Michael Caloroso is the latest addition,
bringing his keyboard talent to round out the refreshing sound of Tom Egan
& The Mojo Boogie Band. After progressing through a series of
classic rock and top 40 bands, he has found where he belongs: Rhythm &
Blues. It almost never happened.
Mike just happened to land his eye
on a newspaper ad in a section where he seldom frequents: "Keyboard player
wanted for Blues Band". He thought that a blues band would be a different
twist from anything he'd done. It became the most satisfying experience
he has ever had.
Winding up our Wayback Machine, when
Mike was in his "terrible twos" he could be found picking out melodies
on the family piano after planting himself in front of the home stereo
speakers for hours. His father had a large model railroad layout
and a bench full of tools, where Mike learned to fix things and make little
projects. In fact, Mike's first intelligible word was a curse word
(much to the dismay of his mother), which was attributed to hearing his
father's frustrations trying to keep the train from jumping the track.
Back to the piano he went.
Piano lessons began at age five and
continued through college. Mike wrote his first song when he was seven,
a silly song about his cat that to this day his mother never ceases to
tease him about. Along the way he participated in school orchestras,
jazz ensembles, volunteer bands, choir, and informal jams with friends
after school. In addition to honing his arranging and playing skills
working with groups, he developed a keen awareness of what other musicians
were playing and learned what to play from the heart. When
you hear the Mojo Boogie band play Rhythm & Blues, it comes from the
heart. It's real music.
Paralleling Mike's musical education
was his engineering skills. On one occasion a neighbor called to ask Mike's
father if he could help wire up his train set, and in his absence
seven-year-old Mikey was sent to help. Mike got the train set wired
up and running and the neighbor was quite delighted until it occurred to
him that this seven-year-old boy was helping an adult wire up a simple
Having been fascinated with tinkering
with toy trains since childhood, Mike discovered the inside of a radio
and took it apart to learn how it worked. Imagine his father's disgust
when the radio no longer worked after Mike put it back together.
That progressed to building circuits from magazines and designing his own
fixes for things that broke. An engineer in the making. When he reached
college age, Mike pondered at the crossroads: a career in music or a career
in engineering? It was the age of Disco. He wisely chose engineering.
Mike's older brother had taken piano
lessons and then took up guitar, and the two of them formed their
first band together. They were hooked when they performed on the
stage with that band for the first time in 1981. Those were the days
when the drinking age was still 18!
Mike earned his Bachelor's degree
in Electronic Engineering Technology and worked in bands to help pay for
school. Both his musical and engineering skills progressed during
this period and by the time Mike had graduated, he was an accomplished
multi-instrumentalist (piano,bass, drums, and guitar) and an experienced
technician at keeping his electronic music gear running. Even after
entering the profession, he continued to wear dual hats: by day he was
senior engineer, by night he was rock-n-roll rebel.
Mike maintained a passion in old
analog synthesizers since he built one from a kit in 1981. When they
fell out of fashion during the 80s he bought many dream keyboards at bargain
basement prices, knowing full well that they were better sounding instruments
than the latest fancy digital dinner bells that everybody else was clamoring
to buy. Today those old analog keyboards are worth a pretty penny, while
the value of the "digital" keyboards have dwindled to near nothing.
The old analog keyboards also offered another engineering challenge to
Mike: how to keep them working when parts are scarce and how to keep them
from going out of tune. Applying what he learned from his profession,
he got them up and running like they were brand new. Through sharing
his experience on the internet to thousands of budding analog keyboard
hungry for technical information
on the "old stuff", Mike was offered a position on the beta test and sound
design team for the new Alesis "Andromeda" keyboard, the first polyphonic
analog synthesizer built since 1985.
Mike is involved in many styles of
music, but blues is where his heart is at. The Tom Egan & The
Mojo Boogie band has been Mike's most satisfying experience to date, and
the experience is made more pleasant by the fact that the personalities
of the band members mesh together,
it's the right chemistry.
This is a hard thing to find in any band. When the chemistry is right,
making the music is easy and fun. You can see it in their faces when
they play at your favorite bar.