We were fortunate enough to catch up with Neil Taylor, guitarist of Tears For Fears and Robbie Williams. Neil is currently working on his next solo album which is to be released sometime in 2016. Enjoy the interview!

For The Record…

Can you start us off with a short blurb of how you got to where you are today?

I fronted my own band ‘Sneak Preview’ when I was 17 in Bristol. We were asked to play on a local compilation album ‘Avon Calling’. Pete Byrne [Naked Eyes] heard my track & got in touch with me to play on their first single ‘Communication Without Sound’ Curt Smith was playing bass who went on to form Tears For Fears. I was asked to play on a TFF tour, then went on to play guitar on ‘Songs From The Big Chair’ one of my first ever sessions was the solo on ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ As word got around I just fell into doing sessions. More recently I decided to do something for myself & go back to being an Artist/Performer which I wish I would’ve done a long time ago.

What was your first guitar and where it is now?

It’s a Black Shaftsbury Les Paul & i still have it under the bed. I don’t play it at all…It’s feels like a plank of wood but I would never get rid of it.

If you could create a “dream band” who would be in it?

To be honest I feel as though I have it already with my band. Chuck Sabo on drums who has played for many well-known artists. I met Chuck when we played together for Natalie Imbruglia. I’m also lucky to have Gwenael Damman on bass. Gwen was the head of the record label ‘Earcatcher’ who released my album No God Like Rock n Roll. We ended up doing a few shows together and it just clicked. Gwen is also co- producing my new album. They are both a dream to play with.

If you could create the ultimate day, how would it play out?

Go to the gym…Then lunch for a nice meal with all my family…A knap in the afternoon & my own big show in the evening in an exotic location & a few drinks after the show….Maybe one or two during the show too ha ha

What do you think is missing in the music industry today?

It seems that most Musicians/Artists don’t get that much experience any more. When I was first starting out you had to pay your dues & work your way up the ladder. These days that seems to have been bypassed mostly because of Youtube ..Xfactor etc. Everyone’s a star these days. I find the industry very soulless & lot of todays music has become so computerized & robotic. DJ’s play to packed houses & have become stars, which I can’t get my head around. Illegal downloads are killing the industry. Session musicians don’t get much credit or money anymore. It’s certainly changed for the worse in the last 25 years.

Who would you say your top favorite bands are today?

If I listen to anything now it’s normally from the bands I grew up with..Status Quo..T.Rex..Deep Purple etc. I don’t really listen to many new bands but I’m sure I will think of some once I’ve finished the interview.

What is it like being a touring artist, constantly traveling from venue to venue?

I love it. As a session player it’s been my life on & off for the past 25 years. I’ve had an amazing time flying on private jets ..5 star hotels, playing stadiums with the likes of Tears For Fears & Robbie Williams.It’s great being in this bubble but as a session musician when the tour ends, it’s back to reality & it takes a while to adjust. For me now as an artist, it’s not quite as glamorous ha ha but i love it even more as it’s something I’ve soley created i’m doing it for myself. The travelling can get to you sometimes& I try not to drink very much after shows, hangovers would be impossible to cope with every day!

Reflecting on your career with Tears for Fears, are there any moments that you're particularly proud of?

Yes my guitar parts on ‘Woman In Chains’ & my solo on ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’

How does it feel to finally release your own album?

I’m in the process of recording my 5th album. The first album took 4 years to write & record. I was finding my feet on ‘No Self Control’ by the time I released ‘No God Like Rock n Roll’ I almost found what I was looking for. The new album will be the closest yet but I’m in no rush. I hope to release it sometime in 2016. I am also very lucky to write all my albums with Steve Torch who is a great songwriter. He has written for Cher, Hall & Oates, etc. We grew up listening to the same bands. We have a lot in common musically & as friends.

Hit Singles

Your most influential guitarist:

Richie Blackmore…Francis Rossi & Marc Bolan.

Best day of your musical career:

As a guitarist to play 3 nights at Knebworth with Robbie Williams was certainly a highlight but this was surpassed when as an artist I was asked to play Euromaidan in Kiev Ukraine with my band on New Years 2014 to 500000 people. This was the most amazing experience of my solo career.

Last night’s dinner:

Chicken Salad!

Fictional character you can best relate yourself to:

I’d like to say James Bond but I think I relate more to Homer Simpson!

The biggest perk of being a musician:

That’s a tough question. I’ve certainly seen the world & played some of the biggest shows but as a musician you’re always chasing your dream, that’s what keeps me going & now as an artist I feel like I’m 16 all over, striving to get to the next level, so I think the perk of a musician/artist would be ..A sense of purpose!

Guilty pleasure pop song:

Stars by Simply Red

Can we end off with your one piece of advice for aspiring musicians?

It’s not about how many notes you can play. The reason I’ve had a good career is because most importantly I had my own style, I also had the ability to come up with interesting guitar parts. Learn your instrument but this does not mean having to go to a school of music. I learnt mostly from listening to my favorite guitarists & artists, from this I unknowingly created my own style. Schools tend to teach everybody the same things & guitarists especially end up sounding all the same to me. This is not to say I don’t agree with schools but it wouldn’t have been right for me. It’s also very important to perform live with other musicians. YouTube videos of yourself playing in your bedroom is not a real performance. There is no interaction. Everyone makes mistakes while performing… only yesterday I did a show with my band & I wasn’t happy with my performance. Try not to beat yourself up about it but being aware about it is another thing. Always be ready for many disappointments because 9 times out of 10 what ever you’re promised probably won’t happen.

Thank you for sharing with us Neil!

You can check out Neil's website here: Website

And a video: