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Meet Taverns: Upbeat Chattanooga Doom

“We’re trying to bring good vibes to a weird genre of angry people.”

Photo by Dan Dunwoody

Local stoner rock band, Taverns, gives insight into how the band was formed, their musical influences, and their plans for the future.

Taverns was formed in 2018 by David Ziegler (guitar and vocals) and Jon Shrum (guitar). They later added Derek Burgess (bass), who was originally planning to be the vocalist until they decided that local vocalist Cory Love fit their style a bit better. They also added drummer David Watson just a week before adding Love.

“It all just fell into place,” said Ziegler.

“We practiced for about 6 months before going to the stage,” he said.

When asked about inspiration for their music, the group had a wide array of answers.

“I think Taverns is the meeting point between all of our music tastes,” said Burgess.

“That’s what’s so cool about having a band like this. We all identify with so many different genres collectively that like we don’t agree with everything individually, but we can connect with two or three and when we connect that way, it connects all the way around,” said Ziegler.

As far as lyrics go, Love shared his inspirations behind his writing.

“For ‘Void Trippers,’ the song we just did the music video for, we wrote the first verse and chorus, and a lot of it is probably more personal than it should be… Some of the stuff coming out now, through the year of 2020, I spent the whole year of sobriety from alcohol, so there’s a lot of wrestling with stuff coming out…A lot of your inner demons chasing you down. A lot of the lyrics are just real stuff that people wrestle with,” he said.

He added, “The music itself is palatable enough to maybe have some darker themes in the lyrics because at the end of the day like life is hard as shit for all of us in different ways.”

The group also shared their struggles with losing friends from addiction and how the song “Void Trippers” took on different meaning through those times.

“That one, specifically, took on its own meaning. When I wrote it, it wasn’t meant to be about these good men that I knew who passed from opioid addiction, pill addiction, and stuff like that, but it took on that life as more of that stuff was happening around us. It’s like, well it was about this when it was written, but now it’s more about this,” Love stated.

They also shared about how their relationship with music has progressed throughout the evolution of Taverns.

“I try to watch a lot of live bands, regardless of genre, when I watch this, and I see a group of people get up on stage, like ‘They’re killing this, and they’re having so much fun doing it,” Love stated.

“And try to figure out how to translate that into a song. How to move people, whether it’s having fun or bringing them down to bring them up later in the song…” Burgess stated.

Ziegler commented on his relationship with writing music as well.

“Sometimes it gets frustrating because like there’s too much music out there. It’s hard to develop a relationship with just one specific style of music when you can hear those notes and melodies in completely different contexts and it works in completely different environments so well. It’s cool being able to look back on the type of music I listened to when we first got to writing stuff versus what I listen to now,” he said.

Their main goal, apart from expanding their live shows, was to be able to look back and still enjoy their music in 5 years.

“If in 5 years I can look back and listen to any of these songs and think ‘Wow that was cool, we put that out there…’ If I can listen to that in 5 years and still think it’s cool, then f*ck yeah,” Love stated.

In the end, their message is all about creating a space to vent frustrations and write about things that many struggle with or can relate to.

“To get philosophical, let’s just all be good to each other and have a good time and create that sense of community. I mean, what else are we doing this for,” Love stated.

“We’re trying to bring good vibes to a weird genre of angry people,” Burgess stated.

The group also stated that we can expect a music video to be released some time in October.

You can find all things Taverns at or on Instagram.

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