by on Mar 21, 2016

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After fracturing his hip and losing his job last April, Ed Taylor took off on a West Coast journey of self discovery fueled by writing and the Grateful Dead.

That trip ended quickly, though. Just after a few weeks, the van broke down, laptop got smashed and a planned resting place in Portland fell through. Taylor decided to settle in Oakland to focus on writing and connecting with the local music scene.

He soon started a record label, Loose Grip, and has just released its first tape, Press Play Volume One. The comp features Oakland- and LA-based bands as well as Radion and Ladywolf from Oregon and San Pedro El Cortez form Tijuana. Limited to 350 copies, the tape features unreleased tracks from Wild Wing, Vaguess, San Pedro El Cortez, Kill Helmet (members of Scraper and Useless Eaters), New Faultlines, Ladywolf, Pure Gamma (members of NoFi), Beekeepers and The Peels.

A total of 19 bands made the cut, each one offering something unique. The Peels venture into frantic rockabilly and soul. Greaser enters a world of doom and gloom. Wild Wing turns both country and western into a punk rock, hillbilly frenzy. While low quality recording and rock n roll brings together each artist, the tape offers varying songs and something different to bite into when you get tired of fast food and candy.

Creating the physical tape itself was very hands-on. Artwork, provided by Brian Olivera at Trashbury Graphics, was screen printed for each copy. Taylor even personally delivered the tapes to local record shops, including Burger Records in Fullerton; M-theory, Pack Ratt Records and Red Brontosaurus in San Diego; GnarBurger in L.A.; and Econo Jam and 1-2-3-4 GO! RECORDS in Oakland.

A cassette release show will be hosted at the Treehouse in San Diego on April 16 with performances by Vaguess, Cumstain, Pookie and the Poodlez and Shady Francos.

Taylor took some time to answer a few questions about his escape from the corporate world, Loose Grip Records and the music scene in Oakland. Stream the entirety of Press Play Volume 1 on Bandcamp or right below!


What kind of corporate job did you work? How long were you with the company?

I sold lighting to large scale residential home builders. I did it for the better part of 10 years. It’s a great industry with some great people, but at the end of the day, when conversations would turn personal and we’d talk about our plans for the 4th of July for instance, you’d hear things like “Going to the river,” “Wine tasting in Sonoma” or “Limited batch whiskey tour.” When I’d say “Going to Oakland to see the Mummies!!!” I’d be met with blank stares or looks of confusion.

You mentioned getting back into the music scene, how were you involved before?

I grew up in San Diego in the 90s. I went to shows every week. I learned how to cook volunteering at the Ché Café when I was a teenager. I helped organize and promote shows. I played a lot of bass, too. All of that got set to the side when I ended up at a Grateful Dead show at 17 and spent the next 10 years of my life pretty immersed in the drug scene. This was all nearly 20 years ago.

Where did you live before moving to Oakland?

I ended up living in Oakland kind of by accident. I fractured my hip last year and got fired shortly thereafter. I was bummed for about an hour. Then realized it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I’d been over my job for a while. I was fortunate enough to be able to collect disability because of my hip.

I’d wanted to write a book about the time I followed the Grateful Dead for years but never could find the time. I also had the idea of a record label bouncing around for a while. I decided within a week of getting fired that I was going to put everything in storage, travel the country, write a book, visit friends and hopefully network with artists, venues and whoever else I could to possibly start a label once I returned to the West Coast.

Within two months of being on the road and dealing with the standard problems that go along with that, I realized it was going to be very difficult to write a novel while living in a van. I needed to regroup; I needed a headquarters, a home base. That same week a friend posted on Facebook that he was subletting his room for the month of September in Oakland. I jumped on the opportunity for an affordable place in the Bay Area. I lucked out because that house is also the corporate headquarters of The Grassy Null Studio. I got dropped right into the middle of the Oakland music scene. By my third day in Oakland I decided I was going to stay at least until the book was finished.

How’s the music scene in Oakland? I’ve heard it’s getting a bit smaller due to everyone moving to L.A., is that really the case?

I’ve only been living in Oakland since last September, so I couldn’t really say if it’s getting smaller or not. What I do know is that the music scene in Oakland amazing. I’ve met so many really rad, creative people just in the past seven months. There are good live shows almost every night of the week, and a lot of nights there’s too many to decide on.

Some of my favorite bands right now are Unity, The World, Baus, New Faultlines and Kill Helmet from San Francisco. It definitely feels like a hotbed of creativity right now.

Do you have a full time job in Oakland, too?

No, but I need one!!! If anyone in the Bay Area needs help with anything and can pay me please feel free to contact me!!

How long did it take to put the tape together?

The idea to do a compilation happened not long after moving to Oakland. I have a lot of energy and constantly need to be working. I think I started talking to bands about it at the end of October, so about four months.

The tape is very diverse in music styles! How did you go about picking which bands to include?

I started with my friends whose music I dug, finding out if they’d be willing to contribute. From there, I just reached out to bands I like and asked if they’d be interested. There was no real order to picking music. It was more like “You guys are rad, do you want to be on a comp?” I’m so stoked on how it came out.

What was it like delivering the tapes? How has it sold so far?

I’ve sold nine so far this week. I’ve only had them since this past Saturday, so It’s actually going better than I expected. I’ve never done this before so it’s all a learning experience. Cumstain is on a US tour right now with Pookie & The Poodlez and will have them available at their shows.

Other than running the label, are you involved in other areas of music? Such as recording bands, hosting shows, etc.?

I’ve got shows in Los Angeles and Oakland in the works and a music project with Josh Kmak from Shady Francos we’re calling Terminal Bleach.

What’s next for Loose Grip?

Press Play Volume 2 is already in the works with songs by Tongues, Baus, Wimps, The Vibekills and Kids in Heat to name a few. That should be coming out sometime in the fall. It’ll have a couple cool surprises to coincide with the release. I’m aiming to have the book finished by the end of summer. I’m also talking to a couple of people about the possibility of a 12″ split, so we’ll see happens.

Did you eat any good pie while traveling??

I definitely remember good pie in Portland and Newport, Oregon.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?!

Pumpkin buried in whip cream.

1 Comment

  1. Fernando
    March 24, 2016

    Hey man, not sure if you remember me, but you sold me some really primo pot in 1976 and I was wondering if you still have any left?



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