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My friend went to a "Battle of the Bands" at Dream Street in Ocean Beach and was blown away by Taz Taylor. He's a guitarist from England who now lives in San Diego.

Was he surprised they won the battle of the bands?

"Yes. We only rehearsed three times.... The place was packed, and a lot of bands have their friends show up. We heard that other bands had 10 or 11 votes, but we had all the rest."

Because his girlfriend Julie did the cover art for his CD Caffeine Racer, I asked what would happen if they ever broke up. The group Mountain had producer/bassist/singer Felix Pappalardi's wife do all their artwork, and then she murdered him (and when the band played the Belly Up Tavern last year, it was weird to see her artwork on shirts and posters). Taz said, "I'll hide the steak knives then."

I told him his music sounds like Joe Satriani's.

"People always say that because we don't have a vocalist. And he's the only guitarist people hear on the radio. I don't think we sound anything alike. I think I sound more like Michael Schenker, UFO." Regarding Satriani, Taz said, "We do have one thing in common. We're both bald."

I told him I'd like his stuff more if he had a vocalist.

"I contacted Graham Bonnet, the singer of Rainbow. That was a band I was heavily influenced by. He's British and living in L.A. now. We had a lot in common, and he's going to sing six songs on my next CD."

When not onstage, Taylor is a trucker who drives from San Diego to LAX three times a week.

You can see Taz Taylor at the Battle of the Bands finals on May 27.

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