Bert (Berthold) Erdmann
Born and raised in Germany; first contact with musical instruments at the age of 10 – picked up and learned to play the trumpet. Participated in several different groups as active member (orchestras, brass bands, marching bands, military big bands, etc.). In ’95 joined the funk/soul/rock band Mayflower. Played in Mayflower’s brass section at several successful local venues (e.g. Cafe Hahn, Hof Aspich etc.) and open air festivals, as well as several gigs in Switzerland. The band recorded a live CD in ’97. Played with Mayflower until ’98.
Picked up the guitar at the age of 16. First guitar, a classical nylon guitar, was a gift from the parents. Bought his first electric in the age of 18. Co-founded his first original band in ’83 – the band’s name changed from RGO to Century Event and finally became Dreamdelay. In this formation he played solely the rhythm guitar. After parting from two of the original co-founders in ’86, the band evolved into a 8 piece formation – Red Label, after adding musicians on the brass section, the keyboards and on the backing vocals. With Red Label he was “forced” to sharpen up on the lead guitar. Red Label semi-successfully appeared live on few selected venues, and had it’s last gig in Luzy, France in ’96.
Moved to the United States in ’98 and joined the Kewanee, IL based band Maxx Savvy in 2001. Started the KayaMBeE project with his Maxx Savvy band mate Kerry in 2003.
Throughout his musical career, he has participated in several recordings which have been released either on vinyl records, cassette tape or on CD, on both of his main instruments, trumpet and guitar.
Bert has been participating in the project band Incognito Souls as musician and producer/recording engineer. He has also been involved with the band Antru Zel, who he is friends with since 2006, also as a recording engineer/producer. At the beginning of 2009 he was active as a guitar player with the cover band Smoke, “to keep up the chops” as he says; “After all, I’m the most interested in putting a band together to perform our KayaMBeE material with a full blown band…”, which is exactly what ended up happening in 2010, when he introduced his Smoke band mates Bob and Rodney to KayaMBeE…
Here is what Kerry has to say about Bert:
“I first met Bert when I joined up with Maxx Savvy in 2002. We didn’t immediately hit it off. In fact, I thought he was the one that didn’t like me. After a few months of practicing with the band, I coaxed him into joining me for a beer at Leo’s Illini Tap. This was no easy task as Bert traditionally abstains from libations of any sort but, I quickly learned he had an ulterior motive. Once we got there and starting talking, he said that he really wanted to focus on writing and recording original tunes. Hearing this, I quickly deduced that he was a bit of a nutter. “Uh, yeah…sound good.” I said as I actually was thinking “What an awful idea!” He said that he had this idea for a song and he wanted me to come up with some lyrics for it. He wanted it to be about dealing with divorce. I came up with some lyrics but had trouble with melodies that didn’t suck. I went to his house with my ideas and he completely twisted them into something I never would have dreamed of. The result was “Carpe Diem”, an awesome song and the first song we ever wrote and recorded together. Pretty much every song we have done since then has followed the same sequence. He has an idea and I think he is crazy. I present my lyrics and melodies and he says “not bad…but what if you tried this?” and I know he is crazy. I try his suggestions and they turn out 10 times better than i would have dreamed. Thank god he is crazy. We lay the tracks and I think the song is pretty much done so I leave thinking I have a pretty good idea what he is going to add instrumentally after I am gone. I come back later and he hasn’t done anything remotely close to what I had anticipated. Hallelujah! I didn’t take me long to trust Bert’s musical instincts and his ability to create something out of anything I hand to him, no matter how bizarre or off the wall it may be. A very wise man once said, “you can’t manufacture inspirado.” I am living proof to the contrary as Bert builds inspiration in me every time we collaborate.”