Episode 70: Isaac Teel of TAUK

Rob and Seth first talk about they had to miss some of an Umphrey’s McGee show to conduct this interview, which at once pained Turner but also indicated how strongly he felt about the brilliance of this guest. A quick tribute to Kofi Burbridge, a musician who passed away shortly before parts of this episode were recorded, unfolds to the Teel interview which finds him quick to explain how thankful he is to do what he loves for a living. Isaac talks about the importance of a band having a vision and being careful to make licensing decisions with this in mind. He also relates a revelation he had while working at Payless Shoes, how he auditioned for Stomp and the fact that he loves writing music and would be “really content” with just writing music if for some reason he could no longer tour. Isaac also mocks the “fashion-ignorant” Turner for being overly impressed with his own yoga pants, but he welcomes Turner’s offer to give him a Kyrie Irving shirt (upon further review, it will probably be a Jayson Tatum shirt). The trio talk about the improv in the song “Convoy,” the importance of “uber subtle non-verbal communication” and how while the band often knows exactly where they are going, those moments “when you know you don’t know” can be the blessings which “hit you in the face.” Teel admits his love of hip/hop and how in his teaching his students learn the importance of making a statement and how Kendrick Lamar “doesn’t even know he’s a drummer.” Isaac also walks us through how his song “CMF 9000” evolved from an Ableton piece to a TAUK staple (this is demonstrated to completion at the end of the episode). He also relates about how the band benefits from each member having its ego enough in check to benefit from their each other’s composition inputs and how this in turn makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. He walks us through many TAUK songs, particularly delighting Rob by relating some of the history of the Turner favorite, “Check Mate.” The new, free live release “Real TAUK Vol. 1” featuring tracks suggested by the band comes up, and Isaac indicates receptiveness to Turner’s idea to have Part Two be selected by some of their most fervent fans. Perhaps most touching is how Teel repeatedly returns to the theme that much of his success in life and music is due to his mother. God bless her. The episode ends with Seth and Rob each sharing some recent live music experiences, and Rob ranting about confounding Twitter responses he received from cranky New York writer Caryn Rose and the curious Twitter inferences of the movie soundtrack artist, Branford Marsalis.

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