TAIPEI HOUSTON, the new band featuring Myles and Layne Ulrich, sons of METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich, will release its debut album, “Once Bit Never Bored”, on November 4 via C3 Records. The official visualizer for the LP’s latest single, “The Middle”, a track continuing the band’s invigorating sound rooted in sharp drums and voltaic basslines, can be seen below.
“The Middle” follows the duo’s celebrated debut “As The Sun Sets”, an intoxicatingly thrilling track balancing between a distorted bass and tight, snappy drums briskly breaking for a swift proclamation at the chorus.
Formed in the Bay Area in Northern California, TAIPEI HOUSTON was born out of both brothers coming back to their childhood home during the pandemic. They then moved down to Los Angeles, and once able to perform live again, started playing shows throughout Southern California.
TAIPEI HOUSTON viscerally taps into all of the best parts of the last 30 years of rock ‘n’ roll, layering garage rock’s frenetic sparsity with grunge’s fuzzy overdrive, and psych rock’s effortless instrumental sprawl. The band’s megawatt, slinky songs instantly conjure other iconic duos, such as THE KILLS, DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 and, of course, THE WHITE STRIPES.
Says TAIPEI HOUSTON about the album: “To us, TAIPEI HOUSTON is about going against the grain in every aspect. We live in a time that is ripe with extremely difficult and confusing challenges. Technology grips the world more and more, politics have become so polarized, we are heading towards climate disaster. This music is born and bred out of the contemporary, buzzing digital anxiety we all experience, and how we can try to escape those feelings — even for a second.”
TAIPEI HOUSTON recently played Reading and Leeds festivals and will perform at this year’s Austin City Limits, in addition to staging its own headlining shows throughout the U.S. before 2022 is out.
Prior to METALLICA‘s headlining performance at this year’s Lollapalooza, Lars spoke to local radio station Rock 95.5 about TAIPEI HOUSTON. Earlier that week, TAIPEI HOUSTON released its debut single, “As The Sun Sets”, along with a music video directed by Victor Grossling.
“Well, obviously, I’m proud,” Lars said. “I’m happy that they’re doing well. What they’re creating is cool. At the same time, we have a very, I think, open and transparent relationship, and certainly a couple of times along the way I’ve expressed that maybe things could be better; I don’t know if that’s the right word. So it’s not just, ‘Oh my God! You guys are great.’ And so [I’ve given them constructive criticism] maybe even to a fault — maybe too much constructive criticism. So I don’t know exactly where you land on that.
“I can tell you everything that that project is came together, I’d say, the second half of the pandemic,” he explained. “And when they came home from New York in March of ’20, I guess, it was not quite as focused. And it took a while — I think it took about a year — for it to kind of take shape. There was lots of time spent and they really worked hard, but eventually they sort of zeroed in on the sound and their whole thing. And I think they’ve got something that’s very unique.
“Their record is coming, I guess, in a couple of months, the full album, and it’s a barnburner,” Ulrich added. “There are songs on there that make [the first single] sound like SIMON & GARFUNKEL. So there’s some crazy shit on there. And it’s a very, very, very intense record. When you listen to it from beginning to end, it’ll definitely give you a bit of a pummeling, which is good.”
24-year-old Myles, who plays drums, has spent time at Berklee College Of Music, while 21-year-old Layne, who plays bass and sings, studied at NYU.
Asked what got him into singing, Layne told Concert Pipeline: “I was always really interested in singing. I mean, my main thing [was] literally just singing along to the radio as a kid and just listening to stuff. And I always felt very into that but I’d never been a singer or anything like that. And then when we were first starting out with our project, we were always anticipating getting a singer, and then when we realized it was just gonna be the two of us, it was, like, ‘All right. Now we’ve gotta get this going, get some singing going.’ So through kind of a long process, finding that, it was really cool.”
Regarding the decision to make TAIPEI HOUSTON a two-piece, Myles said: “We wrote the majority of an album which we’ve now finished. And we’re kind of figuring out how to play it all live because we just recorded all of it. And because we both play so much guitar and all the instruments, it was, like, ‘Why don’t we just scale it back and make it a crazy two-piece thing instead of trying to find more people that you jell with and that the vibe is right? Why don’t we just keep it simple and weird?'”
Added Layne: “‘Cause also that way we can hit the ground running. You’ve gotta find people you like, you’ve gotta get them into the stuff, you’ve gotta teach them it. That way, literally, just coming straight from us having written all of it together, we can just hit the ground running like that.”
TAIPEI HOUSTON played its first show in September 2021 at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, California.
Since joining Instagram in August 2021, TAIPEI HOUSTON has already amassed more than 15,000 followers.
Back in April 2020, Lars posted a video of Myles and Layne‘s blistering take on THE BEATLES classic “Eleanor Rigby”. At the time, he described their rendition to Rolling Stone as “this insane, three-minute BLUE CHEER, crazy, garage-rock version of ‘Eleanor Rigby’.
“Obviously, there’s been some incredible versions of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ along the way, but I’m pretty sure there’s never been one that had this kind of sound, this kind of feel, this kind of energy and madness to it,” he said. “I was, like, ‘You know what, boys? You done me proud.'”
Lars had Myles and Layne with former wife Skylar Satenstein. He also has another son, 15-year-old Bryce, with “Gladiator” actress Connie Nielsen.
Lars and model Jessica Miller got engaged in July 2013 and married two years later. It is the third marriage for Lars, who was previously married to Debbie Jones and Satenstein.
Lars isn’t the only member of METALLICA whose offspring have followed in their footsteps. Castor Hetfield, the son of METALLICA frontman James Hetfield, plays drums for BASTARDANE, while Tye Trujillo, the son of METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo, plays bass in OTTTO.
Photo credit: Brit O’Brien