INTERVIEW WITH TONY THAXTON FOR THE EIY HANDBOOK
TONY THAXTON, 31 (Glendale, CA)
MUSICIAN (Motion City Soundtrack)
YEARS IN MUSIC: As far back as I can remember
ON THE WEB: twitter.com/tonythaxton // motioncitysoundtrack.com // analogplayset.com
CURRENT PROJECT: Motion City Soundtrack ROLE: Drummer, backing vocalist
WHO FIRST GOT YOU INTO MUSIC? My dad. He plays drums, and he used to play in a cover band on the weekends, so I just grew up around it. As long as I can remember, I had a drumset. So I was always around it and at least TRYING to play.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO? I don’t remember a specific moment. Banging on drums for years, just eventually turned into playing beats. I don’t remember a moment where it clicked; it was just a gradual thing. It’s always just been one of the few things that I felt I was good at, and enjoyed doing.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WHEN YOU STARTED? I just remember wanting to play in a band someday. I played drums along to a boombox all of the time. High school was when I finally got to start playing with other people. And actually Matt (Taylor of MCS) was the first person I really started playing with.
HAVE YOU ACHIEVED THOSE GOALS? I’ve got to say, I’m pretty happy with where things are. I just wanted to be able to pay my bills playing music, and I’ve been able to do that for a while now. Hopefully that will continue for a while. I’d love to branch out into other things as well. I’d love to do some studio sessions. So, I’ve reached SOME goals.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS NOW? They’re bigger now. I’m very lucky in that I have reached a lot of my goals, so I had to make new ones. Like I said, I’d love to branch out into studio sessions and things like that. As much as I enjoy doing this, I do miss getting to play with other people and play other types of music as well.
WERE YOU ALWAYS ON THE PATH THAT YOU’RE ON NOW? I think, more or less, I was always on this path. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing, so it was always sort of just there for me. In elementary and middle school I got pretty into art for a while. I used to draw all of the time. I kind of ONLY liked drawing though, and when I got into high school, I started doing it less and less and all of my spare time went into playing music.
WHAT HAVE YOU HAD TO SACRIFICE? Time with loved ones. You’re on the road so much; you have to miss a lot of important things. But, thankfully I have a really supportive family. It’s tough for girlfriends too because you’re around so little. Thankfully I have a great, patient lady.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Musicians that are better than me. And there’s tons of them, so it can be easy to find it! I love when we tour with bands who have amazing drummers. I love to just watch them every night and try to break down what they are doing, so I can eventually steal ideas from them!
HOW MUCH OF YOUR SUCCESS HAS COME FROM LUCK? TALENT? HARD WORK? Well, you always need at least SOME luck on your side. I really think we got to where we are from hard work. Back around 2002-2003, we were playing around 300 shows a year, which is insane. No one can tell us that we didn’t work hard for this, whether you like our band or not.
HOW HAVE YOU MEASURED YOUR SUCCESS? For me it was always just reaching goals. When we started, we just wanted to be able to pay our bills. Once we hit that goal, we were pretty happy. Everything after that has been such a nice bonus.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS? To me, if you have a good amount of people who buy your records and come to see you play, that’s a success. It’s not an easy business. Just getting people to even hear your band can be difficult, so if you get people to CARE, then I think that is a success.
DO THE BEST BANDS GET FAMOUS OR STAY UNDISCOVERED? I’ve definitely heard my share of bands that I thought for sure were going to be enormous, and then only a handful of people ever even heard them. Who knows how many of those there are.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE UNDISCOVERED BANDS? There is a band from Chicago called This Is Me Smiling. I think they’re fantastic. Excellent musicians with excellent songs.
Read Tony’s answers to 50 questions about music and the music business in the EIY HANDBOOK, available in print or eBook version at www.earnityourself.com
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