I Hate Dogs! Hey Taxi! 3-Song 7″ EP Mystic Records – 1980
Punk Business Manager
Hey Taxi!, I Hate Dogs. Great, tensely drawn artwork on the cover! Hilarious to me that the type of dog they drew on the cover is a poodle, all psychotic-looking and all. Just helps add to the fun vibe of this EP. Just the band name alone is funny to me – I picture someone on a deserted street corner in the middle of the night trying to flag down a taxi with a frustrated look on their face, one hand in the air trying to flag down the driver, with the other hand on their hip, and screaming, “Hey Taxi!!”.
This Hey Taxi!! EP is notable on a few fronts. First of all, the drummer on this record was none other than future Minutemen drummer extraordinaire, George Hurley, after he left the pre-Minutemen band The Reactionaries (does that sound confusing?).
George makes a brief, kinda embarrassed, mention of Hey Taxi!! in the great 2005 Minutemen documentary, We Jam Econo. Secondly, it is a very early release (only the second) on the notorious and controversial (and now collectible!? LOL!) Mystic Records label which, by the mid-80’s, had developed that familiar skull logo and churned out tons of records, especially the party-time hardcore comps that were packed with 30 or 40 bands on them.
The core of Hey Taxi!! were a long-partnered couple, Michael Ely and Spider Taylor, who apparently have been together for over 40(!) years now, and playing music together just as long (including a band called The Tracers, who had a single in 1979, a song from which was on the Hyped To Death #12 comp). Also in Hey Taxi!! on bass (at least on this record) was some guy named Jim Kaiser.
For me, all three songs on the Hey Taxi! EP are great, quirky, FUN tunes- the whole EP sounds like a rushed piss take of sorts which, fortunately, turned out sounding right. Michael’s vocals are great, as is Spider’s guitar playing- you can tell he had been playing for a while. And of course George’s drumming, which hinted at the tightness he would later perfect in the Minutemen.
“War Is Hell” and “Queen Bee” are short and fun, kinda garage-y, and bring a smile to my face. It’s almost like they’re racing to the end of the song and the recording session. But the highlight for me on this quirky EP, both for the catchiness and hummability of it-and for the amount of laughter is elicits – is “I Hate Dogs”, which we all know was on 2003’s aborted Hooked on Junk comp LP that I posted 3 years ago.
“I Hate Dogs” is played at a slower pace with great chugga-chugga guitar and is not really a punk song per se but who cares- the singing and playing style sounds all dead serious until you hear what’s he saying. Best lines in the song: “Give me a hamster” around the :30 second mark. Or “Beware of Lassie; she bites!” later on. Funny stuff.
There are some videos floating around on YouTube of live Hey Taxi!! appearances, where they play songs that were not on the EP, so if you extra time on your hands to surf around that site then go for it.
Hey Taxi! is another exciting group on the East Side scene, one that you should experience for yourself. The group does nothing unusual in way of clothing or hairstyles, but Hey Taxi! is visually stunning- intense in nature, fast paced, but somehow not monotonous or tiring. The presentation is often ironic and overtly sexual, but on a higher level than the crotch-rock of so many bands.
The music of Hey Taxi! has thought, emotion and a very definite twisted view of life expressed in the poetic lyrics of lead singer Michael Ely. The frantic textural sounds of guitarist Spider Taylor are brought together by raw, aggressive musicians John Taglavia on bass, drummer Louie Dufau and Marc O on synth.
These guys not only play well together, they interact with the audience and are fascinating to watch. The (hard)core of Hey Taxi! has been around for a long time, and their repertoire is diverse. This is a cutting edge group, a not-so-straight-ahead punk assault, with influences from Bowie to Baroque.