Monday, August 20, 2018
News Roundup

A son of Cheap Trick, Robin Taylor is ready to make his own music

SAFETY HARBOR — Drawing from a mix of personally penned tunes and covers that included Oasis and Coldplay, prodigious singer Robin Taylor regaled the small but engaged audience at Brady's Backyard BBQ with an effortless voice and remarkable expertise on the piano and guitar.

On one particular song, the folks sitting in the back of the room heard a soft, harmonious vocal underneath his singing. For a moment, they thought Taylor had recorded a faint backing track to support his vocals.

But as he crooned the chorus from one of his own songs — I was looking for the answer, trying to find the perfect melody it became apparent the harmony came not from a track, but from the pride emanating from a father's heart.

As snapshots of how his son first embraced music flipped through his mind, Cheap Trick lead singer and rhythm guitarist Robin Zander couldn't help but sing along with his son, albeit ever so softly.

"I remember him as a 3-year-old playing on his first drum kit," Zander said after his son completed a two-hour set with barely a break between songs. "I remember when we were in Hawaii watching the Chicago Bears on TV and he started playing a little Hawaiian guitar and singing I Want You To Want Me."

The next snapshot may feature Taylor on a much larger stage, backed by a national recording contract.

Maybe.

Taylor (he uses his middle name to distinguish from his more famous father) took a major step towards a professional career when he flew to Nashville recently to meet with music producers. Zander explained recently that during his heyday, new artists often signed a three-album contract and record companies helped them develop into stars.

But the music business has changed all these years later, with a greater emphasis on more immediate success. Now, artists shop a demo tape of four to six songs to record companies and the company will focus on developing those songs.

"He has to make an impression with his demo stuff and then they will take it to the next level," Zander said. "It's fresh, new and very positive. I hope it happens, but if it doesn't happen, he'll just have to go back to the drawing board.

"Failure is a part of success. God knows it was with Cheap Trick."

For now, the intimate concert represented just another chapter in the budding promise Taylor has displayed since his earliest years. Make that earliest months. Pam Zander says her son displayed an interest before he could even talk. They never forced music on him. He just took to it with inherent skill and interest.

"It's hard to explain," Pam said. "He just has a raw, real natural ability. It's imbedded in him and he wants to share it."

In every song, Taylor exuded not only talent, but a musical passion. It comes as no surprise that he practices constantly — no 21-year-old could exhibit such mastery without dedication — but it's all wrapped in a genuine enthusiasm and what fellow musicians call an innate ability.

"When I get up, I start playing music and I do it all day," Taylor said. "If you want to get better, you have to be committed to it."

Taylor taught himself how to play drums, guitar and piano. Sure, being the son of a rocker who rose to international stardom in the late 1970s meant he lived in a musical house and had access to instruments. But his pursuit of music is about following a passion, not following in his father's footsteps.

He has attended prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Florida State University and Full Sail University in Orlando, but the desire to devote all his energy to his music and a career have led him here.

While his song choices at Brady's fit the venue, don't be deceived. Taylor lists the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Beatles among his influences and says he's quite capable of rocking out in a band. With his musical skills, vocal range and a catalog of songs, Taylor believes his time has arrived.

"I know what to expect and I know failure is a possibility," Taylor said as he prepared for the Nashville trip. "I know I may not get a deal right away but I'm excited to have the opportunity to present my music.

"I'm nervous, but I'm confident."

For Zander, it's an experience that in some ways seems to leave him more awed than the 20,000 screaming Budokan fans that helped propel Cheap Trick to superstardom.

"The emotion? It's being proud, it's being his dad," Zander said. "I see him up there and I can't believe it. I know I wasn't doing that when I was 21."

The group in Brady's seemingly wanted Zander on stage — not so much to perform with Taylor but to watch him beam every time his son went through a flawless chord procession or hit the high D note on a cover of Cheap Trick's Voices. They constantly looked back to gauge his reactions, especially when his 13-year-old daughter sang Coldplay's Fix You with Taylor backing her on the piano.

Yes, there's another Zander with musical skills. Before it's all over, we may be hearing music from Robin Taylor and singing from Robin Sailor-Zander. Today he's rock legend. Tomorrow, he might just be lesser-known father of rock stars.

Something tells me that's a label he would proudly accept.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
The Daystarter: Spanish relic may be clue in death; the latest on ‘Zombie Campaigns’; Barber’s quest to be Bucs’ starting RB

The Daystarter: Spanish relic may be clue in death; the latest on ‘Zombie Campaigns’; Barber’s quest to be Bucs’ starting RB

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.   • We’ll be partly sunny with scattered showers and thunderstorms developing, mainly in the afternoon and early evening, according to the National Weather Service. High t...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Pope issues letter to Catholics condemning ‘crime’ of sex abuse

Pope issues letter to Catholics condemning ‘crime’ of sex abuse

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has issued a letter to Catholics around the world condemning the "crime" of priestly sexual abuse and cover-up and demanding accountability, in response to new revelations in the United States of decades of misconduct by t...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Ernest Hooper: Sometimes you gotta take inventory

Ernest Hooper: Sometimes you gotta take inventory

Random thoughts, because sometimes you gotta take inventory.I like Kelly Clarkson, but she’s no Aretha.Tax cuts? Overrated.Vote. Stop making excuses.To earn a man’s support, you must acknowledge his pain.The older I get, the more I love baseball.Sly ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
400 years later, Spanish coin is clue in mysterious death

400 years later, Spanish coin is clue in mysterious death

Before detectives found it inside a car in Colorado, before a St. Petersburg surveillance camera captured it hanging from Christie New’s neck hours before she was gravely wounded, before it was salvaged from the bottom of the ocean, police believe th...
Published: 08/20/18
Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Willie Taggart isn't ready to announce who will start at quarterback when the Seminoles open against Virginia Tech in two weeks.But a decision is getting closer."How close? Closer than we were the first da...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Sergio Romo extremely thankful for career save No. 100

Rays journal: Sergio Romo extremely thankful for career save No. 100

BOSTON — Sergio Romo tries — though not always successfully — to keep his emotions in check on the mound. You kind of have to in logging 100 career saves, the milestone he reached in Sunday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox.But walking int...
Updated: 8 hours ago
DeCalon Brooks ready to make a name for himself at Florida State

DeCalon Brooks ready to make a name for himself at Florida State

TALLAHASSEE — DeCalon Brooks doesn't only want to be known as Derrick Brooks' son.Yes, he plays the same position (linebacker) at the same school (Florida State) where his father won a national title in 1993 before becoming a Bucs legend a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

TAMPA – Ask Peyton Barber his approach to training camp or preseason games, and his answer is meant to bull over the questioner as if it's all that's standing between him and the goal line."I think the end-all goal for me is to be the star...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Jalen Beeks shines for Rays in winning return to Boston

Jalen Beeks shines for Rays in winning return to Boston

BOSTON — Jalen Beeks called it a complicated question.Then he gave a convoluted answer.Just what, he was asked after leading the Rays to a 2-0 win Sunday over the Red Sox, did it mean to come back to Fenway Park for the first time and beat...
Updated: 12 hours ago
North Carolina fugitives, charged with shooting at cops, found and arrested in Treasure Island

North Carolina fugitives, charged with shooting at cops, found and arrested in Treasure Island

TREASURE ISLAND — Two men on the run from law enforcement in North Carolina were found hiding in Treasure Island — armed with an AR-15, a machete and a pipe bomb, deputies said — leading to a standoff with a SWAT team that ended early Sunday morning....
Published: 08/19/18