Five Firsts: Pete Heitzman

NAME: Pete Heitzman
INSTRUMENT: Guitar and various strings

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … My mom and older sister had lots of Broadway and folk LPs, but my first purchase was Beatles ’65. I would jam my head right into the speaker for “I Feel Fine,” and that guitar tone still gives me chills.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … I remember Johnny Puleo & the Harmonica Gang in 1959 at age seven, and they were phenomenal and hilarious, but my first rock event was a package show at LeMoyne College, Nov. 1967: Buffalo Springfield, Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Soul Survivors and the Beach Boys. Springfield had been my fave band at the time, so that was heaven.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … A Gretsch Country Gentleman. I wanted a red Gibson 335, but my teacher sold this to my parents. I was disappointed till I realized that George Harrison played a Gent, then my sense of unworthiness was almost overwhelming. My next was a 12-string Rickenbacker, and I confess that I actually thought it was going to magically “know” all the Byrds’ songs right out of the case. In fact, it didn’t even know one song, but it was willing to learn.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “The Midnight Hour” at a Battle of the Bands in eighth grade. Yes, my first gig was a “Battle,” and I was appropriately terrified, wondering whether the audience could see my knees shaking. Our drummer was so bad that half-way through our set the singer and drummer switched roles, and there was such a marked improvement that they never switched back.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … The Midnight Hour… I guess we really liked that song.

As he’s done for years, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Pete Heitzman teams up with singer-songwriter-percussionist Karen Savoca in concert at 8pm on Saturday (February 22) at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. Tickets are $20.

Five Firsts: Karen Savoca

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