Good old-fashioned rock n’ roll is hard to come by these days, but AM Taxi’s vocalist and guitarist Adam Krier is intent on changing that. No gimmicks and no funny business — this band wants to bring back the classic sound of rock.
Only a few years old and already gaining momentum, AM Taxi is all set for their U.S. tour and for their appearance on the Warped Tour this summer.
Adam spills the goods on out-of-control gigs, banana slug encounters and the ups and downs of crowd surfing.
For AM Taxi newbies, how did the band come together? A brief history?
We are a Chicago group, we came together three-and-a-half years ago. We were touring in different groups for years and years and knew each other through that. Actually, it was me, Chris Smith [drums, backups] and Jason Schmitt (guitar, backups) that got started together. Once we decided we wanted to play shows and do other things, we got my neighbor John and became a five-piece.
You used to be known as “American Taxi” — why the name change?
There was another group with a similar name [The Great American Taxi] and we had to in order to avoid confusion.
Congratulations on signing with Virgin! How did that come about and how has it changed things for you and the band?
It came about because, well, we just started talking to different record labels and the people at Virgin seemed to get what we were about and share the same vision we have for the project, so it was a really good fit for us. It’s changed things in that now we can focus on the music more instead of other things like trying to get T-shirt orders in and tours booked, and, you know, promotional things like that. It’s really helped to get the word around.
According to Alternative Press, you’re in the top 100 bands I need to know. For newcomers to your music, why are they going to fall in love with your band?
We’re not reinventing the wheel or anything. It’s just honest rock n’ roll music and you don’t see a lot of that any more. Everything kind of has a gimmick to it, and you don’t see straight ahead. I think it’ll be a breath of fresh air.
What was it like recording your album live and how do you feel about the outcome?
I think it was the only way we could have done it and I’m really glad we did it that way. We talked to a dozen or so producers. Everybody’s sort of in a room by themselves [when you don’t record it live]. Playing it live to a tape moving instead and playing it all together … that’s the way they made records up until the ’80s. It was good for us because that’s where our influences come from. A lot of great records were made that way. There’s a lot of real energy that comes across when you make it that way — there’s mistakes, but they’re real mistakes and I think it comes across.
Do you have day jobs?
This has become pretty full time. We’ve been on the road — we’re about to go on our fourth tour, we leave next week for that, and then we’re on the Warped Tour all summer.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I just wanted to do this. So I’m pretty happy. I’m not sure if I could do anything else, really. I’m a bit of a one-trick pony I guess.
What’s the music scene like in Chicago and how do you fit in?
The music scene is amazing, there’s a whole lot of variety, which is good for us cause we can fit in and do a few different things. We can play with indie rock bands, punk bands, rock-n-roll bands, pop bands, et cetera. There are a lot of open-minded listeners.
You listed The Police as one of your influences on your Myspace — what’s your favorite song of theirs?
I really like their early stuff, the first two or three records. “Bring on the Night” is my favorite song of theirs.
Have you ever crowd surfed?
[Laughs] I have a few times, when I was younger. I haven’t in a few years. I have a chain attached to my wallet and I lost a bit of money once.
What was it like working with Sum 41 and The Offspring?
We didn’t really get a chance to meet Offspring and hang out with them, but they were great and their audience was great. Sum 41 was really nice, they were really professional. A lot of people still think of them as kids, but they’re a well-rounded, well-oiled machine — totally functional, totally pro.
What’s the weirdest show you’ve ever played?
There’s been some strange ones, let me think. We played on a race track once which was really bizarre. There have been some crazy ones. We got pranked the last night of the Billy Talent tour that we were on by them and their crew — they superglued our drummer’s sticks together and filled the cymbal with baby powder … it just got everywhere.
What bullshit advice did you get when you were first starting out?
We talked to one manager in particular and he said that we shouldn’t be focusing just on the music. Music has to be the priority. There’s a lot of D.I.Y. Myspace Internet bands that promote their asses off, and that’s great, as long they are spending as much time rehearsing as they are getting Myspace fans. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that these young bands are working to promote themselves, but I think that music needs to come first.
UCSC’s mascot is a banana slug — have you ever seen one? Would you lick one as it is a Santa Cruz tradition?
I haven’t. But they seem pretty cool, yeah, I probably would lick one.
See AM Taxi live at Slim’s in San Francisco on April 29. Their album “We Don’t Stand a Chance” comes out June 8. For more info, visit amtaximusic.com.