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There’s one musician with real mojo

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Kit Karlson tuba

There’s one musician who has real instrument mojo: That’s Kit Karlson who played tuba in the UMass marching band, unbeknownst to his SK6ERS bandmates while they were students.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers will not, alas, perform in Utah this summer. But who needs them?

We have Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers performing a show on May 11 [in Salt Lake], who offer their own fresh take on the rootsy, all-American rock that Petty was known for in his prime.

Tom Petty can be considered a point of reference for Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, which launched at the University of Massachusetts. Lead singer Kellogg, bassist and keyboard player Kit “The Goose” Karlson, drummer Boots Factor and electric-guitar and pedal-steel player Sam “Steamer” Getz were chosen as the backing band for a Tom Petty tribute night when they were booked to perform on the Cayamo cruise in February.

The quartet knew Petty’s music from random cover versions it had performed over the years, though it did run into some problems. “We didn’t know what we were getting into,” Kellogg said. “We loved playing those songs [but] we should have rehearsed. That would have been the responsible thing to do.”

The country- and folk-influenced rock band is proud that each musician has mojo: Each knows how to play each of the other members’ instruments, which can lead to freewheeling jam sessions onstage. The idea was that the Sixers wanted to emulate The Band, who were made up of multi-instrumentalists, Factor said.

But there’s one musician who has real instrument mojo: That’s Karlson who played tuba and percussion in the UMass marching band, unbeknownst to his bandmates while they were students.

“We didn’t find out he played tuba until five years into the band,” Kellogg said. “His mother was using it as a planter. He breaks it out once in a while.”

One thing is sure about Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: No one plays tuba.

— Adapted from the Salt Lake Tribune