TK Kellman Back when I was just a little kid with a few lessons under my belt, an old Chet Atkins record, and a burning obsession with the guitar, I never suspected I would wind up on the road with the big guys by the time I was eighteen. It was exciting, but it was one of those long bus tours that takes you all over the damn United States playing one nighters. The roughest kind of touring, but that's what you gotta do when you're just startin out. Glen Yarborough was the artist; and he had a big hit at the time too. I'm talking 1967, 68, round there. Song was 'Baby The Rain Must Fall' and was the theme to a major hit movie. So off I went. Had to audition first, though. Sat and played in a studio with 150 other guitarists that answered the same ad and damn if I wasn't the one they chose for the tour. $150.00 a week and you pay your own hotel room but hell, it was a tour. With a real artist and a bona fide hit record. It don't get better than that when your eighteen and star struck. You learn a lot about the road when you're out there too, like how to handle the boredom and the way the days and nights seem to run together. How to hang with the hustlers and the grifters and not be a mark, how to find the best and cheapest eatin' in the shortest amount of time no matter where you are. How to handle the women too; you had to be quick cuz you was leavin in a few hours and at eighteen you had quite an appetite for the ladies. Three months on the road, that's all it takes. Then you've got it down to a science. That's how it works out there. You learn quick. Course, there's always a future to think about too. You can't always live for the moment y'know. So once I got back to L.A. it was back to playin the studios and even a contract with Charlie Green, a famous producer back then. Oh yeah, he had Sonny and Cher (known as Anthony and Cleopatra at the time), The Trogs, Buffalo Springfield; and all kinds of famous acts. I would do lots of their studio dates and made friends with a whole lot of folks. One was a fellow session player, a gravel voiced pianist from New Orleans named Mac Rebenack otherwise known as the legendary voodoo man Dr. John. Had a hit album out called 'Gris Gris' and another one in the works called 'Remedies'. Mac and I and the rest of the band worked on that one for a while and went out on tour to promote it. Lord, what a time! We drove all the way back to New York City in a rented equipment truck. Talk about a street education. Most of the band was doin' dope and drinkin' at the time, and I was introduced to a whole new world of pimps, street hustlers, dealers, and the whole underbelly of the music scene. Mac would cast Voodoo spells before every performance just to make sure everything was gonna be alright and we played some of the weirdest dates you can imagine, like the Halloween date in Providence where Dr. John had to take a huge knife and sacrifice the 'Virgin Pumpkin' at midnight. And the 'all nude' summer college in Goddard, Vermont where people were walkin' around with everything hangin out. Toured that way for a couple years, then went to Europe. By then Mac and I were clean and sober and I had developed some notoriety among the music scene. Back to the states and a fun gig in Las Vegas playing with a rock band at the Flamingo Hotel. I'd never been to Vegas before. Sin City. Glitter Gulch. It was amazing. Wasn't long before some more famous folks came by to hear me play, and soon, an offer from Bobby Darin who, at the time was one of the biggest superstars on the planet. 'Welcome to the family' Bobby told me on my first night at the Landmark Hotel Showroom. 'Let's make some music.' I was terrified. But make music we did, all over the country; on the road, in the studio, and over the airwaves. Bobby turned out to be quite a friend and mentor and I learned how to play just about every genre of music including big band arrangements from some of the best writers in the business. Even tried a little writing myself and it wasn't half bad either. When Bobby passed away prematurely in '73 I was only 25 years old and still had a long way to go. However, I was known as someone reliable enough to play anything and even do some decent arranging. . It was only natural that I would go on to play for other superstars of the day like Tony Orlando, Paul Anka, Roger Miller, Kenny Rogers, etc; Wound up doing a little conducting for some Vegas shows. Toured with 'Legends in Concert' as Music Director for a while, opened my own recording studio in Vegas, sold it, moved back to L.A., did some acting, more session work, more touring. Hell, it wasn't until a few years ago I settled down in Reno and realized I was on everybody's CD except my own. So this is my attempt to remedy that. I call it 'mosaic' because I pieced it together with a few of my favorite tunes, friends, and musicians, each with their own rich histories. Somehow the whole turned out to be more than the sum of it's parts. I hope you like it and thanks for listening. TK Kellman.
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