Drummer Ken Harck loves two things equally…Music, and the circus. At age five he began playing the drums, while also collecting vintage circus posters. His very first kit was a Quaker Oats box, and a few pots & pans from the kitchen. Ken used to practice in the hallway, or the bathroom to enhance the sound quality and resonance. Even as a youngster, he somehow knew the tonality he wanted to hear. From the very first moment Ken sat behind a set of drums, he could already play – It was deeply embedded in his DNA. Because he was beating up the furniture, walls, and kitchenware in the house… His parents bought him a brand new set of Kent drums.
John Phillip Sousa marches and circus music were some of his earliest influences. Hearing the Sousa Band parade marchers… Ken knew instinctively that drumming between two buildings provided a much more thunderous sound - resonating deeply through the streets of downtown Chicago.
By age eleven, he was already playing in bands with high school juniors and seniors. It was somewhat surreal with Ken outside playing with his toys when the guys picked him up for practice. Like many drummers in 1964, the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show changed the direction of Ken’s life forever. Beginning freshman year of high school he was a member of the band and orchestra. He was also regularly winning numerous awards for rudimental drumming…His many accomplishments were achieved while also touring with rock bands every weekend.
Early on, Ken enjoyed playing in the style of John Bonham, and Keith Moon knowing he must play loudly to be heard. In the days before drum monitors, he was up against guitar players with stacks of Marshall amps. Playing material by Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Mountain…Ken had to cut through the guitars, and bass with some serious volume of his own.
In 1976 he moved to Los Angeles, California to play with bassist Glen Cornick of Jethro Tull…Later replaced by Foreigner’s Bruce Trien. He played with legendary session piano player Nicky Hopkins who had worked with the Rolling’s Stones, The Who, The Beatles and Jeff Beck. Ken also performed with ‘Badfinger’ - 1977 -1978, and Off-Broadway from 1978 to 1984. The original members of Off Broadway have since re-grouped, and are still playing to this day. Ken also enjoys sharing stories from his LA studio days, and his brushes with fame – Including: Tom Petty, Cher, Gregg Allman, and Keith Richards.
To this day, Ken hits the drums loudly using a snapping motion rather than just beating on them with a sledgehammer technique. “Nowadays, all one needs to produce the most thunderous sounds on the bandstand, are great drums, and a great soundman… Onstage, this will give you the confidence of a ‘gunslinger from the wild west”. He is proud to say the Chicago Drums Ken Harck “Pretty Things Series” is perfect for loud bombastic hard rock drummers who want to embrace Ken’s ‘take no prisoners’ sound and approach.
Ken’s most recent work, includes co-writing and recording with Mimi Betinis of Pez Band… While rejoining with the original members of Off Broadway – Vocalist Cliff Johnson, bassist John Pazden, and guitarists John Ivan and Rob Harding. Today, Ken is mentoring drummers, and young musicians alike -While also teaching production and the business of music.
Ken Harck - Facebook
Off Broadway - Facebook
Off Broadway - "Stay in Time" - Arcada Theater, St. Charles, IL - 09/15/18
“Off Broadway, Power pop group from Chicago, is one of the Midwest's finest rock bands that emerged from the early 1980s. In 1999, due to a new wave of power pop-inspired bands that sounded very much like Off Broadway, four members of the original band got back together--original lead singer Cliff Johnson, Rob Harding, Ken Harck and Mike Gorman. Throughout the years, Off Broadway has developed a mature perspective on their material and delivery, which translates most effectively—with reciprocation—to their loyal, growing audiences”.
Ken Harck Partial Discography
Badfinger – Apple Records, on Elektra Records
Off Broadway – Atlantic Records
Live at Fitzgerald’s
Wild Blue – Chrysalis Records
James Young (Styx) Band