Who’s Taxi Dancer? How you guys met and started this band?
Exploding out of Albuquerque, NM, Taxi Dancer is a five piece, super blues band, fast becoming a force to contend with. Don’t let the word blues leave you with a misconception about the music. Taxi Dancer Band plays them like you’ve never heard before. Rousing renditions of Chicago/Kansas City-style blues with a little Louisiana gumbo and funk thrown in, defies anyone to just sit still and remain in their seats. Already high in demand, TDB is taking audiences in the Southwest by storm.
In mid-summer of 2011, music director, Bill Zerbe (Hammond B3/Piano) hailing originally from Kansas City, contacted long-time friend and associate, Gail Gordon (Lead Vocal) who relocated from Colorado, about finally forming the unique blues band that had been a shared vision for many years. A project that would focus on the “not so often heard” blues tunes not being played by most traditional blues bands. Tunes designed to get folks up off their butts, dancing their tails off. Music that would inspire people to have a really good time. Immediately getting down to business, the two began formulating a plan centered around Gail’s dynamic, powerful vocals and Bill’s incendiary keys. They drafted another friend and former band mate, Joe Ford (Bass) an Alaska native, to contribute the vital bottom end groove. They came upon Greg Woods, an experienced, highly credentialed lead guitar from New York via Phoenix, Arizona, whose grasp of the shared vision was instantaneous. Eventually they hired drummer Carlos Cortez, a seasoned player from Los Angeles, and the group was complete. So, while all the band members call Albuquerque their “home base”, really, they are all outlanders, hailing from other areas across the US with a sound that is thrilling audiences everywhere they perform.
What’s the meaning behind the band’s name?
During the 1920s and ’30s when taxi dancing enjoyed its peak popularity, patrons in a taxi dance hall would typically buy dance tickets for ten cents each, giving rise to the term “dime-a-dance girl”. When a patron presented a ticket to a taxi dancer, she would dance with him for the length of a single song. The taxi dancers would earn a commission on every dance ticket that they collected from their dance partners. Typically half the price of the ticket went to pay for the orchestra, dance hall, and operating expenses, while the other half would go to the taxi dancer. The “ticket-a-dance” system was the centerpiece of the taxi-dance halls where the taxi dancers worked. During the 1920s, taxi dancers, while only working a handful of hours an evening, frequently made two to three times the salary of a woman who might work in a factory or a store
What are your music influences?
Answer by Gail Gordon (Lead Vocals):
All the accomplished women vocalists, regardless of genre, and ALL the Blues guitar gods!
Answer by Greg Woods (Guitar):
Like a lot of players of my generation, I was lead to the great blues players by John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Dave Van Ronk, Rick Von Schmidt, Taj Mahal, Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield. Through them I discovered the Kings (BB, Albert, Freddy), Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Albert Collins, Big Bill Broonzy, John Lee Hooker and Elmore James. Later influences include Stevie Ray, Tommy Castro, Tab Benoit and Michael Burks.
Answer by Bill Zerbe (Hammond B3 and Piano):
I came up in the late 60’s so I had a lot of influence from Al Kooper, Gregg Rolie and Jon Lord. Later I was turned on to Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and Captain Jack McDuff.
Answer by Joe Ford (Bass):
As a baby boomer growing up in the late 60’s and early 70’s, my greatest influence from that time were and still are the Beatles. Watching them for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show and seeing all those girls screaming – well that did it for me so I picked up a Silvertone guitar and began. Changing to Bass Guitar along the way, Motown taught me about groove, Rock ‘n’ Roll; time and the importance of ear plugs, and Taxi Dancer progressive (jump) blues; music I love to play.
Dozens of great bass players have influenced me but I think Hutch Hutchinson, (Bonnie Raitt) is the whole package.
What makes your music different to other acts out there?
We’re OLD?? It is the passion and drive that we possess which comes out in every performance. We are truly a “band,” not just a group of musicians. We each contribute something very unique to the sound, and we all work to make each other sound better. We aren’t just playing music but sharing our gift with the fans because the bottom line, at least for TDB, is making the FANS happy. Ultimately, it’s our styling and our energy that is unique to us. It’s what sets us apart and, though we are old, we still got it going on?
What has been the funniest moment you have been or took part while touring?
We were playing in a couple of cities so we selected a motel that was conveniently between the locations. I will not name the town or motel but it had a real “Bates Motel” feel, you know like in the movie Psycho, and the proprietor was giving off a serious Norman Bates vibe. It was just creepy. The rooms were less than basic but did have a ceiling fan with four lights. Our bass player wanted to swing from the chandelier but it looked like someone had already tried. One of the lights was bent completely downward. There were gaps between the window frames and the sheet rock so you could see outside. No phone, no tissue or TP, you get the picture. Oh, and cold showers if you dared because there was no hot water in the entire motel.
Our guitar player was kept awake most of the night by the automatic air freshener. He thought someone was in the room hissing at him.
We laugh now but we went to bed wondering if we would ever see another sunrise.
Are there any plans for the near future?
We are presently writing and plan to use the winter to record our debut album that will be released in Spring 2013. We have recordings now but they don’t consist of any original material. We also hope to do a European tour in 2013.
Do you guys feel you are moving on the right direction?
Absolutely. We hadn’t expected success to occur this rapidly. We were confident it would come, we just thought there would be a bit more time but, hey, that’s a good problem to have!
Check out more at: www.taxidancerband.com