Five Firsts: Michael Kammers of MK3

Mike Kammers
Mike Kammers

NAME: Michael Kammers
INSTRUMENT: Saxophone/Farfisa Organ

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits Of The ’70s” on cassette tape

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … It was either ZZ Top or the Allman Brothers at the Great New York State Fair many a year ago. I can’t remember which one was first…

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … I believe the first instrument I ever owned was a plastic toy guitar that you could actually play – it was fretted correctly and had six strings. Instead of actually playing it though, I would just strum all the open strings as obnoxiously as I could and belt out the words, “Ooh my baby, Ooh my baby!” over and over again at the top of my lungs. An auspicious start to say the least.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Besides the “Ooh My Baby” song from the previous post, most likely it was “Happy Birthday.” As soon as I could play the saxophone at all, my mom insisted I play “Happy Birthday” for everyone, everywhere. She went so far as to call all her friends and our family on their birthdays to send them a “Sax-a-gram,” which consisted of me honking out the best rendition of “Happy Birthday” I could as a 9 year old. People still come up to me at shows when I’m home and tell me how they used to dread those phone calls. Luckily I’ve improved, I think.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … The first band I was ever in, outside of school, was called Experimental Drive Time Violence. The bass player and guitarist came up with the name. I didn’t have much say; I was a couple years younger than everyone else (16). It featured David Nielsen on bass, Jeff Albert on drums, David Riposo on guitar and myself on keys. We played a mix of songs we thought were humorous, played hours-long jam sessions and some of our originals, including the bassist’s Zappa-influenced compositions. I was actually the saxophonist in the band until the day I showed up to a rehearsal, and the bassist had bought a vintage Rhodes keyboard, and told me I now played keys in the band. Upon my protestation of “I don’t know how to play the piano!,” David’s response was, “Here’s a C major chord, go from there.” And I did. Our rehearsal space was called the Claustrophobic Noise Factory. The EP that I am currently touring on is a homage to that experience and those people, as well as an acknowledgement of the life long impact it has had on me.

Michael Kammers brings MK3 – the trio version of his MK Groove Orchestra – to Red Square in Albany at 9pm on Thursday (September 15). Oobleck and Formula 5 will also share the stage.

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