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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kicking Daisies Drop into Pinkberry

Kicking Daisies Drop into Pinkberry:
Hometown rockers take five to enjoy fro-yo, greet fans
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen News)

Fairfield, CT – There was that feeling of anticipation like when the Beatles’ plane was about to touch down in New York for the first time and fans were abuzz on the tarmac. In this case, fans were chattering and fondling CDs on the sidewalk outside Pinkberry in downtown Fairfield and it was the Kicking Daisies who were arriving… walking over from Chef’s Table just up the block.

The primarily Fairfield-based teen rockers were fresh in from opening for TV star/singer Victoria Justice out in L.A. and had a busy schedule ahead with radio station appearances and a big show Friday. But they knew it was important to stay connected with fans, especially the local ones that had supported them from the beginning and had kept an eye on their meteoric rise in the music world since their formal start in January 2009 – an appearance at Fairfield Theatre Company.

One trio in line at the CD signing table outside Pinkberry’s 1512 Post Road shop was 13-year-olds Jillian Rogers, Elizabeth Brunt and Melissa Shea, each clutching KD’s latest CD release, “Keeping Secrets”. They each named a favorite musician and gave reasons why they respected them.

“I love Carly (Kalafus, 15, the bassist and a lead vocalist),” said Rogers. “She has bright red hair and doesn’t care how she dresses or what people think. She didn’t really want to play bass at first, but learned in an hour. She’s inspiring because she’s so driven.”

Brunt’s preference was Carly’s 18-year-old sister Caitlin, the drummer and a vocalist. “I’m also a female drummer,” said Brunt. “When people find that out, they say I’m insane. I tell them there’s a lot of amazing female drummers out there. Caitlin is my inspiration and my favorite drummer ever.”

Shea named 15-year-old Ben Spremulli, the lead guitarist and keyboardist as her favorite KD member. “We’re kind of alike,” she said. “We like the same music. He’s really funny and nice.”

Rogers recalled meeting Carly, as well as Duran (Visek, 16, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist) at the Milford Mall, on her birthday no less. “They wished me a happy birthday,” she said. “I was really excited, and that  was the first time I ever went up and said hi to anyone. I usually don’t talk to people. I’d seen them at only one concert before and didn’t get to say hi. In the store, they seemed more approachable.”

KD’s fans were not restricted to just teens. Fairfielder Karen DeWitt, 48, was just as excited as her 11-year-old daughter, Lauren, to meet the band. “I like their sound, very upbeat,” she said. “I don’t have XM radio, so I listen to a lot of CDs. I grabbed their disc at Las Vetas – for $5, I figured how can I go wrong? Well, I absolutely love it. It’s great for musical talent, especially local, to make it out there, and they’re genuinely nice kids. Clean music, great to drive to.”

KD’s Tour Manager and Chef’s Table Owner Rich Herzfeld stood to the side and looked on as the band, which he had led over from his cafĂ©, sat down at the signing table to greet fans. He provided an update on the group’s current status.

“Back on August 20th, they appeared as the musical guests on an episode of the Disney show “So Random”, kind of a kids’ ‘Saturday Night Live,’” he said. “It gets replayed three or four times a week, in constant rotation. That has established them as a national act, and has them breaching international waters.”

Herzfeld mentioned the Victoria Justice appearance for Nickelodean, saying it gives them even more broad exposure. “Most importantly, they signed a deal with Wal-Mart for exclusive distribution of their latest CD,” he said. “So it’s only available at WalMart or”

Herzfeld also noted the recent move to L.A. of the band’s manager Brian Murphy, who had been a long-time Fairfield resident, with a home near Roger Sherman Elementary School. “That will help with KD’s access to the world of TV and movies.”

The band was scheduled to do an interview with radio station WEBE 108 the following day, then a live performance for KC101 and KISS stations in Hartford. The show was to be Podcast on the station’s website. Then, KD was scheduled to play the Ridgefield Playhouse Friday. “The capacity there is 500, and 350 tickets have already been sold. There are usually a lot of last-minute ticket sales, so hopefully we’ll sell out that show,” said Herzfeld.

“Long-term, they’re going to be doing appearances at radio stations nationwide, supporting the release of their new single ‘Breathing’, which officially released August 29,” Herzfeld added. “For now, they’re getting some cool opportunities opening for bands they love, like the Ready Set, Downtown Fiction and the Summer Set.”

Does the rigorous schedule conflict with schooling? “Carly is in regular school at Milford’s Jonathan Law High School and has a pretty flexible schedule,” said Herzfeld. “Caitlin has graduated. And Ben and Duran are both home schooled. So there’s a lot of flexibility.”

As critical for fans as KD’s touring schedule was to know was their favorite Pinkberry concoctions. Carly: “I start with the Original and add strawberries, weird chocolate stuff, brownie bites and tons of honey.” Ben: “Peanut butter, toasted almonds, mixed nuts, chocolate peanut butter crunch.” Duran: “Original with strawberries, kiwi, banana, chocolate crunch balls and toasted almonds.” Caitlin: “Peanut butter, strawberries, brownie bites, yogurt chips, Captain Krunch, the 50-cent extra crunch and a bunch of honey.”

Enjoying his fro-yo treat and bandmates’ company at a table inside the shop, Visek commented, “Life is good, though being in a band is a constant struggle. If you’re not on your A-game 100% of the time, you’re gonna get spit out. You can’t risk a band performance and take a step down. But this is what I live for and thrive on.”

Visek added that he’s studying for his G.E.D. and traveling can be tiresome. “Things I get stressed about are early gigs, and getting warmed up in time.”

The front man also commented on the bane of being a vocalist. “When you’re a singer and have a gig, you can’t drink soda, iced tea, orange juice, chocolate, milk or smoothies. Really only water.”

One of the greatest things for Visek has been meeting some of his music heroes. “I recently met two main inspirations: Max Bemis from Say Anything -- I listen to all his music -- and Andrew McMahon, from Jack’s Mannequin. He’s especially inspiring in that he survived cancer and wrote a record about it. Amazing.”

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