|Labels||Warner, Mandarin Music|
|Past members||Tim Watson
Prior to formation, the four founding members of Taxiride—Singh, Wild, Hall, and Tim Watson—had been playing in cover bands around Melbourne, travelling around in a yellow Ford Falcon EB ex-taxi. The quartet recorded an EP, which a taxi-driving friend of theirs helped promote. They took their name from the experience had by passengers hearing their music on a taxi ride. After their music was heard by an executive from record label Warner, the band signed a contract and released their debut album, Imaginate, in 1999. This was followed by 2002's Garage Mahal. Both albums were certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 2005's Axiomatic did not follow in the success of its predecessors.
Taxiride's musical style has changed significantly over the course of their career—what began as a pop/pub rock band on their first two albums moved to a much more heavy sound on later works. Throughout their history, the band has had multiple lead singers and songwriters on the majority of their songs. As of 2006, the future of Taxiride has been uncertain. They have continued to tour, mostly as the supporting act for larger names, however Singh is now working on a solo album and Taxiride's website states that the band is on a hiatus.
Formation and early work (1997–1999)
Prior to forming Taxiride, Tim Watson, Tim Wild, Jason Singh, and Dan Hall had each played in cover bands across Melbourne. Watson and Wild began writing together in 1997 in Camberwell, Melbourne, and soon recruited Singh as an additional vocalist. The trio invited Hall, whom Wild first encountered busking, to join the group, and he accepted. The band named themselves Taxiride because they had given some of their early work to a friend of theirs, a taxi driver, who had tested these songs on passengers. The group produced a demo at Melbourne's Secret Sound Studios, and used it to land a contract with Warner in Australia. Meanwhile, a friend of the group passed their work onto a Sire Records executive in the U.S., who signed them despite the group being unknown.
Pop success (1999–2002)
In 1998, Taxiride relocated to Ocean Way Recording studios in Los Angeles to work with producer Jack Joseph Puig on their debut album. Imaginate, released on 1 June 1999 in the U.S. and 18 October in Australia, reached number one on the ARIA Albums Chart, with debut single "Get Set" reaching number eight on the ARIA Singles Chart, number 41 on the New Zealand Singles Chart, and number 36 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Get Set" won the 1999 ARIA Award for "Breakthrough Artist - Single" and was nominated for "Best Pop Release", while Imaginate was nominated for "Breakthrough Artist - Album" and "Highest Selling Album" in 2000. Imaginate was certified double platinum, indicating an excess of 140,000 sales.
Taxiride wrote the majority of the album in a studio, and the final product generally used songs that band members had worked on individually. Imaginate earned a mediocre reception from critics. Steve Kurutz of Allmusic gave it three stars, calling the album a "slick...bid for pop radio". The use of a sitar on "Get Set" was praised, as was the Beatles influence and Puig's production. To promote the album, Taxiride toured Australia, America, Japan, and Europe, with the album selling well in all areas. Despite the album's success, Hall, then lead singer, left the band to work independently and with his other pet project, Airway Lanes. Hall said he was unhappy with "the pop direction the band was taking".
Following Hall's departure, the band recruited drummer Sean McLeod and bass guitarist Andy McIvor, and began work on their second album. Garage Mahal was released on 5 August 2002, and produced three singles: "Creepin' Up Slowly", "How I Got This Way", and "Afterglow". All three songs charted in Australia; "Creepin' Up Slowly" was the most successful at number six, also reaching number 19 in New Zealand. In 2002, Garage Mahal and "Creepin' Up Slowly" were certified platinum by ARIA.
Much of Garage Mahal was written on the road, while touring, and as such had a different sound from the band's prior work. Most of the writing was done in two places; Mount Macedon in Victoria, and Palindrome Studio in Venice Beach, California, the home of producer Fred Maher. Mixing was done by David Way and Mike Shipley. Despite the change in sound, the band were still seen as purely a pop band—Australian Musician magazine claimed this was because they spent too much time overseas. Gary Glauber of PopMatters praised the album, noting it had not lost the quality of its predecessor, although it was a good deal heavier. Glauber reported on the overall high quality of songs, noting that "almost any of these songs could work as a single", and calling the lyrics of "Creepin' Up Slowly" "perpetually catchy". Bernard Zuel of The Sydney Morning Herald said that the band did not hold back in their aim for American radio, calling the lyrics overly generic, and arguing the band only focused on their mainstream image.
Independent and acoustic (2003–2006)
Watson left Taxiride in 2003, and the band began work on a new album. They decided to release independently after splitting up with Warner Music, and recorded at Wild's Melbourne home for a total of 12 months. During that time, the band collaborated with vocalist Chris Bailey (The Saints lead singer) and Hall, who took time out from working with Airway Lanes. Taxiride's third album, Axiomatic, was released on 5 September 2005, shortly after the first single, "Oh Yeah". It would be the only song to chart from the album, reaching number 40 in Australia. To support the album, the band toured India as part of VH1's Rock Rumble.
In creating Axiomatic, Taxiride worked independently, moving away from record labels in an attempt to make an album that would better reflect the music they wanted to produce. The band's prior albums were described by Singh as being Americanised, and the band now wanted to make "an Australian record". Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin influences were common; "Oh Yeah" was recorded using a vocoder, which was popular in the 1970s. The album was described as containing "heavier rock sounds" than its predecessors.
Following the release of Axiomatic, Wild and Singh began to write new songs, accompanied by Hall. The band's first live album, Electrophobia, was released on 16 September 2006 on Australian record label Liberation. It features songs from the band's first three albums, all recorded in a standalone session in a Melbourne church on 26 May 2006. The production was arranged by Rob John (producer for Led Zeppelin and The Tea Party).
Andy McIvor left the band in 2006, and is now playing with former Australian crawl member James Reyne
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Taxiride is primarily a pop rock band, also drawing influences from pub rock. On Electrophobia, they showed a different side, playing acoustic music for the first time. The band's style has progressed over their career; the pop direction the band took in the Imaginate era caused Hall to leave the group, only to return for heavier rock collaborations in the Axiomatic days. Allmusic's Ed Nimmervoll said that the band distanced themselves from the boy band generation, comparing them to Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. Steve Kurutz, in reviewing Imaginate, related the album to the pop work of boy bands The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Everly Brothers, labeling the album as a bid for pop radio.
The International Herald Tribune 's Mike Zwerin noted the band's style of having "four lead singers, four potential front men"—Imaginate 's strength was in their collective sound, argued Zwerin. On Garage Mahal, Taxiride had three active singer-songwriters, with their strong opinions on musical content clashing frequently. Singh told Dan Grunebaum of Metropolis Tokyo that the arguments came about "because we were very passionate about what goes down onto tape", and so they were resolved by recognising the overall goal of the band's work.
Band member timeline
- Electrophobia (2006)
- Ed Nimmervoll. "Taxiride > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "Biography". taxiride.com.au. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- "Imaginate: Taxiride". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- Olivia Katter (23 June 2005). "Taxi to Townsville". news.com.au. Retrieved 2008-04-29.[dead link]
- "Taxiride discography". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "Taxiride discography". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "Artist Chart History - Taxiride - Singles". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "Winners by artist: Taxiride". ARIA. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2000 Albums". ARIA. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- Annemarie Failla, Michelle Palmer. "Taxiride Interview". Girl.com.au. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
- Steve Kurutz. "Imaginate > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
- Greg Phillips (Spring 2005). "Taxiride". Australian Musician. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
- Andrew Banks, Danielle O'Donohue (30 May 2006). "Cleared for takeoff". The Herald Sun (news.com.au). Retrieved 2008-03-30.[dead link]
- "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2002 Albums". ARIA. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2002 Singles". ARIA. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- Steve Jones. "Taxiride.". dB Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
- Annemarie Failla. "Girl.com.au". Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- Gary Glauber (21 April 2003). "Taxiride: Garage Mahal". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- Bernard Zuel (31 August 2002). "Releases from Icecream Hands, Taxiride, Motor Ace". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-01.[dead link]
- Guy Blackman (22 January 2006). "The boys are back in town". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
- "Aussies Abroad No. 1: Taxiride". themusic.com.au. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "Indie album". mX (news.com.au). 5 September 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-29.[dead link]
- Jason Singh, Tim Wild. "Taxiride diary". taxiride.com.au. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
- "Taxiride - Electrophobia". Liberation Music. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
- Mike Zwerin (5 July 2000). "A Few Good Sounds for Summer". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- "Taxiride - Electrophobia". Liberation Music. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
- Dan Grunebaum. "On the phone: Taxiride". Metropolis Tokyo. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03.