CHIMACUM — When Locust Street Taxi hits the stage, shenanigans are inevitable.
But that doesn’t mean the four-piece band isn’t serious about its craft, Locust Street Taxi frontman Franco Bertucci told the Peninsula Daily News this week.
“Our mission is to further humanity’s evolution toward ultimate knowledge of ourselves and the universe,” Bertucci said.
The band, mostly based in Washington, consists of Bertucci on guitar and vocals, Nathan Geyer on trombone and vocals, Sam Stockard on drums and James Porter on bass.
The band — known for its lively stage performances, eclectic compositions and improvised songs — will celebrate its 15th anniversary Saturday evening with a show at the Chimacum Auditorium, 91 West Valley Road, in Chimacum.
This will be the group’s first performance at the Chimacum Auditorium, according to a news release.
For this performance, Locust Street Taxi will be joined by trumpeter Mario Pesacret, a former member.
Bertucci invited the public to the show, saying “it will be stupendous, exciting and we are all so handsome.”
The concert, Taxi Fest V, continues the Locust Street Taxi tradition of holding a festival celebrating their own band and Jefferson County, where the group was voted Best Performance Group in 2015 by readers of Peninsula Daily News, according to the news release.
As per Taxi Fest tradition, a giant, taxi-shaped piñata will hand over the stage at intermission.
Danny Milholland, of Thunderbull Productions, will lead youths in attendance 11 or younger in the bashing of the piñata, which will be filled with Elevated Ice Cream Shop candy paired with dental hygiene products donated by dentist Dr. David Chuljian.
Doors to the venue open at 6:30 p.m. with the band taking the stage at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for youths ages 13 to 18 and free for children 12 and younger. They are available for purchase at Cross Roads Music, 2100 Lawrence St., Port Townsend; the Quilcene Village Store, 294235 U.S. Highway 101; or online at http://taxifest.brownpaper tickets.com/.
During Taxi Fest V, the band plans to perform a selection of songs from its old albums as a special treat for fans, according to the release. Those with a special request for the concert can send an email to [email protected] for consideration.
Bertucci described the band’s style as a mash-up of The Beatles and Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem — of The Muppets fame — with a pinch of ska music thrown in.
It is “ska, rock, pop, folk [and] reggae with horns,” he said.
While on stage, Locust Street Taxi has been known for antics such as attempting one-armed push-ups, getting married and purchasing insurance, according to the news release.
The group on occasion also dabbles in wall-climbing, stage-hopping, “bovine trombone explosions” and “suburbian Caucasian rap parodies.”
Locust Street Taxi has performed throughout the Northwest, as far south as San Diego and as far east as North Carolina.
“We once played a show at Jackson Hole, Wyo., finished packing up at 1 a.m. and then drove 10 hours straight through the night to Spokane — six people and all our gear crammed in a Dodge Durango,” Bertucci said.
“We also almost crashed in a hail storm on the way to that gig.”
Harsh weather has never been a deterrent for the band, Bertucci said.
“Once we played outdoors at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Yakima, and it was 10 degrees,” he said.
“Nathan’s trombone froze to his face. And, a few winters ago, we drove from North Carolina to Texas to Kansas in the snow.”
The band’s commitment to gigs on the road hasn’t been easy, Bertucci said.
“I think it will suffice to say that we have put ourselves — and families — through a lot of inconvenience, late night drives, bad weather, insufficient food and drink and money, and basically all manner of pain and suffering to continue playing music together,” he said.
And although there has been tough times since the band was founded 15 years ago, the musicians still “love each other,” Bertucci said.
“There have been disagreements on the road, or in the studio, or walking down the street trying to decide where to eat, at times, but overall we are super happy when we get the chance to converge in one location and make music together.”
The band would likely implode if the members weren’t all friends, Bertucci said.
“We have become very good friends through the band and I believe we would remain good friends even without the band. But it is the band that keeps us in touch with each other.”
The group’s blend of playful antics and business acumen translates well in a studio environment, Bertucci said.
“Shenanigans are sometimes present and we do have fun,” he said, “but we also work really hard and get a lot done. Engineers are sometimes impressed by how productive we are. Part of this is due to the fact that we often have limited time and money.”
The band has recorded three studio albums together, Bertucci said, including “Mr. Brown” in 2009, “Ahead of the Curb” in 2011 and “Superior Complaints” in 2013.
The group is not currently working on a new album, Bertucci said, but it hopes to record in Las Vegas in the near future “if we can figure out the logistics.”
Locust Street Taxi was formed in 2001 in Centralia, according to its biography.
Founding members included Bertucci, Nathan Geyer and Pesacreta — all music students at Centralia Community College at the time.
They also were active in the college theater.
Bertucci, Geyer and former member, Dave Clary, all performed together as ensemble pirates in Pirates of Penzance that year.
It was Clary who came up with the name, Bertucci said, adding he was inspired by Locust Street, which runs adjacent to the college campus.
Sam Stockard, a native of Port Townsend, joined the band in 2008.
Stockard, now living in Winthrop, was instrumental in bringing bassist James Porter, also of Port Townsend, on board in 2010. Porter now lives in Seattle as a programmer.
Stockard and Porter have known each other and been playing music together since second grade, according to the biography, and provide the rhythm foundation for the group.
Geyer, a native of Olympia, now lives in Las Vegas and teaches music at Desert Oasis High School. Bertucci lives in Quilcene where he raises his children, works on the family farm and teaches local music classes.
For more about Locust Street Taxi, visit www.locuststreettaxi.com.
For more about the show, call 360-385-0519 or send an email to [email protected]
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.