10 Questions with ... Tai Anderson
November 26, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Johnny Mac Powell - Lead vocals, Acoustic guitar, tambourine
- Mark David Lee - Electric guitar, backing vocals
- Samuel Tai Anderson- Bass, backing vocals
- David Ronald Carr - Drums, percussion
- Scotty Wilbanks - keyboards, backing vocals (since 2005)
- Jason Hoard - mandolin, banjo, guitar, backing vocals (since 2010)
- Billy Wilkins
- Brad Avery
- 1996 Third Day
- 1997 Conspiracy No. 5
- 1999 Time
- 2000 Offerings: A Worship Album
- 2001 Come Together
- 2003 Offerings II: All I Have to Give
- 2004 Wire
- 2005 Wherever You Are
- 2008 Revelation
- 2010 Move
- 2012 Miracle
Additional Touring Musicians:
1. How & where did you make the connection with Mac?
When the band started, David and I were friends, and Mac and Mark were friends. I was a little intimidated by Mac. I was 16 and still in high school. Mac was 20 and already in college. I had only played in groups with other young teenagers before joining up with Third Day. I had immediate respect for his talent, which was already undeniable. I think he respected my maturity and hard work. I also have a very large, supportive family that often made up the majority of the audience at our early gigs!
2. Tell us about the early days of Third Day?
It was playing at a lot of high school events at six in the morning where we would play acoustically, and I would mix the sound from the stage on a little PA system I had put together. On occasion, we'd be asked to play for a youth group in the evening or for an all night lock-in. We'd play some upbeat songs, and maybe a cover song, and then transition to a time where we'd play a ballad like "Love Song" or "Thief" and Mac would share his testimony. I guess things haven't changed all that much, but we do play less covers as people are more familiar with our music.
3. What's the biggest challenge for you as a touring artist?
Definitely being away from home. But, it's not just a heartbreaking ache all the time. We have a great time together and love being on the road. What gets us is missing the specific events that are important to us. We miss weddings and funerals. We miss kids' plays and football games. That's the stuff that gets you. So many dads take that stuff for granted. We try to make up for it with a lot of home time, but you never really get over missing the specific memorable events that you miss.
4. Where did you go to school, what did you study, where did you think you'd be at this point in your life?
I was a great student in high school, and went to Georgia Tech for a year before we "got signed" and started touring. I didn't really belong at an engineering school, but I went to Tech so I could stay in the band. 2 years ago, we started working with a university called Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. They have a beautiful campus, but a huge online program. I've been pursuing a marketing degree online, and Mark has been pursuing a degree in Christian Studies. We're both set to graduate this coming spring. It's been a lot of work, but I really feel like if I can do it, our fans can too. I have no idea where I'd be if I had of quit the band and stayed in school, but I can't imagine enjoying it half as much as I love being in Third Day.
5. How early did you start playing your first musical instrument? Was it a passion at first?
My first instrument was the ukelele, long before it made its recent comeback. I was in a little ensemble at school, and I learned the foundations of playing guitar. I moved on to a public school where I played the saxophone in band, but I was never very good at reading music. I enjoyed playing with other people, but I didn't really enjoy practicing by myself until I would just try and learn the songs that I heard on the radio.
6. How is songwriting and ultimately song selection handled by you guys?
It's pretty democratic. Mac writes the vast majority of songs, and is really good at it. He brings us the song without a very defined lyric, and we focus on making the music as good as possible. Then, Mac gets the song back, and can develop the lyric with a more defined song structure and vibe. Everyone has their own way of doing this, but it works pretty well for us. If I have an idea, I'll usually take it to Mac before the rest of the guys because I want him to own it. We try and quickly look at the songs as Third Day songs not Mac, Mark, or Tai songs.
7. What is your absolute favorite part of being in Third Day?
Not having to have a commute every day. After my kids get on the school bus, I'll go for a morning jog. Everyone just looks so miserable stuck in their cars sitting in traffic. But, more specifically, I love the fraternity. It's a great hang. We're our own club, our own gang. We've traveled the world together and have experienced this unique set of experiences that will always bond us together.
8. Funniest thing that's ever happened to you on the road?
I picked up a hitchhiker one time who absolutely scared all the rest of the guys to death. Lots of bad breakdowns, sleeping in a van by the side of the road waiting for a tow-truck. I don't know. Everyone seems to think our worst situations make the funniest stories. In the early days, we played at a lot of churches. Sometimes, the little old ladies would treat us like their own grandkids and spoiled us rotten. Sometimes, a church would not welcome us at all, especially when we started charging a little bit of money. We've had the best and the worst hospitality. When the hospitality is poor, it has been laughably poor. Like food you wouldn't give to your dog to eat and sleep under the kitchen table bad. But, everyone seems to get a laugh out of it now.
9. As you get older and wiser if you could go back would you do anything differently?
Absolutely, I am a hothead, but I was a HUGE hothead when we first started. We had success pretty early on, and I think I felt some responsibility for it because of my hard work. Now, I see the hand of God even more clearly. I'm more thankful, and try to be more tempered. My motivation has always been pretty good, but sometimes I didn't have a big enough perspective.
10. Tell us about the latest project, "Miracle". What are your favorite three songs?
The goal for the project was not to become a Third Day cover band. We wanted something fresh, something we hadn't done before. That's not a small task when you've made as many albums as we have. Brendan O'Brien really helped guide us to a fresh sound and delivery that was still the band instead of just covering ourselves up with a whole bunch of other musicians or technology. I would have thought going into the record that it would have been a bit more aggressive sounding in guitar tones and tempo, but really, we've already done that. Instead, we got a more stripped down sound where everything is louder. It's absolutely the best drums/bass record we've ever made. My favorite three tracks are "Kicking and Screaming," "You Are My Everything" and "Take Me Back."
1. Favorite author and last book read.
School has eaten up most of my free-time reading. I love reading big history books by David McCullough like "Truman and John Adams," and I like reading marketing books when I'm on airplanes. I really enjoyed Max Lucado's last book, "Fearless," and I actually have been reading a lot of the new testament as I just completed a new testament history class at GCU.
2. Top five songs from any genre on your mixtape.
- Paul Simon - "Graceland"
- Living Colour - "Cult of Personality"
- Red Hot Chile Peppers - "Higher Ground" cover
- U2 - "Walk On"
- Black Crowes - "Remedy"
3. NASCAR, NFL, or NBA?
Yes, please, but right now I gotta go with the Falcons. #riseup