Five Firsts: Mike Merenda of Mike + Ruthy

 Mike + Ruthy (photo: Thomas Schnaidt)

Mike + Ruthy (photo: Thomas Schnaidt)

NAME: Mike Merenda
BAND AFFILIATION: Mike + Ruthy
INSTRUMENT: Singer/songwriter, guitar, banjo, drums

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Prince’s Purple Rain. Actually, my babysitter bought me the purple 7″ record, which I treasured. All I had to play it on was my Fisher Price record player!

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2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … First “big” concert was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet Tour. With Skid Row opening.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Drum Set. It was my older cousin’s kit, and he had it set up on the screened-in porch off the back of his parents’ house. It was essentially outside, and he took me back there to check it out one December when we were visiting
around Christmas. He showed me a couple things, and I sat out there in the cold, winter night playing drums, as if it were perfectly normal.

My deeper love of music came when I first learned to play the guitar, taught to me by a schoolmate when I was 13 years old. My uncle had given me a guitar years before that had banged around the house for years. I would screw around with it from time to time but really had no idea what to do with it. Then a friend taught me three chords, and that night I wrote my first song. I had the keys to a secret universe. And I’ve been turning those keys ever since.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … As a singer, it was “Faith” by George Michael with my friend Trisha playing guitar. On drums, I played “Peter Gunn” with the school jazz band, and I had a long, gratuitous drum solo in the middle.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Twinkasaurus Rex. Followed by the Lemmings, Aqua Velvet, Skarotum, Chewbacca and Eponine.

Mike + Ruthy – that would be Mike Merenda and his partner Ruthy Ungar – will step into the spotlight at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Friday (January 11). Tickets are $15 in advance; $17 at the door.

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