Over the years, man about town—er, man for all seasons—Clifton Taylor (that's Chick Cashman to you, named after Boyce & Hart's manager from an episode of Bewitched) has donned lots of hats, from filmmaker and musician, to designer and ersatz queen. Mostly he wears his signature Texas cowboy hat. He's also a genuine Old Pueblo guitar hero.
"I started playing guitar at 11 and have not gotten any better," Taylor says. "The first real band that comes to mind was Jesse Bueno. Not quite "Johnny B. Goode" but it was close enough. Very glam, punkish. We played a gig at The Cellar with Ron Reyes' (Black Flag, Redd Kross) fronted Crash Bang Crunch Pop. When they got back to LA they called me and asked me to join their group. I dropped out of architecture school and left Tucson."
Long story short, "that ended and I wound up becoming a film editor. I did tour 'manage' Johnny Thunders." While in LA, Taylor also recorded with Eric Martin of Supersuckers before moving back to Tucson where he and Martin became The Hustlers. "While that was percolating I played with a bunch of bands," he says. Johnny Balls & The Vibro Thunderballs (with Al Perry), the early version of The Friends of Dean Martinez (called The Friends of Dean Martin, with Bill Elm and Van Christian). After mourning the sudden death of Eric Martin in '94, Taylor regrouped and went on to form The Fabulous Chick Cashman & His Countrypolitans (with Jeff Grubic, Michael P. and Chris Wassell), Blackwood & Co., The Cocksmen (with Lucas Moseley) and his latest duo project, The Goat, with drummer Daphna Ron.
Taylor is also a film director. In the doc Fuzz: The Sound That Revolutionized The World (2007, Brink DVD), Taylor pays absolute loving tribute to the stompbox and its contribution to the glory of rock 'n' roll.
Some deeper backstory: When Taylor was five his grandfather came to live with the family. "We lived close to Old Tucson Studios. He became an extra, in some westerns and on High Chaparral. I tagged along and got the movie bug then."
Taylor's penchant for the subterraneous grew from there. "The original Loft Theater and the Temple of Music and Art showed movies that were way outside the norm."
Here Taylor picks his Top 5 favorite trash/exploitation films. "My criteria is that the mind is blown by the visual, music or just ridiculousness of the film," Taylor says.
1. Vampyros Lesbos (1971, director Jesus Franco): The score is amazing as is the landscape and the tragic Soledad Miranda is breathtaking. If you have a little winter cold ... settle in and take it in.
2. Beyond the Valley Of the Dolls (1970, director Russ Meyer): Russ Meyer's classic. Z-Man Barzell is all I need to say! Russ Meyer's Hollywood is kinda what I expected to find ... nope ... but sort of.
3. Candy Tangerine Man (1975, director Matt Cimber): My friend years ago found a bunch of VHS tapes and this was one of the best! John Daniels of Black Shampoo (1976, director Greydon Clark) fame stars. Hustlers and life on the street. I don't know what street, but some of the best and worst pimp rapping ever documented.
4. A Degree Of Murder (1967, director Volker Schlöndorff): This stars Anita Pallenberg as a woman who needs a bit of help getting rid of some problems. A dead body! I've been looking for this movie for years because of the soundtrack. Scored by Rolling Stone Brian Jones. Not the best Euro murder drama but the score is cool and Jimmy Page is all over it, as is Nicky Hopkins.
5. Modesty Blaise (1966, director Joseph Losey): Monica Vitti as British comic-book heroine is sexy and ridiculous. Dirk Bogarde and Terence Stamp are just as awesome. Sixties comic-book camp, big orchestral pop. Mmm.
See Chick Cashman with former Tucsonan Alex Oropeza's Broken Horse, Tuesday, Dec. 20 at Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress St. It's part of Chick Cashman Presents Snowbirds: A Christmas Pageant featuring Rock Roll and Remember (Eric and Enid Pifeteau from Nantes, France), Broken Horse (San Francisco), Krab Legz (Tucson's own Ben Sol Schneider and Dimitri Manos) and debut performance by Mutiny. Show starts at 8 p.m. 21+. Free.
Chick Cashman and Ron Reyes (backed by rhythm aces Boyd Peterson and Jamie Peters) cover Osmond Brothers chestnut "Crazy Horses":