AM Taxi rocks with care, caution 

“We Don’t Stand a Chance” — it’s not exactly the most confident title for a debut album.

But it’s what Adam Krier and his quintet AM Taxi are going with, nonetheless, in June.

After surviving several failed Chicago outfits like Lucky Boys Confusion, the singer admits that — even though his record is loaded with solid, arena-huge anthems — he has low expectations this time around.

“I’m cautiously optimistic about how far a rock band can really go these days,” he says. “We don’t have neat hair or drum loops or any kind of gimmick like that. And I actually try to sing, sort of.”

Old school? Most definitely, says the long-haired, leather-jacketed Krier, whose Taxi careens into San Francisco tonight.

And he’s not afraid to admit it. Weaned on his parents’ record collection, at 8 he was studying the Dave Clark Five and Paul Revere and the Raiders, plus Motown and the British Invasion.

By junior high, he’d graduated to the Replacements and early punk/metal-period Goo Goo Dolls.

“So I had this really serious musical education, long before I dove into more alternative stuff,” he says. “And I’m really glad I did.”

The guy shouldn’t worry. Tall and spooky-looking, he’s a rock star just waiting to happen.

From “The Mistake” to “Woodpecker” and “Dead Street,” “Chance” boasts hit after potential hit, produced by Spoon
knob-twiddler Mike McCarthy.

It’s basic meat-and-potatoes rock and roll, says Krier. “And that was one of the coolest things about the Replacements — they never said they were a punk band, and they weren’t ashamed to admit that they wrote catchy pop music. So I always follow that same verse-chorus, verse-chorus format, but if the song calls for something else, I’m not afraid to give it a go.”

AM Taxi takes its influences seriously. Recently, Krier nearly got into a bar fight while defending Bruce Springsteen. “A lot of people stupidly equate Bruce with Born in the U.S.A., and they really don’t know his older records or what a great — and important — songwriter he is,” says the guitarist, whose keyboardist Luke Schmitt adds a tangible E Street Band edge to AM Taxi.

“I mean, ‘The Rising’ alone was so therapeutic, post-9/11. Sometimes, when you’re feeling a certain way, you just need to hear somebody else say that they feel the same.”

Which perfectly ties in with the “We Don’t Stand a Chance” double entendre. Krier hopes listeners can relate. “Because everybody from time to time feels a bit hopeless,” he says. “So maybe it’s nice to know that you’re not the only one.”

AM Taxi
, opening for the Spill Canvas

Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Tickets: $16
Contact: (415) 255-0333;

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