Vienna to Venice
It is the summer of 2001. Ken, a recent music school graduate, is residing in Northern Virginia and working at a non-profit dot.com. At night he writes songs on his acoustic guitar, usually in his apartment closet to avoid disturbing his roommate. On most Tuesdays he can be found at an open mic night in nearby Vienna, testing out new songs and studying other local artists. Within a year he has put together a band and is gaining some local attention. He decides to move back to Los Angeles to pursue something bigger. Around the same time, University of Pittsburgh: Ed is learning to appreciate 'quarter draft night' at the local bars. He is your typical college guitar player, busting out Dave Matthews requests with his roommate for all of the underage coeds in his dorm. After graduating in 2003, Ed packs his Jeep and commences a solo cross-country roadtrip to Los Angeles in search of a job in the music industry. A year later, Ed is working a booth at every major porn convention in the country. 2004, New Haven, Connecticut: Ken is performing at a national student event at Yale University. He meets Helen, who leans against his merch table in a Ken Oak tank top in an effort to bolster sales. Later that year, Helen visits Los Angeles and insists that Ken come out and meet her friend 'Boomer'. Ken is reluctant, as is Boomer, but Helen's persistence and Tina Turner swagger finds them talking to one another across sizzling Korean barbeque, wearing bibs. Amidst a flurry of nonsense, Ken remembers one line: 'You have to meet my roommate, Ed. He works for a record label.' Ed and Ken meet that Saturday at the El Rey theater on Wilshire Blvd., both checking out different bands. After the show, Ed and Boomer introduce Ken to an evolved pharmaceutical device. In a state of communal understanding, Ken puts his CD on the stereo despite numerous warnings from Ed that he 'would listen to it, but not tonight.' Two months later, on Halloween, Ken and Ed play their first acoustic show together at Highland Grounds in Hollywood. Ken is dressed as Waldo and Ed is Gunnar Nelson. And so begins the shameless journey of the Ken Oak Band. With Ed now on rhythm guitar, Ken dusts off his old high school cello and begins experimenting with it as a bass and lead instrument. Ed encourages him to sing and play at the same time. This proves to be rather difficult and for a few painful months, the band sucks. They keep playing. A few months later, they are decent. By fall of 2005, Ken and Ed are on their first self-booked national tour. By spring of 2006, they are playing their second one. Halloween of 2006 is now approaching and Ken and Ed have shared the stage over 200 times since their first show at Highland Grounds two years ago. This does not include the hundreds of sets they have played at Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, just a few blocks from Venice Beach. Street performing (aka 'busking') has taught them new levels of humility. Other recent accomplishments include a song placement in the Dreamworks film She's the Man, an excellent write-up in Billboard Magazine, a few notable tv performances, embarking on their third national tour, and finishing a new album that they hope will knock the socks directly off your feet. The duo teamed up with veteran rock producer Duane Baron (Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Tracy Chapman, Dream Theater) for their latest effort, Vienna to Venice. Having penned most of the songs while touring the country in Ken's Honda Element, the album chronicles their individual journeys from East to West, loves come and gone, and the personal growth they have experienced in all of the moments in between.