Taproot “Plead the Fifth” on Victory Records

Taproot is back in the limelight and with the upcoming release of their fifth studio album “Plead the Fifth”. The band has been working harder than ever to please not only their fans but their new record label Victory Records. An album whose original date (April 13) is pushed to now May 11, 2010 is expected to bring this Michigan-based quartet back to its original musical stylings.

To give some background on Taproot, since they’re last album, “Our Long Road Home” was the last time we’ve heard anything new from them, here’s a little info on the band for new fans and a refresher for old ones.

Way back in 1997, when Limp Bizkit dominated airwaves, Fred Durst had heard Taproot’s material and was immediately impressed, thus offered to get them a record deal at his record label, Interscope.  Feeling that there might be a better deal for them, Taproot ended up scoring a deal with Atlantic Records. Rumor has it that Durst was very angry with that move and cursed the band via answering machine.

Taproot, now signed onto Interscope Records, it was time for this novice band to release an album. Granted Taproot had released three independent albums prior to signing (Something More Than Nothing, Mentobe and Upon Us) it was time for this Mid-Western band to take their music onto a bigger audience. “Gift” was presented as their debut album in June 2000 and with the lead single “Again & Again”. With “Gift”, Taproot was able to gain more exposure by being invited to Ozzfest.

“Welcome” the second commercial album was birthed in October 2002 and is Taproot’s must successful album, debuting #17 on the Billboard 2000 and almost achieving gold status.  “Blue-Sky Research was the band’s third release and debuted at #33 on the Billboard 200. Granted the album was on the charts, the sales were poor in comparison to past projects and only sold about 112,000 copies.

September 2008 was “Our Long Road Home” album by Taproot and was released independently through Velvet Hammer Music. During this time original drummer Jarrod Montague was going to sit out during touring but was replaced with Nick Fredell, a drummer from Proximo.

Now we are at present day and Taproot is ready to release “Plead the Fifth”. With an album whose date has been altered and supposedly being recorded on a farm in Sullivan, Michigan with producer Tim Patalan, whose works include Sponge and Lovedrug. There are many questions that are pondering about this veteran band.

Will Taproot succeed at pleasing the expectations of their longing fans? Will fans finally see the Taproot from the “Gift” album?  Has the band’s musicality changed for better or worst? Will this album be another “Blue-Sky Research”? Will fans support Taproot even more with the switch to Victory?

Well for Taproot fans and the band itself, I hope things turn out well for both parties or else the career of Taproot might see an impending end (which would be a sad way to go).

I got the chance to speak with Taproot’s bassist, Phil Lipscomb about the aforementioned topics and about life on Victory Records. He seemed to have an optimistic view of 2010 for Taproot and their new home.

So where have you guys been?

Really busy. Working on a new album. We left our former label and now signed with Victory Records in November. We need to get this album out very soon for the label and for fans.

How’s the recording process of your fifth album, “Plead the Fifth”?

Extremely fast. Victory wants us get this album out before spring/summer so the pressure is really on. We should have the album finish soon though. Just trying and experimenting with some new and old stuff. We’re trying to give fans stuff from our older albums and some creative new things.

Where did the name of the album come from?

Well we were just hanging out shooting out some names and titles that might work. At first nothing didn’t seem to fit. Our singer [Stephen Richards] had come up with the title “Plead the Fifth”. It’s a play on words and the idea of it sounded cool. Plus it’s our fifth album so it works.

Is this album trying to make statement?

[Laughs]. No political statement on this album.

How’s being on Victory Records?

Great. It’s really good. We just shot a video. I don’t want to speak about it too much but I think the fans are really going to enjoy it. Since signing onto to Victory Records there’s a lot of pressure on us. It’s good in the long run through. We speak to our managers on a day to day basis. They are willing to listen and take risks with us and support us.  We really enjoy it over here.

How does the sound of “Plead the Fifth” differ and compare from past albums?

Recently, we’ve been heavier and more aggressive. Fans have been clamoring for something similar to our first album, “Gift” so we’ve worked on crafting that sound again. We’re fans of heavy music with being slightly melodic. This album is headed for an aggressive feel and new things.

What can fans expect of Taproot for 2010?

[Pauses]. Hopefully a great record. Something they’ve been wanting and I hope we can supply what they need. I want them to be like, “OMG! This is the record”. “I can’t believe this is what I waited for”. “This was well worth the wait”.

Well, I hope everything turns out well for Taproot this year. Good luck with “Plead the Fifth”.

Thanks. I hope things go well with this album and fans will enjoy it as much as they did with our previous albums.

“Fractured (Everything I Said Was True)” is Taproot’s featured single off “Plead the Fifth” and can be heard on their MySpace site. Don’t forget the date, May 11 is the release of the album so go support Taproot.

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