Peter Kersten -- Banjo, Tenor Guitar, Vocals --
The Shingle Shakers & Banjos, Buckets and Brass
Peter Kersten, banjo, tenor guitar, vocals, started playing banjo as a teenager in Appleton, Wisconsin. His first gig was with a polka band consisting of an accordion, saxophone and drums. For all he knew, they were playing the same song all night long. He didn't know the chords or the melody. Fifty-two years later not much has changed.
Pete began to sit in with Bob Striebel and George Gilmore at the Shakey's Pizza in Columbia, Missouri where he was an instructor of Russian at the University of Missouri from 1967 to 1972, then Assistant Professor of same.
When Bob Streibel and George Gilmore moved on, Pete, Mark Hulse, Dan Kelley, Eric Roberts and Doug Cronister formed the Shingle Shakers. With a little help from the guys, Pete built a stage at Shakey's resembling an old fashioned front porch. He installed a sound system, lights, artwork created by Shingle Shaker fan, Mac McClusky and the band was on its way.
When The Shingle Shakers moved to the Village Inn Pizza Parlor, Pete stayed at Shakey's and changed the name of the band to Banjos, Buckets and Brass. New players included Chuck Harrington on washboard, Miles Brown on washtub bass, Larry Graebner on tuba and returning George Gilmore and Bob Striebel. Banjos, Buckets, and Brass produced its one and only LP album recorded live at the Village Inn. Pete adds, "Saturday night (11/03/2004), in Columbia, a woman showed up at D. Rowe's restaurant with a copy of the old LP. George Gilmore and I autographed it."
Pete left the band in 1973, moving to Nashville to work as a property manager for a wholesale book company and later a bank. In Nashville, he played at the Shakey's on Gallitan Rd, Opryland Amusement Park, The Becky Thatcher river boat and in numerous studio recording sessions.
In 1981 Pete and his wife Linda moved to Kansas City where he worked for The Travelers Insurance Company, Southmark Properties and finally the Girl Scouts of Mid-Continent Council from which he will retire in January of 2005.
Pete is the banjo, guitar and vocalist for the nationally renowned festival and recording band, The New Red Onion Jazz Babies. He is also one of the founding members of The Twelfth Street Revue jazz band, playing in and around the Kansas City area. Pete gets a great kick out the annual reunion gigs with the "youngsters" in the Shingle Shakers band and looks forward to the next event.