The decision to focus on a career in the music industry has plagued
Tad Michael Wheeler for most of his adult life. Though he was drawn
to music since grade school when he excelled at many instruments (including
violin), the pursuit of it full-time was not something that came without
some serious soul searching.
musician (Tad played drums and keyboards in many local bands while growing
up), it wasn't until he attended Colorado School of Mines (a top engineering
college) that he realized the worth of a good career and a fluid pay
check. And so, Wheeler put musicianship on the back burner and dove,
head first, into a career that would take him far from the musical realm.
"I began to head in the direction of engineering for career reasons,"
he told the Meter, "but I still tried recording and producing some music
demos. I tried getting involved in the recording aspects rather than
the performing side of it."
stay at college, musical opportunities came a knockin', but Tad slammed
the door on all of them. "During college I had lots of opportunities
to go on tour or to record with some bigger names, but it would have
involved moving to California. I made a decision to finish college and,
at the time, it was probably the right decision."
1984, Tad began experimenting with MIDI recording with a 4-track sequencer
and a Yamaha DX-7. He admits that MIDI really opened the doors of
creativity for him by allowing him to "navigate toward keyboards and
begin working seriously on composition rather than just getting together
with the band and jamming to come up with songs."
||Tad Michael Wheeler
||Full Time Musician
||'92-'94 & '98-Present
to experiment, for some reason, gave Tad's career some focus and some
structure, but more importantly, for the first time, Tad began to
take songwriting seriously. Wheeler graduated from college and went
to work for an aerospace/electrical engineering corporation--again
content to bring home the Big Bucks rather than pursue a full-time
music career. Only this time, there was a musical goal: Tad Michael
Wheeler would use some of the earnings to put together his own recording
two or three years building the studio at the same time that I did
some recordings-- laying down drum tracks or engineering--at other
studios in town. " Then, in 1988, after buying a Grand Piano for his
house, the music bug bit hard. Here's how it happened:
time, New Age was kinda taking off. I had met and talked with artists
like Yanni and David Arkenstone and my direction had changed a little.
Before, I was more rock oriented, but by this time I was influenced
by Classical music. So I did two solo piano sets and an electronic
set for about 50 of my friends here, at the house, and in addition
to all of the support, lots of the people came up to me and suggested
that I record and release my own CD."
where reality comes up and hits Tad smack in the head--as it inevitably
does to all aspiring artists. Tad pressed 1500 copies of his new CD
and found them sitting on his doorstep with no idea as to what he
should do next! Sound familiar? Tad's intent was to use the new CD
to help forge a career in the business. "I knew nothing about the
business so I had all of these CDs just sitting there. I blew my budget--meaning
I had nothing left over for marketing and promotion. I sat there and
didn't know what to do. I thought about tiling my basement floor with
floundered around, making trips to Nashville to properly master his
record and then to California to try and place a handful of them in
record shops. Most of the time, simply spinning his wheels. "It doesn't
matter how good the music is," Tad learned, "if you know nothing about
the industry, it's all a crap shoot. You can send out CDs all your
was enough to make Wheeler leave the music business for awhile. He
went back to writing software and databases and in 1992, happened
to land on the TAXI website. After several "great phone conversations
with TAXI founder Michael Laskow," he joined the company. "This was
the answer; this was what I was looking for. I was really excited
about this company. I raved about it to everyone. I submitted three
songs off the CD I did and three were forwarded."
making a giant comeback here in the States, Wheeler once again committed
to his career focus and, in a move most uncharacteristic, quit his
day job! Tad's one deal is with a company located some twenty minutes
from his home in Colorado. "I made a deal with a production company
called Red Sands that put some of my music in a video game. The owner
of the company received about 50 tapes from TAXI and chose mine. He
even kept my CD in his car to play. He told me that I really knew
how to do this stuff and that I should be doing this for real. I thought
about what he said for a few days then went into work the following
Monday and quit my job."
sums up his relationship with TAXI in these words: "TAXI gives me
a way to really challenge myself as a writer. The listings motivate
me to work. It all came together because of TAXI."