The Rock Stars Next Door

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster reach mainstream, stay humble

“I’ve never had a reason not to be humble,” says Dallas Taylor, lead singer of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, shortly after pulling the band’s tour van into a motel parking lot somewhere in Illinois. He, along with the other five members of the Birmingham-based Metalcore outfit, is still in the first half of a nationwide tour to promote the latest Maylene album, titled III, which was released June 23 and has since placed 70th on Billboard’s Top 100.

“When I’m home, I’m putting up gutters and cutting grass, doing stuff around the house,” Dallas says.

This might seem unreal to fans whose only impression of Dallas is derived from his erratic stage presence. He bears slight resemblance to a young Charles Manson and whether he’s spitting three feet into the air, wrapping the mic cord around his neck or banging head at the edge of the stage, yard work is one of the last things a fan would imagine Dallas indulging.

“Even if I was making amazing money every year and didn’t have to do these jobs, I’d still do them,” he says. “Hard work keeps you humble.”

Along with Dallas’ remarkably down to earth personality, his appreciation of the American work ethic encapsulates the spirit of Maylene, a band that has risen from the murky depths of the Southern Rock underground and emerged as one of the genre’s most promising mainstream acts without compromising it’s sound or mission.

“We want fans to see that we’re normal guys playing music, not Rock stars,” Dallas says. “One of the biggest goals of the band is to break down stereotypes of the ‘untouchable Rock band’ and show fans that we’re just like them. We’re the guy next door, the guy serving you food, the guy working on his car — just average people.”

Like most average people, the members of Maylene have faced plenty of trials and tribulations in the last few years. Since the release of its previous album in March 2007, the winds of change have swept over Maylene like an F-4 tornado, resulting in a new lineup and altered sound window.

“We had a lot of member changes,” Dallas says. “Most of the guys wanted to get married and didn’t want to tour anymore."

Composed of four new members, including Matt Clark and Kelly Scott Nunn (ex-Underoath), Maylene expresses its Southern roots more than ever on III, with banjo tracks, guitar slides and hand claps to compliment the downtuned, fist-pounding sound that fans have come to expect from the band’s previous albums.

“The new sound is a lot more Classic Rock, combined with some Country influences, like George Jones and Willie Nelson. We aimed to sharpen every edge of what Maylene was before,” Dallas says.

Although the band’s stand-alone brand of heaviness is upheld, III reveals a new direction for the band in terms of musical composition and target audience.

As Dallas reports, “The goal for this album and future albums is not to only appeal to 17- to 25-year-old males. We want to open the door a little bit, something that not many bands in our genre do, so that we have a wider fan base.”

A wider fan base will enable the band to spread it’s message, to connect with more people and ideally have these people appreciate Maylene’s music for years to come, according to Dallas.

On this note, Dallas hearkens back to Country influences like Willie Nelson, who Dallas says has inspired him a great deal, despite his distaste for Country music growing up.

“Those guys back then, they all had longevity. Nowadays, they’re here today and gone tomorrow. All these guys in the past, they just stuck with it and I think that’s what influences me to keep on going,” he says.

Dallas says that Maylene’s next album will be grittier and will maintain the “off the beaten path” sound that has earned the band its reputation and success. Although anything can change before the next album, Dallas assures fans that there will be another.

MAYLENE AND THE SONS OF DISASTER play the 20th Century Theater Aug. 11 with Emery. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.

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