Part II of the Taylor Hicks and Don VanCleave story

http://www.cimsmusic.com/

“A few weeks back, I retold my story of being aggressively approached by local artist Taylor Hicks in his pre-Idol days. I admitted that I had no clue what to do with him. Taylor Hicks coming to me for help was like taking your taxes to a taxidermist. We exist in different musical worlds. Well, I wished Taylor the best and said I hope he won and got all he deserved in life. A few of you wrote back some comments and that was the end of it. Well, kinda…”

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To read the piece in it’s entirety click on the link above and then click on the Charts & Rants link on the header.

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124 Responses to Part II of the Taylor Hicks and Don VanCleave story

  1. Split Personality with a Cherry on Top says:

    Three days and no responses on this thread…I just read it and HAD to comment.

    Many people have characterized this Van Cleave fellow as a music store owner. WRONG! He did own a music store in Birmingham for several years, but had to eventually close that sucker down. Why?…hmmm. Now he sucks money from the record labels under the guise of acting as an advisor to other music store owners, showing them how they should run their businesses. Can you say “Please let me show you how to run your business INTO THE GROUND!”?

    Re: The Flowers.
    Of course, Taylor had them sent (or, more likely, asked somebody at home to do it for him). Of course, it was a sarcastic, in-your-face, nyah nyah to Van Cleave. Selling someone’s smelly old underpants would have been more direct and to the point, but that point was still made with the flowers. “All in good fun”? Code for “Hope you enjoy the rest of your miserable little life.”

  2. EJ says:

    Upshot of Van Whatsis rejecting Taylor:

    he was not in a recording contract and thus was eligible for AI

    Upshot of Van Whatsis’ first rant:

    widespread dissemination of a graphic picture of just how determined Taylor was to make it, and how hard he worked at it- that certainly influenced my decision to do my small part to support his career

    Upshot of Van Whatsis’ second rant:

    widespread dissemination of the fact that Taylor has a clever sense of humor, and that even if the ABB did not know who he was, they sure as heck do now.

    Which goes to show Taylor has (and continues to create) good karma and Van Whatsis… who IS that? I seem to have forgotten…

  3. Sunshine says:

    Jan, thanks for making a good point. I’m reminded of part of a Dave Eggers quote from a dear friend of ours:

    “… and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a f**kload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters.”

  4. Jan says:

    HicksKicks: That’s a great review of the Stadium of Fire event. Thanks.

  5. Jan says:

    I can’t read this stuff really. I’m sure to be dissed but I don’t care I don’t think Van Cleave is such an asshole when I look at the top 100 artists from his record store. He store does support great independent music. It’s not that common. Taylor was doing mostly covers from all the club shows I have heard. I love Taylor’s original stuff but love his passionate live club performances even more.

    Did he send the flowers? Of course he did. It’s funny as hell. I don’t thnk Taylor would take credit for sending flowers if he didn’t and I don’t think Van Cleave would just make stuff up.

    Is VC trying to profit from Taylor. Sure. His business will profit which is what we want since he supports independent music. You know what, sometimes you don’t see it. I must have seen Tripping Daisy like 20 times when I was in Dallas and thought they were ok and then day, their show was sold out at Trees.

    I never saw Los Lonely Boys when asked to go to a show at least 10 times.

    I missed seeing 3 Doors down in D’Iberville, MS with my brother because I didn’t know who the hell they were.

    I’m just saying. The guy has right to his opinion. He does support independent music in a big way. Hey, I think I’ll send him the Fishwater mp3. I think Widespread Panic was listed twice on the top 100.

  6. Dana says:

    Julie, I don’t know but you should win something, that’s a hella lotta pictures. You must have been good at Where’s Waldo.

    I didn’t look at them all, but I saw the Snoop lacks McPhever one for the first time and found it funny. Thanks for the link Historia. I remember the girl posting at the scary boards about her picture with Taylor going to be in Life magazine, but I forgot and never saw the article or picture, so thanks!

  7. NOLAgirl says:

    ^^^^ DD: Is this true?? I looked through every damn page (thanks Historia for the nice collection!) and could NOT figure it out. I would really kick myself it it was little ol’ you all along. 🙂

  8. Julie says:

    Good Lord Historia…that’s a LOT of Taylor Hicks for just one small photobucket!

    I know the answer! I know the answer! It’s Double D in the group shot with Tay’s grandmother Joni!! I was gonna say fAt in the pic at the Bham airport but then I saw this one. She’s the one on the left with the orange visor.

    What do I win?

    🙂

    And JanB…the site is called “It’s the Boogie” and the URL is https://tayloristheboogie.wordpress.com.

    Happy Fourth, y’all.

  9. double d says:

    Here’s a pretty good blogcritics post regarding Taylor and the Stigma of AI…appears that these folks “get” Taylor….

    http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/07/04/065608.php

    Happy 4th of July….Big Pops all around.

    dd

  10. lahjah says:

    Couldn’t find the culture vulture article. Could someone repost it?

  11. Robin4T says:

    Dana: I like the Culture Vulture article. Thanks for the positive vibes. And happy 4th everyone!

    Hey, that reminds me–tomorrow is the 5th. Mighty huge day for TH and the other Idol finalists. Hope some of our regulars are attending. Can’t wait to hear about it!

  12. susieq3c says:

    Thanks for posting this positive article, Dana. Accentuate the positive…great words of wisdom from some Disney song, I’m sure. At any rate, let’s leave this Van Cleave business behind and focus on what IS and what COUNTS!!

    Happy 4th to all! God Bless America and God Preserve our Troops!

  13. Clikee says:

    Purduer, I think you hit the proverbial nail. Wonder how many more names VanCleave could spew if he wasn’t so busy hustling “wannabe’s” out of his office. Lucky for VanCleave Taylor was aggressive, or he’d be missing our hits on his site.

    I can imagine the amount of time anyone connected with the business must spend weeding. I don’t know how much clout VanCleave carries, it must be time consuming enough to be that tragically hip.

    Actually I hold no malice towards the guy, he’s entitled to his method. However, sometimes jumping on the bandwagon is easier than walking.

  14. Susan says:

    Sadly, what we see in the music biz is the same in most lines of work — it’s who you know — the connections. These smucks didn’t like Taylor – – so they avoided him. They were stupid, weren’t looking for talent just someone to add to their stable that would kiss butt and play the game. That’s why there is so much crap out there. I want to thank this guy for NOT seeing the real Taylor. Where would he be now if things had been different….

  15. Robin4T says:

    Jan: Exactly right. Exactly. It was all about the mass exposure AI gave him. It’s very unlikely that any other vehicle could have done this for him. As Taylor himself said to GC:

    American Idol was the perfect scenario for me, I don’t think it could have been scripted any better. I had been trying to get a record deal through my recorded music for so long and it wasn’t going anywhere. Visual performance was the key, when people were able to see me perform they connected and became fans.

  16. Sunshine says:

    Think of how different the outcome would be if Mr VanCleave hadn’t passed on Taylor… for Taylor and for the SPs.

    Maybe we should all send him flowers.

  17. Jan B. says:

    First, I want to put this site on my Favorites, but don’t know the actual name– can someone post it please?
    Secondly, I don’t believe any single agent could’ve helped Taylor–it was all about AI and the mass exposure he got…it happened for Taylor in a way I don’t think it’s worked for any other contestant. Then came Gray Charles and we “old schoolers”… Any one of us could’ve run into someone like Taylor at a local bar and loved him, but what good would that do? Taylor needed a venue where thousands of people could get caught up in him, and that was AI. There are guys out there like Taylor, who add a local fan or two per week, but there’s no “build” to that… thankfully, Taylor was smart enough to audition. I’d be surprised if we see this again on AI, but if we do, it’ll be awhile…The Taylor Season was pure magic.

  18. jojo says:

    Interesting article on how Provo’s altitude may have affected Taylor performance at http://www.sltrib.com/healthscience/ci_4008990

  19. KraftR says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Well, I was wondering when I would get around to my first post here at Ash’s place… It’s lovely, Ash, thanks and Happy July 4th to all my American Neighbours.

    Regarding the flowers, I am thinking they may have been a dig (all in good fun), but also somewhat sincere. After all, trying to see it from Taylor’s perspective, VanCleave’s initial rant clearly defined for us what it was like for Taylor, his rejection AND his determination. It added credibility to Taylor’s backstory, and he came off as the sympathetic character in the story.

    In the grand scheme of things, if I was Taylor, I think I’d be a little grateful to the man for stepping up and telling it like it was… especially (while I’m sure he would not agree), VanCleave comes off looking less than stellar both in the judgement AND personality departments.

  20. SoulForever says:

    I find it hard to believe VanCleave had any good intentions when he posted these comments.

    Yes, when he first experienced Taylor, he was raw and struggling. I find it hard to believe that music professionals didn’t see what we immediately heard and felt during Taylor’s audition and expand on that but I guess he didn’t fit the mold they were looking for.

    But, I don’t fault VanCleave too much for his initial response to Taylor. Looking back at the live sets of Taylor and LIMBO, I don’t know if I would have seen a star in the making…just a very cute, struggling musician singing old favorites and and entertaining the crowd. And, while I love UTR, I heard it after I had seen and heard Taylor on AI….which opened my heart and soul to the experience and appreciation for his vocal and songwriting talent.

    Taylor was exactly in the right place at the right time. AI (devil or not) gave Taylor a national flatform with which to reach the public. Taylor did not sing unknown songs with a guitar and harp….he sang well arranged, professionally produced familiar songs which showcased his talent and personality. If not for this, he would probably still be undiscovered. Taylor, himself, stated that he was a better vocalist from his experience on AI.

    What I do fault VanCleave for is still trying to portray Taylor an agressive interloper who is now using his AI celebrity to force himself on other musicians. Sour grapes..indeed!

  21. mari3jacks says:

    Van Peeve has no clue. Words from one of the songs off one of the greatest albums:

    Well I’ve always had a deep respect
    and I mean that most sincerely.
    The band is just fantastic,
    that is really what I think.
    oh by the way, which one’s Pink?
    And did we tell you the name of game boy, we call it
    riding the Gravy Train.

    Pink Floyd – Have a Cigar – Wish You Were Here Album

  22. Historia says:

    Since you all talked about pics, I thought I would offer up my collection, and no I am not a Taylor stalker!!!! Scan through I have several from City Stages, Stadium of Fire, Robert Randolph Band (backstage) etc… I usually update it once or twice a week. I have several pics of him in childhood (I love the one with him and his Easter basket), and several I found on the web of fans that had their pic made with him. The only bad thing is there is no organization to it.

    Oh, also I have a pic of a very “famous” and regular poster from bith the GC site and here. However, it is not a pic of the person with Taylor. Who can find it and identify the Soul Patrol regular???? 😉

    http://s81.photobucket.com/albums/j221/Historia70/?

  23. Ms Ei says:

    Hi Deb! Replied to you in the other comments board.

    Now, how do I greet everybody in the US with your celebration of July 4th? Well, just consider this a greeting of sorts: Wishing you goodwill, solidarity and peace on this important day in your history! 🙂

    As for the article, if Taylor really sent those flowers, I find them funny. Good for him, I like his sense of humor. My husband’s got tons of rejection letters before and it’s just part of the business. He wasn’t angry or anything and many of these editors he approached before were very business-like about it and they’re in good speaking terms. Now, he’s a bit known for his works and it had been 10 years since and I’m proud to be where he’s at. It’s all part of the game.

    However, the way this so-called producer talked about it, just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He’s entitled to his opinion, though.

  24. Denali says:

    True North, I originally posted the article on GC’s blog. A friend in the business sent it to me. Van Cleave did not post on GC.com.

  25. purduer says:

    Ok, so far we’ve got Warren Haynes on the cell phone and a concert at Sting’s house.

    Keep those names a droppin’ Don.

  26. catwood720 says:

    Oh, and regarding Van Jerk. That first article really ticked me off (probably more than I should have let it) but the guy sounded to me like a pompous ass who gets off on having the fate of other people’s lives in his hands and especially on crushing their dreams (as evidenced by the hiding from people, etc.). Sorry, but I really hate small minded people like that. His second “article” just proved to me that my first impression of him was right. To me he truly is a “non-entity.” Taylor was better off in the long run WITHOUT his “help.” Pathetic little creep. (Sorry, I had to vent.)

  27. catwood720 says:

    Thanks for telling where to get the Stadium of Fire video – I signed up for the Pentagon feed on the computer, but it just figures that when they are showing it, both tonight and tomorrow, I will be at work! Just my luck as usual…

  28. Lisa says:

    I enjoyed reading Mr. Van whats-his-name’s first article, because it really showed what Taylor had been up against. Mr. Van whats-his-name was being very honest in the first article and I thought it was cool to hear what he had to say. That article is ‘part of the story’ for me.

    But this one. Wow. That last line was so rude. Unbelievable.

  29. Deb says:

    HicksKicks,
    Thank you for the link. Good thing he apologized.
    >>>To the observer, it looked like she had just said a bad word and the powers that be used the cane to yank her off.>>

  30. Cahaba Lily says:

    Thanks for the link HicksKicks. Gotta love what they wrote about Taylor:

    “Finally, after stall after stall, one performer stepped forward who could actually deliver to the audiences on both TV and in the stadium seats. Taylor Hicks stepped on stage and the crowd became electric again. Along with his guitar and harmonica, it was clear that this crowd wanted more Hicks and less scripts. For only three songs or so, Hicks had the crowd eating out of his hands.

    So the best thing you could do as a producer is to let him play. Which is not what they planned. Instead they cut him off early and stole the show – from the audience. Off with Hicks, and on with more stupid stunts introduced by talented people trying to reach their lowest marks for quality performances of their careers.”

  31. taywatch says:

    HicksKicks-thanks for link to the review. Very interesting reading!

  32. Kirsten says:

    bamakat: What was the altitude of the stadium? How high above sea level?

    Provo is at an elevation of 4,549 feet (1400 m)

    Taylor has been living at sea level for months, so that’s what he’s used to. I too live at sea level and sometimes go hiking at that elevation. It really knocks the breath out of you. Your not physically tired, you just cannot catch your breath and your energy level goes down. At 20,000 feet, forget it.

  33. HicksKicks says:

    Just found this item online about Stadium of Fire. It’s basically a rant about how lousy the event was overall, but there’s some nice stuff about Taylor.

    Click the redirect: http://tinyurl.com/rt2no

  34. taywatch says:

    More on Stadium of Fire. When Gypsee made it available on Megaload, no membership required because she knew some folks wouldn’t want to subscribe to TMS. Bless her – she’s good people!

  35. taywatch says:

    Stadium of Fire is already posted on TMS. Also the link is in Gypsee’s profile on AI board. I just downloaded it from Megaload. Gypsee recorded it.

  36. idolAddict_NW says:

    TayTorTot: It’s in the forum under a section called “media”. I thought there was also a link on the front page, but I have the media section bookmarked so I don’t remember exactly.

  37. aerinphil says:

    thanks idolAddict! downloading the stadium performance now yay!!!!

    and btw, there’s also a short clip of taylor with the allman bros. available for download! it’s at the taylormadeonline.org

  38. JazzLeavesHerNumber says:

    Chris, Robin, yeah, that makes sense about the altitude. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Taylor huffing like that … kinda skeered me.

    Kelley … “yo Jazz can we get tickets to the Workplay show?
    hell naw, you for real?”

    Heh 😉

  39. TayTorTot says:

    I’ve registered for TaylorMadeOnline.org

    NOW WHERE DO I GET THE VIDEO???????

  40. Chris (MacTwig) says:

    Jazz,

    I mentioned it yesterday. I also felt he sounded out of breath and decided it must be due to the thin air/altitude of Provo. I remember when the Olympics were there some friends of mine complained of having difficulty breathing.

  41. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the link, dd. I liked:

    Van Cleave’s Industry pet peeve:
    “Having my hand shaken by someone who is also scanning the room for a more important hand to shake.”

    Why naturally, because we all know he’s the most important one in the room. Who else could there possibly be?

  42. Robin4T says:

    dd: Interesting link. Thanks.

  43. kelley says:

    Hey, Jazz…this one’s for you! Since I’m still sniggling over here…how ’bout some “Deep Thoughts” by Nelly (copied from a website)

    yo i know somethin you don’t know
    and i got somethin to tell ya
    you won’t believe how many people straight doubted the flow
    most said that i was a failure
    but now the same mutha fuckaz askin me for dough
    and i’m yellin i can’t help ya
    yo nelly can we get tickets to the next show
    hell naw you for real

    Kelley – yo, yo, yo – I’m such a white girl.

  44. idolAddict_NW says:

    The Stadium of Fire vid is up on taylormadeonline.org. You have to registert to get on the media forum.

  45. double d says:

    Ok, here’s a twist of the threads…

    Based on this posted by stephk817 http://www.celebrityaccess.com/news/profile.html?id=192

    this guy’s “mission” is to ‘break bands’……again, I have to question, then why did he basically “run” from a very popular local, regional band and make a comment like “you know the kind of guy”, when referring to Taylor’s dogging him about being heard? I spell that H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E.

    Just think if Mr. Personality, Ray LaMontagne, would have had to rely on Mr. Van Cleave to sell his CD instead his friend of a friend at Chrysalis? Think Van Cleave would have seen the songwriting genius of Ray or would the recluse, introvertive Howard Hughes-like “package” have prohibited Mr. Van Cleave from getting to the talent?

    I think you know the answer based on the shallowness of said Mr. Van Cleave.

  46. bamakat says:

    What was the altitude of the stadium? How high above sea level? That plus dry heat might have caused him to breathe harder. Birmingham heat is wet, steamy. We get “sticky” in the South. 🙂

    By the way, Van Cleave shut a door, but AI opened a window. I’m sure Taylor would have no problem thanking Van Cleave for that. A local/regional contract might have gotten Taylor’s music some notice, but never have solicited the world wide response that one season on AI was able to achieve. The big looser is the Van Cleave organization.

  47. JazzLeavesHerNumber says:

    LOL Cracked me the hell up, too, Kelley!

  48. kelley says:

    I need an edit key. I was too busy snickering to proof the lyrics I copied from a website. Damn it!

    If they hate then let ’em hate
    Watch the money pile up
    Or we go upside THEIR head wit a bottle of bub

  49. aerinphil says:

    anyone technically unchallenged who was able to record the taylor’s stadium performance from the pentagon channel?
    *starts to cry* i missed it booooohooooo….

  50. kelley says:

    I looked far and wide for the best way to express my thoughts. In the words of the great philosopher 50 Cent – I offer the following pearls of wisdom:

    If they hate then let ’em hate
    Watch the money pile up
    Or we go upside there head wit a bottle of bub

    Kelley – who has just cracked herself the hell up!

  51. Robin4T says:

    Jazz, I’ve read several comments that the altitude in Provo is also a big problem if you’re not used to it. That coupled with the harmonica playing right before DIMYP was bound to have an effect.

  52. Cahaba Lily says:

    I just realised that Van Cleave was sent flowers by Taylor. All the GC Posters ever sent Dave White was flaming sacks of pooh on his front porch. There is no justice in this world after all. heh

  53. Chris (MacTwig) says:

    Thanks Robin. The pic I posted is from the Allman Bros site. I was just curious to see if they mentioned Taylor there after reading the above article. I was happy they had a pic of him. It got almost the most hits there.

  54. JazzLeavesHerNumber says:

    Hey yall. It’s great to see so many familiar faces and personalities. Ash, thanks so much for carrying on what GC started. I am so glad to have a place to go to that feels like ‘home’.

    Sarah, thanks for the reminder about the Pentagon Channel broadcast. I read your post and tuned in just in time to catch Taylor’s three songs. It was SO great to see him performing. I thought he sounded good and of course, he looked mighty fine, too. Gotta say it … so glad the spikey hair is gone!

    Somebody may have already mentioned this, but I was just a little concerned about Taylor’s being out of breath when he finished The Deal. That surprised me, considering the way he raced around the stage and through the audience week after week on AI, hitting his mark every time and never appearing to break a sweat. I read somewhere that it was very hot in Utah when he did the show. I wouldn’t think the heat would bother a southern boy all that much, but maybe it got to him a little, along with all the singing, guitar-picking, and harp blowing. Future outdoor performances may call for breaking out the Hawaiian shirt and clam diggers 🙂

  55. aerinphil says:

    ooopppss i don’t know what happened to my post lol..

    NOW they know who Taylor Hicks is.

  56. Debann says:

    Who is this Van Cleave person anyway? Is he a special “somebody”?
    Sounds like a nobody to me.
    By the way, great site and it is wonderful to see a lot of
    familar names!!

  57. taytayfan62 says:

    i would be interested in hearing what warren had to say after he heard taylor. notice the only thing posted was what he thought BEFORE he heard taylor play

  58. Robin4T says:

    (Sorry off topic)
    Chris, FYI, I did post a link to my flickr account that includes 6 or 7 City Stages pics over on the message board under Taylor Hicks Media. All are with LMBO–none with Snoop or ABB.

  59. taylorsfan says:

    yes, the only “one” who had no idea who is was!!! enough said.

  60. aerinphil says:

    >>Warren was quiet for a second and then said “Man, before the show, the stage manager came up to me and asked if Taylor Hicks could sit in. I was like who the hell is that?” NO WAY! “Yep, I felt like the only person in America who had no idea who he was. They said he won that American Idol contest. I don’t really follow American Idol”.
    Classic.

  61. Chris (MacTwig) says:

    Sarah, isn’t it obvious? They’re the ‘go to’ men for anything music related in Birmingham. Sort of like going to the taxidermist to get your taxes done.

    Silly little men.

    IdolAddict_NW, yes, only one pic of Taylor – well, two actually: one in color and same pic in black and white. I think there are only 16 total from City Stages.

  62. The Blues says:

    Well I’m not that surprised by this tools actions. I mean, he passed on a goldmine and now he’s trying to milk the association. Taylor is laughing at him. Ha ha ha ha ha. This is where his sense of humor really comes in handy.

    This van whoever dude is all ego.

    Pass.

  63. carolina says:

    Skipped all the posts because — Jessssuuuuusssss. It’s not bad enough that the jerk was a jerk the first time but nooooo, he needs to drag someone down with him!

    I hope Warren kicks his a$$. And I hope Taylor sends him another bouquet of flowers – ragweed. End of rant.

  64. Robin4T says:

    He’s up NOW!

  65. Sarah says:

    I try not to read too much into things unless there’s interesting discussion going on, but I have to say when I originally read the first letter, one paragraph really struck me for some reason:

    “A few months later, Reg came storming into my office and spewed “Check this shit out. Taylor Hicks is in a serious run in the American Idol prelims.” Wow, that is crazy!”

    Using “storming”, “spewed” and “shit” tells me they were pretty pissed about Taylor being in the finals of AI. Now maybe I really am reading too much into it, but honestly why would he phrase it this way otherwise? Why in hell should it bother them that he was finally getting a big break?

  66. Robin4T says:

    Currently suffering through the “family face-off” on the Pentagon Channel. But did everyone see that hot harmonica player earlier? Don Van Who?

    Thanks for the pic, Chris!

  67. Kristin says:

    I read this earlier today and honestly, the whole thing just leaves me cold. If he was looking for a way to say, “Oops, I made a mistake,” he sure missed the boat on this one. He still comes off as an arrogant jerk. Hate mail may be a little much but the guy needs to get over himself.

  68. TrueNorth says:

    Ah ‘ppreciate that.

  69. idolAddict_NW says:

    Thanks for the picture! Nice one. Is there just the one shot of Taylor?

  70. Chris (MacTwig) says:

    Here is a present for everyone to cool off with. I can’t afford flowers 😉

    http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/index.php?module=My_eGallery&do=showpic&pid=6754

  71. stephk817 says:

    double d

    I love the snarkitude too! Have any of you seen Don Van Cleave? He is far from attractive in a squirrely man way. It’s the beady eyes.

    http://www.celebrityaccess.com/news/profile.html?id=192

  72. OSB says:

    I first read the original at the Hits Daily Double site. I didn’t feel Van Cleave was purposely trying to diss Taylor, I thought he was being honest that he didn’t feel the Taylor of last year was someone record companies would sign. He did wish him success. My only question was why, since he watched a few songs in previous years, he didn’t at least tune in to the finale to see what he thought of Taylor now and comment on that. If he had, maybe he’d have “gotten it”.

    The new article, for me personally, is sort of “who cares, Don?”. The flowers were cool, though. I think Taylor sees Don like Simon, whoever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

  73. MollyK says:

    If the flowers thing is real, I take it as exactly how it lays. Both snarky and as “all publicity is good publicity”. Better late than never. Taylor definitely has the last laugh now. All is good.

  74. Island No3 says:

    Thanks for posting the original article again. I agree it’s really not that negative and he seems to be admitting that he messed up, without actually saying it. One thing sticks out in it for me though, and that’s the “we are total snobs about that” comment. The fact that he and his coworkers were so quick to evict Taylor from the office, when they could have at least spent a little time giving him some advice or comments on his work, and then spent “the _rest of the day_” discussing how aggressive he was, says it all for me. No wonder those “music industry wannabe” people pass up talent; they’re too busy polishing their own apples. These stories seem just like more of the same.

  75. double d says:

    I say ‘Consider the source’….

    The guy is supposed to be an advocate for Independent Artists, yet he dodges their phone calls, hides from them, doesn’t look beyond the “wrapping”, etc.

    Isn’t that his job? To help independent artists get their “voice heard”? Agree that “18 years in the business and I still don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground” comment. How dumb he must now feel? He is SUPPOSED to be able to SEE talent, yet he listens not.

    Sorry, no quarter. If I were Taylor, I’d send the flowers with a card stating “Hey, dude. HAHAHAHAHA!”. (So much for graciousness, in this case.)

    And, sasGeorgia, Gray isn’t always puppies, rainbows, love, and kittens. He has a bit of a snarkitude too.

  76. Sarah says:

    Just a reminder…Pentagon channel is streaming the Stadium of Fire concert right now. 😉

    http://pentagonchannel.feedroom.com/iframeset.jsp?ord=763972

  77. sasgeorgia says:

    [from AccessAtlanta American Idols blog] May 25, 2006:

    “Taylor Hicks Labored on the Birmingham Scene for 10 Long Years Before Anyone Noticed”

    by Don VanCleave, Coalition of Independent Music Stores http://www.cimsmusic.com/ – posted under Charts & Rants on website

    Birmingham is not a very big place. It is about the size of Nashville or Austin, but acts smaller. I am pretty well known in town from doing business there for 18 or so years. Reg and I both get it. We are the music business guys. So I get a bunch of questions thrown my way. Usually they involve what shows to see or what records to buy. But, since it is late May, the questions ALWAYS involve American Idol.
    Yep, who knew that our fair city would land THREE finalists in a row? Ruben, then Bo, and now Taylor Hicks. “Hey Don, how ’bout that Taylor Hicks?” “Hey Don, what do you think about Taylor?” and every other combination.
    I have to be honest. I have not watched one song on American Idol this year. I watched a few tunes last year and the year before but I just can*t stand that judge’s panel and their comments. For me, music should not be a contest or related to a sporting event. It is impossible to avoid on the news here. I get the attraction to those folks not in the music business. I mean, talent shows have always been popular. What I find really crazy is how our town has magically produced three acts in a row that make the finals. Maybe it is no small coincidence that Birmingham has one of the top rated Fox stations in the country.
    About this time last year, Taylor Hicks sent us his new CD. “Please check it out dude.” OK man. After a listen or two, it went in the big “I listened to it and I promise I did not throw it away, but it is gonna just sit there” stack. It was a decent enough effort, but we get tons of those. How was I supposed to help a thick-looking dude with white hair? To me, he was just another bar band guy among dozens. Way more aggressive, but you know that guy. Trying to make it and quickly running out of time.
    In June, we have City Stages in Birmingham. It is our local festival. Reg and I have been very involved since day one. Taylor and his band were to appear on the “Locals Only” stage. He called multiple times to see if we had listened to the CD. I was busy and avoided most of the calls. When I did talk to him, he lobbied me to come see his set at the festival. So, I dropped by and caught a few songs. I thought the guy had a really good voice, but I could barely watch his stage antics. Man, that dude is afflicted with something. You know, whatever that muscular thing is that possesses Joe Cocker.
    Later that day, I ran into Taylor and he asked if I saw the set. I was polite, but got out of there quick. Not long after, Taylor just showed up at the office. We like to hide and don’t want local musicians just dropping by. We are total snobs about that. We would never get any work done otherwise. Taylor goes running from office to office asking Reg, Jill and finally me what I thought about him and how could we help him get hooked up. Andrea, my assistant at the time, got up from her perch, took Taylor by the arm and said, “Dude, you need to leave” and that was the last I heard from him. We spent the rest of the day talking about aggressive this guy could be. NO was not an answer ever.
    A few months later, Reg came storming into my office and spewed, “Check this ** out. Taylor Hicks is in a serious run in the American Idol prelims.” Wow, that is crazy!
    This guy is 29 years old and does not look like an artist that would ever get a record deal. I know dozens of A&R guys. NONE of them would have given Taylor Hicks the time of day a year ago. He is neither young enough nor skinny enough. He has grey hair and is about as goofy as it gets on stage. Normally he would be a total non-starter in this business.
    Being one of those people who would not really give this guy any serious time, I wish him only the best in the final round. I hope he gets everything coming to him. He has been slogging it out in bad bars around here for 10 years and never gave up. If he wins, I hope he is very successful.

  78. AliceinWonderland says:

    “For the record, about a week after my rant, this AMAZING flower arrangement arrives at our office. Full of orchids and day lillies. This thing was three feet tall. The card said “Thanks, Taylor Hicks”.

    Taylor, you just continue to amaze me. Iron fist in a velvet glove, and an ascerbic wit to boot. Good for you. 🙂

  79. stephk817 says:

    One question though – as much as everyone says he’s bitter he didn’t cash in on Taylor when he could have….could he have? As far as I understand it, he’s just a music store guy, not an agent nor a label nor anyone who could have profited to any major degree from helping Taylor up front. Or am I mistaken? No doubt though that he burned any bridges he might have had with the burgeoning star power of one Mr Taylor Hicks.

    Hasn’t Lasersedge sold about 75,000+ copies of UTR????? Had his indie music stores decided to carry Taylor’s cd they could have cashed in on his win. Taylor tried to get the CIMS to distribute his cd, Mr. Van Cleave didn’t bother. He’s lost a crapload of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ because of his rejection. His loss, our gain. 😀

    Taylor is such a neat guy. I love it! What a nice way to say FU, I’m Taylor Hicks, 2006 American Idol with a $1,000,000 recording contract with Clive Davis, all sorts of great artists are wanting to collaborate with me, Ford Spokesman with a hot and catchy jingle, People’s Hottest Batchelor. Too bad all you saw was white hair and a thick body and Joe Cocker tourette’s. 🙄

  80. MollyK says:

    No idea where it was first published. I first saw it on the AI boards and thought it was from there. It wasn’t posted as a copy, but as an original post.

    Maybe it got around as a deliberate measure. Gee, ya think? No more comments from me on this. I promise. Really…….

  81. Shandykat says:

    There will always be people who just don’t get it. I just don’t get boy bands either, it’s just the way it is.

    I don’t really see this expose as that terrible. What it does expose is a small-minded man who hides from people. It also exposes what a tremendous fortitude and persistence Taylor Hicks has. If he wanted to make Taylor out to be a loser, he missed the mark. It only served to make him look petty.

    And Warren Haynes not knowing who Taylor was at the time was suposed to be a “dis” to Taylor? I would have been surprised if he DID know then. He certainly knows now though 🙂

  82. Lydia says:

    Seems very suspicious to me that he quotes Taylor as saying to him the same thing he said to Gray Charles in their conversation about his experience being on AI. Almost to the word. Makes me doubt that he had said conversation.

  83. TrueNorth says:

    Really??? I am positive it showed up first in the comments section of a thread, posted by DvC himself. Did I dream that?

  84. Robin4T says:

    True- I don’t think Van Cleave posted directly to GC. GC just picked it up, if I’m not mistaken.

  85. sasgeorgia says:

    I really think Van Cleave filed this as a blog entry, the way they are meant to be, like diaries. “My Personal Brush with Taylor Hicks.” I don’t think he’s trying to make amends or apologize or anything. He’s just telling his story.

    I live in Atlanta and saw that post in the AJC, and when I knew it was going to vanish into the ether, I saved it.

    I just re-read it. It’s not negative at all. I think that Taylor’s new fans are being overly sensitive to anything written about him that’s not all rosy and gushy and glowing.

    Van Cleave was describing the Taylor of one year ago, the broke performer, the “schlub.” We all know now that the crysalis has opened and the butterfly is just emerging. We’ll all gaze in awe as we watch him fly higher and higher, but remember: he was a caterpillar for a while.

    I think we need to follow Taylor’s example [if the flowers really WERE from him] and just lay off with the cutting remarks. Keep it positive! Keep the good energy flowing, not the bad.

    And ask this: What would Gray do?”

  86. Susan says:

    Simply put — Once a jerk — Always a jerk. Then trying to sell to us at the same time, shame, shame. We aren’t as dumb as you think we are, Bucko. Have a nice day.

  87. Cali50 says:

    Well, done, Taylor. Sending the flowers is the ultimate diss! LMAO!

  88. TrueNorth says:

    Hey Bob – I don’t know much about this story. I know that, for the reasons you point out, I wouldn’t object to this guy having passed on Taylor.

    What I wonder about is why on Earth he’s writing about it on the internet (twice). Recall that he posted his first rant directly to Gray Charles – A Taylor Hicks fansite. For what reason?

    And his second rant seems to be posted simply for the purpose of letting everyone know that Warren Haynes had never heard of Taylor Hicks, and didn’t watch American Idol. So….What a shock..?

    What a small man. I’m embarassed for him.

  89. MollyK says:

    First thing I have to say is that since SRV and Hendrix are no longer with us, I happen to be married to the best guitar player on the planet. Heh heh. And he gets no respect at home either.

    The second thing is that hate mail is silly, and this guy probably has had orgasms all over the place from all of the attention he’s gotten. And doesn’t mind getting more. Whatever, dude.

  90. YoursSoully says:

    True: here’s the original Van Cleave thing if you didn’t see it.

    If I’m not supposed to repost or it’s too large etc, well slap my hand.

    From: Don Van Cleave, Coalition of Independent Music Stores
    Sent: Wed May 24 2006

    Howdy all,

    Birmingham is not a very big place. It is about the size of Nashville or Austin but acts smaller. I am pretty well known in town from doing business there for 18 or so years. Reg and I both get it. We are the music business guys. So I get a bunch of questions thrown my way. Usually they involve what shows to see or what records to buy. But, since it is late May, the questions ALWAYS involve American Idol.

    Yep, who knew that our fair city would land THREE finalists in a row? Ruben, then Bo, and then Taylor Hicks. “Hey Don, how bout that Taylor Hicks?” “Hey Don, what do you think about Taylor” and every other combination.

    I have to be honest. I have not watched one song on American Idol this year. I watched a few tunes last year and the year before but I just can’t stand that judge’s panel and their comments. For me, music should not be a contest or related to sporting. It is impossible to avoid on the news her. I get the attraction to those folks not in the music business. I mean, talent shows have always been popular. What I find really crazy is how our town has magically produced three acts in a row that make the finals. Maybe it is no small coincidence that Birmingham has one of the top rated FOX stations in the country.

    About this time last year, Taylor Hicks sent us his new CD. “Please check it out dude”. OK man. After a listen or two, it went in the big “I listened to it and I promise I did not throw it away but it is gonna just sit there” stack. It was a decent enough effort but we get tons of those. How was I supposed to help a thick looking dude with white hair? To me, he was just another bar band guy among dozens. Way more aggressive, but you know that guy. Trying to make it and quickly running out of time.

    In June, we have City Stages in Birmingham. It is our local festival. Reg and I have been very involved since day one. Taylor and his band were to appear on the Locals Only stage. He called multiple times to see if we had listened to the CD. I was busy and avoided most of the calls. When I did talk to him, he lobbied me to come see his set at the festival. So, I dropped by and caught a few songs. I thought the guy had a really good voice but I could barely watch his stage antics. Man, that dude is afflicted with something. You know, whatever that muscular thing is that possesses Joe Cocker.

    Later that day, I ran into Taylor and he asked if I saw the set. I was polite but got out of there quick. Not long after, Taylor just showed up at the office. We like to hide and don’t want local musicians just dropping by. We are total snobs about that. We would never get any work done otherwise. Taylor goes running from office to office asking Reg, Jill and finally me what I thought about him and how could we help him get hooked up. Andrea, my assistant at the time, got up from her perch, took Taylor by the arm and said “dude, you need to leave” and that was the last I heard from him. We spent the rest of the day talking about aggressive this guy could be. NO was not an answer ever.

    A few months later, Reg came storming into my office and spewed “Check this shit out. Taylor Hicks is in a serious run in the American Idol prelims.” Wow, that is crazy!

    Tonight, Taylor Hicks makes his bid to win it all in front of tens of millions of people. This guy is 29 years old and does not look like an artist that would ever get a record deal. I know dozens of A&R guys. NONE of them would have given Taylor Hicks the time of day a year ago. He is neither young enough nor skinny enough. He has grey hair and is about as goofy as it gets on stage. Normally he would be a total non-starter in this business.

    Being one of those people who would not really give this guy any serious time, I wish him only the best in the final round. I hope he gets everything coming to him. He has been slogging it out in bad bars around here for 10 years and never gave up. If he wins, I hope he is very successful.

    But, for the record, I still don’t quite get it.

  91. taywatch says:

    Taylor is a master of subtlety if he sent those flowers. That is much more powerful than getting into a “***ing contest” with this man. He is probably too ignorant to even get what Taylor did. I applaud the way Taylor handled this, if he did send the flowers. It’s just another example of how he controls his emotions and finds ways to make a statement in his own way. Just look at the weeks of bashing he took from Simon and he never let it deter him from his ultimate goal. Taylor doesn’t get mad – he gets even! BRAVO!

  92. Bob says:

    See, this is the part of Taylormania that make me crazy. Look people, in business, not just the music business, people, don’t always see things the way some others might. Fred Smith, the guy that founded Federal Express got a C- on his masters thesis – the business plan for FedEx.

    Many inventors, entrepenuers, etc. have gotten rejections out the ying yang. That means that someone lost and someone won.

    Besides, the harsh reality is that Taylor didn’t get acceptance until the big stage with covers of songs – not his own.

  93. Sarah says:

    Agreed, Dana, I took his answer to Van Cleave’s thank you as confirmation that he did in fact send them, but we don’t know. Taylor might just be quick enough on his feet to have decided to say yes and take credit for them anyway! lol

    All in all, not an important detail, to be sure. 😉

  94. Soulmate says:

    So Taylor said he did it and it was all in good fun? Well, if that’s what happened then Ven Cleave is surely a new soul patroller!

  95. cassi says:

    I don’t believe there were any flowers. Just another lie Van Cleave came up with.

  96. Dana says:

    Thanks Soulmate. I can only speak for myself but the reason I took it as Taylor did send the flowers was his semi-acknowlegement as told by Van Cleave saying Taylor said “all in good fun” when he thanked him for the flowers. I guess I thought, I could so easily be wrong, but I thought if he hadn’t sent the flowers he would have said “what flowers?” instead, LOL. Now maybe someone else physically called/ordered the flowers for Taylor on his behalf, sure, if that’s what you meant. But you make a good point that we don’t know for sure.

    Maybe Taylor and Van Cleave will get word of a possible flower-gate scandal and issue an addendum. 🙂

  97. Cahaba Lily says:

    Gee, you mean if I type a Rant on an open forum on the WWW, people may read it? OMG! Perish the thought! ::roll-eye smilie::

    No one would have known how Van Cleeve treated Taylor if he had not openly admitted it. He did not write about it in a closed, member only forum. I think this is purely a PR stunt, wonder if he realises how bad this makes him look?

  98. TrueNorth says:

    This is one story I decided to let slip by when it came up the first time. It seemed to get positive and negative reaction, and I opted not to really follow it. So I’m a little in the dark.

    Is it possible to say (without going to too much trouble) just why we think this guy is behaving like such a total dick?

    And…an aside…he said something to People magazine after the last piece about flowers, and Taylor sent him flowers as a dig? Is that the People part of it?

  99. cassi says:

    I think this guy is lying and making stuff up.

    He comes up with all of these fanciful anecdotal tidbits in which he casts himself alongside Taylor Hicks hoping to luxuriate in some of the fan attention focusing Taylor’s way.

    He reads certain things about Taylor and then tries to weave those details into his lies.

    And he thinks he’s putting something over on people by the passive-aggressive nature of his little stories. As if no one is picking up on the fact that he gives the impression of paying a compliment while at the same time sticking in a dagger.

    What a creep. I don’t believe him. I think he’s a low-life fame ho.

  100. Sarah says:

    Wasn’t there some discussion on GC or somewhere else soon after the letter surfaced that Taylor should send him flowers? I’m sure I remember it being brought up…he might even have read those comments himself and then agreed with the suggestion.

  101. Soulmate says:

    Not that I care lol

  102. Soulmate says:

    I would just be surprised if Taylor really sent those since you see the same people on the way down as you see on the way up. I would think that someone else sent those flowers. I would need to see some confirmation to believe it. Taylor is a business man.

  103. Sarah says:

    Thanks for posting this. I was having a grand ol’ laugh through most of it, then the ending is just…well, classic Van Cleave, isn’t it? Sad, sad little man with an inflated sense of self-importance. He had to have his last little jab, and he knows full well this will be as viral as the previous letter in spreading around the internet.

    One question though – as much as everyone says he’s bitter he didn’t cash in on Taylor when he could have….could he have? As far as I understand it, he’s just a music store guy, not an agent nor a label nor anyone who could have profited to any major degree from helping Taylor up front. Or am I mistaken? No doubt though that he burned any bridges he might have had with the burgeoning star power of one Mr Taylor Hicks.

    And can I just say how much I LOVE that Taylor sent him those flowers? Kudos!

  104. carey says:

    When I read Van Cleave’s first letter weeks ago, I thought he should have signed it, “18 years in the music business and I still don’t know what I’m doing!” Good for Taylor to laugh it off though – I’m impressed.

    It’s probably a good thing Ray LaMontagne lives out in the middle of nowhere without electricity or running water – no chance that he’ll google “Ray LaMontagne Interview and Taylor Hicks” for fun.

  105. Dana says:

    Soulmate, forgive me, my brain tends to shut down on my days off of work.. could you explain your last post to me please? Are you referring to another post or to something in the Van Cleave article? Thanks.

  106. Banda says:

    In all fairness, would Taylor have made this guy a million dollars WITHOUT AI? Hey, I’m a fan, don’t get me wrong – I think Taylor is special. But his winning is what made the industry sit up and take notice. He forced us to listen.

    Remember that schlub from the audition? Honestly – he was raw, and I can’t blame the guy not for biting. I’m a writer, and people are rejected by agents ALL THE TIME. They turn out to be wrong sometimes. But in the end, it’s about what you can sell. If it doesn’t speak to you – don’t buy it.

  107. Soulmate says:

    Or whoever is making the money instead of Van Cleave? This is not football.

  108. YoursSoully says:

    So Van Cleave is still an @ss and Taylor has a superior (IMHO) sense of humor. Excellent!

  109. Soulmate says:

    Not everyone is a visionary but Taylor is and he is a rising star. Bitterness is not part of him.

  110. Dana says:

    DD, no need for a not apology as far as I am concerned.

    And you’re right, you don’t forget your momentual disses. I have my UCLA grad film school rejection letter from 13 years ago hung up on my wall and everyday I want to send them a thank you note/flowers.

    Also, I think I figured out why Van Cleave is so “bitter.” That “it’s like taking your taxes to a taxidermist” line/quote? Proves he is a deservingly failed formerly hopeful songwriter.

  111. Soulmate says:

    I demand that Taylor come forward and admit the deed. lol

  112. double d says:

    R4T – Right on…some things you just gotta take the time to do. I do agree that he need not worry about these types, but you know at this early point in the game he wants to “make a point” to let these types know that he won’t forget who stepped on him on the ride up.

  113. double d says:

    Dana & Jax-

    That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

    Findlay – agreed.

    Soulmate – I absolutely DO think that Taylor sent the flowers, precisely because they are CHEESY – game on.

    You don’t forget monumental disses. Taylor is too GRACIOUS (there’s that word again) to openly “payback” this jerk, so he used some good-natured fun to once again, “stick it to the man”.

    ….apologies for the snarkitude (NOT).

  114. Deb says:

    Dana,

    >>>”Mid sentence some drunk came up and started>>>…singing Sam Cooke songs.

    Final answer – a “kind fan” returning an overdue favor?

  115. Robin4T says:

    I am waiting too for the drunk guy and his equally drunk wife from the story to come forward in People.

    LOL, Dana. Also, you’re exactly right about DVC’s effort to keep the pot stirred for the PR value. If you’re really concerned about hate mail, do you make your best effort to generate more?

    Soulmate, as for your doubt that the flowers happened? Gee, I don’t know. It actually might be a pretty funny gesture, except that I hate to think TH is wasting a moment’s thought about the Van Cleaves of his past. If it happened, then apparently an AI crown doesn’t automatically cure the hurt of years of rejection by the music industry.

  116. JaxNative says:

    As I said when the original “rant” was posted:

    You dissed him? Hid from him? Ducked his phone calls? To quote my favorite line from Pretty Woman…

    Scene.. Julia Roberts arms loaded with shopping bags & wearing a new suit says to the snobby sales girl. “You would not help me before, you work on commission right?? Big Mistake, Big, Big Huge!”

    Van Cleve, you blew it. Everytime you hear Taylor’s name you will be reminded of it.

  117. Soulmate says:

    I seriously doubt that a southern gentleman who has had so much good fortune recently would send flowers to a loser.

  118. findlay says:

    No matter what this Van Cleve guy says or does now, the last laugh here is clearly Taylor’s. T is gloating in his southern-gentlemanly fashion. Love it!!!!!

  119. Dana says:

    Robin4T, I think he is a non-issue for a lot of people, Taylor Hicks fans and elsewhere, and he knows it, so he’s trying to become one by “creating” an issue. The only bad PR is no PR.

    I do think it’s funny Taylor sent flowers after he said flowers were cheesy or whatever it was he said in People, LOL.

    I think the hate mail only adds fuel to the ego, er fire, but that’s just me.

    And I think Taylor’s supposed quote of “All in good fun, all in good fun” should be a chant for all of us here sometimes.

    I am waiting too for the drunk guy and his equally drunk wife from the story to come forward in People.

  120. Lyn says:

    The noxious Van Cleve and I do agree on one thing, at least. Warren Haynes is one of the best, if not the best guitar players on the planet. Now Warren Haynes knows who Taylor is. That can only be a good thing.

  121. Soulmate says:

    So if he sent rose colored glasses, would it really be from Taylor Hicks?

  122. Robin4T says:

    Previously, I didn’t understand Mr. Van Cleve’s need to publish his rant about being “aggessively” pursued by TH, nor his need to add that he still didn’t “get it.” Now I don’t understand his need to embarass possibly Taylor Hicks and Warren Haynes, who by his own account is the nicest guy in the music business. I wonder if he asked Warren about publishing what was probably intended as a private comment? Still, I think all the hate mail is definitely a bit much. Mr. Van Cleve is a non-issue for me.

  123. double d says:

    Ugh, Ash., you’re killin’ me here. I know I’m going to get slammed for this, but…

    This article affirms what a jerk this guy is. His original “rant” showed how crappy, artists are treated and his general UNGRACIOUSNESS. (Yes, it’s a theme with me.) He talked about hiding from Taylor and generally kicking him out of his office.

    Now, he gets in a pissin’ contest with Taylor. This sure seems like retaliation for Taylor’s little “flower flip-off” and to make try to save face while making Taylor look bad. Why? If he genuinely wishes the dude well, why write something like this? Because, he doesn’t wish the dude well. He missed out on a significant talent and alot of dough-ray-me. Sounds like he’s a little sour grapey to me.

    Ok, now you all can tell me how I’m all rose-colored-glasses and it’s his right to say what he wants….WHATever.

  124. Soulmate says:

    So if one were to get flowers from Taylor Hicks would they really be from Taylor Hicks?

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