Driven To Success

AM Taxi finds it way to Virgin Records

Dig into AM Taxi’s history and it might be easy to assume how the Chicago band quickly made it to the Virgin Records roster with their first album We Don’t Stand a Chance. But don’t think you can figure out the whole story, singer Adam Krier says. Krier and bassist Jason Schultejann logged time in ska pop-punk act Lucky Boys Confusion, where Krier also contributed to the songwriting, but not the vocals. Krier says AM Taxi’s quick success hasn’t come from drifting on the success of Lucky Boys Confusion, who scored an alternative rock hit in 2003 with “Hey Driver.” The connection between the two acts hasn’t been played up by AM Taxi, Krier says. “I don’t think a lot of people are even aware of it to be honest with you,” he says. “Virgin Records even didn’t know anything about it.” Krier says it would be different if he had been the singer of Lucky Boys Confusion, but he and Schultejann were just two guys on the side of the stage. It’s never been necessary to use that connection to propel AM Taxi, he says. AM Taxi started as Lucky Boys Confusion’s members began settling down and touring more or less stopped. The band still plays occasional dates in Chicago and a few other Midwestern cities. So Krier put together a new band and recorded an EP without even having a band name. The songs were an extension of where Krier’s songs were already headed with Lucky Boys Confusion, tapping into a sound somewhere between the Warped Tour and the punk-minded bar rock of Gaslight Anthem, the Hold Steady or Against Me! Some people are able to pick up on the melodic similarities of those last Lucky Boys’ songs and AM Taxi’s material, Krier says. “To me, it’s completely different,” he says. Still Krier says he draws inspiration from stuff he’s always loved, including the Clash, the Replacements and mid-’70s Bruce Springsteen when he’s writing. There’s no real set method to writing, however. The first 75 percent of a song just pretty much comes out unfiltered, he says. “The hardest part is the last 25,” Krier says. Krier says while recording that EP and playing the first round of club dates in Chicago, he became glad he launched the new band. “We knew it was time to start something new,” he says. The record deal with Virgin came about a year into the band playing gigs; and soon after, they went to Austin, Tex. to record their album with Spoon collaborator Mike McCarthy as producer. The band had talked with bigger names, guys with gold records, but they came back to McCarthy because they respected how he made albums and wanted to use his methods to make their album. McCarthy records bands live onto tape, using primarily vintage equipment. “All of our favorite records for years had been recorded that way, live and on reel-to-reel,” Krier says. After finishing the album, the band had to wait nearly a year for Virgin to release it. Subsequently, the band has done Warped Tour and several other touring treks behind the 2010 release. Up next is a wintry Midwestern tour with friends, the Architects from Kansas City. There’s a little apprehension about just how cold it’ll be, but Krier says the bands had the opportunity to go on the tour, so they took it. “Leave it to us to book our Midwest run in January.” AM Taxi w/ Architects and Beat Seekers play the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St., Sunday, Jan. 9, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8. Visit onepercentproductions.com.

posted at 08:45 pm
on Friday, January 07th, 2011

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