Five Firsts: Michael Kammers of MK3

Mike Kammers

Mike Kammers

NAME: Michael Kammers
BAND AFFILIATION: MK Groove Orchestra/MK3
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.

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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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