Interview with Rude Cab Driver
- by Dawn Reed
How did the band start?
Jeremy Sigel (guitar/vocals)- We all knew each other in high school and John (bassist) and I even played in a band for a couple years, but that band fizzled out right before college. I took that time to feverishly write and record my own songs and occassionally perform them in stripped down versions at open mics and John played bass in a blues band that did gigs around MD.
Flash forward about 8 years and Leo calls me because he has a show booked in 3 months with a former band and wanted to know if we wanted to get something together to fill the slot. Luckily, by that time my original song output and recordings was up to 150+ songs so we had a blueprint to perform mostly original songs rather than become some novelty cover band. Having kept in touch with John all these years I called him up seeing if he wanted to play bass and we busted our asses to have 2+ hours of material ready for our first show.
What's the story behind the band name?
Jeremy- When we started out we were practicing in the living room of a house Leo rented with 5 other people. In the middle of one practice his roomate Kami came downstairs to tell us we sounded good and she wished she could stay and hear more but she had "a Rude Cab Driver waiting for me". We all looked at each other after that phrase and it stuck. Good thing that came along too because I'm sure the other names we were bandying about were utter crap.
What are your biggest musical influences?
Jeremy- We each have our own favorites but I'd say the overlap comes in Primus, Rage against the machine, Fugazi, Deftones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Rolling Stones. From a song writing perspective I'd add The Ramones, The Beatles, Alkaline Trio, At The Drive In, Suicide Machines, Bouncing Souls, Say Anything, The White Stripes, Weezer, John Frusciante, and the list goes on and on.
Leo Estrada (drums)- I'd say that other than all of those amazing bands, it has to be my Mother and Father. My dad is a self-taught guitarist from Honduras. My Mom was taught to play the piano by German nuns in the Phillipines.
What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
Jeremy- HIPHOPMCDOUGAL (also DC area), Murder By Death, Cloud Nothing, Fucked Up, The Future of the Left, GWAR, An Albatross, The Joy Formidable, The Head and the Heart, Grouplove, Serj Tankian, I Fight Dragons, Math the Band.
Leo- Lil' Boosie, Meshuggah, Backyard Band, Yelawolf, Daft Punk, Lamb of God, Notorious B.I.G., Everytime I Die, Justice, Talking Heads, 2-Pac, The Deftones, and Mercedes the Rapper. My sister is a local hip-hop artist and rips it on the mic!
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
Jeremy- First concert would be Weird Al at the Carter Barron in DC. First album was probably something in 1st or 2nd grade that I'd be embarassed about. I'm thinking it's a Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff tape. One of the earlier ones with that song "You Saw My Blinker (Bitch)". It probably taught me that cursing in music is fun.
Leo- Rage Against the Machine at the Patriot Center in 97. That place went crazy. The first album I ever bought was MC Hammer "Please Hammer Dont Hurt Em"!
What do you love about DC's music scene?
Jeremy- I think the variety of places that are having bands play is definitely a welcomed environment. Much like how stand up comedy is being performed in restaurants, laundrymats, etc. we're getting to bring big crowds out to different parts of the DC area thanks to owners adventurous spirits. In terms of the music, you can't not appreciate the unwavering grasp DC has on punk and it's many iterations. Just see American Hardcore for all the great bands this city started. It's like an appropriately heated response to all the politics that goes on in this city without being too pretentious and addressing it directly.
Leo- I love the diversity in the music scene. From Backyard Band to OAR. Many different styles to choose from but they all represent us and it really makes me proud to be a DC musician.
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
Jeremy- They are really eclectic styles and venues in the DC area and I think it'd be too premature to say we'd like to change anything before we've completely conquered the local music scene.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
Jeremy- We've already scheduled a bunch of local shows throughout the year, but we're going to start venturing out a bit more. We've already played NYC several times and will definitely return but hopefully some other cities will be added to our list of victims.
Leo- To play Alabama or maybe Alaska? That's really it.
What was your most memorable live show?
Jeremy- We played an independently developed and produced outdoor weekend festival called the Hometown Getdown. Not only was the stage, venue area and sound great but it was really inspiring to see how these people built their own stage and bar, sold tickets, brought in independent vendors and raised money for a good cause. It was also a fun tightrope because some people camped out with their families and our lyrics aren't exactly the most sublte or family-friendly. Once we warned the audience to earmuff their kids though, we got a great response. It also didn't hurt completely packing our very first gig with a couple hundred people at Bethesda's Harp and Fiddle.
Leo- The show at The Trash Bar in Brooklyn. We had alot of close friends come out to that show from DC.
Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
Jeremy- Leo is really the lifeblood of this band and works tirelessly to book us gigs, set up shows, and get our name out there. We've also got some very loyal friends that will follow us to NYC and all our local shows no matter how many times they've heard the songs and know our schtick. Our friends in HIPHOPMCDOUGAL have also always inspired us and been incredibly supportive.
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
Jeremy- My Mexican-made, midnight blue Fender Strat. I've tried playing other types and brands of guitars but nothing beats the feel of a Fender Strat.
Leo- Vic Firth 5b sticks. Those are the same sticks that Brad Wilks uses from Rage Against the Machine. I was a huge fan of his growing up.