kai andersen & the pickups


We are Kai Andersen & tHe pickups





Kai andersen & the pickups show dates


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Kai Andersen making his mark


Kai Andersen, 29, of Salem, has led his self-titled band, Kai Andersen and The Pickups, for more than two years. The band has been playing in its current configuration for about a year. 

Andersen says he tired of playing acoustic by himself, so he expanded to include more members.

“I wanted to fill out the sound and do more with it,” said Andersen.

The band released an EP, called Part 1, this past February — a collection of five songs that have an “overriding love theme with a twist.” Part 2 is slated to be released this fall.

Kai Andersen and The Pickups will be the opening band at HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 15).

Let’s go “On the Beat” with Andersen:


vocals, guitar, violin

When did you begin performing?

“I started in grade school around sixth grade. I played a Beatles song in a talent show. I loved it. I played semi-professionally for a few years in my early 20s. When I was 23, I started playing full time, but I’ve been playing in bands since high school.”

How would you classify the music you play?

“We like to say American rock because it’s kind of general. I’d say we’re a mix of Ryan Adams and the Gin Blossoms.”

What inspires your music?

“I’ve been writing songs about Kenosha lately. They’re not all positive, but it helps to write about what you know. About experiences.”

What is your most notable childhood musical memory?

“I was always into the Beatles. I think that’s what made me want to be a musician and be on stage. I don’t think there was a specific moment. I saw the Beatles’ movie, ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ and that was super cool. It made me want to get a Beatles haircut.”

Who influenced you the most?

“My favorite musical people would have to be Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty — people like that.”

What is your favorite piece to perform?

“We have a new song called ‘These Things.’ It’s probably our favorite. It’s got a three-part harmony. It’s a generic love song set to cool music. It’s just fun to play live.”

What do you hope the audience takes from your performances?

“Just to have fun mainly is the number one thing. If they buy our album that’s great, too.”

What makes your performances unique?

“I think for Kenosha we are one of the few bands that writes most if not all of our music. On a national level we work very hard. We’re willing to go outside the Midwest to play.”

Do you have an anecdote from being on the road?

“There’s been some weird stuff. We broke down in the desert last summer in the middle of Arizona. We ran out of gas. We were stranded in the middle of the desert with scorpions and the whole vultures circling. AAA actually couldn’t find us. We eventually found a tow company that brought us some gas for some ridiculous amount.”


On the Beat: Catching up with a ‘Pickup’ artist


Patrick Greer drives the bass in Kai Andersen’s group


Patrick Greer, 28, first picked up the bass guitar when he was 22 and is now the “Pickups” portion of the band Kai Andersen & the Pickups.


Greer at a glance

Check out Greer with Kai Andersen & the Pickups at :

* R’Noggin Brewing Co., 6521 120th Ave., 7 p.m. March 11

* Public Craft Brewing Co., 716 58th St., 7 p.m. March 18

Social media/website:;

Talent/instruments: bass guitar, saxophone, various styles of dance


When did you begin performing?

“I’ve been on the stage since I was 9 years old. I started as a dancer. I also did a little acting. I started in sixth grade with the saxophone. I was a dancer for most of my young life. Tap was one of the things I did, so rhythm was always a natural thing for me. I’ve done ballet, jazz, hip hop. I did it in college and got to teach it. I was teaching dance when I picked up the bass (guitar).”


How would you classify the music you play?

“Our producer has put us under (the genre) alternative country. We self-identify more along the lines of a very broad indie rock. We’re original American rock.”


What is your favorite type of music to play?

“What we create the most — American rock. I grew up on a bunch of different genres. My mother listened to a lot of country. Of course when I hit my teen years, I had to rebel. I fell in love with metal and the emotional scene. A lot of post-punk.”


Do you have a hand in writing your music?

“I write the bass lines. So, Kai comes with the chords and melodies and generally some lyrics. We kind of lock ourselves in the back room of the studio and keep playing the song until it makes sense.”


What is your most notable childhood musical memory?

“My first concert was a Garth Brooks concert. I was super young, maybe 6 or 7. I remember my sister falling asleep in the middle of the concert. We were at the United Center in Chicago and there’s just people screaming, lights and sound — my sister, who is two years younger than me, is just passed out. She could sleep through a tornado.

“That was the night he smashed his guitar and that was the image they used on his multiple disc album.

“I just thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ It was so real to me. I said to myself, ‘I want to be up there having that much fun all the time.’

“That’s where my passion for music started.”


Who has influenced you?

“My sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Warmen. I was going through some tough times. I grew up without a dad, and sixth grade is hard for people. I was probably dancing for about three years already. I was nervous and excited, and I would get into fights with all these kids. It was scary. I remember she (Mrs. Warmen) wrote a letter to my mother and it said that ‘Patrick is a really unique kid and that one day she’d see my name in lights.’ I was in sixth grade and that’s what she thought of me. It’s what I think of every day when I wake up.”


What is your favorite song to perform?

“We just wrote a new song that we have yet to record. It’s developed into something so cool. It’s called ‘Vampire Tan.’ It’s this real rock song. People compare it to Tom Petty. It’s very much inspired by Tom Petty, especially when I play it. It’s just so much fun to play live.”


What are your plans for the future?

“Right now we’re raising money to record our album. ... Not that if I don’t make this record, I’ll quit music, but if I don’t make this record it’s going to be something that I’ll regret for the rest of my life. That drives me to keep playing, so we can get bigger audiences, so we can put all that money back into the band. We’re in this to continue to do it, so we can make a career out of something we love so much.”

© Copyright Kenosha News.



Pickup artists

By Paddy Fineran

Kai Andersen & The Pickups have been kicking around the Midwest the past couple of years, along with other stops in New York City, Austin, St. Louis and Phoenix.

The band has been steadily winning fans and gaining ears for their unique quiet sort of indie rock. 

The songs are well crafted, with solid melodies and Andersen’s heartfelt vocals on top. 

With stuff this good, I’m guessing that just going out to a club to hear Kai Andersen & The Pickups — while pretty darn tasty in its own right — doesn’t quite complete the picture for you. 

You hear the band in a nice venue and have a great time. Then you wake up the next morning and want more. You want to pop in a Kai Andersen & The Pickups EP into the player but alas, there is no such thing. That changes today. The band is having a Release Party tonight for the first part of a two-part hard copy EP at Fusion. Doors open at 7:30 for the 8 p.m. show. Admission is $6.

Kai Andersen & The Pickups perform starting at 8 tonight (Feb. 27) at Fusion, 5014 Seventh Ave.



Part I EP

by Kai Andersen & The Pickups