us playing together, no overdubs, a lot of live takes. We didn't want to make an album that was too retro. We wanted something that's our own."
Alex continues: "Rhythm-and-blues rock 'n'roll is the root of it but when you listen to the album, it's more than that. There's a lot of depth to these songs, a lot of melodic content. And yet, there's something from the old school that still remains. The way we play, it's like all those great old bands that we love. Tight but loose."
With the release of Fed To The Lions, the band headed back out on the road playing headline tours of the UK plus guest slots with Europe, Ash and Terrorvision. There were also appearances at several UK festivals including Truck, Ramblin' Man Fair, Steelhouse and Planet Rockstock.
The end of 2016 saw Tax The Heat nominated in Best New Band category at the Classic Rock Awards. In 2017, as well as touring they plan to record the follow-up to Fed To The Lions.