"Get it straight: Terry Taylor is a legend. ... Over the course of 20 years and as many records, Taylor has, with inimitable wit and lyrical prowess, exposed the collective neuroses and hypocrisies of the American Church. As a member of such bands as Daniel Amos, The Swirling Eddies and The Lost Dogs, he and his compatriots rewrote the Christian rock paradigm, giving a voice to frustrated young Christians."
— "Terry Tyler Rides a New Wave", 7-Ball Magazine, July/August 1998
Daniel Amos was a genre-pushing rock, New Wave, and alternative band fronted by Terry Scott Taylor (yes, that Terry Scott Taylor), notable for their huge influence on Christian Rock's underground scene, and later influence on some not-so-underground Christian rock acts of the '90s and later. Even outside that scene, the members of U2 were fans, and Collective Soul have cited them as an influence.DA started off in 1974 as a folk group, and signed to Maranatha Records in '75. Needing to come up with enough material for a debut album, they settled on a style that was easy to write and would give them a wide appeal: country-rock. Almost immediately, their ambitions pushed them to the boundaries of the genre, and they soon abandoned the country sound altogether. Unfortunately, while advertising hyped how "bizarre" and "multifaceted" their upcoming Horrendous Disc was, the album itself languished in pre-release limbo for three years, due to some equally-bizarre behind-the-scenes record label shenanigans that, to this day, no one really understands. During this period, DA managed to accidentally run afoul of the über-conservative Christian scene of the '70s several times; this, and their focus on new material over the old country songs at live shows, alienated most of their fans and forced DA to rebuild their fanbase almost from scratch.Some of their fellow Christians had criticized DA for not gearing their music specifically for the Church body; DA responded with The Alarma Chronicles, a series of four concept albums intended as a wakeup call for Western Christians. The music was cutting-edge New Wave, and the lyrics satirized hypocrisy, dodgy theology, televangelists, and the shallow nature of modern society, tempered with heartfelt meditations on God, doubt, and the band's own failings. This was followed up by Darn Floor-Big Bite, which—though a critical success and considered by many fans DA's best album ever—was a commercial flop.DA could have quit right there and their place in Christian rock's history would have been assured, but they didn't. In the wake of Darn Floor-Big Bite, DA decided to try something different; the result was several of the members taking on pseudonyms and recording as The Swirling Eddies, whose music was even more silly and satirical than DA's usual fare.The 90's saw DA reunite and resume recording new material. In the 2000's, their productivity slowed down quite a bit, but Terry Scott Taylor is still writing music and none of his bands have officially called it quits.Terry Scott Taylor is also a member of roots music supergroup Lost Dogs.
Terry Scott Taylor: lead vocals, guitar, keys
Marty Diekmeyer (DA - ¡Alarma!): bass
Steve Baxter (DA only): guitar
Jerry Chamberlain (DA - Doppelganger, Motor Cycle - Songs of the Heart): guitar
Mark Cook (Shotgun Angel - Horrendous Disc): keys
Ed McTaggart (Shotgun Angel - present): drums
Alex McDougal (Horrendous Disc): percussion
Tim Chandler (Doppelganger - present): bass, occasional trombone
Aerith and Bob: The named characters in Songs of the Heart include Bud and Irma Akendorf, Donna Nietche, the Mysterious Stranger, and Aloha.
Anonymous Band: The Swirling Eddies. When the first album was released, they ran a contest encouraging people to guess the Eddies' real identities. In Zoom Daddy's liner notes they gave their real identities, but afterwards they went back to using pseudonyms and claimed that the Zoom Daddy musicians were a pack of impostors.
Book Ends: Doppelganger begins and ends with two versions of "Hollow Man". Both are spoken word pieces using the same backing music, but with different lyrics.
Continuity Nod: "Hollow Man" uses the rhythm section from the previous album's song "Ghost of the Heart", looped backwards. "Travelog" briefly features a vocal sample from The Price Is Right that was used extensively on the previous album's song "New Car!"
Cover Album: The Eddie's Sacred Cows, featuring parodic covers of the most popular Christian rock songs of the moment.
Dead to Begin With: In "Now That I've Died", the narrator details the various ways that the afterlife is totally awesome. Really, dying is the best thing that ever happened to him.
Development Hell: Horrendous Disc. Delayed for three years, and was only released one week prior to their next studio album.
Down LA Drain: The Swirling Eddies song "What a World, What a World" has the repeated lyrics, "Roll LA River, roll / and take me to a better world." This is almost certainly tongue-in-cheek, as Taylor is a California native, and would know exactly what the LA River is.
Dying Dream: As revealed in Fearful Symmetry, the entire Alarma Chronicles.
Elvis Lives: In the song "Outdoor Elvis", the Swirling Eddies make the search for Elvis Presley sound like the hunt for Bigfoot... and like the wait for Jesus Christ's return.
Evil Twin: "The Double", "Distance and Direction"... pretty much a running theme of the Doppelgänger album.
Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Used strangely on the alternative rock (and not remotely metal) album Kalhöun. And the band's name was just written as "dä" on the album cover.
Hourglass Plot: When comparing the output of DA and the Swirling Eddies, it's generally agreed that DA is the more serious band and the Eddies are jokers. But both bands released albums in 1994 where they swapped places. DA's Bibleland was bitingly sarcastic, and the Eddies' Zoom Daddy was contemplative and completely lacked the obvious joke tracks present on prior albums.
Name's the Same: Before getting the record deal, they called themselves Jubal's Last Band, then shortened it to Jubal. At a Maranatha Music Group meeting, they had a chance run-in with Daryl Mansfield and realized that his new band was also named Jubal. Embarrassed at the overlap, both bands immediately decided to change their names.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Most of their CD rereleases are this. Swine Before Pearl takes the cake, however: for an extra $100, you could commission Taylor to write and record an original song, exclusively for your copy of the CD.
Listing Cities: Or rather, listing seminaries on "Hide the Beer, the Pastor's Here". Allegedly, the band got angry letters from several of the seminaries who were mentioned... and disappointed letters from schools that weren't named and wish they had been.
New Sound Album: Horrendous Disc marked a complete change. Goodbye, Daniel Amos the country band; hello, Daniel Amos the "whatever the heck we feel like playing" band.
Not So Different: After brutally mocking televangelists and crooked preachers in several songs on Alarma and Doppelganger, "Big Boys" and "Here I Am" have DA admitting that they're just as guilty in their own way.
Old Shame: "Skeptic's Song", off the first album, is a very flippant response to those who doubt Christianity. Terry Taylor regrets writing those lyrics now, and feels that he sacrificed his integrity to tell Christian listeners what they wanted to hear.
Punny Name: Most of the Swirling Eddies' pseudonyms.
"Dance Stop", an energetic white-man's-dance-music tune about dancing... on the eve of nuclear Armageddon.
"Turn It Off" is about an old man's unpleasant reaction to hearing a Hardcore Punk song on the radio. It's performed in DA's best impression of hardcore punk.
Shrug of God: In the When Everyone Wore Hats liner notes, Terry Scott Taylor explains the meanings of every song. Until he gets to "Organ Bar" and writes "Admittedly one of our stranger songs. I'm not sure myself just what it all means, but I sure enjoy the intrigue of it." He ventures some guesses about the identity of the Mysterious Stranger, but doesn't come to any sure conclusions.
Unplugged Version: When Everyone Wore Hats includes an acoustic re-recording of almost the entire album Songs of the Heart (the cover song "I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" is omitted).
Word Salad Title: "Donna Nietche and Her Super Race of Kickboxing Uber Parrots", a mashup of actor Don Ameche, Friedrich Nietzsche, the Übermensch, and a real flock of feral parrots in Pasadena, CA. The actual song lyrics just involve an invitation to a realm of mystery, and a list of the strange things one would find there.