September 20, 2005

by Damon Martin
Rock Stars Love MMA, Too
Taproot Bassist Philip Lipscomb Talks MMA
By Damon Martin

More and more people seem to be popping up these days that are proud to admit that they are fans of mixed martial arts, but one fan has been following the sport for years and is starting to get others to follow his lead Not to mention that this guy is also part of one of the best metal bands touring the U.S. right now. Philip Lipscomb of the band Taproot took time out of a busy touring schedule in support of his bands latest album, “Blue-Sky Research” to talk MMA with MMAWeekly.

MMAWeekly: Tell us how you got into mixed martial arts and about your training?

Phil: Well, growing up you’re always fascinated by martial arts and Bruce Lee kind of stuff. I never really did anything and my brother started doing jiu-jitsu and got me into it about 4 or 5 years ago. We always watched the UFC’s and stuff like that. So on a break from tour I was down visiting him and we got drunk one night and started wrestling, and he just showed me so much stuff, and the next day I was in class. I fell in love with it right away. I found just about the worst schools up in Michigan, where I’m from, but now I’ve found some schools down in Texas and I’ve been everywhere finding places to train. I moved to Texas mainly because of the jiu-jitsu down there. Then in L.A. when we were doing our album I started training under BJJ black belt Dartanian Bagby at Absolute Jiu-Jitsu in North Hollywood.

MMAWeekly: “The Ultimate Fighter” has become the big thing for MMA right now. Do you guys get to follow that while you’re out on the road?

Phil: Oh yeah. I just got our singer into watching it too. I think it’s pretty cool. I wasn’t a big fan of some of the characters on there. I feel like they don’t necessarily find the best fighters out there. I think they pick about half of the best and about half that they feel the best can beat. The first fight of this season was amazing, with Melvin and Josh Burkman, I thought that fight was great, best fight of the season so far.

MMAWeekly: Do you guys carry the MMA dvds on the tour bus? Have you gotten any of the other bands you tour with into MMA?

Phil: I actually have gotten the singer from Chevelle into it recently. When we were doing our last tour with them, I let him borrow a couple of the dvds and when we were on this last break I talked to him and he was like ‘ I just rented UFC 46, 47, 48′ and I was like ‘hell yeah!’. I got the 30 Seconds to Mars guys watching them. I just showed them the Quinton Jackson slam on Ricardo Arona and they were like ‘Oh my God!’. They were blown away, all the head stomps and everything.

MMAWeekly: Who are your favorite fighters to watch?

Phil: It’s changed over time, but Wanderlei Silva and Sakuraba were the first two that got me into it. Wanderlei is just a monster, but then you watch Fedor fight. I just watched the Heath Herring match and I was like ‘Jesus!’. He was just looking like a mess, and I’ve never seen Heath look that bad after a fight. Fedor was just one step ahead the entire time. Rodrigo Nogueria is awesome, being a jiu-jitsu guy, I love watching him fight, I hate watching him fight Fedor, cause he’s just got his number. As far as right now, my two favorites are probably Georges St. Pierre and Yves Edwards.

MMAWeekly: What do you think about Yves chances in the upcoming lightweight tournament?

Phil: I have to say Joachim Hansen is a monster. I hope Yves can do it. I’m rooting for him all the way. I love that guy. I just like his style, he’s more striker than grappler, but the guy hangs with all the top guys. He’s learning, he’s smart. He’s the real thing.

MMAWeekly: Do you have any favorites in the UFC?

Phil: Gotta go with Randy Couture. And Matt Hughes. I was never a big fan of his, I mean he’s always dominant but after that fight with Frank Trigg, it just made me love that guy. I’ve never been so excited during a fight. Chuck Liddell is good, but I don’t see him as well rounded. He’s so specific in what he does. I like well roundedness, like with Fedor.

MMAWeekly: What do you think about the Pride middleweight tournament?

Phil: Ask me a year ago, I would have went with Dan Henderson, but he’s been disappointing me, but he’s finally fighting guys that are in his weight class. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bustamante, but he’s also had a run of bad luck Both of those guys have a good shot. I’d like to see a rematch between those two.

MMAWeekly: Of the first bunch of guys from the “Ultimate Fighter” who do you see as having a chance of being a top star?

Phil: I saw Diego at Abu Dhabi when he went against Marcello Garcia and he really showed me something. Nate Quarry looked good when he knocked out Shonie Carter. Stephan Bonnar kind of scared me his last fight out, but he trains with a good camp with Carlson Gracie, so I think he’s got a good shot. I’m not a big fan of Koscheck, I’m not a big fan of Leben.

MMAWeekly: So just to talk a little bit about your band (Taproot), you guys just released an album “Blue Sky Research” and you’re starting to tour. How are things going?

Phil: Tour is great. We just had 3 weeks off, and we just started back up a week ago. We’re out on the west coast right now. Chevelle and The Black Maria are out with us right now, and after this is over we’re going on tour with Staind in November and December, so that will be a big tour. It’s great to be out again, we took 2 years off to work on the album, and now we’re back on tour.

Phil and the rest of Taproot are currently on tour and look for their new cd, “Blue-Sky Research” in stores now. Their song “Calling” is currently climbing the rock charts. You can find them at www.taprootmusic.com