Dating back to the early days of Electric Light Orchestra, members of The Orchestra continue to tour and perform ELO’s music to generations of fans.
All six members of the group were once part of ELO II, which was formed shortly after the breakup of the original group.
On October 7, The Orchestra will bring ELO’s catalog of classic and symphonic rock hits to Easton’s State Theater for an intimate performance.
Mick Kaminsky (violin) is the group’s longest-serving member, not only having worked with ELO II and The Orchestra, but also recorded many of ELO’s biggest hits and toured the world with Jeff Lynne and the original line-up from 1973 until the early eighties.
In addition to being the keyboardist and vocalist for The Orchestra, Eric Troyer contributed his talents as a session artist to monster hits by John Lennon, Billy Joel, Bonnie Tyler and others.
The orchestra consists of Kaminsky (violin), Troyer (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Parthenon Huxley (guitar, vocals), Gordon Townsend (drums, vocals), Glen Burtnick (bass, vocals) and Louis Clark (orchestral keyboards, cello, guitar). ).
I spoke with Mick Kaminsky and Eric Troyer about the upcoming State Theater show, the music of ELO and more.
James Wood for The Morning Call: What can fans expect from The Orchestra at the State Theatre?
Mick Kaminsky: They can expect to hear all the ELO hits I’ve been playing for almost 50 years. I still get a lot of pleasure from performing songs like “Mr. Blue Sky’, ‘Living Creature’ and all the other favourites. As long as the public is with us, we’ll do it as long as we can.
Eric Troyer: We toured the world performing the songs as they were written and recorded by the Electric Light Orchestra. Mick was in the original ELO line-up and I’ve been doing that since ELO II, which started in 1988. It is an attractive and exciting show. We really enjoy playing this music.
What do you think makes ELO’s music so timeless and special?
Troyer: This is classic rock, the pinnacle of the rock and roll era that speaks to everyone. These songs are still heard in movies and many more. It carries the torch and becomes familiar to other generations. Many young people come to us.
Kaminsky: An ELO tune plays every time you walk into a supermarket. It’s built into people’s heads. Jeff Lynne’s work has been and continues to be brilliant. He is a very talented guy.
How did The Orchestra come together?
Troyer: ELO once left in the mid-80s Bev Bevan [ELO drummer] wanted to continue the band and play live. He created ELO II with me and a few ELO members. We continued until Bev decided to retire in about 2000 and then we continued to perform as The Orchestra. We are honored to continue playing this wonderful music.
Mick, how did you become an original member of ELO?
Kaminsky: I was in London performing and playing with different bands. One day there was an ad in Melody Maker: “ELO violinist wanted”. I actually didn’t know much about ELO as I had only heard “Roll Over Beethoven” but my friends kept saying why don’t you try and apply. Eventually I did, and after two or three interviews, I was finally offered the job.
Do you have a favorite ELO song that you love to perform live?
Kaminsky: There are so many, but I would say “Mr. Blue Sky’ because it always gets a fantastic reception. It’s a happy, feel-good song that everyone sings.
Troyer: “Mr. Blue Sky” is really fun to do, and I also love “All the World.” But the one I probably love doing the most is “Turn To Stone.” It’s a strong tune and a lot of fun to sing. We always get a good reaction and the audience is usually on their feet when we finish.
Mick, what was the ELO recording process like in the beginning?
Kaminsky: The strings always came last, and Jeff never did the vocals until pretty much everything else was done. He was usually still writing while recording, so you couldn’t really get an idea of the song until it was completely finished.
Eric, you worked as a session artist for many years. What was the biggest thing you learned?
Troyer: As a session artist, you’ve learned to assess a situation very quickly and come up with the parts that make a track successful. You had to be adaptable, get in, get out and do something great.
At the time you were recording some of these songs, did you know they were going to be special?
Troyer: A lot of things have to fall into place to have a hit, but sometimes you have a feeling that it’s going to be a great song. I remember when I sang on “Uptown Girl” [Billy Joel] I thought it was pretty damn cool. It will probably be good. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” [Bonnie Tyler] there were a lot of vocals, but we knew it was important music. “Holding Out for a Hero” was another fun song to work on.
Eric, of all the highlights of your career as a session artist, what do you remember the most?
Troyer: I had the opportunity to work with John Lennon when I sang his song ‘Woman’. Being a Beatles kid and idolizing them as a child, it was an honor to work with John and spend a few days with him. It is a memory I will always cherish.
How about you Mick, what was the most important thing for you during your time with ELO?
Kaminsky: I think when we did the spaceship [Out of The Blue] Tour in 78. I remember we had these huge scaffolding, buildings and a spaceship that took almost two days to put together using hydraulic lifts. Every night we had to go up in a separate elevator and while we waited downstairs you could see the smoke, hear the noise and the intro music. It was spine tingling.
James Wood is a freelancer for The Morning Call. Follow him on Twitter @JimEWood
If: 19:30 on October 7
Where: Easton State Theater
How much: 42-47 dollars
Tickets and information: statetheatre.org