Even Accordian Players Can Score Deals with TAXI

By Rachel Laskow
Taxi Member Scores Deal
TAXI member Gary Sredzienski believes all odds are against him. He lives about as far away from Hollywood as one can be in the U.S., in a remote part of the country—Kittery Point, Maine. And he plays what he calls the "most misunderstood instrument" in the world—the accordion.

But despite those setbacks and some help from TAXI, Gary's music made it into one of this summer's major motion pictures, The Bad News Bears.

"Man alive, I mean if I die tomorrow, I'm happy. It just blows me away. And that's the nice thing about TAXI. If it helped an oddball like me who's in the middle of nowhere, it can help everybody. And their Industry Listings always seem to have something for everybody out there no matter what genre of music you play or what instrument you play," he said.

Gary has been playing the accordion since he was 8 years old and now has 56 of them in his collection. In 1990, he decided to quit his day job and play the accordion full-time at weddings, schools, old-age homes, and just about every other kind of social function one can imagine.

"You can play any kind of music on it. So I made a living out of it and it gets better every year," he said.

When Gary first thought about joining TAXI, he wasn't sure if there would be many opportunities to submit his music. But in November 2003, he saw a listing for accordion music and joined right away. Since then, he's made 20 submissions, half of which have been forwarded. The Bad News Bears deal is his first through TAXI.

"I gotta say if you hang in there and you stick with something, beautiful things happen along the way, but this is the most fascinating, unbelievable thing ever. I never expected this. I honestly never, ever expected anything like this whatsoever," he said.

And it all started because of TAXI. A music editor, who got some of Gary's songs for a previous listing, called and asked him to send him every song he had.

"He said, 'Your accordion stuff sounds interesting, so send me everything you've got,' and I sent it to him right away. But I honestly didn't think I was going to hear from him again. But, two months later he called to say, 'Gary, you're going to get a call from a music supervisor at Paramount Pictures.'" reports Gary.

And Gary got the call the next day. "Paramount called me on Friday afternoon and wanted to know right away, 'yes or no,' to use my songs. Then they asked me, 'What do you charge?' You know, guys like me just don't get calls from Paramount, ever! So, I was calling and e-mailing everybody, probably 20, 30 people, to find out what was fair," Gary said.

In the end, two of Gary's public domain tunes played during the movie's restaurant scene. "There they were! And in the music credits, there was my name at the very top of the list. It's unbelievable... Gosh, what more can a boy from Maine actually ask for? It's so totally cool," he gushed.

For now, Gary plans to keep submitting songs to TAXI and writing in different genres. "There are listings I see and I think, 'Man I could write something for this.' But by the time I get to the studio and record it, it might be too late. That's why I'm thinking I should just record some of this myself here at home," he said.

Gary also has some advice for his fellow TAXI members: "Don't quit or give up. TAXI is for real. It's seriously for real. Just hang in there! I'm kind of lucky and it happened so quickly—in less than two years. But I really think that there's so much opportunity that you just can't quit. Keep writing, look at the listings, and see what people are looking for. With every single listing, you can read and you can say, well, maybe I can come up with something. Because they're very specific in what they're looking for, they can really help you as a songwriter to start gearing your compositions toward what people in the industry really need."

See How TAXI Works

"I just want a shot, and I feel that TAXI has given that to me."
— Roger Yeardley,
TAXI Member

"Getting all these critques in the mail is encouraging and instructive as well. Thanks for your help!"
— Lisa Knouse,
TAXI Member

"Thanks for creating and maintaining this great organization!"
— Angie Peckham,
TAXI Member

"I must recommend it to anyone I think is serious about songwriting."
— Dwight Nichols,
TAXI Member