Three years later, the taxi has turned into, as Barnes advertises, probably the only recording “the only recording studio, theatre, night club, planetarium, toy store, taxi cab in the world.” At 34 he has become a local celebrity in Aspen, singing and playing music- an driving all the while (though he does save more complicated parts of his act for stop lights). The Checker currently hauls; four mini PAR cans with MR-16 50W Narrow spot bulbs; ten 3’ strip Electroluminescent strip lighting; ten Vari-flow neon sticks of various colors; one Spacetech Laser Vision 200, a .7mW HeNe laser; two American DJ Supply mini-flash strobes; an Electronics Designers Inc. SAS-404, four circuit chase computer; 24’ four-circuit tube; Liquid Light 22’ multi-color light rope; 75’ of 22” Fiberstars’ fiber optic sidelight tubing with 2 light boxes, each with three dichroic filters on color wheels; a homemade dry ice machine, two 75W spots with purple gel for fog illumination; and that 6” mirror ball.
The sound system includes Yamaha equipment such as the YPR-9 MIDI controller keyboard, the EMT-10 Advanced Wave Memory tone generator, the Wx-11 MIDI wind controller, and the DD-11 eight-pad procession set with bass drum pedal. The HeNe laser points to a spot above Barnes’s head; fiber optic tubing is candy-striped around the roof of the car; woven in and out of the black fabric of the cab ceiling are 300-400 strands of fiber optic materiel. “The ceiling looks like a highway of little fine lines of lights and dots that are changing color.”
Zook, who owns a mobile phone company but sidelines as the Ultimate Taxi’s technical supervisor, keeps an eye out for innovations for the cab. The latest effect, added in March, is the Neon Magic slow neon. Say Zook, “They have a light sensitive mode where they’ll blind on and off with other lights in the car, and a sound sensitive mode where they flow from one end of the tube to the other depending in how loud the music is.
Barnes runs all the lights and the music with the car’s alternator and 12V electrical system. “The 94 amp alternator runs two car batteries in parallel.” Inverters are used to step up the 12VDC to VAC for things such as color wheels that need higher voltage. Barnes considers his taxi “strictly entertainment”- in other words, don’t ask him to step on it to the airport. Barnes charges $15 per person per ride and claims his passengers have included Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Melanie Griffth, John Denver, and the Temptations. As Barnes says, “ They may like the ride, they may not, but they will be stuck with the memory for the rest of their life.”
About The Car Jon Barnes
The Pictures 3D Fun
Jon's Photos Of Aspen Colorado Passengers Pictures From 2003
Taxi Video Clips