Darren Moss, Darren Moss, Advertising copy writer

by Kenny Kerner

Is Doug around? Boy, I hope he doesn't read this. It's not that I was lazy or anything, it's just that occasionally you get an amazingly articulate subject for the Passenger Profile and that leaves me with very little writing.

At the Road Rally back in 1999, Steven Frank's number was chosen in the Grand Prize drawing and he was awarded a lifetime membership to TAXI. According to Frank, his life was turned around and he was so excited and invigorated that he doesn't think he got to sleep for about three months.

In conducting this telephone interview, Frank was so frank that I've decided to let him tell you his own story and his own feelings about his relationship with TAXI in developing his career in the music business. I've broken the conversation into different categories for easier reading:

Name: Steven Frank
Residence: Chicago, Illinois
Age: 40
Occupation: Composer
Joined Taxi: 1999
Songs Forwarded:   72
Deals: 4 (DSM, DMPML,  
Transition, &
Global Graffiti)

"I started taking piano lessons when I was about seven or eight years old. This was something I wanted to do. I loved music and did it for the music and not the money because it's very hard to make any when playing in local bands. I struggled around in different rock bands for a long time. But with the computer and all this technology these days, it just seemed to make more sense to set up a little studio. I never had time to actually write music when I was with bands—I was always out until four in the morning then going to work."

Shopping For Deals:
"With a couple of the local bands I was in, we actually did try to get deals. I had written a couple of songs and we tried sending them out to a few publishers and labels but my wife pointed out to me the whole thing about solicited material and unsolicited material. And that really made the difference. And I was always more interested in being a writer and composer than a rock star. So, in the mid-90s, I had enough money from working to buy gear and set up a nice studio. We bought a couple of books on how to make money in the music business and sent out demos but never really got replies from anywhere. I sent out about 40-50 demos with no success. I just kept learning and writing and trying to get better."

Joining TAXI:
"I first heard about TAXI in a magazine ad that my wife showed me. We talked about it for about a month or so and then she sent in the membership fee for me. She basically just signed me up. I was a little reluctant because it looked unbelievable and that made me suspicious. But it also looked really good. It sounded great! I figured I had nothing to lose. I had always written jazz, blues, rock, classical, but was never geared into a specific area of composing. As I started sending songs into TAXI for various listings, between their critiques and what was forwarded and what was returned, I was able to focus and pinpoint my strengths."

TAXI Critiques:
"I took the critiques very seriously. It's pretty much like a piano lesson--you did your lesson and thought you practiced but then your teacher points out that you missed a note somewhere. The screeners are absolutely correct when it comes to perfection. Things have to be as close to perfect as possible. And they'll point that out. From just the first few critiques I learned right away that I had to make my choruses stronger and to not lose the grooves. This advice is invaluable."

A Deal Thru TAXI:
"Through a forward from TAXI, I met Skip Adams from Global Graffiti. I put together about 15 tunes for them after the few that were forwarded. Some rock tunes, some trip-hop, some techno. They ended up taking most of them-some instrumental and some with vocals. Then, they asked for even more and I sent another 20-to make a long story short, at the present time, they have 42 songs of mine in the last two months. With all those songs and with the help of the TAXI critiques, it turned out that my strengths were techno and trip-hop music. There was a song they had on a temp track that reminded the company of my music so they sent me the entire scene that was about 20-minutes long and I had to write music for about 5-6 minutes of it. I had to come up with a song that fit the mood of the scene. The producers and the directors of the film loved it."

TAXI Summary:
"My three years with TAXI have been a growing and learning experience. It also opened a lot of new doors. It re-enlightened me about music. It's been the best thing I've done when it comes to music. They will get your music to places that you won't be able to get it. I definitely don't feel that a movie producer would have sent me a clip from a movie so I could write an original song for it if it wasn't for TAXI. All of my suspicions were gone after I read the first few critiques. The screeners went out of their way to write long, very helpful descriptions I could try or do that would make the song better. They were always very positive. TAXI is a very positive, positive place."

Well, there it is. Another TAXI member who worked hard, learned well and is now reaping the rewards--rewards from both the critiques and the many songs that were forwarded.


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