SARASOTA: On Saturday, August 13th I had the extreme pleasure of meeting an 11 year old drummer named Kei Bland at a music seminar that I was a guest speaker at in Sarasota. Kei approached me at the seminar and impressed me with his questions and his over all demeanor. Kei invited me to come watch him perform later on in the day at the Dan Toler Benefit Concert that was going to take place at Ace’s Lounge in Bradenton. Though I did attend the benefit concert, I was not able to stay long enough to watch Kei perform.
A few days later I found out that Tampa Bay band, Triple Threat, had invited Kei to sit in on a song at their show in Brandon at Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill. Hearing this made me decide to do some research on this 11 year old prodigy, and I quickly found several videos on the internet of Kei performing live on stage. After viewing the videos, I was definitly impressed with what I had seen and heard. Though I have yet to hear Kei perform live, in person, I am looking extremely forward in doing so in the near future.
Kei Bland was Born in Sarasota, Florida, January 21, 2000 and started playing drums at a very early age. At the age of 3, influenced by Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel’s drummer), he asked for a drum set for his birthday in which his parents obliged.
By age 4, Kei was able to duplicate the drum beats he heard on music dvds that he listened to from the time he woke up until the time he went to sleep. In particular, Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits. Moving on to Phil Collins, Rush, Inxs, AC/DC, Def Leppard and pretty much any band he could listen to. In September, 2004, Kei attended his 1st concert which was none other than Phil Collins. The 2 1/2 hour concert mesmerized Kei and only made his passion for music greater.
In March of 2006, at the young age of 6, Kei made his first public appearance on stage playing for a charity event, Giving Hunger the Blues, which supports children. Kei continued playing at this event for the next 3 years while honing his skills on the drums and becoming multi instrumental: the guitar at age 6, age 8 – the bass and keyboards and age 9 saxophone.
On September 2nd, 2006, Kei landed his first paying gig… Performing at the Metro Café in Sarasota.
At age 8, Kei attended his first Camp Jam. He was evaluated and moved directly from the kidz camp to the teenage group.
At the age of 9, Kei, at the suggestion and invitation from Andrew Lacroix, started playing any and all jams he could find in the area looking to gain experience and longing to play music with others. Mark Skey and Mack Black took him under their wings and inspired and taught him even more about the music world.
Kei has had the opportunity to play with Chris Anderson from the Outlaws, Mike Kach, keyboard player for Dickey Betts and Great Southern and Molly Hatchett, Tracey Austin from Bad Company, Paul Duffy from The Commitments, Michael Allman, son of Greg Allman (Allman Brothers), Jeff Carlise of 38 Special, Steve Arvey, international blues artist, Jim Peterick from The Ides of March, 38 Special, Pride of Lions, and Survivor, Bert Englesman from the Allman Brothers, Frankie Lombardi, Dickey Betts and Great Southern and Shank, Tony Tyler, Blues artist RJ Howson, Angelo A. Jannotti, Regi Wooten, Julia Larsen, Dave Frett, Mike Pachelli and many other incredible musicians.
Kei has always wanted to achieve a career with his music as well as to be able to help others around the world through the power of music. He very much wants to use his talent and skills to help those in need, whether it be children, by giving them inspiration, hope and faith, or to help the less fortunate with having better lives by supporting with food, shelter, clean water or raising money, help raise awareness against the use of drugs and alcohol to teens, and supporting the well being of animals.
Kei enjoys life at its fullest, and whether it’s the good times or bad times. He always keeps his head up high and looks at the good things in life, his friends, family, and fans. He is currently playing with Skeleton Kei with Patti B. and Mikey.
Playing drums is Kei’s absolute passion. He is currently studying under the direction of Frankie Lombardi, drummer for Dickey Betts and Great Southern and former guitar tech for the Allman Brothers.
Writers note: I have personally invited Kei and his parents to be my special guests at the Wildstock Benefit concert (more information will be released regarding this event in the near future) that Dina Mead (Bay Area Band Source) and I are organizing, and that will be held in Wimauma on October 23rd. They have accepted the invitation, and I am hoping to get Kei up on stage to jam on a few songs with one of the bands.
Vote for Keith Wilkins as “Best Local Columnist” in the Creative Loafing “Best of the Bay 2011 Awards”. Voting ends on August 31st. Vote here.
© copyright 2011 KAM Music Publishing.
Keith Wilkins is a syndicated music columnist living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Keith’s St. Petersburg Live music Bar Scene column which originates in his flagship publication, the Examiner, was the “2010 Most Read Examiner Column” in the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) market. Keith’s articles can also be read on The Bay Buzz website where Keith is a contributing writer, and on World News America as well.
All articles published in the St. Petersburg Live Music Bar Scene column are written by Keith Wilkins, and fall under federal copyright laws. Articles cannot be re-printed, re-posted, or re-produced in whole without written consent by the author (Keith Wilkins), KAM Music Publishing, or the joltleft.com. Partial re-printing, re-posting, or re-producing with a link back to the original article is permitted. For consent, questions, or comments, please email Keith Wilkins c/o Amy Joyner at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Keith Wilkins, please visit the Official Keith Wilkins Website, the Keith Wilkins official Facebook fan page, or follow Keith on Twitter. For more information on KAM Music Publishing, please visit the Official KAM Music Publishing Website or Facebook page. Follow Keith’s joltleft.com column on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter for local live music & bar scene news updates. Don’t miss a single article, subscribe to Keith’s St. Petersburg Live Music Bar Scene Examiner column now by clicking on the button at the top of the page.
Want to learn more about joltleft.com Columnist Keith Wilkins? Read part 1 & part 2 of an interview with Keith Wilkins that was published in the San Antonio Single Parenting Examiner Column on October 4th & October 6th, 2010.