Kelvin Wong - keyboards, vocals

The amazing Kelvin juggles piano, organ, accordian and horn section parts on his keyboards while singing lead or harmony vocals.

Interview with the vampire part 7.  

(Interviewer notes) :   Kelvin is a hard guy to track down. Once we made phone contact it was a green light to get the interview conducted and documented. Albeit brief, here goes:  

I: So how did you become involved in music?

K: Ooo how much time do we have (laugh). Ok I started at a relatively young age, you know like a lot of kids, being force fed those dreaded piano lessons or in my case some serious cram practicing just before them so I wouldnít catch any shit from the teacher, going almost from that point onward to achieving my Grade X Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music diploma years later. Anyways looking back Iím rather glad and fortunate to been able to find a way to express myself early in life. I guess Iíve kept it going ever since.

I: Iíve heard through the grapevine that you have had quite a varied career. Care to enlighten us?

K: Ok. Iíll try and be brief. I know my history is not as glamorous or poetic as the rest of the guys in the group. Theyíve got a few years on me anyways so let the math do the talking (laugh). Anyways from what I remember hereís a smattering of groups Iíve been in, some very memorable, some not so much: Scatterjack, Tamarack, Vixen, Energy, Picture of My Kids, Topaz, Magdi, Phoenix, Ram, The One, Fat Tuesday, Barrelhouse, and of course Feat First. I studied music at U of WO in London for a couple years after high school. I didnít finish my undergrad program but I learned quite a bit about the trade. Most of my time back then was spent playing piano everyday and jamming with other students most evenings. That was a great time. Years later in Vancouver I had a steady gig doing a Larry The Lounge Lizard thing in piano bars and although the jobbing became tedious at least it was paying the rent and bills.

I: Tell us about Feat First. How did it all start?

K: Feat First is really the next generation of Fat Tuesday. Barry, Jerry Sampson, Glenn Torresan and myself put that band together. It eventually became a 6 piece band. When the band dissolved in late 1998 I decided to take a break and spent some time recording with Glenn. Jerry gave me a call asking if Iíd like to join him as well as Barry, Andy, and Rick Tremblay (guitarist in The One). We rehearsed for close to a year and unfortunately Jerry became ill with cancer and passed away shortly afterward. Rick decided to leave the band and moved away to South America. Before he passed away Jerry asked the rest of us to promise to keep the band going. A few months later Jeff joined the band as the drummer.

I: Where do you derive the inspiration to play the keyboards?

K: Itís about 99% from the heart and 1% from the head. If youíre referring to Feat First it really begins with the music and goes from there. Playing the music of Little Feat requires being able to capture the feel and essence of the music. Their writing is like looking at a mosaic because their music encompasses almost every popular western musical style, rock, blues, jazz, r&b, country, folk, and all derivatives including bluegrass and Cajun. Mix in a smidgen of Spanish and Afro-Cuban rhythm and youíve really got an interesting Rad Gumbo (laugh). Thereís even a hint of eastern as well, traces of pentatonic melody. Itís almost impossible to duplicate things note for note but if we capture what is being said weíve really accomplished something. So the way I look at it the 4 of us are painters beginning with an empty canvass and each of us contributing something of equal significance to the overall painting in the end. Hopefully it wonít turn out to be a finger painting.(laugh).

Iím influenced and inspired by other artists as well: Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, Peter Gabriel.

I : What gear do you use when you gig

K : I have a relatively simple set-up with a Yamaha S-80 piano and Roland VK-7 organ both going through a Roland 150 watt keyboard amp. I thought about adding another synth but it would probably sit there collecting dust. I put both boards to good use, mostly a two fisted attack on the black and whites.

I : So whatís in the future for Feat First?

K : Thatís the fun part. Weíll never really know for sure but it should be one heck of a great time.

Return to the Feat First page.