Pentwater's Ken Kappel
Celesta, Elka, EML
101 synthesizer, Hammond organ,
Ken Kappel first met Mike Konopka when Ken's family moved to Morton Grove, Illinois when he was seven years old. Mike came to Ken's birthday party. At Golf Grade School they pretended to be the Beatles at recess. Ken was Paul and Mike was George. It must have been destiny that when they were older they would form a real band, Pentwater. Ken bought a Farfisa organ and joined his first band when he was in 7th grade. It was called Liquid Tension, and the leader was his cousin, Ron Fox. Less than a year later, after playing a few school dances, Liquid Tension broke up. Ken then joined his second band with his high school guitar player brother, Rick. Crystal Ship was a rock band with brass, and they played jr. high, high school and college dances. During this time, Ken met Phil Goldman who was forming a band with Mike. Quickly they become good friends and Ken left Crystal Ship to form a band with Mike and Phil in 8th grade. The name of the band was Oceanna County Pioneers and Businessman's Band. This would lay the first seeds that would soon become Pentwater. While in high school, they joined forces with Tom Orsi, and Ron LeSaar to become Pentwater River which was later shortened to Pentwater.
Ken, a classically trained musician, studied music at the Chicago Musical College (CMC) of Roosevelt University. There he studied both traditional music composition and electronic music composition. He also composed music at the CMC, on what was in the '70s one of the largest Moog synthesizers in the U.S. His use of the analog synth is very apparent in the music of Pentwater. Ken is currently a database engineer, but stays musically active doing studio work with his old Pentwater band mates, playing his Yamaha piano at home, and composing on his computer. Since Pentwater, he has also played in a "copy-tune" band performing in Chicagoland clubs. He says he does it for the fun of the rush of playing live music in front of an audience.
Ken reflects, "My favorite Pentwater moments were learning new songs. I just loved the challenge and the creative high. ...but there's nothing like playing live in front of large crowds as we did opening for Rush and Hawkwind. In the final analysis, the best thing about being a part of Pentwater was the incredible friendships we had."