Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Peyton Manning should demand a trade, if healthy

Peyton Manning is considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. He is going into the Hall of Fame, as soon as he is eligible. He won a Super Bowl, and has made the Colts a fixture in the playoffs most of his career. However, a serious neck injury has kept him off the field in 2011, and it could cause him to prematurely retire. In his absence, the Colts have become the laughingstock of the league, cruising to an 0-11 record, and putting them in the driver's seat for the #1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The popular debate has been should the Colts take Manning's heir apparent with that pick, and have Manning groom his replacement? It is definitely not an ideal situation for Manning, and if he can come back and play, that pick should not be used on Andrew Luck. The Colts obviously have bigger problems than Peyton Manning not being on the field. Their defense is ranked 28th in the NFL, giving up nearly 400 yards a game. They are also allowing 29.7 points a game, dead last in the NFL. (Carolina is 31st with 27.7 a game). The Colts defense might have issues stopping USC currently.

The running game isn't much better, with the Colts ranking 25th in the NFL there. The team cannot stop anyone and cannot run the ball. Even with Manning starting, this team is not a contender in the AFC, not even close. Manning also has a large contract, something that the Colts must address; his option for 2012 is around $28 million, a crazy investment unless Peyton is healthy.

Suppose Manning is healthy, why should he stay in Indy. The team seems rather committed to taking a QB in the draft, instead of getting some help for their horrid D, or an offensive tackle to make sure he survives 2012.  Manning should simply bounce, get the hell out of Indy. There are several teams that would pay handsomely for Manning. Carson Palmer brought the Bengals two top draft picks, and Jay Cutler did the same for Denver. What kind of value would a healthy Peyton Manning have?

Take a team like the Jets. They haven't been able to get over the hump, partly because Mark Sanchez stinks. I'm sure the Jets would gladly throw two #1's at the Colts to get Manning. Seattle, Kansas City, Miami, Cleveland, and Washington are just a few of the quarterback starved teams out there. The Colts get Andrew Luck, and more picks to start their rebuilding job. Everyone wins.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An interview with Taproot guitarist Michael DeWolf

In a day and age where bands are breaking up daily, Taproot as been a band who has weathered the storm. Originally formed in 1997, the band has had a great deal of success. They released their first album, "Gift" back in 2000, and it was one of my favorite albums growing up. The band achieved their largest success in 2002, when they released "Welcome." The album debuted at #17 on the Billboard charts, and has since sold 475,000 copies. The album also produced "Poem" which can still be heard on the radio today.

The band has produced three great albums since, and is beginning work on an untitled sixth album, on Victory Records. Guitarist Michael DeWolf was nice enough to answer some questions about the band.

Q: You guys have been around since 1997, since then, many of the bands I have grown up listening to have dissolved. How have you guys been able to stick around for so long?

A:  "Not going to lie, its tough. At the end of the day we all realize this is what we need and want to do with our lives. Looking back from when I first started playing guitar, I recall a time in particular when I got the chills  from listening to someone else's song.  Right at that moment, I decided that I wanted to write songs with the hopes that someone would feel that same sort of inspiration. We are passionate individuals basically. Haha.

Q:  The lyrics on your first album "Gift" are darker than your subsequent releases. What was the reason for developing a more melodic sound on "Welcome" and beyond.

A:  "I can't comment for Stephen(Taproot vocalist Stephen Richards) with regards to specific lyrics, but in general I think it was just a growth thing. We grew up as individuals and found new ways to express our feelings and thoughts."

Q:  When "Poem" blew up, and became such a huge hit, did you try and top that while writing "Blue-Sky Research."

A:  "Of course we did!"

Q:  Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins helped write a few tracks on "Blue-Sky Research." What kind of experience did you have with him?"

A: "Billy was awesome. I personally was honored to work with him, and found it to be an enriching experience."

Q:  Many of favorite bands like Taproot, Still Remains, Chiodos, and The Black Dahlia Murder have come out of Michigan. Have you had the opportunity to follow any of the local talent?

A:  "I wish! I've got a pretty full life, so I try to say up with things like that, but yeah. That is impressive though! I didn't even know that Still Remains and BDM were from here. That's awesome."

Q:  You guys recorded three albums with Atlantic Records, and your newest release, "Plead the Fifth" was released on Victory Records. What is the main difference between the two labels?

A:  "Both are great labels that I am proud to have had the opportunity to be involved with. One is, or was bigger than the other one, basically."

Q:  Also, in regards to Victory, bands like Taking Back Sunday, Atreyu, and Hawthorne Heights have had success on the label. Was that a factor in selecting them as a label?

A: "Absolutely. We all want to successfully get music out there to people who want to hear it, and victory helps with that effort."

Q:  You guys are gearing up to record your 6th album. What can fans expect?

A:  "Expect to hear it soon and trip the fuck out. It's MASSIVE and DEEP."

Q:  You guys have had songs featured in video games, and in WWE promos. How does the process work for having music featured in those mediums?

A:  "We have indeed. It's always an honor, and just plain cool to hear your song anywhere really, but in a game or movie, its even more so. We just make the best music, and hope for the best really."

Q:  What are your favorite places to play on the road, and conversely, what are your least favorite places to play?

A:  "Anywhere that will have us, really. There are a whole lot of beautiful places in the world and we are lucky enough to have had the chance to visit so many of them."

Big thanks to Michael for answering some questions. Support this great band and buy "Plead the Fifth" on Victory Records at Best Buy or ITunes!