Interview by Kenny Kerner
Every so often, it's nice to be able to tell a real success story. Every now and again, it's refreshing to learn of someone who worked his butt off and was able to reap the rewards of his craft. Such is the story of TAXI Dispatch member Kregg Barentine.

It's hard to imagine that Kregg's road to success began when he was just six years old. At the time, he emulated vaudeville performers by singing and dancing while wearing a top hat and twirling a cane. Kregg and his family performed at corporate functions so he was thrown into the entertainment business at an early age.

"My father was a professional instrumentalist and my mother was a singer. They grew up with all that vaudeville stuff. I started studying piano at age seven and took up clarinet in the sixth grade. In seventh grade I took up the saxophone."

In middle-school, Kregg tried out for and was accepted into the University of Miami Honor Bands--a college program that channels talented middle-school musicians into music programs. It was there that he was first introduced to jazz and big band music. "I continued with my music through high school and college and began studying arranging as well. I grew up in the 80s and was into all of the New Wave music and all the new technology."

Then, in his early twenties, fate smiled down on Kregg Barentine. From 1993-1994, he went out on the road with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. But landing the gig was somewhat of a nightmare. Here's how the story goes:


Name: Kregg Barentine
Residence: Phoenix, Arizona
Age: 35
Occupation: Composer/Producer/Musician
Joined Taxi: 2000 (is a member of TAXI Dispatch)
Songs Forwarded: 63
Deals: 29
"I was asked to fill in for a member of the band in Tucson. Nobody told me at the time that they were trying to audition players for the tour. During my first gig with them, about five minutes before downbeat, the keys on the lower half of my sax fell off as I was getting on the stage. A tiny screw worked itself out of a rod that held the keys in place. I immediately just fell to my knees and started searching for the missing screw. By the grace of God, I found it and put the sax together. The instant I jumped on stage and took my place, the band leader started counting off the first song. This was my first gig with no rehearsal and I was sweating bullets trying to keep up with the music and the choreography. After the gig, the manager came over to me and told me how impressed he was with the way I conducted myself in an impossible situation and offered me the tour."

Kregg continued his stint with big bands as he performed with the Dorsey Orchestra and Tito Puente, Jr. He also continued to both write and arrange for commercial projects and professional theatre. It was during this period that Kregg formed his band called the Swingtips.

"The Swingtips became regular performers at Disney World in Florida for about four years. The band released three CDs and performed all over the country including at the 60th Anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and the 2001 World Series. The songs I wrote for the Swingtips are featured on 16 national and international CD compilations."

It was at this point that I stopped the interview to ask why on earth someone as successful, as talented and as motivated as Kregg would need the services of TAXI? His response really threw me:

"You know what? I probably should have joined a lot sooner. I felt that they would enable me to get some things done that I wasn't able to get myself through normal channels. Even with my successes, it's hard to get past the gatekeepers. Regardless of your successes, none of that helps you gain new contacts. It doesn't help you network in an area you're not normally a part of. So I joined to expand my list of contacts. You can never have enough. Also, I write in so many different styles that have nothing to do with what I play live and TAXI allows me the opportunity to continue exploring these different musical avenues. I write everything from latin and jazz to electronica. TAXI helps me get this music placed."

Because Kregg is a prolific writer--he turns out a lot of good material very quickly--he decided to upgrade his membership to Dispatch, where he might be asked to send in a song in a matter of hours. "My Dispatch membership has already resulted in 24 of my songs getting signed to deals. One of them is now in the hands of the vice president of MCA/Nashville being considered for a major country artist. My music has appeared on the Cartoon Network, and TV shows like Roswell, The Shield, Felicity and All My Children--and all through TAXI. Just one television placement for one of my songs paid for my TAXI and Dispatch memberships and still left me with a good chunk of change."

Composer/producer/musician, it's pretty clear why Kregg Barentine's road continues to lead him to success. "Even if you're successful doing things on your own, you can never know everyone or know of every opportunity there is. And that's one of the reasons why I find TAXI and Dispatch valuable resources. I made contacts through TAXI that I would not have normally made."



About Kenny Kerner:

Discovered and produced KISS. Also produced albums for Gladys Knight, Jose Feliciano and Badfinger. As a publicist, he represented Michael J. Fox and Jay Leno. Was the former Senior Editor at Music Connection Magazine and wrote a best-selling music education book called "Going Pro" Kerner is currently the Director of the Music Business Program at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Specialties include Personal Management, Artist Development and Music Business.

Kenny Kerner, Musicians Institute, Director / Music Business Program, (323) 860-1122, Fax: (323) 462-6508, kennyk@mi.edu












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