An Aesthetic History of Tim “The Tater” Staley
After an exceptionally long germination period, The Tater emerged from the lurid, red clay soil of Montgomery, Alabama, with a silver microphone 6 inches from his mouth. He was stored in the cool, dry crook of a tenor saxophone. At the dawning of his puberty, in New Orleans where Canal Street dumps into alluvial fan and stumbles on into the Gulf of Mexico—what notes bobbed in his headphones that day? Branford Marsalis, Royal Garden Blues, flipping sides automatically on a knock-off Walkman. What’s next, 2 cassettes from his brother Scott: The Car’s Greatest Hits and John Cougar’s Uh-Huh. Don’t forget the vinyl his college-bound brother Dan left at home for him to spin: Night and Day by Joe Jackson and Let’s Dance by David Bowie.
The young Tater was addicted to microwave burritos, drunk, on brick weed, disrespectful to most adults, attending church 3 times a week but also engrossed in Bukowski’s Tales of Ordinary Madness and wearing out a tape with Coltrane’s Giant Steps on one side and My Favorite Things on the other. Tater turned 16 in 1991 as the Jam Band Phenomenon erupted across the country and left his face melting. Tater’s first Dead show was at The Omni, in Atlanta, in 1992; upon arriving to his seat a stranger with daisies in her hair turned to him and asked, are you dosed?
In 2001 Tater gave his life to line breaks and moved from the Deep South to earn an MFA in Poetry from NMSU. Giving your life to poetry means giving up on money and this helped him listen better to the world. As a graduate student, he hosted Tater’s Pickin’ Americana on KRUX from 2001 to 2004. He surrendered all his Grateful Dead bootleg tapes to The Salvation Army on East Idaho Ave, and all his old CDs to KTAL-LP where he’s been on air since their humble beginnings in 2014.
Tater produces three hours of radio content a week for KTAL-LP 10 1.5 FM Las Cruces New Mexico.
Tim produces all sorts of videos, sometimes even poetic, but usually weird.
SLAM poem by Tim Staley — WE THE WHITE MEN OF AMERICA (May 2018)
Poem by Tim Staley. Video by Quentin Staley (2017).
A video featuring several Tim Staley poems (Lively Words, 2009):
“Can You Be a Hippie” read in Golden Gate Park during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in 2009.
October 12, 2016 — Mac’s Backs in Cleveland, Ohio with Joel Lesses and Dianne Borsenik.
My performance starts at minute 27:17.