Ten Speed Taxi (formerly called Sundog) combines each band members regional influences to create a country influenced funk and rock sound that inspires one to get up and dance! Doug Schatz (songwriter, guitar and vocals) is from Nashville, thirty five year veteran drummer Phil Neisser from Manhattan, Dan Caldwell (guitar and vocals) from Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Dave Nelson (bass guitar) is from Northern Vermont. Now the band is based and live in New York state.
Ten Speed Taxi’s music has been described as “barroom songs for thoughtful people”. Their original songs don’t just touch on the standard stories of loving and losing but recognizes the good times in life with a positive upbeat tempo.
Ten Speed Taxi “Next Train”
Where did the band’s name come from?
Doug: The name is meaningless, I suppose, but we had to have a name so we could play our music. Although I suppose you could say metaphorically that “we shift gears while taking you for a musical ride.”
Phil: the name came to us after three sleepless weeks of trying to find a name we could each live with that’s not already taken by someone else and thus plastered on Facebook, iTunes, and the rest. Get together with three friends and try it sometime; it’s a challenge. That said, we like the name; it conjures up our eclectic sound and our sense of drive and purpose, plus it makes reference to those bumps in the road that life throws in the way of all of us.
Dan: It was slightly better than “The Doug Addicts,” “Daved and Confused,” or “The Free Re-Phils,” so we went with it.
Who were your musical influences?
Dave: Kierkegaard, Francis of Assissi, and Zeppo. Well, actually, I think we are influenced by everything around us. Music is just one form of our expressions: e.g. of love, fear, worry, longing… It’s our reactions to the expectations of others and to our beliefs in ourselves. Making music is really an intimate act of giving and sharing; of anticipating the needs and desires of others and of expressing our own desires for understanding, unity, closeness, and connection. As a bass player, I am, or try to be, at times selflessly and at times selfishly influenced by the other guys in the band, in the moment, as called for by the song. So, to answer the question, my musical influences are, ideally, the other guys in the band. Also Stephen Stills, rockabilly, and Gogol Bordello.
Phil: I’m more of a Schopenhauer/Nietzsche fan. As for drums, I grew up loving the playing of Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, Russ Kunkel, and Elvin Jones.
Dan: I used to go to Phish shows and these days I listen to lots of hip-hop plus whatever my kids are singing. At one point they were stuck on a Michael Franti song, which they sang over and over.
How would you classify your music?
Dave: Under ‘T’
Doug: Top secret at this point
Phil: Hmm… that’s a tough one. It’s rock for sure, but not heavy metal. It’s alternative. It’s lyrical, meaning that we like the lyrics. It’s cross-over rock, with hints of folk, country, and hip-hop. Some of the grace notes played on the snare drum come from jazz, but the groove they create is driving rather than swinging. All in all I guess we’re an indie band. Above all we play music.
Dan: When not doing what Phil said we’re more or less a Nelly/Hendrix/Johnny Cash cover band. We also like to really explore the space with the cowbell.
Phil: Don’t listen to Dan. Also we try to keep him away from the cowbell.
Tell me about your latest CD. What do you want listeners to get from your music?
Dave: Laid. Or whatever they need at the time.
Doug: We want them to enjoy Doug’s guitar playing while Dan sneaks his ideas into their lives.
Phil: Seriously, I think I can speak for all of us in saying that our music helps us get through each day, and that we hope it that does something similar for our listeners. But of course it’s not for us to say what someone else should get from our songs. What I get are solace, irony, drive, rejuvenation, expression, relief, blisters, noise, adrenalin, and more.
Where are you performing?
Dave: Where do you suggest? We’ll play for you.
Phil: We play in northeastern New York State, mostly in the Canton-Potsdam area. One of our regular haunts is a Moroccan restaurant and club called La Casbah. We have plans to tour more widely in the northeast in a few years, when Elias and Josiah (Dave’s kids) and Owen and Marshall (Dan’s kids) get a little older.
Dan: We play music in various video games on the iTunes AppStore (Addicted…HD, Spinning Sketch Balls, and more).
Anything interesting stories or remarks you would like to share?
Dave: One time, Dan got arrested by a guy who said his name was Detective Cavanaugh, and who gave him a really hard time. The charges didn’t stick, however, and he was able to keep playing music (never mind; Dan tells the story better…).
Doug: We rival the Descendants in being among the most over-educated bands in the land.
Phil: Having two singer-songwriters in the band gives our music a depth of texture and a call-and-response complexity that it wouldn’t have otherwise. Dan brings a jam-band feeling and hints of world music, while Doug brings folk influences and a shade of country twang. When it comes to lyrics Dan injects humor and optimism into social criticism, whereas Doug’s takes the cynical and the melancholy and makes them funny or beautiful. Plus they each play lead guitar in different ways. It’s a lot of fun for me as a drummer to work with the two of them, and Dave and I take the lead in bringing their two styles into one by applying a straight-ahead rock feel that’s driving but also has some room in it.
Wrtten By: Diana Olson – firstname.lastname@example.org