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Marty Fera

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After enjoying more than 30 wonderful years as a working musician in Los Angeles with the likes of Joe Cocker, Vince Gill, CoCo Montoya, The Temptations, Bruce Willis, The Malibooz, Johnny Rivers, Walter Egan and a lengthy job with Glenn Frey, Martin Fera moved to Maui in 2015. He was thinking it might be time to explore new adventures life had to offer.

He just never imagined there would be a chapter two, but about a year ago the island’s popular artist, Grammy nominated and 19-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, Willie K (William Awihilima Kahaiali'i), sought him out to join his band.

Chapter one began early. Fera was born to play music. Both his parents were musicians in the Los Angeles studio scene.

“I thought everybody was a musician; that that’s what everybody did,” Fera says.

As a kid, Fera would go to work with his mother and hang out in back with the drummers such as Shelly Manne, John Guerin and Harvey Mason.

Fera gravitated towards the drums, but his parents leveraged that instrument with the demand that he learn the piano first. Once he satisfied that request, they agreed to allow him to start on the drums, but only if he took them seriously. He just wanted to be in a rock n roll band, but mom and dad signed the 8-year-old up for lessons with Lou Singer who kept him on snare drum for two years before allowing him to progress to the kit. When Singer passed away when Fera was about 13, Fera’s father took him for lessons with Joe Porcaro.

Fera played drums in the jazz and marching bands throughout middle and high school and then he enrolled in the inaugural year of Hollywood’s Percussive Institute of Technology (P.I.T.).

After a year he landed his first steady gig with a country-rock band called Baywood and had to leave school, always intending to return to P.I.T.

He did, about four years later when the band finished its run and concluded his education with Joe Porcaro, Steve Houghton and Ralph Humphrey.

Right from there, came Fera’s string of great fortune. He began playing with a band called The Heaters, which included some fun backing Bruce Willis and cutting the Willis/Pointer sisters Billboard No. 5 hit “Respect Yourself.”

More important was the fact that Glenn Frey would hang out with the band because their keyboard player was working with Frey and eventually he nabbed Fera to work in his own band.

Mostly prior to the Eagles reunion, during the late ‘80s and ‘90s Fera toured with Frey, although the band did some dates into the next decade.

“It was the gig you dream about when you’re a kid,” Fera says. “Every song we played was a hit, we travelled first class all the way – Lear jets, hotels, everything. Pretty good for a kid who wasn’t even yet 30.”

Fera says he learned how to be the ideal sideman and support the artist. He also recorded Frey’s Live record, captured at Dublin’s The Stadium, after which he says Joe Walsh joined the band as well as Joe Vitale with whom he played double drums and they went out as the Glenn Frey/Joe Walsh Party of Two.

“It was a 17-piece band at full strength and it was great,” Fera marvels. “Glenn Frey was a very great opportunity.”

While in Hawaii Fera has enjoyed limited engagements with some of the local celebrities like Mick Fleetwood and a band Patrick Simmons put together that also included John McFee and Dave Mason.

The gig with Willie K came out of left field and Fera is loving it. He plays every kind of music including traditional Hawaiian, blues, rock n roll, swing, Latin and R&B.

“He has a five-octave vocal range,” says Fera, who also records with the artist. “He sings opera.”

Fera explains the show is a mix of originals and covers. He calls the performance unique and says everything he’s learned up to now has prepared him for this.

“It’s all from the hip. He’s very organic,” Fera says. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s like nothing else. It’s very special.”