Five Firsts: Jerry Kitzrow of the Flurries

The Flurries
The Flurries

NAME: Jerry Kitzrow
INSTRUMENT: Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist. Guitars used on Colour Show: Gretsch Country Gentleman, Vintage 1967 Rickenbacker 12 String, Fender Esquire Custom 1962 Model

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Hmmm… I think The Best of George Harrison… and I would do it again! His Beatles songs on Side 1, Solo songs on Side 2. It was the first time I had ever heard “If I Needed Someone” or “Taxman.” His mastery of weaving in and out of minor and major chords, and seductive melodies floating over interesting and unique rhythms always felt like a musical kinship for me (and not to mention his rockabilly Gretsch twang).

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Joe Jackson at SPAC. As a kid, I dove deep into music history and wondered, “Is the great age of music and songwriting now gone?” Then BOOM: Joe Jackson, Jimmy Honeyman-Scott/The Pretenders and Nick Lowe burst out of the radio – bearing the lesson that great songwriting combined with a strong performance never goes out of style… (Joe was great, BTW!)

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … I had two jobs in high school – one at the Port Washington Public Library shelving (and reading!) books, then at the professional Franklin-Douglas recording studio as assistant engineer. Both were great places to be because they were in the world of creativity… AND … although they didn’t pay much, I saved every check and… finally… had the $$$$$$ to buy the pro-line Fender Stratocaster, red with black pick-guard & maple neck, from Gracin’s Music in Hempstead, NY. I loved that guitar and played it until the finish wore off…

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Tough to recall exactly… but there’s a song on our new album Colour Show that draws comments – that it’s “mysterious” or reminds them of a “full moon.” “You’re writing a touch of jazz these days,” they say. Well, the song is called “Starry Skies,” and what’s funny is that I actually wrote it at age 16, as one of my earliest songs, and we played it at our very first dance! The fact that it also happened to be my mom’s favorite always gives me a smile, and the fine rhythm section I’m privileged to play with in the Flurries were just the right guys to bring that song back and give it that “Full Moon” sound.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … My first musical pal (and a life-long friend) was Adam Honen – learning our chords together – and he knew a gal who played named Amy Miller – so the three of us would get together and try to maneuver each other into playing bass! We then added a drummer and played some parties, including at the house of our pal Dave Leonard (now of WDST Radio Woodstock). I think one of my numbers was “Police on my Back” by the Clash, mixed in with my own songs… fun times.

That evolved. Amy and I found a musical kinship as writers and singers – yea, we could sing it fine together. Amy and I then connected with Scott Casher on bass and Dave Varenka on drums and off we went as teenagers, first known as Smallest Thought. We won a big chunk of prize money at a competition – and then spent it all going into the recording studio where I was working – to record four of my own songs and a fine one of Amy’s. The reception of those recordings – and our live show – launched us to the next level – and to a new name – The Bandables.

Jerry Kitzrow and his new band, the Flurries (featuring bassist Peter McCaw and drummer Neil Green), celebrate the release of their debut album, “Colour Show” in their Nippertown debut at the Low Beat in Albany on Friday (July 18). Sharing the stage for the 6pm Happy Hour show will be Big Kahuna Surf.

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