|Taxi Violence with Big Head|
Cape Town rockers Taxi Violence are keeping mum about rumours that they might be the opening act for US rockers Kings Of Leon when they tour South Africa in October. "Yes, we are one of the options but we cannot confirm or deny it," says Jason Ling, bass player for the band. But if the lads did get the chance to open for Kings of Leon, it will be, of course, a great scoop for them. "We've never really played a stadium before and Kings of Leon are one of the few current bands that will be coming here. I'd reckon we could give them a run for their money," jokes Taxi Violence guitarist Rian Zietsman.
Taxi Violence first started performing together in September 2004 when a couple of best friends jammed together and the band was born with their unique blues-infused retro rock that's spiced up with a bit of sleaze. Since then they've released their 2006 debut CD, Untie Yourself, with the follow-up The Turn in 2009 and more recently their third and first even unplugged CD, Unplugged: Long Way From Home.
"It's not really acoustic," explains Jason, "more unplugged meaning we've taken the heaviness away in order to let the melodies and lyrics to come through. Don't get me wrong, it's still has the Taxi sound to it." Rian adds: "Our songs have more to them than just pure attitude and aggression. By stripping them down, the subtleties come through. Also, acoustic arrangements like that give you the opportunity to play more venues and reach more people you have not before." The guys confess that there was an element of risk involved in releasing Long Way From Home. "It always depends on our approach," says Rian. "If we just swopped electric instruments for acoustic ones and played the songs the same way, it would have failed. But we really put a lot of effort into rearranging the music and instrumental parts and even melody lines, so we've ended up with a whole new offering."
In explaining the titles, Jason says that Long Way From Home is that feeling of doing something out of the norm or being somewhere for their first time. "We are known for our loud brand of rock so the name was quite fitting for our first unplugged album." The band is known for its kick-ass shows and crowd instructiveness. At a recent unplugged gig at Mercury Live, some of the crown even did the first ever sitting down crowd surf, which Rian think was "super cool!"
And even strange things happen at their gigs: "Womean stealing our sweaty garments after the shows," says Rian with a loud laugh, "It's happened to me and Louis. I don't really understand it." Jason says his weirdest experience was "Bingo, our angle grinder, running on stage with a feather duster stuck up his bottom." Rian adds to that that another worst experience for hims was a fan becoming an ex-girlfriend, "I'd rather not share."
Popping in their new pictures and even the video teaser for Long Way From Home, is a character called Big Head. "He is kind of that guys who is from here and everyone is seeing him for the first time in this area. It fits in well with how we felt doing this Unplugged album," says Jason. Rian tells the story that Big Head found them, not them finding him. "He just sort of arrives, hangs around and then leaves again. Don't know where from, don't where to."
The guys are hard working and travel a lot and would love to head overseas, "but as an independent band, it costs and arm and a leg." But when they tour, there are five essential things they always pack: phone charger, toothbrush, underwear, sock and money for the roulette table.
So, if you want to buy someone the perfect gift, get them Unplugged: Long Way From Home, "if you want a life altering experience, then it's the right thing to do," says Jason.