Members: Jeff Klinedinst, lead vocals; Scott Kohler, guitars; Anne Gross Mansberger, drums; Dave Gettys, percussion; Shane Krout, bass; Kevin Beichner, guitars
Who we talked to: Klinedinst
Thirty years as a band is a big accomplishment. What it means is that you're old. We started this when I was 17. I never had a real inclination to do this. One time, a couple of friends said, "Hey, we're going to start this band and play at some church thing." Those people are long gone, and we've added folks in. It started out as a group that went to Dover High School. A couple of us stayed together for a really long time. Scott ... has been there almost since the beginning. We were in each other's weddings and everything else.
Has the band name stayed the same, or has that gone through different versions? (When) we started off ... the name of the band was Future Pilot. We probably did more travel then. We were hooked up with agencies in the Baltimore/Washington (D.C.) area. We were doing it five or six nights a week. People really glamorize it. It takes what you had fun doing part time and makes it a job. Even though we were a full-time band, most nights ... I was driving home, getting up the next morning, going to work (and) then driving back down after work. We had a great time because we all liked each other, but it was a test.
How did you end up with Kasper? We were in a recording studio. We decided that Future Pilot wasn't going to be a band anymore. We were going to make our sound a little heavier. We were trying to think of a name for a band. You get five people sitting around trying to think of a name, and most of the ideas are really stupid. This one probably was, too. There was a rug on the floor that was Casper the Friendly Ghost. We said, "Well, we'll call it Casper, but we have to, of course, make it a rock band name. So, we have to put a K there." That was 1989.
What are the keys to longevity as a band? You have to have a good group of people. We've all grown up together. We just recently had lost one of the ... founding members, who finally decided (to go) his own way. He decided (to) take more interest in his family and work. We still talk. (The band doesn't) really have the big commitment that (it) used to have. You play enough so that you don't have to get together and cram all the songs before the show. I think the reason it lasted (is because) we were pretty good at it. We have a lot of singers and do a lot of harmony. We probably have more fun practicing than we have at the shows. We make each other laugh. We don't have to be appropriate.
Who are your musical influences? We started out in the early '80s ... and all of us liked heavier music, but we had a lot of singers. We gravitated to what was popular at the time, like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. We did a lot of Journey, and we still do a lot of that stuff. We do a lot of new stuff, too. We really try to keep our stuff updated. There was a time (in the) early 2000s, where nobody really had many vocalists. We ... ended up not doing a lot of that stuff. (We do) stuff that we like. I guess now we sound old fashioned, but that's the kind of stuff we grew up on. And we have a female drummer, which sort of set us apart, especially in the '80s.
When did you decide to throw a party to celebrate the milestone? We like to (play) in the summer (but) bars are really dead ... and it's no fun playing and trying to convince people to come out to see you. We schedule a couple of things a year where we're outdoors. This party, we control it. So, we sell tickets. Footlight Ranch is a great place ... to see a show, because it's got this huge swimming pool. We like to have all-age shows where people can bring their families because ... people who watch us now have kids and grandkids. We do it because it's fun, and it's fun to play outside.
Your son is now a musician. Is it cool to see him at the same age that you were when you started a band? It's weird. Again, that makes you feel really old. I never really thought that this would be something that he would get into. My wife said, "Let's give him guitar lessons." He liked the idea of guitar, because I can't play guitar. I can't give him any advice. He sort of took to the guitar. He probably loves it more than I ever did. It's fun watching him do it. It's really neat for the guys in the band, too (who) held him as a little baby. Now, they're jamming next to him on stage. You get to be the proud dad.
Kasper also recently released an album. The CD has been out for a couple of months. We hadn't done a CD in a long time. When I started the CD, Kasper (was) sort of on a break. We've been really fortunate (that) we added two guys, with Shane and with Kevin (who) could have be in the band from the very beginning. They just are the kind of guys (who) make it an easy thing to do. A lot of people take that for granted.
Are you planning to do this for 30 more years? No. I think that's what makes it a special time right now. I was the first one to 50. Dave is turning 50. We're getting older. I wouldn't trade the sound we have now. I'd like to look like I did in '89 or '85. We'll do it as long as it's fun and as long as people come out and see us every now and then.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
If you go
The York County band Kasper will celebrate its 30th birthday and new CD, "At The Rock" with a party Saturday at Footlight Ranch,
380 Kralltown Road, Wellsville.
Brassai, which features Zach Klinedinst, the son of Kasper lead singer Jeff Klinedinst, will open the show.
Tickets for the Kasper End Of Summer Party are $12 in advance for those
21 and older and $15 at the door.
Tickets are $5 for those younger than 21.
For details and tickets, visit kaspertheband.com.
Read more meet-the-artist interviews:flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory