“A teaspoon of Elvis Costello, a half pint of Paul McCartney, a gallon of Joey Ramone and just a dash of Rick Nielsen…put it in your nose, mouth or oven on a Saturday night. By 2AM you’ll have something resembling the likes of Kurt Baker. Repeat often.”
Kurt Baker is a singer, songwriter and rock n’ roll performer from Portland, Maine who has always gone by the famous saying “Have a Good Time All the Time”. He is a founding member of the notable pop/punk outfit the Leftovers, who formed in 2002 and released many acclaimed records and toured all over North America and Europe. Kurt Baker’s signature unique blend of ultra catchy Beach Boys/Beatles styled melodies under a relentless wall of high energy guitars and pounding rhythms have earned him the praise of Larry Livermore (founder of Lookout Records), Ben Weasel (Screeching Weasel) and Jaret Reddick (Bowling For Soup).
Kurt emerged as a solo artist with a “labor of love” solo EP, “Got It Covered”, (2010 Oglio Records). Produced by Los Angeles based pop genius, Linus of Hollywood, “Got It Covered” featured Baker’s take on some of his favorite Power Pop songs of the 70’s and 80’s and featured guest appearances from Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo) and Adam Marcello (Katy Perry). Kurt’s love of these classic songs all had one thing in common- “a key sense of melody.. and melody has always been the most important aspect of music to me. If you have a catchy hook in your song, you can do no wrong. I’ve always strived to write music that is catchy and fun.. that will be stuck in your head for hours after listening”
After a successful solo-tour of Europe in the fall of 2010, backed by Italy’s best Power Pop band, The Radio Days, Baker focused on taking his solo act back to the USA. A brief stint of shows throughout the Midwest brought together a group of musicians featuring Mike Bryne (the Methadones), Wyatt Funderburk (Second Saturday), Geoff Useless (the Guts) & Craig Sala (Planeside), to make up the Kurt Baker Band.
By January 2011, Baker had recruited longtime friends Josh Malia (The Taxis, Hi Fivin White Guys) and Kris Rodgers (Goodnight Process) into the fold. They soon returned to the studio to record the new album “Rockin’ For A Living”. The album was released in October of 2011 and was critically acclaimed as one of the best power pop records of the year by writers David Bash (International Pop Overthrow) and John Borak (Goldmine Magazine). The Kurt Baker Band toured across Western Europe playing sold out shows in Spain and Italy in support of “Rockin’” and enlisted Adam Cargin (Screeching Weasel, the Riverdales) on drums. 2012 saw the recoridng of the EP “Want You Around” on Jolly Ronnie Records, which featured guest apperances by Dan Schafer (Screeching Weasel, the Riverdales) and Rev. Nørb. Following the release of “Want You Around”, and tours of the Midwest and East Coast (supporting acts such as Tommy Stinson, The Offspring) Kurt and the gang prepared to release the follow up to “Rockin’ for a Living”, a ambitcious 10 song LP titled “Brand New Beat”, an album that was produced and recorded by Wyatt Funderburk and to be released on Geoff Palmer and Kurt’s new independent label Collector’s Club Records on Oct. 30th 2012. Vinyl of “Brand New Beat” will be released in the USA by Jolly Ronnie Records and in Europe by Torrezentes Entertainment. More tours of Europe and the United States have been planned into 2013 to support the record.
When looking at what drives Kurt’s musical passion, he can pinpoint the second his life was changed by music. “The first record I ever loved was “Rubber Soul” by the Beatles. I must have been 5 years old when my uncle played me his cassette tape in his gigantic van as we drove through the rolling hills of Wisconsin. I’ll never forget the feeling that I felt when I first heard the opening chords of “Drive My Car” and the rockin’ shuffle of “The Word”.. even the melodic 12 string intro of Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone” hit me as something totally new and foreign. The songs in “Rubber Soul” just struck something in me.. it was exciting, and almost indescribable. I finally felt like I understood something.”
Kurt Baker on the Interwebs:
“There are a couple of things I pride myself in, buy first is my ability to spot raw talent. The first time I met the Leftovers – goofy teens from Maine who drove ten hours just to play a free party in Queens – I knew they were the real thing. Kurt Baker’s got an ear for pop melody that only comes along a few times in a generation, and a true love for the minutiae and history of rock ‘n’ roll. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next.” – Jim Testa, Jersey Beat
“Kurt Baker is an amalgamation of all my favorite things. He’s got a biting vocal swagger (reminiscent of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson), a comprehensive knowledge of classic pop music, a lovable Joey Ramone-esque personality and the songwriting chops of a man twice his age. I’m continuously excited by his creativity, positivity and prolificness.” - Linus of Hollywood