Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Steve Taylor performing at Cornerstone 2003, his first U.S. concert since 1996, and perhaps his last for some time to come.
Taylor's life took an unusual turn in 1979 when he was first of the 100 chosen, from 20,000 applicants, to spend the summer at John Davidson's summer camp. At the camp, Taylor spent time learning from singers like Tony Orlando, Florence Henderson, and John Davidson. Also that year, Taylor heard one of his biggest influences, The Clash's London Calling. "It saved my life, musically," said Taylor.
Taylor recorded a demo of original songs that took the Contemporary Christian music world by surprise. Taylor first began to write for the musical group The Continentals , then recorded his debut solo project I Want To Be A Clone in 1982 and released it in January, 1983. Taylor quickly gained a reputation as a "controversial" artist, often criticizing or even poking fun at the church that he was singing to.
In 1984, Taylor recorded his first full length album, Meltdown. His video single of the title track, "Meltdown (at Madame Tussaud's)" was widely played on MTV, which was unusual for a Christian artist at the time. The video featured an appearance by actress Lisa Whelchel, from NBC's Facts of Life television series. The album also included the sharp, anti-racist anthem, "We Don't Need No Colour Code", directed at South Carolina's Bob Jones University and its segregationist policies. (Bob Jones University would finally abandon those policies in 2000.) The album also included a jab at televangelist Jimmy Swaggart entitled "Guilty By Association". Swaggart had devoted an entire chapter of one of his books to Taylor, whom he saw as playing evil rock music. Taylor counters Swaggart with an impression in the middle eight "It's of a worldly design, try buying records like mine! Avoid Temptation. Guilty by Association."
Taylor followed that release with On The Fritz, produced by Foreigner's Ian McDonald. Fritz, keeping with Taylor tradition, took aim once again at Religious leaders. This time, one of his targets included Bill Gothard ("I Manipulate"), greedy TV evangelists (again) ("You Don't Owe Me Nothing"), politicians using religion or avoiding questions of morality in order to get votes ("It's A Personal Thing"), and public schools teaching "values clarification" to children, asking them to determine who should be thrown overboard in an overcrowded lifeboat ("Lifeboat").
In 1987, Taylor once again lived up to his controversial reputation with a song called "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good". The song criticized pro-life activists who blow up abortion clinics or kill doctors for their cause. Unfortunately, the point of the song was lost on many and resulted in Taylor's album, I Predict 1990, being pulled from the shelves at some Christian record stores. Taylor himself would occasionally call those stores to explain the song to them. With 1990, Taylor's targets included mainstream Universities ("Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel A Lot Better", featuring fiddle work from Papa John Creech of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna). Other standout tracks included "Jim Morrison's Grave", which once again brought Taylor some MTV exposure, and the Flannery O'Connor inspired "Harder to Believe Than Not To". Some stores also pulled the album as they thought the cover looked like a Tarot Card.
Taylor then took a break from music, until 1991 when he returned as the lead singer of Chagall Guevara. The band released their only album on MCA records that year. A follow up album was begun, but due to label restructuring the band was released from its contract.
Taylor returned with another solo album, Squint, and a live CD, Liver, in the mid 1990's. Squint included the track "Smug", which takes aim equally at both sides of the political spectrum, Rush Limbaugh and Barbra Streisand, both of which are praised as the masters of smugness. The album also included the song "Cash Cow", which criticizes our money desiring society while giving an additional jab at one more televangelist ("The golden Cash Cow had a body like the great cows of ancient Egypt/And a face like the face of Robert Tilton... without the horns")
In the years following those releases, Taylor focused his efforts on running a record label, Squint Entertainment, and producing projects for other artists, including Sixpence None The Richer's self titled 1997 release that featured the hit singles "Kiss Me" and a cover of The La's "There She Goes". Squint Entertainment lost its financial backing in 2001 and Taylor was forced out of the company.
Taylor is currently working full time as a film maker and has directed music videos for Fleming and John, Rich Mullins, Sixpence None The Richer, Newsboys, Guardian , and two video albums for himself. While still running Squint, Taylor had begun work on a major film project called St. Gimp. That film was abandoned with the company, but he has since begun work on a film entitled "Second Chance" (which is currently in production.)
- I Want To Be a Clone, 1983 debut EP
- Meltdown, 1984 album
- On the Fritz, 1985 album
- Limelight, 1986 live album
- Limelight, 1986 live video
- Videoworks, 1985 video collection
- I Predict 1990, 1987 album
- I Predict 1990: The Video Album, 1987 video collection
- The Best We Could Find (+3 That Never Escaped), 1988 album
- Chagall Guevara, Chagall Guevara, 1991 album
- Squint, 1993 album
- Squint: Movies From the Soundtrack, 1993 video collection
- Now The Truth Can Be Told, 1994 two-disc box set
- Now The Truth Can Be Told, 1994 video collection
- Liver, 1995 live album
- Roaring Lambs Various Artists, 2000 compilation (one track by Taylor)
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