by Kenny Kerner

Imagine living your life dreaming about being like the rock star in the poster that's hanging on your bedroom wall. Better yet, imagine getting the chance to make that dream a reality! This month's TAXI Passenger Profile subject, David French, is getting that opportunity.

French began playing guitar when he became a teenager and started emulating the performers and songs that he heard: "I started playing guitar when I was 13. I began learning songs off the records by lifting up the needle and putting it down again. We didn't have CDs then."

David's penchant for learning songs led him to join various local cover bands, but the dream of becoming like the guys in his posters persisted. "I progressed from playing to records and eventually got into cover bands and party bands just for the fun of it. As I got older, I got more serious about playing music and started making money doing it."

Like a lot of more serious musicians, David outgrew cover bands and felt compelled to join a band that played original music. "I made a nice living in cover bands," David recalled, "but the time came when I wanted to do my own stuff. I was in a couple of original bands up here in Seattle, and then hooked up with Salmon Davis--a pop/alternative/rock trio--about a year and a half ago and that's when things started to happen for us.

Name:
Age:
Residence:
Occupation:
Joined TAXI:
Songs Forwarded:
Deals Made:
David French
28
Redmond, Washington 
Musician
August, 1996
10
None
And happen it did! Salmon Davis was chosen by a local radio station to compete in a national talent search-type contest where local bands from various segments of the country competed for large cash awards and prizes. The competition was stiff, but as fate would have it, David French and the other two mates in Salmon Davis won handily. Always focusing on their careers, the band put the prize money to good use: "After winning a few national talent contests, we were able to use some of the award money to finish our CD, and now we're trying to put together a professional team to help us."

Having gained some notoriety by winning the contests, David French realized that without real music business contacts, his band's music might never be heard by the people that mattered. That's when a friend told him about TAXI.

"I heard about TAXI through a friend of mine who worked in a music store. He had a band that had some songs forwarded and thought it was a great service--so we joined. I called their offices and had someone send me an information kit so I could check them out. We looked it over and felt we had nothing to lose. There was a membership fee and a small charge of $5.00 per song and that was it. That was a very small price to pay for what could happen. The fee was nothing compared to the services they provide--especially when you divide up the fee between all of the band members."

David realizes that his time spent as a member of TAXI also allowed him to make some important industry contacts. "At the time we all joined TAXI," he told us, "we really didn't have any contacts in the business. We made a lot of them afterward. Many of them were because of TAXI. TAXI helped us get to meet people that were actively in the music business. After all, we're up here in Seattle, you know."

But that's not all TAXI did for David French and his band. The Independent A&R Company also reassured Salmon Davis that their music was indeed valid, thereby bolstering their efforts to move forward with their careers. David puts it this way: "Just by having our tapes forwarded we get the impression that we must be doing something musically right with our songwriting. We didn't even bother sending out packages to the labels. We just send tapes through TAXI. It's not worth it to do it the other way--the tapes probably wouldn't even get there, and if they did, they'd be thrown away or returned to us unopened. About 75% of the record label interest we got so far was because of TAXI."

In addition to submitting tapes to TAXI listings, David reads every issue of the TAXI Meter diligently. "I always read the newsletter because it helps acquaint me with the music business. Lots of people are just musicians and don't have any idea about what ASCAP or BMI are and the newsletter gives them a real music business awareness."

Feeling that his career is now on an upward swing, David took a moment to offer some timely advice to other musicians: "My advice is for musicians to get comfortable with what they're doing and practice their songwriting. Then, when they have something worthy of being heard, to join TAXI either for the critiques or for the opportunity of getting forwarded. Either way, your music will be heard by professionals. And nobody else except TAXI will even listen to unsolicited material. I think it's a great service and everyone should join. The membership fee is nothing--I don't even see how you guys make any money!"









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