Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, it seemed everyone wanted to be a rock star. For South Floridian Dave Kerzner, that dream has now become reality, but only after a long and winding road.
Kerzner grew up listening to Genesis, Rush, Yes, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.And, like many kids, he found himself emulating his music heroes.
“I loved the progressive rock sound, the lyrics and the emotion in the music,” says Kerzner. “At age 14, I pleaded with my parents for the money to buy my first synthesizer at Radio Shack. With the high cost of gear back then, they made me promise I’d stick with it. At this point, I can safely say I’ve made good on that promise.”
From the manual dials of the “too few keys” Radio Shack synthesizer, Kerzner quickly graduated to professional gear from Ace Music in North Miami.
“I was in garage bands with people much older than me playing cover tunes of all the music I loved,” Kerzner says. “Having keyboards and recording gear back then set you apart. Very few other musicians had them or knew how they worked, so it opened a lot of doors for me.”
After spending a few years at Syracuse University, Kerzner set his sights on Los Angeles. Kerzner enrolled in Grove School of Music and began collecting instruments that were interesting to him. One day, a friend invited him to a studio recording session and asked if he’d program the band’s Minimoog (the world’s first portable synthesizer). His results were impressive enough to create a buzz around town. Soon other bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Crowded House, The Black Crowes, Madonna and Pearl Jam were calling on his services.
Kerzner soon opened his own company, Sonic Reality, to much success. While Sonic Reality may not be a company you’re familiar with, bands like Coldplay and Eminem, manufacturers including Yamaha, Roland, IK Multimedia and Alesis and even the legendary producer/engineer Alan Parsons certainly are.
Running Sonic Realty, which is based right here in Sunrise, FL, afforded Kerzner more than just a living and connection to the music industry. It gave him a nearly limitless library of sound to use in his own music and an angle to meet, talk and collaborate with some of his music idols.
In 2005, while keeping Sonic Reality humming along, Kerzner made a concerted effort to shift back to creating his own music as well.
“I worked a bit with Steve Hackett from Genesis and Steve Wilson from Porcupine Tree, but the journey really took off in 2009 when I started recording with Simon Collins, Phil’s son.”
Kerzner and Collins created the band Sound of Contact, which released Dimensionaut in 2012 to rave reviews. Sound of Contact received the “Limelight” award for Best New Group at the second annual Progressive Music Awards held in September 2013.
“One evening I went to see Steve Hackett play his Genesis Revisited show in Fort Lauderdale. He invited me backstage and, without me asking, he offered to play on my album!”
Kerzner created the music for his solo album in his North Miami studio, while surrounded by an impressive personal museum of keyboards, amps and recording equipment from yesteryear. He also surrounds himself with musicians that played that gear.
In January of this year The Dave Kerzner Band released the deluxe edition of his epic prog rock album entitled “New World,” clocking in at well over two hours of music.
“As I put New World together, so many people came to help make the project successful,” Kerzner blushes. “I am indebted to Durga and Lorelei McBroom (Pink Floyd), Steve Hackett, Keith Emerson (ELP), Francis Dunnery, Simon Phillips, Billy Sherwood (Yes), Fernando Perdomo and many others who have blessed their presence on my album.”
On November 13th, Kerzner performed his album live to nearly 100 raving fans in a private event in a North Miami soundstage. The show was a bonus for being part of his Kickstarter campaign. Then, from November 15-19, The Dave Kerzner Band performed “New World” on Cruise To The Edge, an annual progressive rock cruise hosted by Yes.
“The stars have aligned in a special way,” says Kerzner. “I got to play for my family and friends right here in South Florida in front of huge audiences. Anything can happen on stage and it’s those magic moments that most excite me.
It’s our passion and mission to play dramatic dynamic moody music that gives fans the same feeling I had going to classic rock concerts growing up.”
Kerzner heads to Europe in the Spring for several tour dates. For now, the best way to hear and support this South Florida talent is to buy the CD at DaveKerzner.com or get a digital download on iTunes.