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L.A. Beat

Walk off The Earth embrace opportunities and innovation

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It has been a tough but exciting year for Walk of the Earth who had to handle losing beloved band member Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor while touring around the world and working on a new album.
 They play Whoop Up Days in the EX Stage, Wednesday, Aug. 21 with Scenic Route to Alaska and The Julian Taylor band.Walk Off The Earth play Whoop Up Days next week. Photo by Andrea Hunter
Walk Off The Earth took off in 2012 in the nascent days of Youtube, when they released a viral video of the five band members playing a cover of Gotye’s song “Somebody I Used To know,” on one guitar. Many other eye-catching  videos and covers followed including collaborations  with everybody from Snoop Dogg to comedian Sarah Silverman.

 They won Juno awards for Breakthrough Group of the year and video of the year for Little Boxes in 2013, and won three more Junos in 2014 for group of the year, pop album of the year for  R.E.V.O and Fan Choice, and another three Junos in 2016 for Fan Choice, pop album  of the year for Sing it Away and Group of the year. They have toured the world, released  a lot of original music, which has also been a hit with fans and recently took advantage of an opportunity  from  Blackberry Guitars to build them a new instrument.

“ They asked us if they could build us any instrument we wanted, so we sent them the schematics and the next thing we know they sent us this  GuitHarpUlele,” said drummer Joel Cassady, who is pleased with where the band has ended up since “Somebody That I Used to Know ” took off.

“Youtube was just starting and we got 13,000 views on  the Gotye cover and it was really exciting. It just took off,” Cassady said.
“We‘ve been really fortunate to work with so many talented people. Snoop Dogg was  probably my favourite. He seems like such a larger than life character. But he’s so laid back and so articulate. He’s in his own class,“ Cassady said, adding they will try to make any collaboration work.

“We work with a lot of local musicians. Coldplay  wanted to collaborate with us a few years ago, but we couldn’t make our schedules work
He said they choose  songs to cover  for two reasons — whether it is already popular and whether they can make it their own with unusual arrangements and instrumentation.

“The song has to already be resonating with people. So it has to be a banger already and we have to be able to WOTEify it,” he summarized, adding collaboration with other musicians and actors come naturally.
“ A lot of them reach out to us and we reach out  to others, when we have millions of views on Youtube it makes it easier,” he said, noting  they are able to fly home in between gigs.
“It’s the best feeling to be able to do that. We love that we can come back home after a show especially when we’re working on a new album,” Cassady continued, adding they are able to limit the number of their annual live dates.
“We have lots of friends who are always touring,” he said.


 He said the new album will have a diverse sound.
“We‘ve got more experimental songs like Sublime and Mr. Bungle, and some straight up EDM influenced songs and pop songs. I think WOTE fans will really like it,” he said.
The spirit of keyboardist/ multi-instrumentalist Mike “ Beard Guy” Taylor, who passed away suddenly in his home, Dec. 29-30 of natural causes, remains strong in the band. They were considering calling it quits without him, but decided to carry on with the world tour they had already booked and with making new music.


 Cassady has a lot of fond memories of Taylor.


“ He has this stoic and calm personality with the band in the videos, but in real life he was a goofball. He had such a great sense of humour,” he said adding Taylor was also really dedicated to charities like MusiCounts, which provides musical instruments for children who can’t afford them, so the band is keeping his spirit alive by continuing their support of the charity.
“ We can’t replace him, but Mike would have wanted us to keep going,” he continued, adding they have retired a few on stage bits Taylor was an integral part of and a few musical numbers including their cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“That was all Mike’s,” he said.

“ We do a video tribute to him though. And we have recorded tracks of him singing with us, so it’s like he’s singing with us in our monitors,” he said.
“ But for touring we have hired Adam Michael as a utility player to play some of his parts,” Cassady said.

They released a new song “Mike’s Song, ” written in his honour, and a video showing some of WOTE’s favourite moments with him and his dedication to MusiCounts.
“Mike’s song is definitely on the new album,” he said.
“ It really tells what he means to us. It is a tribute to Mike. We’re really proud of it,” he continued.

They are also proud of the live show they have developed.
“ There’s the tribute to Mike. There’s a lot of energy and you’ll be seeing instruments you might never have seen before,” Cassady said, adding they will combine a lot of the covers into a “ table medley.”
“ But it’s still a rock show,” he said.
‘We‘re excited about any opportunity,” he said.
 Walk off the Earth, Scenic Route to Alaska and  the Julian Taylor band play The Ex Stage,Thursday, Aug. 22. with The Julian Taylor band playing at 7 p.m.
 Tickets are $38 at the gate, $31 in advance.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 August 2019 08:57 )  
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