The man who is helping to save music programs in San Diego schools -- he said Taylor Guitars for Schools has put instruments into classrooms at approximately 85 schools in the county -- is making the media rounds talking about his new autobiography, "Guitar Lessons." In conjunction with the San Diego Music Awards and City Beat's Kevin Hellman, "We've done a couple thousand guitars now to local schools," Taylor said.
Taylor's largesse doesn't stop at the school-room door, however. Among his other good works this year was partnering with Hello Music to showcase 10 emerging, independent musical acts to fill slots at their Artist to Watch showcase at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas later this month. The artists had until Monday to enter, and on Tuesday, Taylor and his spokeswoman Chalise Zolezzi told SoundDiego that one of those spots was going to the San Diego band The Material.
The band, which cites 30 Seconds to Mars, Anbeliln, Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf as influences got the nod from Taylor and Hello Music off of the strength of their EP "Tomorrow" and their full-length "What We Are." The band has appeared live on MTV's Dew Circuit Breakout, according to the Material's Facebook page, and its music has appeared on TV's "The Hills."
On March 16 at SXSW, one of the 10 acts will be named a Taylor Guitars and Hello Music Artist to Watch, headline the event and receive a Taylor guitar to boot. Good luck to the Material!
For his part, Taylor is not the music junkie many might assume he is
"I don't spend a lot of time out listening to bands ... the local talent that's coming out of here, you know, I mean Jewel, and Jason [Mraz] and Switchfoot and all these people who I know who I've gotten to be friends with over the years, and it's just -- in the amount of time that I've been in business -- I've seen San Diego just, like, pop on the map," Taylor said. "But a lot of people think that because I make guitars, my major interest is listening to music, but my major interest is woodworking. If you want to find me, don't look in a club -- look in a woodshop. That's where I'm going to be."
Still, he goes out occasionally to places like Anthology.
"Anytime that people who we're working with are coming to town, I go out to see them, but as far as my regular habits -- my nocturnal habits are usually going to bed early, finding myself in the shop the next day," the instrument-maker said with a laugh.