Blag’Ard is the name Joe Taylor chooses to write, record and release music under on his label Pig Zen Space.
Joe has been a guitarist and singer since he was a pre-teen, and started playing set lists of oldies at bars in Morehead City, NC when he was 16. He arrived in Chapel Hill, NC in ’89 and started playing on Franklin St at a few college bars with friend and college roommate Geoff Abel under the name Echo of the Spheres. In 1991 Geoff and Joe formed Capsize 7 with drummer David Soliday and bassist Mike Jackson. Chris Toms, also from Morehead City, replaced Soliday early in 1993.
Capsize 7 released 7″ singles on their label Pig Zen’s Pace and eventually signed to Caroline Records in 1994. Also in 1994 local label Scrimshaw, run by Sean Rogers (who also managed The Archers of Loaf) released Capsize 7’s “Recline and Go” EP. Caroline then released “Mephisto”, the band’s first LP in October of 1995. Capsize 7 toured nationally for several years including Lollapalooza ’96. The second LP by Capsize 7 stayed on the shelf until 2010 when Joe released it on Pig Zen Space.
After the breakup of Capsize 7 in late 1996 Joe took a break from playing out and wrote music mainly on a 4-track until 1999 when he again teamed up with drummer Chris Toms and formed Lystra. Lystra relocated to Los Angeles in 2001 and Joe and Chris played shows at local LA venues and did a few on-air shows at college radio station KXLU. Lystra self-released one five- song EP as a duo (a selection from a 13 song recording session with Brian Paulson). Base player Chris Rady joined the band in 2002 and the band continued to write and self-record a LP which was never released.
After the unwinding of Lystra Joe moved back to NC in late 2003. Once again living in Chapel Hill, in 2005 Joe teamed up with drummer Saula Finau and bass player Billy Buckley. They called themselves Chachalaca and made one 4 song demo. Saula moved out of the area and Billy and Joe continued on as a two-piece now called Blag’ard (from the word blackguard which was used extensively in the Patrick O’Brian books Joe was reading at the time). Billy and Joe recorded Blag’ard’s “Blank Faced Clocks” EP in 2006 with engineer/producer John Koelle, but soon Billy left the band to focus on work/family and Joe continued to play on his own.
In the summer of 2007 drummer Adam Brinson joined Joe and the two, still under the name Blag’ard, quickly meshed and wrote a long list of songs which was then recorded that December. This album, recorded by Nick Petersen was called “Bobcat” and released in July 2008 on Pig Zen Space. Adam and Joe continued to play locally and regionally including several northeast tours to NYC, Philly, etc. In 2009 they recorded again with Nick Petersen a ten song LP called “Mach II”, which was released in 2010. “Mach II” was released alongside “Horsefly” – the remixed and remastered, previously unreleased Capsize 7 record which was recorded by Mark Trombino (Drive Like Jehu, Blink 182) in 1996.
Blag’ard continued to play locally and regionally for several years. In 2011 life moved on for Adam Brinson who left the band in May. Adam returned to record Blag’ard’s final record “Fresh Candy” with Brian Paulson (Slint, Dinosaur Jr, Wilco, Beck, Soul Asylum) that October. Joe and Adam also made a video for the song “Rusted Chrome” with director and filmmakers Richard Jamiefield and David Stillson. It was released on YouTube in the summer of 2012. “Fresh Candy” was released on Pig Zen Space in the fall of 2012.
Soon after the release of “Fresh Candy” Joe left Chapel Hill and relocated to Morehead City where he moved onto a sailboat. Joe took time away from writing music during which he worked as an ocean lifeguard in Atlantic Beach, and then for a year and a half as a laborer and carpenter for a barn repair company in Ranson, West Virginia. While in Ranson (fall 2016, 2017, and spring of 2018) Joe taught himself how to record using a digital work station (Cubase) and began writing using virtual instruments and drum sequencers. Joe wrote the songs which would become “Bitty Bop” released May of 2017. Joe changed the spelling of Blag’ard to reflect the switch to a solo project. He capitalized the “A”: Blag’Ard.
In 2017 and 2018 Joe teamed up with director/videographer Allen Finau and recorded two videos for the songs “No One” and “Monstre Sacre” both released on YouTube. Further videos with Finau are planned in support of Joe’s new EP “Luckery”.
Blag’Ard’s new three-song EP showcases the steps Joe has made in learning recording, mixing and mastering music, as well as a slower and more refined style of songwriting.
Joe currently lives in Surf City, NC. He also has a cacao farm in Belize.