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Friday, February 6
2015

Medicine Of The Wolf

Never Die YoungThe cover of James’s 1988 album Never Die Young features a gorgeous and iconic photograph of a wolf, taken by famed photographer and environmentalist Jim Brandenburg. That initial collaboration led to a pair of benefit concerts to raise funds for the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park.

The preservation of wolf populations remains an urgent issue years later. Filmmaker Julia Huffman has produced a moving new documentary on the subject, Medicine Of The Wolf, which includes the excerpt below about James and Jim’s collaboration. To find out more about the movie, go to MedicineOfTheWolf.com.

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Sunday, May 11
2014

Chad Wackerman – Drums

James Taylor at Carnegie Hall

WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?

I was 10 when I subbed in a band that my father was playing in. I got to play the first set while Dad was at a teachers meeting. Very fun.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
I think it was in Dec. of 1999. It was a last minute orchestra gig. James was called to fill in for Pavarotti (who cancelled because illness) for an orchestral show in San Francisco. The call came to me from Jimmy Johnson the night before and I stayed up most of the night before learning the tunes. It was a bit of a scramble but it ended up being really fun.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
Frank Zappa ‘You Are What You Is’ tour. 1981/1982. That was life changing.

WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?
2 things really. Drumsticks and an iPad keep me busy.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?
After dinner I usually warm up a little, playing rudiments on a practice pad. I try to get loose before a show.

WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?
James and his band are all incredible people and incredible musicians. I really feel honored to play with James and the band.

James Taylor at Carnegie Hall

Sunday, May 11
2014

Steve Gadd – Drums

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WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
My first gig was an appearance on the Mickey Mouse Club in California, 1957. (Editor’s note: In Steve’s 1957 appearance on the Mickey Mouse Club he both tap danced and performed a drum solo!)

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?

My first job with James was a recording session in the mid 1980s.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
My first tour was with the School Band of America in 1961

WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?

Running gear.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?

Going to the bus and taking a nap.

WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?
I like touring with James because the music is great and the hang is fantastic.

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Photos: Spencer Worthly, Michael Drazdzinski

Saturday, May 10
2014

Luis Conte – Percussion

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WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
1st gig at Club Chez Pico, in mid LA. I was 18. I think I made 25 bucks that night; I thought I was the coolest dude.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
First worked with James in 1998 in the Live at the Beacon Theater concert.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
1st tour with “The Hues Corporation” (they had that hit song “Rock the Boat”). I was 21.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?
Eat and chill.

WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?
Touring with James is great. He is a great guy, the music is beautiful and everyone on the tour super-cool. It is a great band.

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Photos: Michael Lutch, Eric Korenman

Thursday, May 8
2014

Walt Fowler – Keyboards/Horns

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WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
My first gig was playing trumpet in a jazz combo comprised of teenagers at the National Stage Band Camp, Portland Oregon. I was 13 years old.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
I first worked with James in 2001 on the Pullover tour. I first met James on the phone, he called one day in early 2001 and asked me if I would be interested in playing on the Pullover tour.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
My first tour was with Frank Zappa and the Mothers, 1974. I was 19 years old.

WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?
My must-have item is my trumpet (ha). Actually, it’s my golf clubs.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?
My pre-show routine has usually been walking around out in front of the venue before we play, checking out the people coming to the show.

WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?
I enjoy touring with James for many reasons. A couple of them are that it’s so much fun, the music is so great, James is so cool, and I enjoy being surrounded by the finest musicians in the world.

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Photos: Michael Lutch

Thursday, May 8
2014

David Lasley – Vocals

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WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
November 1976 Atlantic Studios, NY – Garland Jeffery session. JT, Arnold, Lynn Pitney, and I all sang backgrounds. David Spinozza Produced.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
Dallas,TX summer 1977

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
Summer 1977

WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?
Bible, Darlene Love CD and blank journal.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?
My daily routine is a good breakfast, spiritual devotion reading and a long, fast walk. Midday go to fedex/post office (if needed), shop, stay hydrated, ALWAYS have my day-sheet in my back pocket so I know my call times, if luggage call, do that, try to see a little of Oprah and the weather channel, get on bus, sound check, light dinner, put false eyelashes on and beat my face (just kidding), try to clear my mind, dress early for the show, sing some Dionne Warwick or Shelby Flint (something that has high notes).

I don’t do vocal warm-ups I just sing along with the girls, do show, intermission bathroom break or meet and greet, take bags to bus, finish show, remove earphone monitors, run like hell (if it’s a hit-and-run), warm milk and crackers on bus, little conversation, head for bunk, fall asleep watching Victor/Victoria. Next city, I go to my room, call family and give room number, beep in for messages, pay a couple bills, then more milk and hopefully more sleep.

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Photos: Eric Korenman

Tuesday, May 6
2014

Lou Marini – Horns

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WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
My first paying gig was with a little wedding band around Canton, Ohio when I was 13. Rock & Roll, baby!

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
First JT gig was New Year’s Eve 2000 in Raleigh.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
First tour was 2001, a great long tour.

WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?
Can’t think of ‘one’ special thing but I’m very particular about choosing books to bring. Always print and a mixture of classics and new.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-TOUR ROUTINE?
My pre-tour routine is calculating the number of shows and planning my packing so I never wear the same thing twice. Silly, but, humor me.

WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?
Touring with James? First of all the music and the challenge and delight of making it night to night with this wonderful band. Then the hang, not only with the band but the crew too. That begets the humor and the laughter. Finally, as an art lover, the opportunity to visit museums around the country; for me, a delightful bonus!

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Photos: Michael Lutch

Friday, May 2
2014

Jim Cox – Piano

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WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
Playing honky-tonk piano in pizza parlors and restaurants in and around Oroville, California while I was still in elementary school.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
We met when James recorded “Sailing to Philadelphia” with Mark Knopfler. I first toured with James in 2014.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
I played piano and conducted for Leslie Uggams in 1979. The first rock tour I did was with Mark Knopfler in ’96.

WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?
A bathroom scale.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?
Weather permitting, I usually try to walk around outside the venue and see the folks arrive.

WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?
What’s not to love? We’re getting to perform one of the greatest songbooks ever with a band and crew second to none, and James is singing and playing at the top of his game. The crowd always loves the show, but nobody’s having more fun than the people on stage.

Jim Cox

Friday, May 2
2014

Arnold McCuller – Vocals

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WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG?
First gig was the JT tour which rehearsed in Dallas, and the gig was at SMU.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH JAMES?
1977.

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR?
1977 JT tour.

WHAT ONE SPECIAL ITEM DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR?
I always take my bike to ride on mornings to see the town.

WHAT’S YOUR PRE-SHOW ROUTINE?
My routine to prep for show is vocal warm up with VocalEase (my app).

WHY DO YOU ENJOY TOURING WITH JAMES?

I like having the time on a bus to pick James’ brain about things he doesn’t share with most people, and talking about how grateful I am to still have the opportunity to do what I love after 37 years.

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Photos: Elissa Kline Photography, Michael Lutch