By Kenny Kerner

TAXI member Bobby Messano's album on Fishhead Records ( which came about as a result of a TAXI listing) has been included in the first round of Grammy nominations for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Check out Bobby's web site here - and if you are a voting member of NARAS, give Bobby a nod!

How did Bobby get to this enviable position? Following is a reprint of an interview we did with Bobby that should provide some background.

He moved from Bergen County, New Jersey to Los Angeles, California to London, England to Woodstock, New York to Virginia Beach, Virginia and finally to Nashville, Tennessee, where he currently resides. Musician/Guitarist/Songwriter Bobby Messano is this month's Passenger Profile. And although it may look like he has a problem finding a place to live, he clearly has no problem finding the pop charts.

Bobby began playing guitar at the age of ten although his parents thought piano lessons would have been more appropriate. "My mom was real musical. She used to sing and dance and even appeared on the Arthur Godfrey Show when it aired on television, so music was always a part of my life."

When he turned 14, Bobby began playing live at local clubs with musicians twice his age. "My ears have always been a Godsend and I felt I was advanced for my age. So when I was 14, I was playing in clubs with other musicians who were 25-30 years old. In fact, some of the teachers from my school even came out to see me play. I was under age so I'd hide behind the amps so nobody would see me."

Messano attended college for one brief semester then dropped out to move back to New Jersey and play. "I had a real good reputation as a writer and guitarist in New Jersey, so when I was 22 23 years old I decided to go back and try to make some money playing music there. I sent out feelers to everyone I knew there and they all came back with the three same bits of information: That Henry Gross [recording artist who had a hit with a single called "Shannon"] was looking for a guitar player; that Rick Derringer [original guitarist with the McCoys of "Hang On Sloopy" fame] was looking for a guitar player and that this band called Stanky Brown on Sire Records was looking for a guitar player. I opted to try out for the Stanky Brown gig because they were on a great label at that time and they had John Scher as their manager. He was a big promoter of concerts in the New York-New Jersey area. I knew every vocal and guitar part when I went to audition and made the band. Five days later we were opening for Kansas."

Bobby Messano never looked back. His professional career took off like a rocket. Since that first gig with Kansas in 1977, Messano has toured with or been in bands with Boston, Beach Boys, Steve Miller, Renaissance, Starz, Benny Mardonis, Tycoon, Peter Criss, and an endless list of hitmakers. He has been playing guitar and writing songs for some of the most notable artists over the past 30 years.

Then, in 2000, Bobby Messano joined TAXI! But why? Why would someone who had been successful on his own since 1977 need help? "Well, truthfully," Bobby answered, "all of my career I was always taking direction from producers and other musicians I worked for. When I finally got around to putting out my own records on Relativity in 1989 and on Ichiban in 1997, I realized that a writer could make a lot of royalty money from airplay and from placing those songs in movies and TV shows. This was really the first time that almost every single song on those CDs was written by me. I realized that I could actually sit home and make money. I started asking a lot of my friends in Nashville about TAXI and they all said it was really good. I knew that the Kenny Rogers hit, ‘Buy Me A Rose' was written by two TAXI members so I just just took the jump and joined."

It didn't take Bobby long to get goin'. His material began getting forwarded almost immediately and he liked getting his original songs into major television shows also. "It's a great service and I'm using it the right way. I'm not sending in some funky blues tune for a metal band. It's a great company."

In addition to getting his material placed, Bobby also managed to land himself a record deal with Fishead Records, distributed nationally by City Hall. The label also releases product from Scott Ellison, Wallace Coleman, Sylvain Sylvain (formerly of the New York Dolls) and now, Bobby Messano adds his name to that release schedule.

"I've been trying to turn my friends on to TAXI. It's a great place to be. It's a great opportunity if you're a decent writer. This is a way to get it directly to the people that need to hear it. Plus, I own all of my publishing and made my own deals. What could be better than that?"

We couldn't agree with you more, Bobby. TAXI is not just for new writers trying to get a foot in the door—it's also very much for established pros who want to keep making new contacts but don't have the time to do it on their own. In short, TAXI is for everyone.

See How TAXI Works

"I had the drive, and the passion. I just needed help, and you keep supplying it."
— Justin K.,
TAXI Member

"I enjoyed and benefited from my TAXI membership for the last year, so I renewed for another."
— Robert Shulze,
TAXI Member

"I am in awe of the sheer volume of amazing ideas to help musicians that you not only come up with, but make into real opportunities."
— Mara,
TAXI Member

"One of my tunes, "Rumba Azul," was licensed to a TV show, and I'm expecting a check very soon."
— Wayne Wesley Johnson,
TAXI Member