Taxicab Confessions

One thing that took us by surprise in Vegas was how talkative and friendly the cabbies were. Not to say the NY cab driver is not a cordial breed. But honestly, I sometimes worry I will lose a shoe when getting out one because they are driving away before I fully get out.

Our last night in the City of Sin brought us to a wonderful restaurant about 20 minutes off the strip called Rosemary’s. (Thanks for the suggestion Jeff, it was amazing).

Every Vegas cabbie has a story. This particular one started to chat about the Northeast and why he left. He talked about having been very fortunate early in his career and raising 4 daughters in Westport, CT. Now this guy, he had a long gray ponytail and the look of many years of partying hearty. Not exactly your typical Westport resident.

Of course Gary had to ask him what he did. He told us he was a musician and had great success (um, then why are we driving a cab in Vegas, again?).

Gary: what band?

Cabbie: oh, a little band called ‘the iron butterfly”

Gary: Get the hell out of here. In-a-gada-da-vita?!!

Me: That was our wedding song (I was kidding, it was actually James Brown “I Feel Good”)

So, he and Gary go on to chat up music for the rest of the ride and I am squinting in the dark trying to get this guy’s name off the dashboard. He tells us that he played keyboard and sang. Being the blackberry detective, I look up Iron Butterfly and the names don’t match.

As we got out of the cab Gary asked his name. The name he gave was correct but certainly did not match his taxi license. Was this like his pen name for driving so people did not know it was him. Was he ghost driving?

Of course I had to go upstairs and do more Googling. What is wrong with me, don’t most people just gamble in Vegas.

He talked about playing Woodstock. The Iron Butterfly did not, they got stuck at the airport. He talked about growing up in Sty-town.  Doug Ingle was born in Omaha and grew up in the Rocky Mountains, then moved to San Diego. (uh, last I looked Sty-town was on the east side in NY).

My net of this experience?

Sometimes it is better not to have all that information at your fingertips. Wouldn’t it have just been cool to think that a past rock icon was our driver and he drove a cab so he could chat about the old days with people who cared? Here’s a great vintage vid for those of you who have been humming the song since I mentioned it.

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29 Comments

Filed under humor, music, technology, travel, video

29 responses to “Taxicab Confessions

  1. Well at least it provided you with a great blog post!

  2. It would have been nice to have the illusion – that’s what Vegas is, right? But on the other hand, it’s kind of cool to be able to figure out the puzzle… Great story.

    We loved Rosemary’s. Read the hub’s post about out Vegas food tour here: http://findingblanche.com/2007/03/21/the-food-blog/ Wish I’d thought to tell you before you went – the Thai restaurant was amazing too!

  3. Amy – love the story! Even if it’s a tall tale. Hey – what’s happens in Vegas, stays. Ya know?

  4. joyce

    As they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas; and was probably raised in Vegas and went to school in Vegas and played in a band in Vegas all the while hallucinating that he was part of Iron Butterfly……hmmmmmmm…He probably doesnt even remember living here,and (not) going to Woodstock, maybe thats a good thing.
    funny story.

  5. Neal Shrier

    Driving a taxi cab – guess you could say that this guy has a checkered past. Hmmm, can’t remember ever listening to the entire song before? Almost started to hallucinate at my desk.

  6. Ryan

    NO WAY! My dad told me the EXACT same thing happened to him, about a year ago. He was in Las Vegas too, and he described him exactly as you did, long gray hair in a pony tail. He also mentioned having 4 daughters. WOW! My dad asked him what he was doing driving a cab, and he said he was just doing it give him self something to do with his life, because he was just tired of touring, and partying. After hearing this, I too wonder if it was Doug Ingle from Iron Butterfly, or just some crazy nut.

    • It’s a crazy nut……… LOL, I think my father and I will take a ride and listen to his far-out story while video taping and then reveal who the real Doug Ingle is at the end of the ride for his reaction. Maybe put it on youtube ? it’s very tempting 🙂

  7. Walter

    I had this cabbie, too! Crazy.

  8. Jennifer Bosler

    I had the same experience in Vegas just 2 weeks ago. I even have a photo of the guy!

  9. Peter

    I was doing the same thing– I was squinting to read his name off the dashboard. When he saw me looking for his name, he went on to tell me about how his real name was too unusual for the studio when his album came out. So they gave him a “nom de plume” that was easier for fans, record companies, and radio stations to remember. Regrettably, I don’t remember the cab driver’s real name.

  10. J D Jones

    Same experience! June 18, 2009 – Las Vegas – 9:00 PM Rio to Wyndham. His story was pretty much the same, only this time, he was born in Athens, Greece! Lived 3 years in Santorini, but “you can’t make a living there.” The Greek wine is “very good, but VERY ‘strong’ due to the volcanic soil found in the Greek islands.” His father worked for NATO, which caused the family to move around a lot, living in mostly European countries. Eventually his father moved the family to the New York area. I was in the back seat, straining to see his name in the dark when my friend asked his name. He gave a Greek sounding name I could never remember (let alone pronounce), explaining that Doug Ingle was his stage name. Four daughters. First three were house moms. One in Huntington Beach, California. One in Florida, and one still in the New York area. Eight grandchildren. Youngest daughter recently graduated from Princeton Law School. He was driving as a cabbie here to pay for her outrageously expensive law degree.

    For some reason, his story just didn’t “feel” right to me, so when we reached our room, I Googled him, and turned up this web page. OMG! We all laughed our butts off! Only in Vegas, right? It all made for a Las Vegas memory, and thanks to you all, we know the truth. But why does he do it? Does he figure it increases his tips? I’ll have to ask my friend who paid him, how his story affected his tip.

  11. Tom

    lol, just had this same cabbie in Vegas this past weekend. Same story, same pony tail, said is name was Johnnie but spelled Yannie. Doesn’t match to any of the Iron Butterfly members I know of. Certainly had his story down though.

  12. haha

    Haha same happened to me in 2008. Got picked up from Rosemary’s restaurant in Vegas and grey ponytail guy was chatting asking us about europe and went on to say he spent some time in europe with a little known band. On quizing said he was keyboard player in Iron Butterfly – ‘we were just hippies having a bit if fun!!’ Went on to tell us about collecting russian dolls whenever on tour for his daughter. He knew his stuff about keyboards and venues in the UK though!!!

  13. Dick

    Just got back from Vegas and had the same cabbie from the Rio to Fremont: daughters, NATO, Iron Butterfly, all of it. He even recommended the best restaurant I’ve ever been to, Hugo’s Cellar. So cool. I’ll choose to believe he’s who he said because it makes the night and Vegas even more special.

  14. Esther

    Haha, we had the same taxi driver yesterday night, but now he has short hair… 😉
    he told us that he is originally greece, first grew up in zakynthos, then moved to several european countries because his father was a diplomat. He told us that he was until 1982 in the smalll band iron butterfly, they had concerts in golden gate park in san francisco. He told us that they played before deep purple…!
    We asked him then why he is in las vegas, his answer was just “well, i got retirede here 15 years ago”. when i asked him why he is working in this cab, he told us that he wants to pay his daughers law carrier who is just been graduated. but he has totally 4 daughters, 1 lives in madrid, one in new york and one in callifornia, all with their families. the 4rd one is the one just beeing graduated.
    haha, it’s so funny to read now your stories. you also tried to catch his name on the board, but didn’t get it.

  15. matt

    Same short hair dude took us from Rio to the pawn shop from the show “Pawn Stars”(better on TV). Went on about Iron Butterfly a good amount of the way. If nothing else it was a good one-act play.

  16. susan bowden

    I had the same experience on Sat., July 31…in Las Vegas, daughter was in law school, many ex wives to support, went in cab from Rio to Harrah’s, had my picture taken with him, could state the names of many acts he played with, has short hair now, said he was from Westport, Conn. I couldn’t see his name either. He minimized how famous Iron Butterfly really was. I would like to think it was him, I have his autograph.

  17. Wow!! I really laughed hard when reading this Taxicab Confessions while doing some personal IB research. Nice quick interception on your part during your interesting Taxicab journey, I can assure it was not the Doug Ingle of IRON BUTTERFLY 🙂

  18. Tim

    One more Vegas sighting of the Doug Ingle cabbie man…. Daughter just graduated from Harvard this time….. He was awesome ” I bet he gets better tips with the stories!

  19. Vegas2013

    A year on and he’s going strong! My friends and I just got a lift from him! He’s doing well and still loving the women!

  20. Johnny

    I met that same guy. He also drove my wife and I to Rosemary’s (great place) in 2009 I always believed him until I recently was telling the tale to someone, thought about it and googled it and came across this blog… Now I’m not so sure.

  21. BJ

    Just had the same cab ride last night in Vegas with “Doug”, one of two surviving band members, who gave me “Doug Ingle” as his professional and something else as his real name, had four daughters and the ex (touring, of course, killed his marriage) and bla, bla bla, bla. I just figured that it was part of my total Vegas experience (Who knows, next time I could really luck out and my cabbie could be Elvis). Note to all: “Doug” told me that he was having some serious health issues so this infamous cabbie might not be around next time you are in sin city.

  22. VC

    Just had the notorious Iron Butterfly cabbie. Ex wives,drugs,touring,wasnt in it for the money just the drugs and women. From Manhattan this time. Also from the Rio to Venetian. Fun story typical Vegas B.S.

  23. Sonia

    Hi, just wanted to share my Doug Ingle cabbie experience. Had him on October 17, 2017 from Mandalay Bay to Fremont Street. I told him I was from Toronto and he said he comes to Toronto once a year for Taste of the Danforth and that he loves good food and crazy women! At that point I knew I was in for a good story. Then he told me about Iron Butterfly, his three wives and four daughters. He told me his name was Yanni, but he went by Doug Ingle (Ingle being his mother’s maiden name) Like others in the comments above, some things didn’t quite add up so I decided to…yep, do some good old Google research. Here’s what I found, he said he has a lot of rare guitars which are very valuable because he’s left handed. In all the Iron Butterfly footage I saw, I didn’t see a single left-handed guitar player. He also said has four daughters, but Doug Ingle actually has a son. Regardless, I loved this guy’s story and he totally made my night!

  24. Shane Dyason

    This is amazing, I just stumbled onto this.
    I was in Vegas in late November 2017, and had the same cab driver pick me up from the Rio as well.
    My trip was only short, just down past the Flamingo, but he didn’t muck around in telling me about being in a band called Iron Butterfly back in the day, and a quick speel about his daughters etc.
    He had a strong New York style accent, and was a very nice guy that just loved to chat, a real cabbie.
    I hope he is one of the members of the band, but if not, he sounds like he’s happy doing what he’s doing, so no harm done telling a few stories.
    One of my classic memories from Vegas…

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