By Corinne Osnos | March 12, 2023
The men of Moon Taxi have a familiarity that’s the result of knowing each other very, very well. The Nashville-based band, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Trevor Terndrup, lead guitarist Spencer Thomson, bassist Tommy Putnam, keyboardist Wes Bailey, and drummer Tyler Ritter, play songs that hit on your dopamine receptors. Moon Taxi’s music has a happy-go-lucky quality to it, one that’s persisted since their early days rocking out in freshmen dorm rooms. Their soundscape is a lifeline to a simpler time. While the band officially formed in 2006, Trevor and Tommy met while attending elementary school in the suburbs of Alabama, performing for the first time together at a middle school dance. The pair traded in cafeterias for venues around the world, and on March 1, 2023, Moon Taxi returned to Brooklyn Bowl to play their 15th New York City show. Stage lights irradiated the five-piece band in rainbow hues as they hit their stride with “Not Too Late,” a single from their 2018 album Let The Record Play. Moon Taxi obliged veteran fans, sprinkling in early hits like “River Water” and “All Day All Night.” In addition to playing two covers, the band delighted the crowd with fresh singles from their upcoming album, including their latest release, “Classics,” an ode to the records you turn to again and again (and again). If their new single is an indication of what’s to come, we suspect Moon Taxi’s upcoming album will really hit the mark.
We caught up with Moon Taxi in the Brooklyn Bowl green room where they answered a few questions for the groovement:
What was the first concert that you all went to?
Tommy Putnam (bass): B-52s
Spencer Thomson (guitar): Allman Brothers
Wes Bailey (keys): Harry Connick Jr.
Trevor Terndrup (vocals): Pink Floyd laser light show
Tyler Ritter (drums): Hootie & the Blowfish
How many times have you played in New York?
On the order of 15 times. Cutting Room was our first venue, but we’ve played: Kenny’s Castaway, Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Southpaw, Brooklyn Steel, Irving Plaza, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Webster Hall; Brooklyn Bowl and Bowery Ballroom several times. We played Governors Ball, which was a lot of fun. We played a booze cruise one time. Rocks Off is what it’s called. Our manager was trying to get us all little captain’s hats to wear while we were playing.
Which was your favorite New York show? In terms of crowd and venue.
Governors Ball was sick. We love the Bowery Ballroom too. Just a great vibe, classic. And this place too, Brooklyn Bowl. They take really good care of you here.
Where are you all from?
Tommy: Birmingham, AL
Spencer: Bowling Green, KY
Wes: Knoxville, KY
Trevor: Syracuse, NY, but I went to high school in Birmingham, AL.
Tyler: Birmingham, AL
But we’ve all lived in Nashville, TN, for a long time. More than half our lives.
What do you like best about Nashville?
Wes: I like a lot of open space. Rolling hills.
Tommy: I like the music community. There are so many people–songwriters, producers, artists–and it’s like everybody who doesn’t do music has a friend who probably does.
Trevor: The level of musicianship is so high that it kinda forces you to up your game or choose to do something else.
How did you first get started?
Trevor: I started playing the trumpet in elementary school and moved to Birmingham and met this guy (Tommy) pretty early on and switched to guitar, and we just wanted to start a band and write songs. So we moved to Nashville together.
Tommy: We met this guy (Spencer) really quickly. Night one. I think I made you a fake ID and took you down to Graham Central Station.
What was the first concert you performed together?
Tommy: For him (Trevor) and I, it was a middle school dance. It was in the cafeteria. We played a mix of classic rock and Blink-182. Let’s say we were probably 15 when we did that.
What’s the origin of the name, Moon Taxi?
Trevor: We were trying to hail a taxi. In the pre-Uber days. And they were not stopping. No one would stop. So I pulled my pants down and mooned the taxi, and they didn’t stop, even after that.
How would you describe your music?
We’re kind of genre bending…but it’s celebratory, diverse. It’s usually a very positive vibe.
What’s your typical pre-show routine?
We generally just do a fist bump and talk about the set list.
How far in advance do you plan your set list?
Usually the day of.
What or who do you draw inspiration from?
Just depends. We listen to a lot of music, a lot of the new releases on Spotify. We all share music amongst each other like, “Hey, check this out.”
What’s an example of something or someone that’s caught your attention recently?
Wes: Recently Trevor and I have been into this Japanese fusion guitarist named (Masayoshi) Takanaka, who was inspired by the Allman Brothers. We had a photoshoot last night, and we played it. Check out “Tango Suerte,” it’s the best song.
What’s next for you all?
Our new song “Classics” just came out last week. We have more new singles and a new album coming out in early Summer (2023). We’ll be touring and probably hit the festival circuit next Summer (2024).
📸: shot by Owen Labate