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Being Dallas Taylor

Art by George Butler.

Your name is so much more than the sound that people call you by. It’s an entire human identity, distilled into a few syllables. So what do six people who share the exact same name have in common? It turns out, much more than you might expect. Follow Dallas down the rabbit hole as he speaks to name expert Laura Wattenberg and five other people named Dallas Taylor.

Music Featured In This Episode

Ready to Run for You by Constellate
Where the Neon Stars Shine by Bo the Drifter
Just Manners by Alexandra Woodward
Discoveries by Clarence Reed
Flashes from the Red Sun by Carvings
Help from a Stranger by Wesley Slover
Squirrel Commotion by Sound of Picture
Pleasantly Surprised by Sound of Picture
Chocolate by Sound of Picture
The Last Stages of Consumption by Lowercase Noises
A Different Heav’n by The Dandelion War
Lighter Now by Red Licorice

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Dallas: So I did one faux pas of podcasting here, and I completely forgot to ask you to introduce yourself and your title.

Laura: Okay [laughs]. I’m Laura Wattenberg, I’m the Author of The Baby Name Wizard books and the founder of

Dallas: That’s exactly what I was hoping you would say, both of those things.

Dallas: This is going to be highly edited. And it’s actually a very interesting show that we’re doing, which is not really talking all about names. It’s kind of a weird one.

[music in]

Nick: This here is Twenty Thousand Hertz. Hosted by Dallas Taylor.

Nick: Dallas. It’s a name. It’s a city in Texas. It’s where the Cowboys play. And where they roam, too.

Nick: And a Tailor? Now that’s someone who makes your clothes fit just right. Get yourself a bespoke tailored suit, and you’ll feel like a million buck-a-roos.

Nick: Now, what is a Dallas Taylor? Well… that all depends on who you ask.

[country song morph into music in]

Laura: First, I just want to say that names are incredibly rich signals, that whether we realize it or not, every time we hear someone’s name, we’re forming impressions about a likely age, gender, ethnicity, even socioeconomic status or geography.

Laura: That’s all part of the impression that comes with a name. So it’s something that you carry around like a little social microclimate that shapes the way people respond to you.

Dallas: So is there any truth to the Dale Carnegie quote that, “A person’s name to that person is the sweetest and most important sound in any language?”

Laura: I think we’re all trained and reinforced literally every day of our lives to respond to our own names.

Laura: A name is really a whole human identity in word form, and you can’t help but feel so deeply attached. My name is Laura and the recent Hurricane Laura was a bizarre experience because every time I’d turn on the radio, I’d hear something like…

[sfx clip: TODAY Show: …but Laura’s impact has grown even more deadly…]

Laura: Every time, even though I knew there was a hurricane, I’d startle a little bit like, “What did I do?” Because it’s so ingrained that that name is me.

[music out]

Dallas: What do you think about my name, Dallas Taylor?

Laura: Dallas is an interesting name because it has never been popular and it has never been unpopular. That’s actually a really rare quality. But if you look back over the last 150 years in the United States, the name Dallas has always been right around the 300th most popular name for boys. That’s a powerful kind of name position, because it means that it’s familiar, people aren’t going to be afraid to spell or pronounce it, but it’s also a little interesting and unexpected so they pay attention.

Dallas: Do you think that there would be some sort of inherent similarities between my name and someone else with the exact same name?

Laura: I think there are two kinds of similarities people can have from sharing a name. And one is a similarity of who chose that name. Parents who have something in common are likely to choose similar names.

[music in]

Laura: So the name Dallas, for instance, is a name that’s most popular in an area of the country that maps to essentially country music territory, minus Texas.

Nick: Hence the motivation for this here voiceover.

Laura: So that’s where you’re going to find the most Dallases.

Laura: There are two different kinds of place names. There are the names that are more popular near the place and the names that are less popular near the place.

Dallas: Really?

Laura: So for instance, you’ll never meet someone named Brooklyn in New York City, but a name like Savannah might be more popular in Georgia than elsewhere.

[music out]

Laura: Then in terms of your personal experience, if you think of the microclimate of reactions that you carry around with you, every time in your life that you meet someone for the first time, even virtually, if you send an email or you’re on Tinder, the first thing people see or hear is your name. And they are going to make expectations about you, whether they realize it or not, based on that. They’re going to respond to you in a certain way. They might be friendly or they might be wary, or they might be more or less excited to meet you. And two people who have gone through their entire lives sharing that same kind of first impression are going to have something in common.

[music in]

Dallas: Oh my goodness, this is so good. Total editorial note here, but you are leading right into exactly what I was hoping.

Laura: Oh, good.

Dallas: Thank you for playing along. I’ll tell you exactly what’s happening here. So I don’t know if I told you this over email or anything, but I have interviewed five other Dallas Taylors.

Dallas: And so you’ll kick off the show and then at this point I’ll basically take it and meet five other Dallas Taylors with the exact same name. And it’s absolutely fascinating, the similarities.

Laura: I am very curious to see what you all have in common.

Dallas: It’s going to be a blast.

You’re listening to Twenty Thousand Hertz.

Dallas S: I’m Dallas Taylor.

Dallas Leigh: I’m Dallas Taylor

Dallas Buffalo: I’m Dallas Taylor

Dallas Memphis: I’m Dallas Taylor

Dallas Singer: I’m Dallas Taylor.

[music out]

I’m Dallas Taylor

[sfx: video chat ringtone + connection tone]

Dallas Leigh: Hey, this is Dallas.

Dallas: This is also Dallas.

Dallas Leigh: [Laughs]

Dallas: So yeah, this has to be the weirdest request. This is the weirdest thing for me as well. I’ve never met another Dallas, let alone a Dallas Taylor. So…

Dallas: Can you just introduce yourself?

Dallas Leigh: Yeah, sure. So obviously, my name’s Dallas Taylor. This is my married name. So my maiden name is actually Keester, and that carried a lot of funny taunts in middle school.

Dallas Leigh: There’s a lot that middle school, sixth graders can say about the last name Keester.

Dallas Leigh: And my mom always said, “I married into it. You can marry out of it.” So, I mean, it’s funny because my husband’s name’s James Taylor.

Dallas: Oh, nice! [laughs].

[music clip: ames Taylor – How Sweet It Is]

Dallas Leigh: So Taylor seemed nice, safe, and a good way to go [laughs].

Dallas Leigh: Not much that people can say about the last name, Taylor.

Dallas Leigh: [laughs] So now I’m Dallas Taylor now I’m speaking on this podcast.

Dallas: So by choice.

Dallas Leigh: Exactly, exactly.

[sfx: video chat ringtone + connection tone]

Dallas: All right. Dallas Taylor. I am also Dallas Taylor, so nice to meet you, Dallas Taylor.

Dallas Buffalo: It’s nice to meet you also.

Dallas: Sweet. So I guess the first thing is, what did you think when a random person named Dallas Taylor contacted you about coming on a podcast to talk to me, a Dallas Taylor?

Dallas Buffalo: It caught me off guard a little bit. First, I saw Dallas Taylor. I’m like “someone must be tweeting me.” And I saw it was Dallas Taylor tweeting me. I’m like, “Oh, did someone make a Dallas Taylor profile? And just a bot is coming to troll me?” And then I saw the invite to come on the podcast, and like, “Huh…”

Dallas: It’s very weird. Can you give me like an introduction of yourself? Like what you’re passionate about or what you do.

Dallas Buffalo: My name is Dallas Taylor. I’m from Buffalo, New York. I love to write anything creative. Poetry, short stories, and op-ed pieces. Writing is my passion.

Dallas Buffalo: So I work with a public broadcasting station down here in Buffalo. And I do a lot of promotional writing. I do a lot of radio scripts.

Dallas Buffalo: I remember as a kid just watching PBS Kids, watching Curious George…

[sfx clip: Curious George Clip: George looked around. Professor Saunders had left some seed packets and some sticks on the ground.]

Dallas Buffalo: and Clifford…

[sfx clip: Clifford Clip: Hey Clifford, I think T-Bone needs some help! // He’ll be ok, he’s been up here lots of times.]

Dallas Buffalo: Mr. Rogers…

[sfx clip: Mr. Rogers Clip: So let’s think more about that as the trolly goes into the Neighborhood of Make Believe.]

Dallas Buffalo: …and all of those fun characters.

Dallas Buffalo: And then to be in the building of the place that I grew up watching and pretty much got my education from as a kid, it’s very… I don’t know if cool or weird is the right word. It almost feels like it was meant to be, in a way. Like that’s where Dallas is supposed to be.

[sfx: video chat ringtone + connection tone]

Dallas Memphis: What’s up, Dallas? How you doing man?

Dallas: What’s up, Dallas? This is so weird, isn’t it?

Dallas Memphis: It’s so weird. I literally, I rarely meet people named Dallas.

Dallas: Why don’t you, just for our purposes here, just introduce yourself? Your name and what you’re passionate about.

Dallas Memphis: Yeah, my name is Dallas Taylor, just like the guy right here. Dallas Taylor, you know what I’m saying? I’m from Memphis, Tennessee. I’m passionate about a lot of things, but I would say anime is my number one. I say this to everybody and people think I’m crazy. It keeps me sane, and I’m dead serious when I say that. It literally keeps me sane.

Dallas: Wow. Memphis. So this is wild, I’m from Memphis.

Dallas Memphis: Oh really?

Dallas: Yeah.

Dallas Memphis: [laughs] That’s crazy!

Dallas: So anime…

Dallas: As a sound designer I’ve actually mixed anime stuff in the past.

Dallas Memphis: Oh really?

Dallas: Yeah… I don’t watch as much as I would like to, but I have a deep appreciation for it.

Dallas Memphis: Yeah. It teaches you a lot. People don’t even understand that.

Dallas: How so?

Dallas Memphis: Not to get like, I don’t want people to think I’m trying to get deep or nothing. It’s just, okay, growing up, I had limited people that I could even look up to or role models. There really wasn’t nobody. I don’t even know my father, I don’t know who he is. It’s like growing up, anime, stuff like Dragon Ball…

[sfx clip: Dragon Ball Clip: I am protector of the innocent. I am light in the darkness. I am truth.]

Dallas Memphis: …One Piece,

[sfx clip: One Piece Clip: Luffi, your pain may be great, but it mustn’t devour you. There is yet joy beyond your sorrows.]

Dallas Memphis: I looked to those people as role models, so like… I see their philosophies and I try to include those in my life. You know what I’m saying? I like how they is, and I like the way they carry themselves. In a world without anime, I’ve been through a lot in my life so I just feel like I would go crazy without [chuckle] without that.

[sfx: video chat ringtone + connection tone]

Dallas: Hey, so have you ever met another Dallas Taylor?

Dallas S: Another Dallas Taylor? No, I do know of some famous ones… there’s obviously the drummer for Crosby, Stills and Nash.

[sfx clip: ET Clip: Dallas Taylor knows what he’s talking about. As the young drummer of the legendary rock band, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, he rode the fast track to success…]

Dallas S: There is a guy named Dallas Taylor, who… I guess he’s a singer for Christian rock bands.

[sfx clip: Bandrescue: Alright, it’s John here from here with Dallas Taylor from Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. // How’s it going?]

Dallas S: So he’s a little bit known. And then, there was, in the 70s, a—

Nick: [cough] how do ya say… Adult

Dallas S: …performer named Dallas Taylor. And I learned that in college, when the video store clerk at the good video store, the local place where the guy was a super cinephile, he was a fan of my namesake’s work. So he never did let me forget how he recognized my name and my face.

Dallas: So, definitely know the drummer for Crosby, Stills and Nash. Oftentimes when we’re doing interviews, depending the age that they are, they’ll ask, “Where are you the drummer, Crosby, Stills and Nash?” And of course I’m not. The other thing I get all the time is like, “Are you the former singer of Underoath?” And I’m like, “No, that’s not me either.” …And then I actually bought the domain name, from the—

Nick: [cough] adult performer

Dallas S: Okay, awesome. I probably tried to buy that. My domain name is dallas-taylor.

Dallas: Oh, okay. So we were probably competing for that [laughs].

Dallas S: Possibly.

[sfx: connection tone]

Dallas: Have you ever met another Dallas?

Dallas Leigh: When I was younger, I met a boy named Dallas. I was definitely going through a phase where I was very upset with my parents for naming me Dallas because everyone was like, “That’s a boy’s name!” And here I was eight years old. So I did offer my parents two alternatives for if they wanted to change my name. One was Yasmin, after a Bratz doll that I had.

[sfx clip: Bratz Clip: Yasmin can strike hundreds of rockin’ poses to totally rule the stage.]

Dallas Leigh: The other name that I presented to them with Lizzie off of Lizzie McGuire.

[sfx clip: Lizzie McGuire Clip: Lizzie, those pants are sweet! // And, I’d like to thank my mom and dad. And the Style Shack!]

Dallas Leigh: They said, “No, we’re not changing your name. When you get older, you will learn to appreciate it.”

[music in]

Dallas: Do you know why you were named Dallas?

Dallas Memphis: There’s a lot of different stories going around, but my mom said she named me after a guy that she had a crush on in high school.

Dallas: Really?

Dallas Memphis: Yeah, his name was Dallas. So she was like one of my kids is going to be named Dallas.

Dallas Leigh: My sister’s name is actually Austin, so Dallas and Austin.
Dallas: Guess what my brother’s name is?

Dallas Leigh: Is it Austin?

Dallas: It is Austin.

Dallas Leigh: Oh my gosh, yeah.

Dallas: This is so weird.

Dallas Leigh: So weird.

Dallas Buffalo: And then my brother’s name is Austin, so we get the, “Are you guys from Texas?” a lot.

Dallas: Are you kidding me?

Dallas Buffalo:Yeah.

Dallas: Do you want to know what my brother’s name is?

Dallas Buffalo: I’d be very interested.

Dallas: It’s Austin.

Dallas Buffalo: Ooh.

Dallas: And another Dallas Taylor that I met. Her little sister is named Austin.

Dallas Buffalo: Uh-oh.

Dallas: So I have a sibling named Austin, you have a sibling named up name Austin, and she has a sibling named Austin. That is so wild.

Dallas: I’m curious. Have you ever gotten that, “Is your sister named San Antonio comment”?

Dallas Leigh: Oh, always. They always say like, “If there were twins, would one be San and the other be Antonio?” [laughs]

Dallas Memphis: Oddly enough my brother’s name is Antonio. So people just think we’re from Texas.

Dallas: It’s funny that you say your brother’s name is Antonio, because my brother’s name is Austin.

Dallas Memphis: That is crazy.

Dallas: No joke.

Dallas Memphis: That is crazy. It’s like looking in a parallel universe right here. That’s crazy.

[music out]

Dallas Leigh: We’re named after country songs. So my mom was obsessed with Alan Jackson and he had a song out called “Dallas.”

[music clip: Alan Jackson: “Dallas”]

Dallas Leigh: It’s super twangy, and when I tell everyone, “I’m named after a country song,” I’m like, “Don’t look it up!” The lyrics are literally, “Dallas packed her suitcase and drove off in the brand new car I bought her,”

[music fade under]

Dallas Leigh: …which I’m like, “That was the song that you chose to name me after?” But Austin, obviously we have the age gap, so we’re eight years apart. And when my mom was pregnant with her, she was like, “Well, I can’t have a Dallas and like an Amanda. It wouldn’t make sense.” So that year Blake Shelton released a song called “Austin.”

[music clip: Blake Shelton: “Austin”]

Dallas Leigh: It was perfect timing. So they always joke, they said that, “If we had a brother, his name would be Houston.” I said, “It was probably in everyone’s best interest that did not happen because that would have been too much.” And it was probably good that we stopped at Dallas and Austin.

[music in]

Dallas: Did you have any nicknames? …I have a couple, I’m curious if you’ve gotten any.

Dallas S: The only one that ever really stuck was people would call me D.

Dallas: I’ve gotten D, a lot of people do that. I’ve gotten Big D because Dallas has called the Big D… And the most popular one was Dally Poo for a long time.

Dallas Leigh: Yeah I’ve had a couple people call me Dally and when I was younger I didn’t like that. I was like, “Ooh, nah.”

Dallas Memphis: I’m curious if you had this same nickname from your family. Dally Wally.

Dallas: No, I have never heard Dally Wally. I’m Dally Poo, I got that a lot.

Dallas Memphis: Dally Proo?

Dallas: Dally Poo.

Dallas Memphis: Oh nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. They called me Dally Wally, and my nickname is actually, my real nickname is D. Just D. My family calls me D. If they want to be funny they call me Dally Wally [laughs].

Dallas Buffalo: It’s always cool having a good nickname.

Dallas Buffalo: Texas, or D, or DT. Big D.

Dallas Buffalo: I know my high school track coach, he would, because he’s a big wrestling fan, so he’d often call me Diamond Dallas Page.

[sfx clip: WWF Clip: What a move! What a move by Diamond Dallas Page!]

[music out]

Dallas: When you go to a coffee shop, or you meet someone for the first time, and you’re like, “Oh, my name’s Dallas.” Do you tend to hear kind of the same reactions or jokes, like all the time?

Dallas S: A lot of people will make reference to the TV show, obviously that’s decades out of syndication.

[sfx clip: Dallas Promo: Premiering Sunday, April 2nd: Dallas: Where money buys power and passion breeds conflict.]

Dallas S: Usually, it’s about the football team….

[sfx clip: Cowboys Clip: Dallas bringing down the house! Fromm got rid of it to Cooper, and it’s incomplete.]

Dallas Buffalo: Most of the time, yeah. Like, “Are you a Dallas Cowboys fan?…Are you from Texas?”

Dallas: It’s so funny. It’s the exact same reaction that I get.

Dallas: They’ll say, “I’ll bet your parents really love Texas,” or like “I bet your parents are a big Cowboys fan.”

Dallas Leigh: Yep, it’s always either. “Oh, so you’re from Texas?” Or, “Oh, your parents must have been really big Cowboys fans!”

Dallas Memphis: Or you’re a big Cowboy fan [chuckle].

Dallas: Yeah, exactly.

Dallas Memphis: I hear the same thing literally all the time… and people will be like… hold on, my mom’s right here. I’m sorry. I told her not to walk in. Anyways.

Dallas: Wait, she’s the one that named you Dallas, right?

Dallas Memphis: Yeah, yeah. You want to get her to get her on the podcast?

Dallas: You can ask her why you’re named Dallas.

Dallas Memphis: Why would you name me Dallas, mother?

Dallas’ Mom: Do you really want to know the truth?

Dallas Memphis: Yeah. Why’d you name me Dallas?

Dallas’ Mom: I named you after this fine boy that I went to school with.

Dallas’ Mom: Who am I talking to? Oh, hello?

Dallas: Hey, you’re not going to believe this. My name is also Dallas Taylor.

Dallas’ Mom: Oh my god, hi!

Dallas: Hi [laughs]

Dallas’ Mom: Well, I got his name from a guy in high school. A guy had transferred down from New York, and I just fell in love with the name. And so I always said that if I ever had a son I was going to name him Dallas. I just kept the name, that’s where it came from.

Dallas: Well, thank you.

Dallas’ Mom: [laughs] You’re welcome.

Dallas: We got it right from the source.

[music in]

Nick: That got our Dallas to thinking… Where did his name come from? So, he called his mama.


Dallas’ Mom: Hey, what’s up?

Dallas: Hey, not much… Are you free right now?

Dallas’ Mom: I’m free.

Dallas: Okay. Because I need you to tell me a story. So I’m doing a whole podcast about names, and I’m curious if you can tell me why I was named Dallas?

Dallas’ Mom: Your dad named you.

Dallas: Why?

Dallas’ Mom: Because he went to Dallas and went to insurance school or something like that before he went into maintenance. And he loved Dallas.

<span data-preserve-html-node=”true” style=”color:rgb(91,86,181)”>Dallas’ Mom: I mean, as soon as he found out I was pregnant, he said, “Oh, that’s my little Dallas right there.” He knew the name right from the very start.

Dallas: What did you think when he was like, “We’re going to name our son Dallas?”

Dallas’ Mom: I was fine with it. I thought it was a cool name.

Dallas: Do you think it worked out?

Dallas’ Mom: Yes. I think it’s perfect for you.

Dallas: How so?

Dallas’ Mom: Well, I like when your wife calls you Dallio or just different things that you could do with the name.

Dallas: Do you mind if I use this on my podcast?

Dallas’ Mom: I don’t care. Yeah. You could use that on your podcast.

Dallas: I mean literally this phone call.

Dallas’ Mom: Yes!

Dallas: All right. Great. I have my mom’s permission.

[music out]

Dallas: You had mentioned you’re passionate about anime, I’m curious, what other passions do you have? I think you said something about free styling or music.

Dallas Memphis: Yeah, I write music. That’s been a passion since I was eight. I’ve been writing music for a long time.

Dallas: What kind of music?

Dallas Memphis: I make hip hop music.

[sfx clip: Clip Dallas Taylor – “Red Room”: It’s the man inside, begging me to let him take a ride, Dallas we the same guy, but I could turn us to a god, you and I, so you say we equalise…]

Dallas Memphis: A lot of people like my music, so they’ll be like, “What’s your rap name?” I don’t have a rap name, just Dallas Taylor. They’re like, “That sounds like a rapper. That just sounds like somebody.” And I was like, “Yeah, I’m just going to use my name.”’

[music in]

Dallas: So curious, just tell me about your life. I mean, I can tell you mine. I’m a sound designer, and I spent a lot of time playing the trumpet… And eventually, continued to do sound design, and started to host a podcast, and here I am. So what’s your life like?

Dallas Leigh: Yeah, sure.

Dallas Leigh: I’m very into the creative arts.

Dallas Leigh: I was homeschooled for a lot of my early education, but I was actually a dancer. So I went to a performing arts high school for dance in Maryland… And I ended up going to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.

Dallas Leigh: Now I am working in fleet management. It’s not as creative as before. But then COVID-19 happened and I’ve been working from home… so finding ways to get those creative moments out of things that aren’t so creative anymore.

Dallas: What would you say that you’re just most passionate about now? What gets you up?

Dallas S: Oh, writing. I suppose particularly the novel that I’m working on, which is a project God, I’ve been working on this thing for five or six years now, I want to say… But yeah, that’s what gets me up in the morning. My excuse for existing is that I’m a writer.

Dallas Buffalo: I want to write a children’s book at some point, but writing is really where I’m at and where I want to be with my life. I know it’s not the most lucrative, but it feels like it’s the most rewarding to me.

Dallas: Cool. The thing that’s been really fascinating about all of these, every person that I’ve spoken with with our name have all been heavily in creative fields. So two musicians, two writers, a dancer, I’m a musician who became a sound designer, and kind of a writer thanks to this podcast.

Dallas S: Yeah, totally.

And no one has been anywhere close to being a lawyer or an accountant or anything that’s like a responsible adult thing.

Dallas S: Good for us.

Dallas: Everyone is creative, every single person. So it’s just been wild to kind of like, see that thread.

[music out]

Dallas: I actually, I’ve been talking to a couple different Dallas Taylors, and the last Dallas Taylor that I talked to about an hour ago, he was a heavy metal band singer, like a famous one.

Dallas Memphis: Yeah, no. I know who you’re talking about.

[sfx clip: Underoath – Heart of Stone]

[music in]

Pretty soon, we’ll meet the next Dallas Taylor. The heavy metal, cast iron Dallas Taylor.

That’s comin’ up after a quick word from our fine sponsors.

[music out]


[music in]

Good to see ya again. Now kick back, and enjoy the rest of this podcast made of 100% pure Dallas Taylor.

[music out]

[sfx: electronic ringing + connection tone]

Dallas: Well, hey Dallas! It’s nice to meet you. This has got to be bizarre for you too, right? You don’t know any other Dallases, do you?

Dallas Singer: I know a couple guys with the first name Dallas, but not with the same last name.

Dallas: So can you give a little introduction of yourself?

Dallas Singer: Yeah. My name is Dallas Taylor. I have done singing, or attempted to sing in a few bands here, and fiddled around with acting.

Dallas: I think I know a little bit about you, just because your name is my name… So I often get confused for you, or the drummer for Crosby, Stills & Nash. Have you had that same thing?

Dallas Singer: Same thing.

Dallas: Yeah?

Dallas Singer: A lot, yeah.

Dallas Singer: That Dallas Taylor…all the time people think like… When he passed away, they thought I passed away.

Dallas Singer: And then, one time I heard, I guess he found out about me, because there was one interview or something where he’s like, “I’m not the dude that screams, and I’m not the—

Nick: [cough] adult performer

Dallas Singer: “I’m the real Dallas Taylor.” But yeah, there’s not many people with that name at all.

Dallas: Tell me a little bit about your life? As much as you feel comfortable with. I know you’ve told this story a lot.

Dallas Singer: Got you. Yeah. I was always raised super southern Baptist. And then when I was 15 or 16, someone showed me like heavy music. And I was like…

[music in]

Dallas Singer: “What is this stuff?” And so when I discovered heavy music, I was like, “This is it. I’m rebelling, I guess.”

[music up for a moment, then slowly fade under]

Dallas Singer: But it’s weird. I never wanted to be a singer in a band. I’ve always had bad social anxiety. I couldn’t even drive through a drive through I think until I was 20 or 21. I get too scared. Couldn’t even write my own check. And so I started doing a band because it felt like it wasn’t me having to be me.

Dallas Singer: I was a bass player. Not the best, But I wrote lyrics. And so when I was young, we were trying to do this horrible, horrible band. Didn’t work out. And so when the singer had stopped, our guitar player was like, “Well, you’re going to do it.” And I was like, “I don’t want to do it.” Well, this many years later, I’m still doing it.

Dallas Singer: And so then through many horrible small bands I started this band called Underoath.

[Underoath – Act of Depression]

Dallas Singer: We had some friends that said, “Hey! You can go on tour with us for like a week.” And so we did. Well, Underoath got signed on that tour by a small label.

Dallas toured and recorded with Underoath for the next four years.

[Underoath – When the Sun Sleeps]

Dallas: Did you feel anxious when you performed? Because I spent so much of my high school and college years playing the trumpet. I was first chair in like every ensemble. I thought I was going to be a professional trumpet player…

Dallas Singer: Yeah.

Dallas: And then one day I woke up with crippling performance anxiety and it just crushed all of my dreams of performing.

Dallas Singer: Gotcha.

Dallas: So I’m curious if you still felt that same anxiety from when you were younger once you started touring.

Dallas Singer: About every show, yeah, I always did. And then the times I didn’t feel anxious, that’s when there came a time where you start getting more concerned on the business side of it. “How much merch did we sell? Or what if we do this?”

Dallas Singer: And then you start getting more anxious about that than playing. And that’s a bad place to be because then you lose sight of why you got into it in the first place. And you’re more worried about staying afloat financially, which happens to everyone. And so it’s a fine line you have to watch out for, because that easily can take over and get you off path, I guess.

Underoath was getting more and more popular. But During the 2003 Warped Tour, Dallas left the band.

[music clip in: Underoath – Reinventing Your Exit]

Dallas Singer: We parted ways because I was young and my situation with a girlfriend. I just was like I picked that over anything.

The band recruited a new singer, and continued on without him.

[music fade out]

Dallas Singer: And so then I moved up to Alabama, and I thought I’d never do music again. And then I started another band called Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, and started touring again all through that.

[music clip: Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – Step Up (I’m On It)]

Dallas Singer: Then I went through a divorce. And those were always fun times. Not really. Just being sarcastic. And then I started making friends. People would ask us to do cameos in a couple of films. So I was like, “This is kind of cool, so maybe I’ll give it a shot.” So I started acting a little bit here and there.

Dallas acted in a few small horror films. He also played a character named Lucky Louie in Joe Dirt 2, who gets crushed by a trailer falling out of the sky.

[sfx clip: Joe Dirt 2 clip]

Dallas Singer: So I was doing that more and then the band less. And then I was down visiting my parents just on vacation. And they had gotten a four wheeler.

[sfx: four wheeler driving]

Dallas Singer: And I was always the dare devil, always. And I’d never broken a bone really. And I took the four-wheeler, and I was I guess the only thing I remember is I was trying to give it gas, and then I went to hit the brake. But the brake and the gas were in the same handle…

[sfx: four wheeler revs and speeds up]

Dallas Singer: So when I pulled that, I rolled the gas and I went straight into a metal sign.

[sfx: Blackout ringing]
Dallas Singer: I broke about everything. I made up for all the years of not breaking. And I’m still crawling out of it. But yeah. That was about four years ago. And I did a number on myself.

[sfx: ambient pads]

Dallas’ injuries were severe and life-changing. He broke multiple facial bones, and suffered brain damage and internal bleeding. He lost his sight in his left eye, and still has vision problems in his right. He’s had ongoing lung problems, thyroid problems, memory loss, hearing loss, and chronic pain. But as hard as this experience has been, Dallas says that it’s put him on a better path.

[sound design transition into music in]

Dallas Singer: So before my accident, I struggled a lot with… I always had OCD. I still have it. But a lot of anxiety, you know, depression, things I was diagnosed as. And… always looking at life as it was a cup half empty. And so after my accident, it’s almost like my braid got rewired.

Dallas Singer: Trying to go through life, doing it on your own, and thinking you can do it without having other people in our lives, friends or people that encourage us, it really does take you down a downward spiral.

Dallas Singer: But it’s like I guess when you’ve gotten so close to death, you realize all the stuff I thought before in life that mattered, when you can’t even take care of yourself, you realize how much the little things are the big things, and the big things just totally disappear, you know?
Dallas Singer: And so I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anybody. But it definitely has given me a different perspective on life, and how I feel like we’re put here to help each other out…

Dallas Singer: I guess after my accident, I realized, you know… we’re only alive for so long. So my future really is, as cheesy as it may seem, is to…try let people know, “Hey! You’re not alone. I’ve been through that. Or even if I haven’t been through that, I’ll try my best to understand.”

Dallas Singer: I think that’s my legacy, is to try to encourage as many people as I can until I finally take the last big four wheeler ride exit home [laughs].

[music out]

[music in]

Dallas: You were, and I don’t know if you ever lose this title once you’ve become a rockstar. So you have been a rockstar. What would you tell a 17 year old kid with those same dreams? …What advice would you give in that case?

Dallas Singer: Well first I’ve always said I’m not a rockstar, but I know a lot of guys and girls that have made it really well.

Dallas Singer: But I guess you know if you want to do something, stick your feet in and basically… “Keep throwing at the wall until something sticks.” Just because something might discourage you, you know, it could be not getting as many Facebook followers, or as many downloads. That’s the people that get discouraged by life and they just kind of let their dream slip away. And if anything, until the day I die, I’d rather be that person that said, “I tried and I can die knowing I never gave up on my dreams,” rather than going, “Huh, what if I would’ve kept at it?”

Dallas Singer: So to anybody younger, if you truly believe in it, and if you feel it in your heart, be yourself. Be you, create you. Try as hard as you can do to make it.

Dallas: What is the future of Dallas Taylor from Florida?

Dallas Singer: What I see as the future me is I have this drive to come back better than I was before.

Dallas: I just have this thing on my heart of like, “Hey, you’ve seen life on both sides. You saw how much you had taken for granted, and how you thought everything in life was negative. And now, I see it in a completely opposite way. So it’s like now my goal is to try to help or explain to so many people that are on that path that I was before my accident, but that’s my goal. And whatever ways that will help me get that across the most is what I’m aiming for.

[music out]

Dallas: Just curious. How old are you?

Dallas Singer: I just turned 40. So I’m old as crap.

Dallas: No way. So did I.

Dallas Singer: No way.

Dallas: Yeah [laughs].

Dallas: Wow! So we lived the same stuff. It’s so funny. I’ll give you a bit of a backstory. Same with me. Same with me, I was a country kid in Arkansas, found heavy music. I loved it. Like, that’s kind of how I expressed myself. A lot of my friends started little heavy metal bands together. And I dabbled in drums and bass and guitar and screaming, and all that stuff.

Dallas: So it’s almost like we’re living a little bit of parallel lives. But it’s so interesting because even when you were with Underoath and Maylene, I knew both of those bands and listened to them, and loved it. No idea that your name was my name until years later.

Dallas Singer: Gotcha… Yeah. I like what you’re doing too. It’s pretty awesome.

Dallas: Thank you.

Dallas Singer: About the deepfakes. And then about the movie trailers and things. So yeah. It’s awesome what you’re doing with that.

Dallas: I appreciate it.

Dallas: So yeah. I think we have this. One question I do ask everybody, just because I’m so fascinated with what people say. Very simple question. But what is your favorite sound?

Dallas Singer: I guess my favorite sound would be laughter. [sfx] And the crazier a person’s laugh is, is the more contagious… [laughter ends]. It’s the best medicine to me. So that would be my favorite sound, I guess.

Dallas: It’s funny you should say laughter, because that’s also my favorite sound too. Most definitely, my kids laughing [sfx: Dallas’ kids laughing].

Dallas Buffalo: Favorite sound in the world. That’s a tough one. This is probably… I don’t know if it’s a sound, but I feel like it’s very underrated and satisfying. The moment that you get your sound back after your ear is plugged. Like if you’re in the shower or coming out of the pool. Once that is out of there and you get that… kind of like a buzz. I feel like that’s a very satisfying sound.

Dallas: That’s such a good answer.

Dallas S: That is a really interesting question. And for whatever reason… I wouldn’t have thought this until you asked me the question, but so, do you know Manu Chao, the singer?

Dallas: I don’t.

Dallas S: He’s a sort of pan European used to be in a punk band called Mano Negra.

Dallas S: But anyway, so he has this one single guitar note

Dallas S: It’s the King of Bongo or Bongo Bong…

[music in: Manu Chao – “Bongo Bong”, bring in on guitar note then play under]

Dallas S: That’s where I think I remember it from most.

Dallas S: It sounds like something beautiful birthing itself into existence. But yeah, it just has this very like sort of opening up kind of feeling, and it’s just like a half second, one note.

[music up, then out]

Dallas Memphis: I would probably say my favorite sound in the world, I would probably say… Ok, I sit outside a lot and I just listen to nature. Just listen to the world [sfx]. I think that would be my favorite. It’s just so comforting to me. It’s literally just so comforting.

[sfx: Ambience continues but transitions to wooded sounds]

Dallas Leigh: Definitely, I would say the crackling of a fire [sfx]. I think that’s super comforting. Where we live, it’s very woodsy. So oftentimes in the morning, we’ll put a fire outside in the back firepit and it’s so calming, relaxing. I would say that’s hands down my favorite sound.

[music in]

Nick: Well, I suppose that about does it. So what does it all mean? I can’t say I’m exactly sure. But it seems like when two people share a name, it means there’s something deep that runs between ‘em. Something that binds ‘em together in this strange, chaotic universe.

Dallas: I will say that it was one of the most bizarre experiences… because it’s me, it’s my name. So I see this other person and I feel like this connection with another human that I’ve never met, ever.

Dallas: I mean, I think it’s just fascinating to talk to different people with my exact same name and there are different aspects to our life. And then there’s threads that are extraordinarily similar.

Dallas: And what is really unique about this is that every Dallas Taylor I’ve met, are all creatives and writers… It’s just so serendipitous that we all have a creative brain.

Dallas: What I’ve learned in this situation is that everyone has just a fascinating story. Like anybody… Every Dallas Taylor I’ve talked to have just… had these fascinatingly rich lives and interesting stories…

Dallas: But it’s just so bizarre how connected I think we all felt just by talking to each other with the exact same name.

Laura: You’ve really lived something unique in common that 200 million other people cannot understand.

[country track transition into music in]

Twenty Thousand Hertz is produced out of the sound design studios of Defacto Sound. Treat your ears to a little sonic candy, by following Defacto Sound on Instagram.

This episode was written and produced by Casey Emmerling with help from Sam Rinebold. It was sound edited by Soren Begin. It was sound designed, mixed and narrated by Nick Spradlin.

Thanks to our guests, Laura Wattenberg, Dallas Taylor, Dallas Taylor, Dallas Taylor, Dallas Taylor, and Dallas Taylor. You can find Laura’s book, The Baby Name Wizard, wherever books are sold.

Nick: You take’r easy now. Thanks for listening.

[music out]

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