I Predict 1990 Press Release


Steve Taylor has been called "the bad boy of Christian rock" (Billboard), "evangelical rock's court jester" (Newsweek), and "a sort of wiseacre John the Baptist filtered through Randy Newman and The Clash" (BAM Magazine). In other words, as categories go, he's had one pretty much all to himself.

Even now, competition for any of the above titles is not too stiff; Taylor could keep remaking the same album forever and still seem as fresh, original and unique as the day he first appeared on the rock scene. But the need to change and grow outweighs even the needs to be different, and Taylor has taken a giant step forward with I Predict 1990, his fourth album (and first for the Myrrh label distributed by A&M).

Not that he'll ever be in much danger of shedding the "bad boy" image, nor does the day seem nigh when he'll stop being called a firebrand and a maverick (and he's been called worse by those in the receiving end of his sharp musical jabs). It's just that he's less overtly the "jester" this time out. I Predict 1990 still offers Taylor's passionate Christian perspective and keen sense for topical parody, but the satire is more subtle and more direct this time, taking on bigger, tougher targets.

"It's a logical progression, the type of material on this album," said Taylor. "There's plenty of satire on this record--'I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good,' 'Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel A Lot Better', 'Jung and the Restless,'--but I didn't want to get to the point where people were wondering, 'What's he going to trash this time out?'

"Since some of the subject matter on this album required a more direct, serious treatment," explained Taylor, "I tried to write accordingly. After all, it would be tough to make a song called 'Jim Morrison's Grave' funny."

Born the son of a Baptist pastor, Taylor spent most of his Wonder years growing up in a suburb of Denver, before heading off to the University of Colorado in Boulder to get a degree in music. A five-year stint as a youth pastor in his father's church eventually overlapped into Taylor's growing penchant for rock-n-roll songwriting and bandleading, thanks in part to unpious influences like Elvis Costello and The Clash. His first live gig with his backup group, Some Band, landed him a recording contract with Sparrow Records, a label devoted chiefly to the church market that was taking quite a risk in signing such a radical.

His first release, the six-song EP I Want To Be A Clone, earned plenty of attention, both wildly enthusiastic and wildly skeptical, upon its release to an unsuspecting Christian music market in 1983. The witty songs took on targets not only in the world at large but also within the church itself. That attitude, along with the frenetic new wave style, did not endear Taylor to every fundamentalist pastor in the heartland--but, as the saying goes, the crowd went wild, and the singer/songwriter quickly found himself among Christian music's most acclaimed and best-selling artists.

His first full-length album, the Grammy nominated Meltdown, made an even bigger noise in 1984, with a video clip from the title song airing on MTV and other prominent outlets. The next LP, 1985's On The Fritz, made the biggest musical stride forward, thanks to the contributions of ex-Foreigner and King Crimson keyboard player Ian McDonald, who co-produced with Taylor and brought in a line-up of New York's session players for such songs as "To Forgive" and "This Disco (Used To Be A Cute Cathedral)," a song inspired by New York's Limelight club. Taylor headlined England's 1985 Greenbelt Festival for an audience of 20,000, one of the world's largest Christian music festivals, where Limelight, a live eight-song mini-album and an accompanying film, were produced for release on Sparrow in 1986.

For the album that was to become I Predict 1990, Taylor wanted to move away from using session players and record with his own group, Some Band, again. After talks with notable producers, Taylor finally found his man in Dave Perkins. A recording artist in his own right, Perkins recently debuted his solo project, "The Innocence," on What?Records, and is known as a sizzling guitarist whose chops have accompanied Carole King, Jerry Jeff Walker, Vassar Clements and many others.

The finished album, most fans will undoubtedly agree, packs much more of a consistent musical punch from start to finish than anything Taylor has done previously.

There are the requisite number of left-field surprises and sidetrips along the way, though. The opening, "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good," for instance, is a catchy piece of savage satire which coincidentally comes right on the heels of news of a fundamentalist pastor in San Diego being arrested for bombing an abortion clinic, and which, all topicality aside, features famed player Jim Horn honking along on the song's great sax riff.

"Since I Gave Up Hope, I Feel A Lot Better," is a rock rap in the great tradition of songs from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to "Pump It Up" to "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," which, all rhyming aside, features ex-Jefferson Airplane violinist Papa John Creach-- in whose band co-producer Perkins used to play--improvising away.

"Jim Morrison's Grave," is a meditation on what Taylor calls "the rock and roll myth of 'It's better to burn out than fade away'" and the legacy of a star who fancied himself "a modern-day Dylan Thomas, not only believing that genius justifies cruelty, but that genius and cruelty are inseparable." Taylor got the idea for the song after accidentally stumbling across the non-stop party that takes place at the site of Morrison's grave in Paris.

The album's title stems from a book Taylor saw a would-be prophet advertising on religious television a couple of years ago. He remembered it being called something along the lines of "I Predict 1986." Said Taylor, "The idea struck me as being so absurd that I thought it was a worthily absurd title for an album. It has something of a ring to it and it sounds better than 'Steve's Fourth Record.'"

Not that this album is all prophecy. "It's not a concept record," he notes, "but when we were listening back to the song 'I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good,' my wife, Debbie, pointed out the line in the song that has a preacher on the corner saying, 'The ends don't justify the means anytime.' And she said if there's a theme to the record, that's it.

"Recent events point to the general philosophy being practiced by many Americans, including a lot of American Christians, that the end does justify the means. At a time when people are sympathetic with the idea that you occasionally have to do ethically questionable things in order to protect everything from national to personal interests. I think the overall theme of this album is very important--that there's such a thing as right and wrong."

Steve Taylor... in the era of Iran-gate, PTL-gate and Whatever-gate, we've never needed him more.

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