by Ryan Meehan
Lucky Boys Confusion formed in 1997 shortly after the breakups of Kaustubh Pandav and Ryan Fergus’s band Farmboy, and Adam Krier and Joe Sell’s band Spinning Jenny. Following the success of their single “Dumb Pop Song”, the band was signed to Elektra Records. The decade that would follow would see Lucky Boys Confusion going on a wild ride through the music industry that allowed them to see the world while creating a style of music that was uniquely their own. In 2009, LBC released their final album “Closing Arguments” which contained rare songs, old demos, and a new song entitled “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”. Since then vocalist and guitarist Adam Krier has taken his music in a different direction with the continuation of his new band AM Taxi that was established in 2007, and he’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: Could you tell us a little about the band’s roots growing up in Downers Grove? What music did you hear at a young age that really made you want to pick up a guitar and create music of your own? Additionally, where did you come up with the name for the band?
AK: Well, actually, I’m not from Downers – Stubhy and Ryan were, they went to Downers Grove South High School and Jason was too, he went to North. We listened to College radio because it was the only place we could hear punk rock or any kind of underground music. Rock magazines, MTV and the big radio stations were polluted with these enormous bands who were selling millions of records and playing stadiums. Meanwhile, college stations were playing these interesting and somewhat successful groups … It felt attainable and musically it was just so much better. I was 13 when I first heard the Replacements and the Pixies and I felt like I was getting let in on a secret by the older kids.
The name was Stubhy and Joe’s thing. We were allegedly raised on kool-aid, t-ball and all the great stuff that sitcoms are made of, right? There was so much being swept under the rug, it was unbelievable. We have nothing to complain about, but I just remember it feeling fake and kind of disposable.
FOH: “Dumb Pop Song” gained significant airplay for you guys under your own independent label Townstyle Records. When Elektra Records came calling, what was your initial reaction to their interest in the band? Was there any part of you that was skeptical about signing onto a major label since you had already achieved such airplay without assistance in distribution and marketing?
AK: It was never my goal to get a deal but I certainly never thought twice about signing to Elektra. I didn’t consider the positives or the negatives, they snuck me into bars and bought us more dinners and drinks than RCA, Island and Universal, so we signed. I think we weren’t concerned about “selling out” because we knew we wouldn’t let that status effect the way we create music… from the heart.
FOH: The Michael Miguel Happoldt produced album “Commitment” was your most successful mainstream record, yet a short while later Elektra dropped you guys from the label in 2004. What kind of sales do you think they were expecting out of the band’s studio releases and how close (or far away) from those expectations were the actual sales? When they would update you on how many records you were selling, was it something that you were genuinely concerned about or did you just kind of roll your eyes and remain focused on the music itself?
AK: They dropped most of their rock bands in 2004, we didn’t notice at the time because we were doing good out on the road, we had our foot in the door. I’m sure sales were lower than they wanted but they weren’t doing anything to push us. We were a bit frustrated because “Hey Driver” had gone straight to number 1 in both of its test markets but they still wouldn’t put it out as a single. We just kept touring.
FOH: What effect did your work in AM Taxi have on Lucky Boys Confusion’s productivity? Did you think of it in those terms or were you simply determined to get that project off of the ground regardless of what was going on in LBC?
AK: I started AM Taxi when 3 of the other guys in Lucky Boys Confusion were tired of carrying on the way we were. I wasn’t ready to go home. I needed to keep going because LBC was done touring and making records. I never wanted to be a front man but I’m glad I’m doing it. In Lucky Boys Confusion, I was co-writing lyrics but I wasn’t singing them. With AM Taxi, I get to sing all the lyrics I write … I didn’t know what I was missing!
Jason and I learned a lot from being in Lucky Boys Confusion. We learned what to do, what not to do. We got on the road and signed with Virgin / EMI so quickly that we didn’t get a chance to enjoy some of the best parts about being in a band. That’s what we’re up to now: creating new music and having a really good time doing it. Those guys are incredible people.
FOH: Since Joe had experienced pancreatic problems in the months leading up to his passing, was there any part of you that was prepared for the worst? When was the last time that you saw him and what was that interaction like?
AK: The pancreatic this and that wasn’t what it was. Joe had been struggling with addiction for years. He was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known but he couldn’t shake it, although he tried. We would visit him, or go out for meetings or coffee. I never gave up on him, but about three and a half years ago, I did accept that we were gonna lose him and that hurt.
10 days before he died, we were at the bar in my neighborhood. He wasn’t using or drinking and he was fairly optimistic. We had played our last show together one week earlier in Urbana. He was clean and it was one of our best in months. We listened to music all night in the van on the way back.
We played in bands together for 20 years and I’ll never meet another musician like him or a friend that close. Don’t try to play like that, you can’t … I mean, you won’t be able to. He somehow could blend fury and beauty in the same line. I think about him all the time but he left behind far too many positive memories for anyone to stay sad for too long. His music keeps him with us always.
AM Taxi official website: www.amtaximusic.com
Adam on Twitter: @TheAdamKrier
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