Tim DeLaughter of Tripping Daisy & Polyphonic Spree
Music can make miracles happen. Bad luck can turn good. Dreams can come true. Just ask Dallas composer, songwriter, and lead-vocalist Tim DeLaughter, one of music's most unique and inspired voices.
Tim was born November 18, 1965 in Dallas. He grew up in the Dallas suburb of Lakewood, where he still lives. He owns a popular Dallas record store called "Good Records". Back in 1991, he formed a group with three other musicians that would reach national prominence. The band was called Tripping Daisy, and was powerfully influenced by the two most influential rock bands in history - Nirvana and the Beatles.
Comprising DeLaughter (vocals), Wes Berggren (guitar), Mark Pirro (bass) and Bryan Wakeland (drums/percussion) the group quickly won an avid following in Dallas and across Texas with its edgy, psychedelic sound and frenetic concerts. The band gigged around the area and began recording soon after. One of the session highlights, "Lost and Found," appeared on a compilation released by local KDGE-FM and received airplay on the station. In 1993, Tripping Daisy did well at the Dallas Observer Music Awards. Among their fans at average sized rock venues you might see Dimebag Darrell from Pantera or Jimmy Vaughan.
The band's 1992 debut album "Bill" produced some fine songs including "My Umbrella", "One Through Four" and "Lost and Found". It was very popular in Dallas, and was later reissued when the band signed a deal with Island Records.
By 1993, the band had become a major attraction on the US college rock circuit, boosted by several appearances on MTV. Packed houses ensued in hot music towns like Tampa, Athens, LA, Seattle, and Houston. Their increasing popularity was confirmed by the sales of 1995's "I Am An Elastic Firecracker" which featured the singles "Piranha" and "I Got A Girl" - which continues to be one of the most popular music videos ever released on MTV. The arrangements were taken to a much more advanced level on this album, but fade in comparison to the improvements on their magnum opus "Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb". DeLaughter really found his niche as a vocalist and a songwriter on this album. Though minimalistic in some respects, the album is characterized by an interesting fragmentary songwriting style, where a song can go from one vignette to a completely different other, and still achieve a seamless quality. Laced with powerful melodies in tracks like "Field Day Jitters", "Your Socks Have No Name" and "About the Movies", the album was outstanding - but much of the fan base had moved on. After slow sales, Island Records dropped them.
The group's future was curtailed when guitarist Wes Berggren was tragically found dead due to an overdose in October of 1998. Shortly after the Berggren's death Tripping Daisy released a self-titled album in early 1999 on DeLaughter's own label, Good Records. The final album featured Berggren's father Don playing a Fender Rhodes on the unfinished "Soothing Jubilee". The album was a warm symphonic affair with more beautiful instrumentation and playful lyrics, including a new version of 'One Through Four', a song originally featured on 'Bill', and the re-recorded edition showed the progress they had made in 6 years.
DeLaughter spent the next couple of years getting married and starting a family. However, he and the remaining members of Tripping Daisy soon found the lure of a return to performing and recording irresistible. The result was the Dallas symphonic pop group The Polyphonic Spree.
From the group's first show at the Gypsy Tea Room, Polyphonic Spree was less a band than a happening. A first CD they offered was a bootleg that proved so popular they had to have it reproduced professionally due to popular demand. The shows are amazing. The group's two dozen members perform in flowing white robes - an appropriate backdrop for their happy, uplifting musical message of catchy pop laced with gospel. The unusual group boasts a ten-member choir, a pair of keyboardists, a percussionist, bassist, guitarist, flutist, trumpeter, trombonist, violist, French horn player and even a theremin player, with DeLaughter serving as musical director, lead singer, and creative shaman. Generating huge interest with their performance at Austin's South-by-Southwest music festival in 2002, the Spree were eventually hand-picked by David Bowie to play his Meltdown Festival at London's Royal Festival Hall, and later signed to Hollywood Records. Their first album, "Together We're Heavy" was released in the summer of 2004, and their single "Follow The Day" was featured in Volkswagen commercials and on the soundtrack of the motion picture Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.
DeLaughter most recently composed the score for the independent feature film Thumbsucker. Based upon the Walter Kirn novel and starring Keanu Reeves. The film garnered huge attention at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Tim DeLaughter says he is also a huge fan of Sigmund the Sea Monster from the defunct kiddie show H R Puffnstuff.