Hailing from Modesto in California’s central valley, Crown Jewel Defense’s Taylor Hood managed to turn an introduction to Justin Hawkins by a mutual friend into some worldwide touring with the Darkness. I caught CJD during their opening slot at The Fillmore in San Francisco for an energetic set that was well received by the crowd but unfortunately marred by not enough guitars in the mix which probably cost them some punch. Intrigued enough, I followed up with CJD front man Taylor Hood with a few question to learn more about this band that I’m sure we’ll all be hearing more about.
How would you describe Crown Jewel Defense for those that have never heard of the band?
Just full on arena rock. Huge choruses and over the top guitars. Bringing back a little carefree fun that’s missing from today’s music scene.
I was able to catch your set at the Fillmore in San Francisco. I must admit that what I experienced was not something I expected to come out of Modesto. Where do you draw your musical inspirations?
If I listed every band it would take all day to go through but there are a few staples in my musical foundation. Kansas and Boston are two major influences musically. Of course there’s 80’s bands like Van Halen, Bon Jovi, and Journey. But then pop music plays a huge part in my song writing. I love the structure and progression of pop music. Stuff like Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus.
CJD has only been around for about a year and hasn’t released a CD yet. How did you manage to score an opening slot on the Darkness tour?
I had the privilege of doing song writing with Justin from The Darkness a while back. We did the UK and Ireland tour with them and it just kind of rolled into doing the US as well.
Did you glam things up for this tour or is body glitter standard attire?
We started doing it on the last couple tours and it’s just kind of stuck….pun intended. I think if you’re going to go for something then go all out. Besides how can anyone not like glitter? People are paying good money to see you put on a show so I’m going to make sure I do just that.
I saw Taylor watching the Darkness set from the back of the Fillmore. What have you learned from watching them night after night?
I’ve learned to not hold anything back and people are going to love it or hate it but when you’re trying to do something different you’re going to meet a lot of resistance. When The Darkness started out everyone said that they would never make it but they stuck to their guns and made all those people eat their words. They are consistently brilliant performers night after night, and that’s what we are striving to bring to every performance.
After touring the UK and the USA, what’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you guys on tour?
Actually the craziest thing wasn’t in either of those places. We were in Europe and after a show a crazy guy thought he was a pig and was crawling around and tried to eat me.
What’s next for Crown Jewel Defense?
Put our album out and take over the world.
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