An interview with Madison hard rockers, Go Play God
by Mike Huberty
November 2015

Go Play God

Go Play God

Sludgy and aggressive, GO PLAY GOD, is vintage hard rock that borrows a little from grunge like ALICE IN CHAINS, a little from classic heavy metal like BLACK SABBATH, and sounds a lot like a more modern version of GODSMACK. We talked with vocalist Kurt Taliaferro, guitarist Vaughn Klein, bassist Jim Finley, and drummer John Smolak about their music and upcoming performances.

MI: Why music? What drove you to it?

Vaughn: I think there’s that moment when you see an artist that makes you say, “Whoa…!” For me, it was that moment when an artist made me feel something, and then I ultimately wanted to be able to do that same thing, in my own way. So I picked up an instrument and started working on it. Now, here we are…

John: For me, it was my Mother. One year, when I was around 10 years old, she got me a guitar, amp, and a drum set for Christmas. From there, it was on. She constantly had music on in the house so that seeded it in me deeply, but once she gave me the tools, that was it.

MI: Who were your favorite artists growing up?

Vaughn: Early on it was Slash and Zakk Wylde with Ozzy. Once I started writing, the Seattle scene was the biggest influence.

John: Kiss, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Rush.

Kurt: Tom Morello, Mike Patton, Les Claypool, Danny Carey

Jim: Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd

MI: Who were the bands that you guys gelled on as musicians? The ones that inspired all of you together.

John: Without question, we all congregate around Tool, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden. When you listen to our music you can hear some of that influence.

MI: What specifically made you fall in love with playing hard rock?

John: The release. That energy just grows and grows in rehearsals, specifically in the days coming up to a show. The day of the show, it peaks. Then, the show starts and the pure release of all of that preparation and energy is something else. We live for it. Can’t describe it in detail. It’s just… the release.

MI: What would you recommend as the song to listen to for people who are listening to Go Play God for the first time?

John: Our single “Meant To Be” is our greatest achievement yet. In the creation of this song we learned a lot about ourselves and how our creative processes work as a team. We learned that it’s the music that comes first and then we turn to Kurt to come up with the lyrics. Collectively, and we say this with as much humility as we can, we nailed it on this one. We’re extremely proud of “Meant To Be.”

Jim - The initial spark came from Vaughn. He came up with the introduction and we all built our parts following his lead. During the writing, Kurt said, “It’s like it was Meant To Be”

Vaughn - We all thought that should be the song title right then and there.

Kurt - Lyrically, once we had the title, I just ran with it. A lot of our lyrics are inspired by the music itself. I digest the music and then go to work. For our faster songs, I tend to write about bad life choices and tragedy. For our melodic songs, the theme tends to be more about life and love. However, I try to leave it obscure enough so one can take their own perception on what the song could be about. In general, the band gives me a big box of miscellaneous Legos and my job is to build what I think the song’s message should be. “Meant To Be” is dynamic and kind of covers it all. A unique blend of all that is Go Play God.

MI: What inspired your band name?

Jim: It started from the phrase, “Go play God in someone else’s life”, but it’s evolved into something more. All in all, you have choices in life. It’s up to you to define yourself and make your existence what you want it to be. We have our examples of this, and so do you…

MI: What’s been your favorite show so far?

John: …If we had to nail down one specific show the one that sticks out is a show we played at the High Noon Saloon in December of 2014. We shared the stage with our friends in Good Morning V and 7 Seasons Deep and that whole place had an absolute blast! It was a packed house. All of the bands in Madison have a ton of respect for each other and it’s one big happy family. In general it was just a great vibe all the way around. There’s something about a packed local show filled with smiling faces that just stands out.

MI: If people come out to see you this month, what can they expect?

Kurt: Energy. Emotion. Every time. We try to take the crowd with us on a journey.

MI: Anything that we missed?

Jim: We just released our EP entitled “Tunnel The Sky” available on iTunes, Amazon and all the major digital retailers. It’ll be available on CD shortly as well…

Kurt: If there’s a must-do though, go watch the video for “Meant To Be” on our YouTube channel. We promise it’s worth your time. Our good friend Josh “Rip” of RiP Productions did a fantastic job on this video. Wow. And, most importantly, we just want to thank everyone who’s shown support. You all mean the world to us.

The band performs twice in Madison this month. Saturday November 14th they’ll be sharing the stage with the heavy rock of CIRCLESWITCH and Madison punk rock heavyweights, GOVERNMENT ZERO at The Annex. Then they’ll be opening up for the mighty WAYLAND at the High Noon Saloon the day before Thanksgiving, so it’s a chance to throw a drink down your gobbler and your rock fist in the air on a Wednesday night.

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