by Kenny Kerner

The Beatles are responsible for many things--for proving that bands could have Number One records with original songs; for proving that bands could in fact play their own instruments and for allowing image to become a factor in the signing process. But few give them credit for one of their most startling achievements: sparking an international frenzy for buying electric guitars. This issue's Passenger Profile subject, Tony Hall, like millions of others, got caught up in the frenzy and, because of the British Invasion, embarked on a music career.

"Way back when I was just six or seven years old, I would create these little original tunes listening to my mom's washing machine. When I got to be thirteen or fourteen, I started hacking on the piano. But it was the British Invasion that inspired me to pick up the guitar and go for it. I was about fifteen or sixteen and put a band together and played my first bar gig for money."

Hall must have felt something special about performing because the experience led him to make a very serious personal decision to drop out of high school and pursue a career in music. The icing on the cake came when, still at sixteen years old, Tony entered a local Battle of the Bands contest and his original song won first place. The song, "In Your Arms," was recorded by the local radio station and played on the air. It was that single experience that made Tony feel he could make it in this business.

Name: Tony Hall
Residence: Ft. Lauderdale, Forida
Age: 49
Occupation: Composer/Producer/Publisher 
Joined TAXI: 1997
Songs Forwarded:   20
Deals: 3. One Music, DSM, DMPML

Those early forays into music were pivotal in Hall's career because they enabled him to land a full-fledged label deal with Epic for his band called the Boyzz in 1978. Before he knew it, he was off to Criteria Studios in Florida recording with the Fat Albert Brothers (producers of Crosby, Stills & Nash, among others). "The Boyzz record sold about 200,000 copies but creative differences about our musical direction broke us up. That's when I really started writing a lot more."

But before you start feeling sorry for Tony, there's more good news: Tony's next band, the Bzz (pronounced bees) was also signed to a record deal with Epic. "By that time," Tony confided, "the label's personnel had turned over and there were new A&R people and new VPs. Tom Werman went in with us and produced the album at the Record Plant in Los Angeles." But, as fate would have it, the combination of company politics and sagging sales soon led to the demise of Bzz.

After some serious soul-searching, Tony decided to get deadly serious about his composing and, he also discovered that, with modern technology, someone could actually become a one-man band! "I got a computer and started recording my songs. Soon after, I happened to bump into this guy who was putting together a TV show for this new television network called Fox. The show was called America's Most Wanted. I started scoring some music for that show with no idea that it would turn into a 10-year affair. To this day, his work for the Fox TV staple, remains his major source of income.

In 1996, Tony suffered a minor setback when the Fox show was cancelled for a brief period of time. "At the same time, my father had a heart attack and there was a hardship with the family so I moved down to Florida and was away from where the show was being produced--in Washington, D.C. I also thought the show was over. When the show was finally picked up again, I worked for them long distance, from Florida, but did less and less. After 10 years, you kinda get burned out on doing the same stuff all the time. In my heart, there was a lot more music I wanted to get out."

Although Tony Hall is making a comfortable living on his own, he was able to realize his shortcomings and seek help. The help he sought was TAXI. " TAXI is very worthwhile, even for established people. In this business, the contacts always change. People you knew months ago may no longer be in positions of power. Also, TAXI is very helpful in suggesting ways of strengthening your material if you are a developing writer. On the other hand, if you think your material is really strong, you can count on TAXI to get it to the right ears. And that's the hardest part."


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