Five Firsts: Garry Novikoff

Garry Novikoff

Garry Novikoff

NAME: Garry Novikoff
INSTRUMENT: Piano, Guitar, Voice, Kazoo

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … The first album I ever bought with my own money was Don McLean’s American Pie. The song that made me buy it, however, was not the title track. I had heard “Vincent” on the radio, and it broke my heart. I was six and a half years old, so the story of Van Gogh’s life had to be explained to me. The idea that someone could tell a story like that in a song made a huge impression on me.

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2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … James Taylor. It was a free concert in Central Park. Abruptly switching music gears, my next concert was Devo.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … whatever I could get my hands on: kazoo, slide flute, maracas… I urged my parents to buy me a kalimba, which they did. Later came the guitar and the piano. I’ve let go of the kalimba, but I still play the kazoo in concert on some of my novelty songs.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … For show-and-tell in second grade I got up in front of my class and sang “Honey Bun” from “South Pacific.” It was an unlikely hit.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … in college. We were called House and Garden. It was the ’80s, so our instrumentation reflected the times: two of us played Casio keyboards. We used both a drum machine and live percussion, and the lead singer also played a clear lucite violin. We thought we were cooler than thou, and maybe we were…

Award-winning singer-songwriter Garry Novikoff takes the stage at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm on Wednesday (July 30). Tickets are $10 in advance; $12 at the door.

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