Tony Cummings reports on Southern rockers MAYLENE AND THE SONS OF DISASTER and their surprising influence, the notorious criminal Ma Barker.
The mainstream man Rock Sound nailed it when they wrote about the emergence of Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster. "Fans expecting anything along the lines of Dallas Taylor's former band Underoath are going to be in for the shock of their lives when they hear Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster for the first time. Far from throwing down hardcore or metal-style jams, their eponymous debut is full of dirty, rollicking Southern rock 'n' roll and follow-up 'II' just further ups the ante."
Dallas Taylor is a good ol' boy from Birmingham, Alabama. As a child, his grandfather used to take him to re-enactments of the legendary four-hour shootout between Ma Barker, her sons and the FBI. In the 1920s Ma and her sons had organised crime rackets across the Southern States. Remembered Dallas, "We'd eat cotton candy, watching them getting gunned down and it was just really bizarre. We wanted the band to be about that - the idea that if you live a life of wrongdoing, it'll come back around on you. Kinda like those people, they never thought that it would come down to that, but every one of them was shot and killed in the end."
After leaving Underoath, Dallas formed Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster and in 2005 released their self-titled debut. Said the frontman, "When we started this band, we decided to do something different from what we'd all done before. We did the complete opposite to what people expected us to do. We just took all of our influences and made a band out of it."
Band members left, others joined and when in September 2006 'II' was released by Ferret Music the line up had settled on Dallas Taylor (vocals), Scott Collum and Josh Cornutt (guitars), Roman Havaland (bass) and Lee Taylor (drums). Like its predecessor, 'II' still contains echoes of the Ma Barker story. Dallas told HM magazine, "The story's always there; it's still a concept record. The way we put the songs on this record - if you read the songs that circle around the concept, it tells a story. The first song starts out talking from one perspective, and it starts to tell a story until the very end. The last song on the record is an instrumental song; there are no vocals on the track, but there are lyrics written to it. You can read the lyrics as you're looking through the booklet, listening to the song."
Dallas continued, "I wrote (this record) a lot about what was going on at the time, but I try to leave it open to where anyone can take anything from it to where anyone can make their own story from it. I always want to write to where whatever someone else is going through - even if I'm not going through it - they can take (our songs) and hear it and they can help them get through."
In 'II' Dallas has penned songs that non-Christians can enjoy even if they don't go along with the band's beliefs. He told Rock Sound, "Someone who believes the complete opposite to me can still read the lyrics and understand where they are coming from. I write more about life situations that anyone goes through, but turn them into storylines. Our biggest thing is that we just try to be more positive. We realise we'll never be the coolest band or the band that has the best moves. Instead of that, we just try to relate to the crowd more and have fun."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.