The Taxpayers started in 2007 in the basement of The Slime House in St John’s, Oregon where Rob was living at the time. The Slime House was a pretty gnarly place; it was a former methhouse, infested with all sorts of creepy-crawlies and overall structurally unsound. After a couple weeks of practice (and beers and adorable dogs) we decided to throw a St John’s Food Not Bombs benefit show at The Slime House. We played some songs, fucked up a few, broke a ton of guitar strings, and probably gave a lack-luster performance. Through all our jack-assery, we somehow managed to make friends with two very important people to us: Zach and Michael Love. Zach started Useless State and Michael recorded three of our albums. We had a few more shows at The Slime House, cranked out some songs, and started playing around town. Then the eviction note came, boo. The landlord was selling the house; you’d have to be a fool to buy it.
Rob, Mark, Ginny and Sasha (the doggie dog) moved out of The Slime House and into a new house, which they dubbed The Sea Shanty (in Kenton). The Sea Shanty became the new home of The Taxpayers. We threw a bunch of awesome shows, dealt with the cops a lot, and recorded “Exhilarating News” in the garage. It was an endless summer.
Around the same time, we got an e-mail inviting us to play a punk rock 7/7/07 BBQ at a space called Brainstains. Sounded cool. We responded with a corny e-mail suggesting they should call the show “7/7/7 Sign of The Feast”. And they totally did. Way cool. The BBQ was a ton of fun and we met another three very important people to us: a 16 year old Alex Saxplayer (who would end up playing saxophone with the Taxpayers) and Damian Showguide. Damian is like a punk rawk hero, he runs this amazing showguide called PC-PDX.com and booked a ton of shows for touring bands coming through PDX. We started to play a bunch of shows at Brainstains and setup a bunch of shows at The Sea Shanty for bands coming through PDX.
After the original “brains” behind Brainstains left town, Damian Showguide took over the house and it became The Coop. While Brainstains was an awesome show house, The Coop took things one step further and became an all-inclusive community center complete with ducks and chickens, a community meeting space, a garden, and of course, punk shows. It was lived in and operated by Damian, Danielle, Alicia, Zach, Hannah, Shelby, Violet, and quite a few others. In it’s existence, the Coop threw hundreds of shows, most of them the best that Portland had ever seen, until…well, you guessed it, the eviction note came. The landlord was selling the house. Once again, you’d have to be a fool to buy it.
We started getting that travel itch. Well, it was some sort of itch, at least, and it meant that we had to get out of the city. Time for tour!
Our friends in Fixed Gears Are For Jerks and Lesbians (Minneapolis) played The Sea Shanty along with a bunch of bands en route to Queerruption fest in BC and we had a blast. One of the best shows at the Shanty. We exchanged numbers and cds and off they went. After the show they lost their CD-booklet or their ipod busted and they only had our CD to listen to on the way back to MPLS. Pretty funny. Eric (who would later end up recording “To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal) really dug on the album and invited us out to MPLS to play a couple shows. We looked at the map, 2000 miles. Why not? So we planned an exhausting 7,000 mile tour in 2 1/2 weeks, booking around the MPLS shows. The day before we were to leave, our newly purchased van (Raleigh Fingers) took a shit and no longer worked. Crap. We scrambled for options and managed to wrangle a rental mini-van for $300! Deal of a lifetime. We crammed the 7 of us (Danielle, Noah, Rob, Nate, the Atomic Butter Babes & Joe Destroy) and all of our equipment into the minivan then set off. Along the way we met a 17 year old Andrew Link who had a band called the Donna Vulture in Boise, Idaho. He was really goofy and we liked him a lot, so we kept in touch. Four years later, he would be slightly taller and playing banjo with the Taxpayers.
What next huh? Record another album, I guess. So we did. The album took a long time to create, much unlike Exhilarating News which was done in a day or so. Halfway through recording the album, Rob got into a bike accident and broke his wrist. We had to wait 2 months before we could finish recording. We decided to release “A Rhythm in The Cages” ourselves and learned a lot about doing this shit yourself. Its friggin tough.
It was around this time that Nate Taxpayer had a baby with his wife Christina. They named the baby Dimitri. Hooray! Due to Nate’s new-found Dad duties, we had to find a new bass player. For a couple of months we played shows as just Noah, Rob, and Danielle, and eventually, during an outing on an old abandoned boat we found by the Columbia river, Phil Gobstopper overheard this and said, “Hey, I play bass, I’ll do it!”. It wasn’t until months later that we found out he’d never played bass in his life. It was meant to be!
Months went by. Rob got a job as a preschool teacher, and Phil got a degree in…I don’t know, Science of some sort. And the rain came down. And down. And it was depressing. And we thought, you know what? Why the heck are we sitting around here being depressed every winter? We have a band, let’s just tour down to Florida where it’s warm and ride out the winter down there! And so we did. But first, we recorded a new album called “To Risk so Much for One Damn Meal” (partially in Minneapolis with Eric Frame, and partially in Portland). While we were recording one of the songs in the basement, this guy named Kevin came over with a huge beard and a trumpet. He had just moved in next door a few weeks before, and said, “are you guys playing music?” and ripped a crazy trumpet solo that ended up on the album. A few weeks later we asked him, “Hey, do you want to be in our punk band?” He was in!
The moment the rains started to come that winter season, we got in the van and headed south with expectations of living in a storage container unit in some unnamed Florida city near the beach. It just so happened that Andrew Link (now slightly older and slightly taller) was going to be in New Orleans around the time we were coming through. He thought our Florida plan was a good one, and he was in!
We picked up Andrew and eventually settled in Sarasota, Florida, which we knew very little about. Our friends in the band Rational Anthem practiced in a storage container unit right near the beach in Sarasota, and they gave us the phone number, not knowing that we planned to live in it. We called ‘em up…50 bucks a month! Count us in!
While living in the Florida storage container we had all sorts of crazy adventures. We played lots of punk shows and busked with lots of island songs, and eventually made it down the the Keys, where we hatched the idea to record a 7 inch about a baseball player turned Psych Ward minstrel named Henry Turner. After our winter in Florida, we turned that idea into over 40 songs, many of which got thrown away, but a year later back in Oregon, we had about 20 useable songs, which eventually got cut down to about 15. Rob had even written a book about the topic!
That pretty much brings us up to date. Kevin moved down to New Orleans to be with a music teacher he met while on tour, and Rob soon followed him to work on his Masters degree in Elementary Education. That split the Taxpayers between the South and the Northwest.
We’re going on a 20,000 mile, 2 month tour this summer. Maybe we’ll see you there? We can be decent on some nights, on a few songs.
Releases on Asian Man
AM-242 “God, Forgive These Bastards” Songs From the Forgotten Life of Henry Turner LP
Rob Taxpayer, Noah Taxpayer, Phil Gobstopper, Danielle Taxpayer, Kevin Taxpayer, Andrew Link, Alex Saxplayer