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Mike Visaggio - Questions and Answers

1. Where were you born and when did you discover music?
Well, It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. 1952 in Brooklyn. Music isn't discovered; it just comes at you and you find something you like as you sort through everything you hear through the years. But I started playing in 1961 on the accordion. I was a nice Italian boy.

2. Musically who or what inspired you to play and who do you admire as a musician?
My cousin Joel played the accordion and I wanted to be like him because he was popular
among the cousins. But as for turning serious about music, it was The Beatles. I was
playing "She Loves You" on the accordion, for crying out loud. But when I heard Felix Cavaliere play the Hammond Organ for the Young Rascals around 1968 I knew that was what I wanted to be doing. My musical heroes are the big three progressive keyboard players of the 1970s: Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Tony Banks of Yes, ELP and Genesis respectively.

3. Do you have any formal training??? If so, where did you study and who have you studied under?
After accordion lessons I was basically self-taught, but, I went to Queens College in New
York and studied under Prof. Paul Maynard, who could do things with his feet on the pipe
organ pedals that most of us will never do with our hands. He turned me on to Bach (You will analyze this sonata and you will like it). But my best teachers were the Big Three whose work I endeavored to learn and who never gave me a lesson.

4. How did you arrive at your current instrument?
I bought it. If you mean how did I decide to play keyboards, I think I answered that already, but the idea of being a multi-keyboardist was of course pioneered by the Big Three I referred to earlier, and I and a lot of other progressive music players have gone down that path because it makes such wonderful sonic textures possible.

5. When you write/play what are you trying to do or say with your music?
I'm trying to give life to an idea from God. I believe inspiration comes from God, but it's a
fleeting thing, and when He lays something on you, you'd better do something with it or it will disappear. Music exists in time, not space, and so you have to capture the moment the best you can, give it shape and be thankful.

6. What other interests outside of music do you have or had?
I'm a student of the Bible, a spiritually minded Christian most of the time I hope, and I am a big baseball and football fan (New York Yankees, New York Giants) and I have a little hobby with a table baseball game made by the APBA game company.

7. What do you consider your greatest accomplishments?
Helping raise and launch two kids who have turned out OK except that I disagree with them
on politics. I mean, what's better than seeing your kids grow up and start making their own
way? Musically, I suppose it would be managing to put out a CD and finding out a lot of people can relate to my music. On my day job, I drive trucks and have over three million miles in the bloodstream of American commerce without hurting anybody!

8. What are your musical goals?
Very simple. I want to have Kinetic Element become one of the major bands in progressive
music. I think we have a great mix of styles and influences, everyone is very good at what they do, and we have an abundance of good material waiting to be given life.

9. Any words of advice to anyone, about anything?
Stay away from music as a career. She is a very harsh mistress.

10. If you could have lunch with three people, living or dead who would they be? Why?
Man, that's tough. One would be my Lord Jesus Christ because I would want to ask him to
clarify a few things so I could find out whether I was right or not. Another would by George
Washington so I could pick his brain on liberty. And a third would be Karl Marx so I could kill him on the spot. Just kidding.

11. If you were stranded on a deserted island what 5 albums would you take with you?
Magical Mystery tour by the Beatles
The Yes Album by Yes
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis
Tarkus by Emerson Lake & Palmer

and one modern prog CD, let's see, who would it be? ....
The Flower King by Roine Stolt.

12. If you could play another instrument what would it be? Why?
It would be drums. Then I could do it all myself and not have to get everybody in a band to
agree with me. LOL

Rapid fire questions, one word or short answer.
13. What is your favorite song?  Starship Trooper (YES)
14. Favorite singer?  Jon Anderson (YES)
15. Favorite drummer?  Neal Peart (Rush)
16. Favorite keyboardist?  Keith Emerson (ELP)
17. Favorite guitarist?  Jan Akkerman (Focus) and Steve Howe (YES) It's a tossup.
18. Bass guitarist?  Chris Squire (YES)
19. If you were to have any superpower what would it be?  Flying, Who wouldn't
       want to get a bird's eye view of everything?
20. Favorite food?  I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
21. Favorite drink?  Things go better with Coke!
22. Favorite movie?  ZARDOZ (I must be the only one who even remembers it)
23. Favorite actor/actress?  Kevin Costner. Field of Dreams!!
24. Favorite color?  Blue, blue, blue, I got dem blues again mama.
25. Favorite car?  1969 Ford Cougar.
26. Favorite place to vacation?  Anyplace else than Richmond.
27. Motivational phase that you love? Don't wind up living in an a van down by the river.