The Different Dimensions of Dave Kerzner (By Brad Kesner)
Thank you Joel Barrios, Scott Moskowitz, and Gary 'Toddicus' Arnold for the photos.
Dave Kerzner can be called a man of many worlds ... a multi-dimensional man. His music, diversity, and creativity are definitely beyond that of most Earthlings ... other worldly. First of all, the number of Dave's bands and projects is mind boggling. I have said this before about Dave, but he is absolutely among the hardest working musicians I know ... tireless it seems, and very prolific. As a musician, Dave plays keyboards, piano, guitar, drums, and does vocals. His genres cross into Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Alternative Rock, Ambient, and film scores. Yet, everything Dave does, all of his music, and each of his bands are first class in every way ... not an easy feat by any means. The lineups of musicians on his various albums are a dream list of talent any band would be proud to have. Yet, Dave's primary focus is to make sure each musician in that lineup is a proper fit for a particular song. No one tries to jump into the spotlight. It is a seamless effort by all involved to play to perfection and make each song the best it can be. That is one of Dave's many skills.
I have gotten to know Dave for some years now and have found him to be a very down to Earth person, a really good soul, a family person, he loves science fiction, and (it seems as well) he is a good cook. His knowledge of music, equipment, and associated technology is brilliant. You will find that Dave is also very proud of his collection of equipment gathered over the years including rare musical instruments and some really cool stuff from Genesis. Dave recently purchased most of Tony Banks' keyboards he used in the 70s and early 80s.
In addition to all of his bands, Dave is the CEO of Sonic Reality Incorporated which is an American sound development and music software company founded in 1996 providing custom sound programming for touring and recording artists such as the Rolling Stones and Beyoncé. As a matter of fact, Sonic Reality's samples and partnered IK Multimedia virtual instruments have been used by legendary artists in the music industry including Coldplay, Smashing Pumpkins, Crowded House, Madonna, Beyoncé, Eminem, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Rush, Yes, Genesis, 311, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Steely Dan, Peter Gabriel, Tears for Fears, The Who, The Rolling Stones and countless others.
It continually amazes me how many connections Dave has in the music industry or how many artists and producers that he has worked with over the years one way or another. It seems that all of my favorite musicians have some ties to Dave. It's almost like the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon". Everybody seems to have that dotted line back to Dave. During his music career, Dave has worked with or is friends to artists and producers such as Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake, & Palmer) (RIP), Tom Waits, Francis Dunnery (It Bites, Robert Plant), Neil Peart (Rush) (RIP), Jon Anderson (Yes), Alan Parsons, Steve Hackett (Genesis), Rolling Stones, The Who, Nick D'Virgilio (Tears for Fears, Genesis, Big Big Train, Spock's Beard), Kevin Gilbert (RIP), Fernando Perdomo (Out to Sea Band, Appice Perdomo Project, Echo In The Canyon Band, Dirty Diamond), Stan Cotey, Mark Hornsby, Steve Rothery, Billy Sherwood (Yes), Durga McBroom (Pink Floyd, David Gilmour) , Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Crowded House, Bono and The Edge, Ginger Baker, Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), David Longdon (Big Big Train), David Kilminster (Roger Waters), Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple), Ken Scott (Beatles, Bowie, Elton John), Hugh Padgham (The Police, Genesis), Nick Davis (Genesis, XTC), Ringo Starr, Bob Siebenberg (Supertramp), Woody Woodmansey (David Bowie), Sam Phillips, T-Bone Burnett, Phil Ramone, Billy Cobham, Danny Gottlieb (Pat Matheny Group), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin, Them Crooked Vultures), Barbara Streisand, Pearl Jam, Aimee Mann, Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush), Rik Emmett (Triumph), Carmine and Vinny Appice, John Blackwell (Prince), Ed Greene (Steely Dan), Alastair Green (Alan Parsons Project), Russ Parish (Steel Panther), John Wesley, Colin Edwin, and Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn), and more. Bands he has associations to and has worked with are bands such as Genesis, Yes, Smashing Pumpkins, and Steven Wilson. Veteran Recording engineer Tom Lord-Alge mixed the first single release "Stranded" from Dave's first solo album New World. That is one spectacular resume!
To provide a little history, Dave's path and interest in progressive music developed through his friendship with Jamie Rickel (drums) who was also a band collaborator. In these early years, Dave's focus was on developing original recordings along with Dave Silverman (bass, vocals). Dave went on to start collecting rare musical instruments. Through the 90s, once 16-bit stereo digital sampling technology developed, he sampled these instruments to license to major digital musical instrument manufacturers like Roland, Yamaha, and Alesis. This led to Dave working with recording artists like Ringo Starr and Madonna both as a sound engineer and musician. Other early album contributions included Dave's contribution to Thud, Kevin Gilbert's solo album (released in 1995) and as a band member on Live at the Troubadour (1995), Kevin Gilbert's live album. Dave also joined Gilbert's band Giraffe for a tribute to the Genesis album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in 1994. You will also find Dave's contribution to Grace for Drowning by Steven Wilson in 2011 and also Dave's musical collaboration with Simon Collins (Son of Phil Collins) between 2007 and 2010 including the album U-Catastrophe (2008). Other collaborations of Dave's are with Steve Hackett on the album Genesis Revisited II (2012) and with Durga and Lorelei McBroom on The McBroom Sisters album Black Floyd (2020). As you can see, Dave has an incredible resume. Some of Dave's influences are Steve Hackett, David Gilmour, Steve Howe, Jonny Buckland from Coldplay, and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead. He states as a keyboardist that he is as much influenced by their guitar playing as he is by Tony Banks and other keyboardist's keyboard playing such as Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, Rick Wakeman of Yes, Keith Emerson and the prog legends. Dave also once shared "that his other influences would be Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Sting and Kevin Gilbert in terms of the high standard of lyric writing he would aspire to".
My first exposure to Dave's music was through two of his early bands Sound Of Contact with the superb Sci-Fi concept album Dimensionaut (2013)"about a dimensional time and space traveler making wild discoveries on a trek to expand the boundaries of the human experience" (Dave Kerzner; Matt Dorsey; Simon Collins; Kelly Nordstrom) and Mantra Vega with the album The Illusion's Reckoning (2016)(Dave Kerzner; Heather Findlay of Mostly Autumn; Chris Johnson of Halo Blind and Mostly Autumn; Stu Fletcher; Alex Cromarty; and featuring David Kilminster of Roger Waters and Steven Wilson). I was totally blown away with the outstanding musical journey that both of those albums provided. I was impressed with Dave's versatility and talent from the very start with the Sci-Fi theme and Progressive Rock perfection of Dimensionaut to the melodic, blissful The Illusion's Reckoning with Dave and Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) who are incredible together. One of my favorite songs from the album, "Island", by Mantra Vega would make any fan of Fleetwood Mac ecstatic. Dave's and Heather's vocals sound magnificent together throughout the whole album. The entire album by Sound of Contact remains among my very favorite Progressive Rock albums to this very day. Sadly, a follow up to Sound of Contact was not to happen because after the album's release, Nordstrom left due to family commitments and Dave left in 2014 to focus on his company Sonic Reality. Dave and Kelly Nordstrom rejoined the band in 2015 and started to work with Simon Collins and Matt Dorsey on the group's second album, however, in 2018 Collins and Nordstrom both announced their departure from the group. At this point, Mantra Vega has only their debut album, however, the 5 CD Special Edition of the album was released in 2022 and the band reunited in 2022 to create a new single "We See You" to help raise funds for humanitarian relief in Ukraine.
Beyond these bands, Dave created his solo band The Dave Kerzner Band with featured artists such as Fernando Perdomo (Out to Sea Band, Echo In The Canyon Band, Dirty Diamond, Appice Perdomo Project), Steve Hackett (Genesis), Durga McBroom (Pink Floyd, David Gilmour), Lorelei McBroom (Rolling Stones, Billy Idol, Rod Stewart, Lou Reed), Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Giraffe, Thud), Randy McStine (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson), Marco Minneman (The Aristocrats, The Mute Gods), Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Billy Sherwood (Yes), Jon Davison (Yes), Alex Cromarty (Mostly Autumn, Halo Blind), Stuart Fletcher (The Stone Roses), Ruti Celli, and Joe Deninzon (Stratospheerius). Under this band, Dave has released New World (2014), Static (2017), and most recently The Traveler (2022).
Then there is Dave's supergroup band In Continuum with featured artists such as Gabriel Agudo (Steve Rothery Band, Bad Dreams), Jon Davison (Yes), Matt Dorsay (Sound of Contact), Randy McStine (Sound of Contact, The Fringe), Michael Sadler (Saga), Nick D'Virgilio, Marco Minnemann, Fernando Perdomo (Dave Kerzner Band, Out to Sea Band, Echo in the Canyon Band, Appice Perdomo Project). In Continuum has released Acceleration Theory, Part one - AlienA (2019), Acceleration Theory, Part Two - Annihilation (also released in 2019), and Live at Progstock 2018 (released 2021).
Dave also has his project band Sonic Elements which he founded in 2011, which is a progressive rock project and electronic tribute band utilizing the technology he developed with his company. Albums by Sonic Elements has featured artists such as Billy Sherwood (Yes, Circa), Francis Dunnery (It Bites, Robert Plant), Rik Emmett (Triumph), John Wesley (Porcupine Tree), and Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Genesis). Releases include XYZ - A Tribute to Rush (2012) and Yesterday and Today: A 50th Anniversary Tribute to Yes (2018).
In addition to all the above, Dave is a member of the supergroup band Arc of Life with the debut album Arc of Life released in 2021. (Dave Kerzner - keyboards; Billy Sherwood / Yes - Bass and Vocals; Jon Davison / Yes - Vocals; Jay Schellen / Asia, Yes, Circa - Drums; Jimmy Haun / Yes, Air Supply, Circa - Guitar). Their debut album is spectacular! Their new sophomore album Don't Look Down by Arc of Life is to be released November 18, 2022.
Dave Kerzner's albums are available through: https://sonicelements.bandcamp.com/merch
Arc Of Life albums are available here: https://orcd.co/arcoflife and https://orcd.co/arcoflifenew
More Information on Dave Kerzner is available on: https://www.davekerzner.com or https://davekerznermusic.com
REVIEW OF THE TRAVELER
There are certain artists and certain bands that I always look forward to new releases by. Artists that consistently deliver a high standard of quality and produce albums that I know, without hesitation, without even having heard them yet, will absolutely deliver great music. These are bands that always make me feel like a kid at Christmas anxiously waiting for their next album to come out, knowing that I will be one of the first in line to get it. I love and appreciate all genres of music; however, my first love is Progressive Rock. Progressive Rock bands that I have found that fall into that "first class" category (for me) are bands such as Genesis, Yes, Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd, Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree, for example. These are the type of bands where you absolutely know their next album is going to be yet another masterful piece of work. Dave Kerzner is another one of those artists in my opinion that falls into this category and that continues to create great music and albums that I love. Dave pours a lot of love into his work and you can truly hear that love in all of his music. The production, engineering, and writing of his albums reflect that passion as does his talent as a musician ... and you most definitely hear that passion and talent in every single album. Dave is truly adept at audio engineering, so you know his albums are always going to sound incredible. Close your door, and play on a top quality system or put on your very best headphones. You are definitely in for a sonic treat. Dave also offers a variety of ways to enjoy his albums, which is incredible. Digital versions are available for immediate download at Bandcamp providing the option to download MP3, FLAC, and other popular formats with quality up to Hi Res 24bit 96k. That alone is fantastic. CD versions are available and even box sets are often available. In addition, different versions are generally available such as Standard Edition (single CD), Deluxe Editions (2 CD), Special Editions (2 CD), and box sets with multiple CDs and often even with a DVD or Blu-ray. There is a choice for everyone. I personally recommend always at least the 2 CD versions (Deluxe or Special Edition). The extra music most definitely is not filler and Dave either provides an excellent addition of songs pertinent to the album or, as in the case of New World, it provides the fullest vision and intended flow of that album (you might say like a Director's edition) going beyond what the standard edition provides.
Dave's latest addition to his already spectacular discography is his new solo album The Traveler (2022). I will cover both the standard edition and special edition in my review here. The Traveler is a concept album that ties together a story woven between several of Dave's albums and bands, Dimensionaut (Sound of Contact), New World and Static (The Dave Kerzner Band), Acceleration Theory, Part One - AlienA and Acceleration Theory, Part Two - Annihilation (In Continuum). Even though The Traveler is a concept album, on this particular album, the songs can stand alone on their own. You will find Dave's love for Sci-fi throughout his albums. That makes me very happy because I love Sci-fi. This newest offering continues that connection between these albums with a character known as "The Traveler" who is able to travel through time using his mind and who has the ability to influence the past or future. In Dave's words, "The Traveler has found himself stranded in the desert on New World trying to find his way back home in the future and he has found himself in a chaotic world of distractions on Static. Eventually he finds he has gone full circle after traveling so far into the future and past and he comes to appreciate love, peace, and harmony in the here and now." Dave gives us music with both a Sci-fi foundation and one that brings in the reality of our own humanity. Dave says, "We're all time travelers in that most of us spend more time thinking about the past or future than getting the most out of the present moment." (How very true!) With The Traveler Dave's song writing skills have excelled even beyond his earlier albums. That is quite an accomplishment because Dimensionaut remains a Prog Rock staple and even more importantly, Dave's first solo album New World continues to receive high praise and recognition. New World was ranked in a review by Progarchy as being in the top ten albums of the last decade along with the likes of Marillion, Tool, Steven Wilson, Flying Colors, King Crimson, and Big Big Train. High praise indeed and well deserved. I feel Dave's newest album The Traveler will receive even higher praise and recognition. Dave's diversity is also quite impressive. Dave's songs at times have a perfect dose of Pink Floyd effect (which I love) and Dave's vocals can also have an essence of David Gilmour. Add Durga McBroom's backing vocals (of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, McBroom Sisters, The Dave Kerzner Band), and at times, you feel like you are hearing new generation Pink Floyd. The Traveler has a different essence of Genesis and Yes.... and occasionally, even a bit of The Beatles. However, even though Dave honors his idols, his music is very unique in a way that only Dave can do with his masterful production, writing, and music that grabs you from the first note. What is interesting is that Dave had this collection of songs not sure at first whether to make it part of the In Continuum series or whether to make it a third part of his solo albums creating a trilogy. I personally think Dave made a very good decision, because it is a perfect fit following New World and Static.
I have always felt Dave's lineups for his In Continuum albums have been phenomenal, but Dave has surpassed even those albums with his lineup for his latest solo outing, The Traveler. He has an impressive mix of musicians from each of his bands, Sound of Contact, The Dave Kerzner Band, Mantra Vega, Kevin Gilbert's Thud, In Continuum, and Arc of Life. The Traveler features Dave Kerzner, Fernando Perdomo, Randy McStine, Nick D'Virgilio, Marco Minnemann, Matt Dorsey, Billy Sherwood, Jon Davison, Durga McBroom, Alex "Yatte" Chod, Joe Deninzon, Francis Dunnery, Stuart Fletcher, Alex Cromarty, Ruti Celli, Emily Lynn, Heather Findlay, David Longdon, Colin Edwin, and Lorelei McBroom, and more. Whew! Breath taking..... And a lineup anyone would envy. Regarding The Traveler, Dave says "I recently purchased most of Tony Banks' keyboards he used in the 70s and early 80s. Since Genesis is doing their last tour, I wanted to use his keyboards on this album and give a tip of the hat to one of my biggest influences." (This album carries forward some of the best of Dimensionaut but with more of a nod towards Genesis and with a good dose of Dave's special sauce making it unique in his own way.)
The album starts with "Another Lifetime" which sets the stage dynamically for the story that Dave weaves. It starts out with a Pink Floydish sound and style at the first of the song similar to the album New World. That sound transforms into more of a Beatles type feel with a great layer of symphonic sound helping to paint a mental picture for what is yet to come. In this song, Dave's edgy vocals add some contrast to what is going on instrumentally with his vocals adding to the dynamics of the song. Vocally, it shows us that Dave is like a chameleon with the ability to match his voice best to what he wants to accomplish in a particular song. Dave can even sound at times like David Gilmour. Very cool! Fernando's guitar is continually impressive and is complimented by Marco Minnemann's drumming all blending in with the symphony of instruments. Joe Deninzon's electric violin is fabulous.
"Ghostwritten Fables" is one of several favorite songs of mine on the album. Marco Minnemann's distinctive style of drumming is perfect for this song. Even though Nick D'Virgilio plays on most of the album, Marco Minnemann was a magnificent choice for tracks 1 and 2 of this album. Dave is a master of knowing what musicians are best choices for a particular song and that will create the sound, vocals, and effects he feels are best suited for that song. Also, dare I say, with the pacing of this song, the melody of the song, and Dave's vocals, I almost could imagine Peter Gabriel doing this song. This song caught my ear from the very first that I heard it. Fernando is excellent as always on guitar and teams up magnificently with Matt Dorsey on Bass.
With "A Time in Your Mind" there are some nice 80s Genesis influences here, and Dave's deeply spoken "Wake Up" most definitely reminds me of a favorite Genesis song of mine. In addition, Dave's keyboards also provide that magnificent Genesis feel. As I mentioned earlier, Dave has recently acquired some Genesis keyboards and he uses them masterfully throughout this album which definitely reflects his amazing keyboarding skills. I always love the addition of Durga McBroom's heavenly backing vocals in a song and here they are complimented by Alex "Yatte" Chod's backing vocals. Nick D'Virgilio adds another key ingredient to the mix and he masterfully plays the drums on this track. The developing story of this album is very cool and it focuses on the main character, 'The Traveler', who is able to travel through time with his mind to the future and to the past. To me, his journeys are like a sort of astral projection which also makes him in essence a 'Dimensionaut'. I love the developing story between all of Dave's albums and there is even a hint that 'The Traveler' is perhaps AlienA's son. How absolutely cool! A totally magnificent sci-fi journey! I see the potential for a movie here. (Dave, are you listening?) (This is me smiling here.)
Following "A Time In Your Mind" is the mellower "For Granted" adding a sense of sadness to the tale as to what humanity has taken for granted and that is now gone in the vision of a journey into the future ... all that is gone and that we have taken for granted. This is a true testimony to the mindset of mankind as we currently are... A beautiful, bittersweet song indeed. I feel a sense of The Beatles here also when listening to this. There is a cameo by Steve Hackett and the doubled vocals of Dave Kerzner. "For Granted" flows nicely into "Here and Now Part One", which starts with the spoken lyrics by Emily Lynn, Lara Smiles, Durga McBroom, Heather Findlay, and David Longdon. It provides the starting bookend to tracks 6, 7, and 8 with the ending bookend being "Here and Now Part Two".
"Better Life" would feel right at home on an excellent Beatle's album and there is even a bit of an Alan Parsons feel to it providing a very cool pop hook sound. I love it! This is a song that would knock it out of the park with any radio exposure. As a matter of fact, all the recognition I feel this album will soon receive will definitely be well deserved. I also love Fernando Perdomo's guitar throughout this album. Fernando on guitar and bass, teams up nicely with Francis Dunnery's excellent guitar in this song. I have been a long time fan of Francis Dunnery and have enjoyed his music with It Bites and beyond into Francis' solo work. I hear some great Beatles guitar licks in this song. Fernando can do one hell of a Beatle's style guitar which reflects his diversity when it comes to how he can create the appropriate style and sound for any type album. (Check out Fernando's guitar work on Ram On - The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul and Linda McCartney and his guitar on Energy Overload with Carmine Appice for further evidence of his talent.) Durga McBroom's vocals flow nicely into the next song, "Cannot Get It Back ", and in humanity's dark future 'the autumn leaves will keep falling down even when we are not around'. "Cannot Get It Back"features Dave Kerzner doing vocals and keyboards, Fernando Perdomo on guitar, Randy McStine on guitar, Matt Dorsey on Bass, Billy Sherwood on Bass, Nick D'Virgilio on Drums, and Durga McBroom doing background vocals. As I mentioned previously, you will find that Dave creates a musical balance on his albums where no matter how many superb artists are a part of any particular song, no one tries to showcase. Each artist simply plays magnificently adding to the total perfectly crafted sound of each song.
"Feels Like Home" brings 'The Traveler' back full circle to home. Dave's vocals in this song occasionally remind me of David Gilmour, and his vocals are complimented by the vocals of Jon Davison (Yes, Arc of Life). Once you add in the background vocals of Durga McBroom, the combination is nirvana. There is more of an edgier Progressive Rock sound to this song and it is another magnificently crafted song by Dave. Here you have Fernando Perdomo on guitar, Stuart Fletcher on bass, and Alex Cromarty on drums, each perfectly matched to this song.
Bringing everything to a close, the cherry on the sundae is "Here and Now Part Two", and here Dave brings in some of the best classic Progressive Rock sound with keyboards I know even Keith Emerson (RIP) would have been proud of. Dave's keyboards throughout this album are consistently amazing and here he utilizes Tony Banks' keyboard sounds to perfection and gives more of that nod to Genesis. Bravo Dave! Bravo! The finale of "Here and Now Part Two"brings us back to the opening track of the album and even mirrors the ending of "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles. Dave has managed to take his music to a new pinnacle and what a truly wonderful trip this album is.
The Special Edition of The Traveler is absolutely worth the price of admission for its second CD and the suite "The Dream Realm - parts 1 - 15" is amazing. "The Dream Realm" adds yet an additional layer to the story of The Traveler not fully covered on the first disc. There are definitely some great songs in this suite, but it is best heard as a whole. You also have the bonus tracks, "Better Life (Alt Version)", "Where Are They Now (Single Edit)", and "An Odd Life (Single Edit)".
I feel The Traveler is one of the best albums this year for 2022. Dave absolutely has taken his song writing skills to an even higher level. One can only imagine what Dave has coming for us next. One thing for certain, I know it will be another masterpiece.
Released July 10, 2022
The album is available to order from https://sonicelements.bandcamp.com/merch
Standard Edition single CD; CD 1 of The Traveler Special Edition
1. Another Lifetime (4:55)
2. Ghostwritten Fables (6:09)
3. A Time in Your Mind (5:16)
4. For Granted (6:03)
5. Here and Now Part One (2:00)
6. Better Life (5:08)
7. Cannot Get It Back (2:01)
8. Feels Like Home (5:34)
9. Here and Now Part Two (4:53)
Dave Kerzner: Lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitars and drum programming
Fernando Perdomo: Guitar on all tracks, bass on tracks 1, 4, 6
Francis Dunnery: Guitar on track 6
Randy McStine: Guitar on tracks 5, 7 and 9
Nick D'Virgilio: Drums on tracks 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9
Marco Minnemann: Drums on tracks 1 and 2
Alex Cromarty: Drums on track 8
Stuart Fletcher: Bass on track 8
Matt Dorsey: Bass on tracks 2, 5, 7 and 9
Billy Sherwood: Bass on tracks 5, 7 and 9
Jon Davison: Vocals on track 8
Durga McBroom: Backing vocals on tracks 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8
Alex "Yatte" Chod: Backing vocals on tracks 1, 3
Joe Deninzon: Violins and Violas on tracks 1, 2, 5 and 9
Ruti Celli: Cello on tracks 1, 2, 5 and 9
Cameo spoken word appearances by Emily Lynn, Heather Findlay, Lara Smiles and David Longdon (Here and Now part 1) as well as guitar cameos from Steve Hackett (For Granted).
Mixed and Mastered by Dave Kerzner
Produced by Dave Kerzner
Music and Lyrics by Dave Kerzner: (All songs written by Dave Kerzner except:
Cannot Get It Back music written by Dave Kerzner, Randy McStine and Fernando Perdomo, Lyrics by Dave Kerzner. Here and Now pt 1 & 2 music written by Dave Kerzner, Randy McStine and Fernando Perdomo, Lyrics by Dave Kerzner. Ghostwritten Fables by Dave Kerzner and Gene Siegel, Lyrics by Dave Kerzner.)
Cover artwork by Rafal Olbinski; Graphic Design by Dave Kerzner
CD 2 of The Traveler Special Edition
1. The Dream Realm pt1 - Wake Up (0:33)
2. The Dream Realm pt2 - All Systems Go (1:56)
3. The Dream Realm pt3 - What a Dream! (3:46)
4. The Dream Realm pt4 - Through the Ether (2:18)
5. The Dream Realm pt5 - Nostalgia Trip (5:19)
6. The Dream Realm pt6 - Ghostwritten 2 (1:15)
7. The Dream Realm pt7 - An Odd Life (6:09)
8. The Dream Realm pt8 - This Time (2:49)
9. The Dream Realm pt9 - Cannot Get It Back 2 (7:20)
10. The Dream Realm pt10 - For Granted
11. The Dream Realm pt11 - Ocean's End (1:12)
12. The Dream Realm pt12 - Here and Now 3 (3:57)
13. The Dream Realm pt13 - Where Are They Now? (3:56)
14. The Dream Realm pt14 - Life Will Find A Way (5:01)
15. The Dream Realm pt15 - In Forward Motion (1:40)
16. Better Life (Alt Version) (5:19)
17. Where Are They Now? (Single Edit) (3:38)
18. An Odd Life (Single Edit) (4:09)
Dave Kerzner: Vocals, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar plus drums on "An Odd Life"
Fernando Perdomo: Guitar, Bass plus drums on "This Time"
Nick D'Virgilio: Drums except "Where Are They Now", "An Odd Life", and "Life Will Find A Way"
Matt Dorsey: Bass on "Where Are They Now", "Here and Now 3", "Cannot Get It Back"
Randy McStine: Guitar on "What's A Dream", "This Time", "Cannot Get It Back"
Durga McBroom: Vocals on "what's A Dream", "Cannot Get It Back", "Life Will Find A Way"
Marco Minnemann: Drums on "Where Are They Now", "In Forward Motion"
Jon Davison: Vocals on "Life Will Find A Way"
Billy Sherwood: Bass on "Cannot Get It Back", "Here and Now Part 3"
Alex Cromarty: Drums on "Life Will Find A Way"
Stuart Fletcher: Bass on "Life Will Find A Way"
Joe Deninzon: Violin on "Ghostwritten 2", "Here and Now 3", "Where Are They Now". "In Forward Motion"
Colin Edwin: Ebow Bass on "What's A Dream"
Ruti Celli: Cello on "Through the Ether"
Vocal FX on "Ocean's End" - Durga McBroom, Lorelei McBroom, and Christine Leakey
Spoken Word by David Longdon, Heather Findlay, Emily Lynn, Lara Smiles, David Fowler
All songs written by Dave Kerzner except: "Where Are They Now" (Kerzner, Siegel), "This Time", "Cannot Get It Back", "Here and Now 3" (Kerzner, McStine, Perdomo), "Through the Ether" (Kerzner, Celli)
INTERVIEW WITH DAVE KERZNER:
Brad Kesner: Dave, it is such a pleasure to chat with you. I have to say that I have looked forward to this interview with you for some time now. First of all, I am totally blown away with your newest album, The Traveler. It is most definitely another excellent album you can add to your catalog of highly acclaimed albums.... and yet another masterpiece. I have followed your diverse music through all of your bands, projects, and collaborations for a long time now Dave. Every time I feel that you have an album out that I fall in love with (and, in my opinion, is at a level hard to beat), you manage to take your very next album to an even higher level. The Traveler is a perfect example of that evolution. It already has received a lot of critical praise, and I totally feel it is very deserving. You continue to take things up a notch each and every time. I must say Dave; all of your music reflects your love for what you do. Your music reflects both your skills as a musician and reflects your technical knowledge as well for what you do. I want you to have fun with this interview Dave and I would love to discuss the path you have followed to get to where you are at currently. Most of all Dave, I would love to discuss you as a person and not just as a musician. Over the years, I have seen the good things that make you the individual you are.... a great sense of humor, a family man, kind, and (as it appears) you are a good cook as well. In addition to all of that Dave, you are a very talented musician. All those ingredients create a combination hard to find these days.
Brad Kesner:Dave, what first created your interest in music? Please share what your musical journey was up to the time you did your first album or collaboration. What were your earliest bands? Was it difficult at first to break into the music industry? What are some of your warmest memories of that time?
DAVE: Brad, I started really getting into music when I was around 12 years old. I got my first synthesizer from RadioShack. It was called a Realistic Moog MG-1. I put together various garage bands in Hollywood, Florida and my parents were surprisingly cool with that. My main instrument was keyboards but since everyone left their instruments at my place I learned to play everything. Over the years I took piano lessons, went to a music camp and studied music at both Syracuse University in New York and Grove School of Music in California. I lived in LA in the 90s and that's when I officially worked in the music industry. I played in various bands, scored music for television, did keyboard and sound programming sessions for a wide range of artists and I created sounds for keyboard manufacturers as well as for my own sound development company Sonic Reality. All of that lead up to eventually working with bands like Genesis and that lead to me forming a band with Phil Collins' son Simon called "Sound of Contact". We put out an album together that was very well received and that was the foundation for my first solo album called "New World" released in 2014.
Brad Kesner: What bands and musicians have been your strongest influences over the years?
DAVE: I listened mostly to classic rock and Prog Rock growing up. So, anything from The Beatles and Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Supertramp and others. As a keyboard player and songwriter one of my biggest influences was Tony Banks of Genesis.
Brad Kesner: The list of first class musicians that you work with Dave along with all the folks that are in the music industry one way or another that you work with is totally astounding. Plus you have some very dear friends who have long been music heroes of mine. Every artist and band I have loved over the years like Genesis, Yes, It Bites, Pink Floyd, Rush, Keith Emerson (RIP), Steven Wilson / Porcupine Tree, Alan Parsons, Steve Hackett, and many more has a "Dave Kerzner" connection it seems. That is something anyone would be proud of.... and what amazing people! (Your work with Arc of Life with members of Yes is another wonderful milestone. That first album is also phenomenal and as I understand, another is on its way.) Please share a little about all of that in your life Dave. Do you have any favorite memories to share from first meeting some of these incredible people?
DAVE: I've been fortunate to meet and sometimes even work with many of my music heroes growing up. I have lots of stories. One of my favorites was from the mid-90s. I was playing with a music artist named Kevin Gilbert at a little bar in Santa Monica. I pulled up with my SUV that had my keyboards in the back and I saw Kevin outside talking to who I thought was Keith Emerson. So, when Kevin came up to my car I asked him if it was Keith and he said "Yeah you want to meet him?" and I said "Of course!" Keith was so nice he offered to help me load in my keyboards and said "Would it be ok if I was your roadie this evening?" That was the first time I met Keith Emerson and we became friends over the years. He actually introduced my first solo song on the radio in the UK. It was my song "Stranded" and it was over 10 minutes long so I was surprised he was able to get it played on the radio. But, he said ELP got "Pictures at an Exhibition" played on the radio and it was a long song too. It was such an honor to have him introduce the song that I included his intro on a music video of "Stranded" on YouTube. Keith was great. I miss him.
Brad Kesner: Please tell us a little about your company "Sonic Reality Inc.".
DAVE: I started Sonic Reality in 1996 after I was recording instruments and custom sampling for various artists like Crowded House, Tom Waits, Smashing Pumpkins, Madonna and others including keyboard manufacturers like Alesis and Roland. I collected vintage instruments and would capture their sounds for these "Vintage Expansion Boards" and sample libraries for other companies then I decided to start my own. Years later Sonic Reality partnered up with a company called IK Multimedia and we created virtual instrument plug-ins together. These were like the big keyboard workstations except they cost 10 times less and worked in your computer. Technically we were one of the pioneers of digital music making as we did some of the first products of their kind and still do today. Working with SR and IK is essentially my "day job" so I can afford to keep making music with no compromises artistically. It's also helped with making connections in the music industry.
Brad Kesner: Your project Sonic Elements has created two tribute albums I absolutely love, XYZ - A Tribute to Rush (2012) and Yesterday and Today: A 50th Anniversary Tribute to Yes. Please share a bit about the creation of those albums. What is the future for a next tribute album Dave? I have a suspicion it might be something dedicated to Genesis. Is this something perhaps you have been working towards? Or will it be something completely different?
DAVE: Sonic Elements as a project/label was created primarily as a creative outlet for the work I do with Sonic Reality, particularly with regard to using the sampled drummers we've worked with like Neil Peart in a musical context doing covers and original songs. It was also an excuse to have some fun and work with a wider variety of musicians. But, doing these tribute albums is a side project to producing albums of original music which is my main thing. We had a lot of fun doing the official 50th anniversary tribute to Yes and got many members of Yes to join us and other musicians who wanted to pay homage to them. The Rush tribute is just an EP and the rest of it will be coming out soon as well as a Pink Floyd tribute and a massive Genesis tribute album set coming as soon as I can get back to those. I've been pretty busy with my own album "The Traveler".
Brad Kesner: Dave, please share a bit about your friendship and work with Kevin Gilbert. The world lost Kevin way too soon which truly saddens me and I would love to give him a nod and salute here. You were both roommates at one time? What are some of your fondest memories from that time?
DAVE: I first met Kevin in an odd way. He called me out of the blue because he got my number from someone who said I had Mellotrons. He was curious to see my studio. I knew who he was and really liked his album with Toy Matinee. When he was at my place he saw I had the right keyboards to play early Genesis so he said "We should get a bunch of guys together and play The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". So, I said "Sure! Count me in!" Not long after that he asked me to join his band, Thud. Then, one day he said "You still want to play The Lamb?" and we ended up performing about an hour of the album at Progfest '94. We did become roommates in Eagle Rock and lived in this strange place we called "The Castle". This place became famous after left because the next tenants were Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. This is the home they wrote "Good Will Hunting" in.
Brad Kesner: The lineup of musicians that have played on your albums, that have toured with you, or that have been your guests is always first class: Fernando Perdomo, Durga and Lorelei McBroom, Gabriel Agudo, Steve Hackett, Francis Dunnery, John Wesley, Michael Sadler, Jon Davison, to mention but a few. You have lineups that are a dream list for any band. What other musicians are on your wish list that you would like to have on one of your future albums or projects? To tour with or to have as a guest?
DAVE: I don't really have a wish list or any need to have any particular musicians guest with me. It happens for two reasons. One is that I meet them and get to know them through some event such as Cruise To The Edge or some session I'm doing or the NAMM Show, which is a music trade show. So, they're friends I can call up to play on something. But, the other reason is because I have an idea of what they do and if it suits the song, I'll ask. Working with Steve Hackett was great because I grew up listening to his solo music and his work with Genesis. With that being such a big influence on my music, he could relate to it naturally and it was a good fit. He enjoys working with me and he's guested regularly on my tracks as have most of the other musicians you mentioned. Those are the main people I go to, so, here and there you might see some new people I'll collaborate with. Whether they'll be famous names or not, I really don't know. It'll all depend on the circumstance when I do my next album. I'm friends with Steely Dan guitarist Elliot Randall. He's come out to see me play when I've toured the UK where he lives. I've wanted to work with him for awhile and he's totally up for it. I think there will be an appropriate track for that on my next solo album. Elliot's great. He did that iconic guitar riff on "Reeling In The Years". But, then there are guys like Alex Chod from the band "Yatte" who are lesser known but really talented and have a distinct sound I like. So, I had Alex join me on backing vocals for The Traveler.
Brad Kesner: Dave, one of your many loves is your unique collection of instruments, some of which are rare. You have some things that have been a part of Genesis as well. Please tell us a little bit about that. What are your favorites to play and to take on tour?
DAVE: I love vintage keyboards like analog synths, organs, Mellotrons etc. but only for playing in the studio. On tour I usually use Clavia Nords loaded with my own custom samples. I have a large instrument collection and all of it is justified because my sound company Sonic Reality recreates them digitally for use in computers and iPads for people to make music with them. So, I have a lot of drums, world instruments, guitars and all sorts of things besides a mini-museum of keyboards. When Genesis' studio shut down last year they contact me to see if I wanted to buy Tony's keyboards and various other pieces from the studio. I took out a huge loan and got as many pieces as I could. The good thing about someone like me getting those relics is that I'll actually use them.
Brad Kesner: Mantra Vega was an excellent band of yours and your team up with Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) was brilliant producing the wonderful The Illusion's Reckoning. I know you reunited to do the charity single,"We See You", to help raise money to help the people in Ukraine, which was wonderful. Are you considering reuniting for any future albums?
DAVE: I would be open to it if we were able to work remotely like we did on this single. But, I don't know if it'll happen. Everyone including myself has other musical priorities I think. However, it was a lot of fun reuniting the original line up to do this song together. If there was a label or financial backing behind it that would probably make it more likely to happen.
Brad Kesner:What led to the creation of your solo band The Dave Kerzner Band and the creation of your first incredible solo album New World? That album continues to impress and has recently had additional honors and recognition. There were some amazing people on that album including Fernando Perdomo, Steve Hackett, Durga McBroom, Nick D'Virgilio, and Keith Emerson.
DAVE: When I saw my work with Sound of Contact was getting such high praise and recognition and the band was having difficulties keeping things going with the same line up, I found myself left with an important decision, to finally be the front man myself and not rely on anyone else. New World was my own personal follow up to Sound of Contact's Dimensionaut. I contributed a majority of the songwriting to SOC and co-produced the album, so when I saw how much people appreciated it; I had a boost of confidence to do my own solo album. I called upon a lot of friends to help me with it from Fernando Perdomo to Nick D'Virgilio to Steve Hackett, David Longdon, Durga McBroom and others including even Keith Emerson. It was over 2 hours of music on the Deluxe Edition and I really went the extra mile on the production.
Brad Kesner:After you created your solo band The Dave Kerzner Band, what led to the creation of In Continuum? Was that the next logical evolution to continue the theme of Dimensionaut after Sound of Contact broke up?
DAVE: I created In Continuum to have a home for the songs I was going to do with Sound of Contact on our second album. The band just couldn't keep it together and get to the finish line. After we pulled out of Cruise To The Edge at the last minute, Simon and Kelly announced they quit the band publicly and that's how Matt and I found out. Matt actually wanted to put an album out under the name Sound of Contact. I wasn't sure it was a good idea. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. We might have sold more albums if we did but it felt more authentic being called something else. Ironically, I got the name "In Continuum" from a line in an SOC song that I didn't even write! So, I felt that was fair enough. But, the songs on the two In Continuum albums aren't continuing the Dimensionaut story. They were a combination of two stories I had floating around. One I had co-written with Leticia Wolf called "AlienA" about a female alien who picks up transmissions from Earth and thinks we're better than we really are and the other was a screenplay idea I had called "Acceleration Theory" about aliens leaking us technology in the 20th century to see if they can help speed up our evolution. The two stories worked well together. Although, when it was originally going to be a second SOC album, it was going to be fashioned into a prequel to Dimensionaut where AlienA was Dimensionaut's mother. You could still think of it that way now but there's nothing clearly linking it together.
Brad Kesner: Talk about the creative process for The Traveler and what was your inspiration and objective with this wonderful album Dave.
DAVE: I had tracks recorded with Marco Minnemann and Nick D'Virgilio on drums with Fernando Perdomo, Randy McStine and Matt Dorsey on guitars and bass. I wasn't sure if it was going to be a solo album or an In Continuum album. I finally decided to put them on a solo album that would be the thematic sequel to my previous two solo albums, New World and Static. The creative process for me is often started with the writing of the chord changes and melody with some hints as to what the words will be. In the case of this album I recorded the tracks and then finished the lyrics and sang over them. I had overdubs from Durga McBroom, Fernando Perdomo, Alex Chod, Francis Dunnery, Billy Sherwood, Jon Davison and Joe Deninzon who added a lot of strings to the album.
(Have some fun with these next ones Dave.)
Brad Kesner:What would be the ultimate fantasy band you would love to put together with any artists currently living or no longer living no matter the genre?
DAVE: The musicians I work with today are my fantasy band. I really couldn't ask for more. To me, and to many others, they're the best of the best. Plus, I'm not as much into the novelty of name musicians as one might think. It'd be fun to work with David Gilmour or to produce an album with Tony Banks. I could name a lot of musicians I'd love to work with. However, I'm not waiting or hoping for that to happen. I'll just continue writing my songs and making my albums and it's enough for me.
Brad Kesner: Dave, if you were a reincarnated soul, what musician would you liked to have been either living, no longer living, either now or in the past?
DAVE: I'm happy to be me. But, it would have been fun to do my music in the 70's. The music industry from then to the 90's was a lot different from today. People actually bought albums.
Brad Kesner: What career would you have gone into if it was not music?
DAVE: I used to think I wanted to be an astronaut. But, one day I got vertigo leaning over to pick up a bag of Cheetos. I learned two things that day. One, I'll never eat Cheetos again. Two, I could never be an astronaut. I'd get too dizzy.
Brad Kesner: Dave, please share something about yourself that no one else knows about.
DAVE: When I was a kid I joined a bowling league and got a trophy for "most improved bowler" but that's because I was absolutely horrible at the beginning. What people really don't know is that I got a perfect 300 once on the Wii bowling. My son was very impressed.
Brad Kesner: What is coming up in your future Dave? Are you currently working on an album or project?
DAVE: This week I'm finishing up the surround sound mixes for The Traveler that come with the box sets. After that, I hop back onto the Genesis tribute album I've been working on with Fernando. Then, I'm going to work on my studio as I'm setting up an Atmos mixing rig which I've been working on for awhile. Then, I'll get back to my fourth studio solo album that'll come out next year, as well as the third In Continuum album that's already been started. In addition to that, I want to finish the Rush and Pink Floyd tribute albums. Then I'll be all caught up with things that have been planned for years.
Brad Kesner: Dave, thank you so much for your time during our chat. I have such a high level of respect for not only what you have accomplished over the years, but also of what a truly good soul you are. Thank you for all of the wonderful music you have gifted us with over the years. Is there any final thing you would like to share with all of us out there that love your music?
DAVE: Thank you Brad, and yes, there is something I'd like to share. Support the music artists and bands you like by buying their albums even if you can listen to it for free on subscription streaming services. The music industry is in a tough situation these days and, for artists like me to product albums of a high quality, it costs a lot of money. I'm able to do it because I have fans who understand how important it is to buy the albums and t-shirts and concert tickets. But, not every music lover out there realizes that the big corporations want to give away music practically for free and pay the music creators pennies for it all so people give the subscription money to these corporations. It's shocking how bad it's gotten. Only the super mega popular music adds up to anything, but niche genres like progressive rock will never make enough money from streaming services to recoup the cost of production. The only way is from direct support of the fans. I don't mean just for me. I mean for every music artist and band you like. Please support them so new music can continue to be made.
Article by Brad Kesner. Thank you Joel Barrios, Scott Moskowitz, and Gary 'Toddicus' Arnold for the photos.
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