There are very few positive things I can say that came out of 2020.  It was mostly a dumpster fire from beginning to end.  There is one thing that stands out to me however.  February 2nd, 2020 was the first time I saw Alborn live at The Rust Belt, opening for Adelita's Way and Buckcherry.  I had heard of the band before, but never got the chance to see them live.  It didn't take long for me to realize those guys had something special.  Almost two years, and what seems like a lifetime later, The quartet from northern Illinois have traveled all over the United States playing alongside bands like Sevendust, Tantric, Badflower, and Shinedown.  They are in regular rotation on I-Rock 93.5 and are headlining the I-Rock 93.5 Holiday Office Party Saturday, January 22nd.  I seized the opportunity to reach out to Justin Taylor, frontman of the band, to get answers to my obligatory 9.35 Questions before they get so big that I'll have to go through his agent.

Question 1.  First of all, I HAVE to ask you, what was it like performing with Sevendust on New Year's Eve in Atlanta?

"It was everything we could have hoped for.  Awesome crowd interaction, really cool venue, amazing staff...the craziest part was traveling all that distance and seeing familiar faces in the crowd, even a few Alborn shirts!?  Sevendust's fanbase are true die-hards and they travel all over to see the shows, so to be welcomed in by them, especially in 7D's hometown, on NYE was surreal."

Question 2.  The band was originally known as Alborn Theory.  How did you come up with the name, and why the decision to shorten it?

"It was a real spur of the moment thing on the name. I used to upload all of my demos to my MP3 player and I put the artist name as Justin Taylor, because it was just me making the demos and well that is my name lol Someone I was in high school study hall with saw me listening to my demos and gave me all kinds of shit for "listening to myself" so I just changed it to my study hall teacher's name. I came up with some concept around it, something along the lines of "we're all born a blank slate, with no opinions, no preferences, no influences, and at any moment in our lives, that can all be drastically altered regardless of how significant the moment is" so for example, you and I weren't born metalheads, but something happened at some point in our lives to make us metalheads... so my music was my representation, or theory, of that concept. When we decided to give up playing cover songs and stick to strictly originals, we decided to drop "Theory" and kind of re-brand ourselves."

Question 3.  I think I know the answer to this question but...who would win in a fight; a Chevy guy or a Ford guy and how close would it be?

"I mean, a Ford guy is no stranger to taking an ass kicking. "

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Question 4.  What is your favorite song to play live and why?

"I think Let Me Bleed is my favorite. It's hard to choose but that tune feels like an endurance competition when we play it since it's our longest song, and it has all kinds of highs and lows, breakdowns, and depth that make it a riot to perform."

Question 5.  You have been a big part of the Instamix Live sessions with musicians like Barry Stock from Three Days Grace and Shaun Foist from Breaking Benjamin.  Can you tell me a little about what your writing process looks like, and something that you have picked up from other musicians like Barry and Shaun that you’ve incorporated into your routine?

" I try to keep the writing process as organic as possible. When Alborn gets together, we start with anything that gets the entire room excited. Once one of us does something that we all like, it's all hands on deck and the writing process becomes effortless and productive. The main thing that the Instamix Live sessions have taught me is not to overthink your ideas. Those sessions are always very laid back, and I think that's a huge factor. When your only goal is to finish a song with the help of the room,  there isn't time to second-guess your ideas so you just roll with it. Morgan always says "you have to trust the process."

Question 6.  Do you guys do anything for fun together as a group besides playing music?

"Aside from being IPA and spiced rum enthusiasts, we go on weekend getaways, in the summer we pile in my old vehicles and go to local bars and restaurants, we have bonfires, ride mini bikes, we recently started making TikToks (secretly just an excuse to break stuff) The list is endless lol"

Question 7.  What is your biggest phobia?

"MICE. Whatever that phobia's called, miceaphobia  lol  They've made homes in every old car I've ever had and I still can't get over it."

Question 8.  What is 2022 looking like for Alborn (besides conquering the entire music industry)?

"Hahaha well I don't know about that BUT as long as Covid stops intervening, we hope to be touring, and we will definitely be releasing new music very soon."

Question 9.  Do you have any advice for local bands or musicians who are struggling to find their path or get that big break?

"Persistence. Good things come to those who are persistent. It's super cliche but it's the truth."

.35  Can someone please tell me...

"...why my dog takes his food out of his bowl and into the other room, where his food isn't supposed to be, to eat it instead of where his god damn food bowl is?"

You can catch Justin and the rest of Alborn, along with Discrepancies and Been There Done That at the I-Rock 9.35 Office Holiday Party on Saturday, Jan 22nd.  Tickets are just $9.35 and are going fast, so DO NOT wait!

What The Quad Cities Did For Fun in the 90's

Many times over the years, I'll be talking with friends about years gone by and I'll say "take me back".

Every generation goes through this, I assume. Looking back at a more simple time where responsibilities haven't set in and life seems fun. Opportunities are endless.

Let's go back to the 1990's to Wacky Waters, 50 Cent Beer night and revisit Mallards Mania!