By Kenny Kerner

Unlike most other TAXI members who find themselves subject of the Passenger Profile, Todd Herfindal did not really get into music until he had reached his late twenties and got a guitar for the very first time. "I'm not at all from a musical family. I first picked up a guitar at the end of high school but didn't really get good at it until the first couple of years in college. I didn't get into it until I was about 17 and played my first successful G chord."

Todd bought his first acoustic guitar from a third party in Mill Valley, California, and, not wanting to take lessons, he barely learned how to play. But once someone showed him how to play open chords, he was "sucked in." Todd went through the usual circuit of college bands and after college bands but decided to focus on songwriting rather than live performing. "I must have been about 20 when I realized that I actually had a talent for this and that I could actually do it. That's when I got heavy into songwriting. I don't think I got good until the end of my twenties. But I kept at it and got better.

It was about the tail end of his twenties that Todd realized that he could actually turn this into a career. "I was about 28 when I realized that some of the stuff I was writing was as good as other stuff I was hearing from professionals. The young person inside me said that being in bands was the way to go, but now my perception is that doing everything to get your songs exposed is the way to go."

At 28 years old, Todd Herfindal made a conscious decision to pursue music as a career. But he also made a very astute observation-he realized that to pursue music and present his material in the best possible manner, he would also have to stay on top of the latest recording techniques as well. "You learn so much about what you're doing wrong or what you're doing right from the recording process, that staying up to date with the recording of your songs as they are written is essential if you're going to learn from each and every effort.

Todd realized that when he played a song for someone that song 's potential could only be delivered if the recording of the song was an asset. He realized that "the recorded medium is to exploit the full potential of the ideal presentation of the song. At a live presentation, you are dealing with what is available to you only on that night."

Todd has some more observations about today's music market that are worth looking at: "I just don't think that today you can get away with doing half-assed demos. A&R guys and TV people are all spoiled and they get top level stuff and don't have a lot of vision to see what a song would sound like with better production. You just have to give them that. A song could be great but if the song is not realized in the production on the CD you give out, it could be lost on a lot of people."

Like most, Todd discovered TAXI through some magazine ads and wanted help in getting his music out there. "I wanted to try every avenue of opportunity to get my songs heard so I gave it a shot. What got me the farthest in this business has been my dedication to move from San Francisco to Los Angeles and my perseverance. TAXI is another great avenue for getting your music exposed. A person has to do everything possible to get his music out there. I think TAXI is especially useful for people who do not have other alternatives or other access to the business; people who are living far away from the center of the music business. These people can really benefit from TAXI.

Through TAXI, Todd's song, "This Is A Love Song" was forwarded to a gentleman named Brett Walker at a company called Private Wavs. The two eventually struck a four-song deal and now, Todd's original material is being pitched to TV and movie music supervisors. Todd will be the first to admit that TAXI alone is not the answer—it's the combination of TAXI's ability to get the music out to the industry and the member's ability to persevere and network that always proves most fruitful!

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"I talk TAXI up to my songwriting musician friends."
— Roger Yeardley,
TAXI Member

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— Peter Elakis,
TAXI Member

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— Dean Saner,
TAXI Member

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— Tom Wasinger,
TAXI Member