The Best of Daren: The Ultimate Beat Keeper

Posted: October 14, 2013 in 5's
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By Jennifer

Ed. Note: This is the second in a six part series in which fans of The Airborne Toxic Event select their Top 5 musical moments of their favorite band member. Previous entry: Mikel’s Top 5 Vocals. Next week: Anna Bulbrook, Classically Trained Punk Rock Chick.

5 6 7 8!

Daren Taylor, The Airborne Toxic Event Drummer

Daren Taylor, The Airborne Toxic Event Drummer.
Photo by TATE fan Ryan Macchione.

Daren Taylor slowly rose to fame from Kingsburg High School and numerous garage and punk bands. He was the drummer for a couple of ska bands called Dr. Rocket and Moon Patrol. He then graduated to a local Coachella punk band called It’ll Grow Back, with whom he spent five years on the road in a converted ambulance playing across the US, and even sold a few CD’s along the way.

Daren then took a leap and moved to the Big City of LA, where he met a writer named Mikel Jollett. They decided to start a band and spent four months holed up in a studio, drinking and writing songs together with just drums, a guitar and their two beautiful voices. They became The Airborne Toxic Event.

Over time, Noah Harmon, Steven Chen and Anna Bulbrook joined the band. They recorded a song of heartbreak, the kind that will make you cry every time you think about her or him. The song was picked up by a local alternative station and we all went crazy over it. The arrow that rips through the bird ripped through our hearts, and we fell in love. We fell hard. They got a gig at Tokyo Gardens in Fresno, and a few weeks later the band was invited to play on Last Call With Carson Daly.  Life for The Airborne Toxic Event has never been the same.

So, my top 5 Daren moments… How do I pick those? It’s like picking my favorite lyric. It changes with everyday and every feeling. Some favorite moments don’t even have a drum in them! I can’t really put them in order – it wouldn’t be fair. So the numbers here don’t really reflect my personal ranking, they just bring order to this post. I’m just going to share moments with Daren that have made me say “WOW!” or, “How fucking cool is he?”

5. A Personal Memory

Why did I choose Daren for this project? The first time I saw TATE live, they did a little acoustic bit in the middle of the show and Daren brought a little drum up to the front of the stage. They played Midnight and a few other songs, and in the middle of one of those songs, Daren dropped his sticks and made an outline of a heart and pointed at me. I looked all around me and then back up at him and he smiled at me and said “Yeah, you!” Ever since, we “throw hearts” at each other at shows. I have yet to find a video anywhere that shows Daren playing that song while putting down his drum sticks to make a heart, while still keeping the beat and the rest of the band in line. There is never enough footage of the drummer. They always hide him away in the back corner and you might get a glimpse of him when the lead singer gets out of the way for a second or two…

For those of you who actually watch and listen to this clip, please don’t hurt yourself laughing like I did (I fell off my bed) when you hear the hilarious voice over.

Since the moment that arrow was thrown though Daren’s heart to mine, I have become like a giggly14-year-old girl. I don’t know what to say to him or anyone in the band. The night after the heart incident, I saw them again, and after the show Daren came down to me with his setlist. He signed it for me and gave me a kiss, and I didn’t have the wherewithal to have someone take a picture of us – which I regret to this day.

4. Something New (Bombastic Video)

With the birth of the Bombastic Videos came a treasure trove of Daren moments. Who knew that a drummer could keep the band on the right beat and drive a boat at the same time – how fucking cool is that? It’s so Something New. It’s definitely something new to have the drummer front and center!

3. Does This Mean You’re Moving On? (Bombastic Video)

When I’m driving in my car, I have the stereo up as loud as it will go, so I can sing along and play drums on my steering wheel. I know I look like a total ass to other drivers, the people on the street who see me, and the high school kid stopped next to me at a traffic light. But when I’m in my  car I just know I could be a kick ass drummer!

And then I think… what if I had the whole band in the car with me? Playing their instruments and singing? No one would be able to hear my excellent drumming on the steering wheel… No, I would have to be creative enough to figure out how I can get the loudest sound. I think and think, and then it hits me, like a drumstick sometimes does: all you really need is the roof of an old car to keep the beat on point.

2. This Losing

We all know that Mikel likes to change up the lyrics or maybe forgets them – who knows what goes on inside the head of the genius songwriter? But he also likes to fuck with the band, whether it be intentional or not. I once saw an interview where Noah was telling a story of how he would kind of freak out because Mikel had changed the cord or key they were playing, and he would run over to Steven and tell him, and then he would let Anna know, and then he would tell Daren, and Daren just said, “I don’t give a shit what key he is in; it doesn’t affect my drumming.” I loved that. He just needed to keep them all on the same beat.

After their first world tour, they were asked, and beyond thrilled, to play at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It seemed like it was their hometown, LA, thanking them for all they had done, and giving them this venue and offering to share it with all of us. In that amazing gift were some of the most brilliant moments from The Airborne Toxic Event. Being backed up by the Calder Quartet and his bandmates, including a stellar performance by Anna, Daren proved he is an amazing drummerwho can make his kit do anything he wants it to do. He is definitely not Losing in this brilliant performance, captured in the All I Ever Wanted film.

1. Drum Solo

Favorite moments… I’m supposed to share with you my favorites. But there are so many. Every song I hear and every show I see becomes a new favorite. However, I must share one moment that has more meaning for me than any other, for many reasons.

Fans of The Airborne Toxic Event gather at Red RocksOne moment that I will never forget was when I was able to meet a handful of you amazing people, my fellow fans. 13 of us gathered together at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where me and my new best friends had the privilege of going underground, backstage, where very few fans ever get to go. We spent an amazing and breathtaking 30 minutes, not just with The Airborne Toxic Event, but with Anna, Steven, Daren, Mikel and Noah. The 14-year-old in me decided to rear her stupid head at this moment, and all I could ask besides, “Will you sign the 28 t-shirts I brought?” was, “So what was it like to play Red Rocks for the first time?” Amazingly enough, their answers came out like the 14-year-old in them. They were clearly humbled, saying, “It was unbelievable,” or, “I can’t believe I just played Red Rocks.” We were all kind of in awe at the same time, but for different reasons. Sometimes I don’t think that night actually happened, but I happen to have proof.

I take some of these words from another writer. There are mornings I wake up and think, I really need to hear a KICK ASS DRUM SOLO! At a TATE show, it can usually be found during the finale we have all come to love and hate (knowing it’s the last song of the night).

Great Daren moments can be found in every song. I think there are only a few where his talent and his role as beat keeper is not needed, but without him there would be no Midnight, or All At Once or Bride and Groom.

I am in love with every member of this amazing Airborne Toxic Event, and with all of those who love them too. But after all this time, I STILL PREFER THE DRUMMER! And everyone knows it!

Purchase the Best of Daren:

Sometime Around Midnight (Acoustic Version)
Something New
Does This Mean You’re Moving On?
This Losing (feat. The Calder Quartet)

536238_584219264925273_1401056734_nJennifer lives in Colorado, which seems to be Airborne’s favorite place on earth, judging by the number of shows they get. Jen was injured in 2004 and is now an android due to the artificial disc in her back. She also comes along with a few different autoimmune diseases, to which Mikel can certainly relate.

  1. Nicole says:

    Daren is honestly the nicest, most down to earth person I have ever had the privilege to meet! Actually, that could be used to describe all of the band ha. Such a sweet guy..


  2. […] moments of their favorite band member. Previous entries: Mikel Jollett’s Top 5 Vocals; Daren Taylor, the Ultimate Beat Keeper; Anna Bulbrook, Classically Trained Punk Rock Chick; Noah Harmon, Classical Rock God; Steven Chen, […]


  3. erika mcguire says:

    i’ve only met my favourite band once, this past fall and i was so awestruck at being surrounded by these genuinely cool people that i forgot to shake daren’s hand..i felt like such an ahole..but i will say this about him, besides his immense talent(the rising heartbeat from the beginning to the end of innocence is pure genius imho) he did one of the kindest things i have ever seen…at the end of a sweaty set of TATE goodness while everyone else was heading backstage he jumped over the barrier carrying his setlist and gave it to a quadriplegic man that was parked up front with us. this man couldn’t speak or move but in the midst of all that sound and noise you could see how happy he was,..i will never forget that. .daren, if you ever read this fucking rule! xxoo


  4. Trevor Race says:

    “Dr.Rocket and The Moon Patrol” is the name of one band. Not two separate bands.
    And for the record, they were the GREATEST Ska band I have ever seen live.
    I actually bought their very first demo tape from the back of someone’s ride after a Reedley cafe show where they played in the middle of the street. The same show where your favorite drummer stood on his drum throne with his drumsticks crossed over his head, yelling “I’m the greatest drummer in the world!”

    Daren was two years ahead of me at Kingsburg High School. He was gigging pretty regularly for a high school kid.
    He deserves all the success that comes his way. We were never close friends, but he was always a cool guy, and was/is super talented.
    There was a ton of musical talent in that school. We loved it for the right reasons. It’s good to see “one of us” doing so well with his craft.

    Liked by 1 person

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