Reformed '70s rock legends TASTE have revealed their epic new single I Am God, alongside an apocalyptic film clip by acclaimed Australian director Clayton Jacobson (Kenny, Animal Kingdom). The group has also announced that their highly anticipated new album Life On Earth will be released on May 27. The band will embark on a national tour to support the release, kicking off at Brisbane's Crowbar on July 1, moving through Adelaide's Fowlers Live on July 9, Sydney's Frankie's Pizzeria on July 14 and finishing up with a show at Melbourne's iconic Corner Hotel on July 16.
The exhilarating and thunderous I Am God demonstrates a maturity that only 40 years in the industry can provide. The explosive vocals, stark guitar harmonies and head-banging solos are all informed by the bands' combined experience in the hard rock and jazz worlds. While composing the fiery tune, lead vocalist and keyboardist Ken Murdoch drew inspiration from an imagined dystopia, 'I wrote the song based on a short story I'd written imagining life on Earth as The Sims game, played out by a not-so-benevolent God using events and disasters as ways of amusement. He plays...we pay."
Legendary Australian director Clayton Jacobson reflects this theme in the film clip for I Am God. The band plays on defiantly as the shreds of society surrounding them continue to go up in flames. Murdoch says, 'When we first met Clay the director, he asked what I would like for the video and I said -just the band and an army of stalking robots'. He's so literal! I was joking! Once we'd seen the first draft we all screamed in unison -More Robots!' and there they are!"
I Am God is the first single from Taste's exciting new album Life On Earth. The epic suite was conceived over the course of a few months, as Murdoch recalls, 'The songs poured out of me…I knew where it was going. It's a big album." Dramatic and well crafted – the best of 70s progressive rock readymade for a 2016 audience – Life On Earth boasts intricate string arrangements, complex percussive sections, and the walls of harmony that rendered Taste a household name. Reflecting on the themes touched upon throughout the record, Murdoch mentions 'religion, life, death, terror, murder and zombie love."
It's a welcome offering from these lost legends of Australian rock, whose tragic story of mismanagement and parental control is not commonly known. Fresh-faced and prodigious, the group was set to sign to Sire Records and tour America with Queen in 1977 when it all went wrong, and the group disbanded. But what's past is past, and the group is ecstatic to be playing together once more in light of their progressive new album.
The seasoned band are looking forward to hitting the road in July, with Murdoch enthusing, 'It's a pretty full-on show that shows off the chemistry of the band, who've played together nearly all their lives. It's pretty musically complex, heavy, and evokes some mighty vocals and guitar solos."
TASTE are Ken Murdoch (lead vocals, guitar), Joey Amenta (lead guitar, vocals), Damian Corniola (drums), Michael Tortoni (bass).
Life On Earth is out May 27. Tickets to the national LIFE ON EARTH tour are available now Remastered versions of the band's classic 70s albums, Tickle Your Fancy and Knights of Love were released in late 2015
I AM GOD
Watch video: I AM GOD
Listen: LIFE ON EARTH
Buy: LIFE ON EARTH
Buy: THE BEST OF TASTE REMASTERS
Taste National -Life On Earth' Tour
Fri 1 Jul | Crowbar | Brisbane, QLD | http://www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545
Sat 9 Jul | Fowlers Live | Adelaide, SA | http://www.moshtix.com.au | 1300 438 849
Thu 14 Jul | Frankie's Pizzeria | Sydney, NSW | FREE ENTRY
Sat 16 Jul | The Corner | Melb, VIC | www.ticketscout.com.au | 1300 724 867
Question: What inspired I Am God?
Ken Murdoch: A friend of mine had passed and he was a really good person, always helping everyone else and his death seemed so senseless to me, but his family who were deeply religious kept saying it was "God's way". So I started thinking why is there so much turmoil in the world and why does "he" allow it? I wrote a short story about what if he isn't the benevolent God everyone thinks he is. What if he's just playing us like a -sims' game? And that's where -I Am God' comes from. By the way the story ends - with him accidently destroying the earth by hitting -Delete'. The screen then says, "reformatting, will take 7 days and 7 nights".
Question: Can you tell us about the I Am God film clip?
Ken Murdoch: Clay the director sat down with us and asked for our favorite movies, colors and paintings. I suggested a graphic comic look with lots of robot spiders. The result is a mash up of our answers (and robot spiders).
Question: What was it like working with Clayton Jacobson?
Ken Murdoch: Clay was great to work with. Having been a film director he had a firm vision in his head. He had us jumping backwards off tables and spending hours on treadmills and spinning stages. Although Damian did his back at one stage and I discovered how weak my calves are!
Question: What should we expect from the upcoming tour?
Ken Murdoch: Live, the band is a monster. Joey Amenta is a guitar god. We'll be playing most of the new album and a couple of old tracks. Tracks like -The Fatal Shore' and -I Am God' are turning into epics.
Question: Can you talk us through the process of Life On Earth?
Ken Murdoch: The album started over a year ago with a track called -The Doppelganger Effect' (which didn't make the final cut). We decided this time instead of recording at a big studio to do it at our own studio. Our 2007 album Rock is Dead had a catering bill that was larger than this album's budget!! We'd spend weeks on the harmonies and then scrap them and start again! We outsourced the drums and strings/brass to a bigger studio and then fly them back in. Angus Davidson (Crowded House) mixed most of the album at his studio. It's a huge sounding album.
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Ken Murdoch: We have a fairly eclectic range of Tastes for a rock band. Michael and Damian listen to jazz, Joey's into blues and I listen to Puccini and The Who! We all really like Melbourne band, Robot Child.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Ken Murdoch: I love working in the studio, but live is where it does it for me. Instant gratification. And lots of room to experiment. -The Fatal Shore' live now is clicking in at around 10 minutes!
Question: What/who was your inspiration to return to the music industry?
Ken Murdoch: Once I'd written and demoed -The Doppelganger Effect', I sent it to the guys suggesting it would make a good Taste song. Once everyone was on board writing the rest of album came fairly quickly to me. We really are just trying to make the best album we wanted to hear. It would be nice if the rest of the world liked it too.
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along returning to music?
Ken Murdoch: The biggest challenge (although not really for us) was to resist the urge to follow trends sound-wise. When asked how loud did we want the album mastered, we opted for headroom and room to breathe rather than limit/compress the crap out of it. We went a bit old school on the sounds.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Ken Murdoch: A typical day for me at the moment is mixing our live tracks for a future CD/DVD and doing lots of promotion. I'm trying to get Michael onto the golf course, but he's a tennis nut.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Ken Murdoch: Can I get Pete Townsend on guitar and McCartney on bass for my solo album?
Question: What message would you like to say to your fans?
Ken Murdoch: We really hope you love the new album and will come in droves to the gigs (and buy lots of Merch).
Interview by Brooke Hunter