TV made them famous, but real life separated them—until now

Wally Kurth and Christian Taylor are the first to acknowledge that the decision to reunite their band, Kurth & Taylor, was spurred by a touch of midlife crisis. The group formed in 1992 and was known best for its performances on the ABC soap opera General Hospital, on which Kurth was a cast member. But the two found themselves settling in different areas (Kurth in Los Angeles, Taylor in Nashville), and finally went on hiatus in 2005 to focus on their families. “Life sort of intervened,” Taylor says.

It was Taylor’s wife who suggested he retrieve his guitars from storage to share his songs with their children. He took her advice, which eventually led him to return to songwriting. His new songs found self-effacing humor in receding hairlines and broadening waistlines, an area of inspiration that he calls “midlife crisis comedy.” Taylor called his old bandmates—including bassist Lee Beverly, drummer Jim Bloodgood and lead guitarist Pat McCormack—and played them the tunes. After getting an enthusiastic response, Taylor flew to L.A. to demo the new material with Kurth. They then forwarded it to the other musicians, who added their tracks and made individual MP3s for Taylor to mix together. Taylor notes with amusement that, thanks to the band members’ home studios, the cost of his $300 plane ticket was the only recording expense.

These guys are no strangers to the DIY aesthetic. Kurth & Taylor started out in 1992 as an acoustic duo playing California’s coffee house circuit before recruiting some of Taylor’s musical pals from high school to create a full-fledged band. Their big break came when Kurth’s storyline on General Hospital called for his character, Ned Ashton, to begin moonlighting as a rock star. He suggested that the producers bring in his real-life group to help portray Eddie Maine & the Idle Rich, his alter ego’s back-up band. The story arc spanned seven years and 40 performances, garnering them a Daytime Emmy Award for their song “Barefoot Ballet.”

The lessons learned about the advantages of marketing for a mass medium weren’t lost on Kurth & Taylor. In the video for the aptly named “Let’s Get the Band Back Together,” a new track on their recently released compilation album, Greatest Hits? 1993–2010, they sing about reliving their youth by acquiring high-tech toys. The group illustrated the idea by dropping in visual references to Taylor’s favored pro audio brand, Sweetwater Sound (sweetwater.com). It was a calculated move that paid off—after Taylor sent a Sweetwater sales rep a link to the clip, the group was invited to spearhead a national marketing campaign appealing to middle-aged enthusiasts.

Still, the two partners maintain that the true reward of their reunion is the chance to hang out and relive some good times. “We were overwhelmed by domesticity, and this was a way to get back with the guys,” says Kurth, who now stars on NBC’s Days of our Lives. “Instead of getting together for bowling night, it’s great to be able to have some fun, to crank it up and sing with your old buddies.”

For the moment, having fun remains the only true goal. “We’ve never taken ourselves too seriously, and we certainly don’t have serious expectations at this age,” says Taylor. “Besides, who would take us seriously at this age?”

–Lee Zimmerman

July/August 2010 Issue of M Music & Musicians

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