Todd Taylor | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Todd Taylor

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Of the 17 interviews with punk bands and counterculture figures in Todd Taylor's Born to Rock: Heavy Drinkers and Thinkers (Gorsky Press), none quite strikes Taylor's characteristic balance of whimsy and gravitas as finely as the first, with Minnesota's the Dillinger Four, in which Taylor leads the band through a philosophical comparison of monkeys and robots in relation to the French situationists and as contrasting models for artistic production. Culminating with the comment that "robots don't make decisions but they're efficient, so people love 'em, but monkeys make a lot of decisions and a lot of them aren't very good, but damn it, they're funny," next thing you know they're talking about Thomas Paine and his influence on the band. Taylor--who developed his chops interviewing for Flipside, LA's long-running punk fanzine, and now edits and publishes his own zine, Razorcake, with Sean Carswell--never lets his subjects get too comfortable with a topic. By the end of the book, which includes interviews with NOFX, Green Bay punk icon Reverend Norb, and Maximum Rock 'n' Roll publisher Tim Yohannan, Taylor and his subjects have traced the evolution of punk through subsequent generations, from the nuts and bolts of touring to the DIY ethics that drive the whole enterprise and keep aging punks in the fold, even if the allure of the music has waned. Taylor appears with Jonathan Messinger and Darren O'Donnell as part of the Perpetual Motion Roadshow. Thu 10/21, 8 PM, Quimby's, 1854 W. North, 773-342-0910.

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