Katz 22: The Ultimate Classic Rock & Roll Experience

“Katz 22: The Ultimate Classic Rock & Roll Experience” has kicked off 2024 with a sold-out show at the West Shore Theatre in downtown New Cumberland. The beautiful historic West Shore Theatre was the perfect location for a full experience rock and roll show. As the doors opened, the crowd quickly filled in, got their drinks and popcorn, and took their seats. Local CBS news anchor Steve Knight took the stage and introduced the opening act, “The Resistors.” Within minutes, it was clear that the band knew how to arouse a crowd, and the full house had shown up to Rock and Roll and have a good time. The 70/40 mix of music and comedy got the crowd loosened up for the main event, Katz 22.

When Katz 22 hit the stage, it was full-blown rock show madness. The crowd was pumped up, and the band could feel it. Switching styles and trading harmonies, Katz 22 never seems to be outdone or out of range. The band plays a wide variety of classic rock hits from Kansas, Jefferson Starship, Journey, Tom Petty, The Cars, Prince, Heart, Santana, and just about any other band that comes to mind when you think of the heavy hitters of the classic Rock and Roll era.

How does Katz 22 pull off such a diverse and ever-changing setlist? You would think that would be quite the task, but for the band, it comes almost naturally as they all offer a different skill set that when combined creates a unique blend of harmonies and solos that all thrive off each other. To say bands can be competitive is an understatement, but for Katz 22, you can see the competitiveness come to life as they each strive for perfection through the next beat, note, or harmony. Pulling the songs along like a freight train gathering speed, and once the show starts, you better hold on because there is no stopping this train.

Katz 22 is “Kat” Kathy Rimm on Guitar, lead and backup vocals. Her guitar skills are incredible, and to be able to sing and play the leads in the songs they do is amazing. She loves a good guitar riff, and some songs just seem natural for her to perform (Barracuda!). She chooses an Ernie Ball Music Man JP-15 in a beautiful purple nebula finish and a Gibson SG Modern in Blueberry Fade as her two main stage guitars, both 24 frets to ensure maximum range. She loves her Rivera Tube Amps, but for portability, she is currently using a Hughes & Kettner AmpMan Modern pedal-style amp into an unbranded 1×12 cabinet loaded up with an Eminence Cannabis Rex speaker. She uses a mix of about a dozen pedals but absolutely no loopers, pitch correctors, or harmonizers. There are never any backing tracks with Katz 22.

Rusty Fohner, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant turned Bass player who also does lead and backup vocals, has an energetic playing style that you just don’t see coming. He is not your sit back and pluck away bass player. High energy from the start with a smooth flowing style, taking a role on lead vocals as well as harmonies are well within his wheelhouse. Rusty uses a Schecter Omen Extreme Bass with a Zoom B3 DI/Effects pedal and runs directly into the PA. With the use of high-tech ear monitors, the band has no problems hearing each other. Rusty keeps his setup clean and simple and relies on the good old-fashioned skills that God gave him.

John Hawk, is a lifelong drummer who picked up his first pair of wooden spoons at the age of 3, and the rest, as they say, is history. John has performed in many bands throughout the years from Orchestras to opening for national country acts, but nothing compares to playing with Katz 22. John uses a Pearl Reference Kit in Crystal rain finish with a combo of Zildjian and Paiste cymbals and a DW-5000 double bass kick pedal for when the going gets rough. His electric go-to kit is a Roland TD-50 with a digital snare and ride with 8 individual outputs which is great for keeping their sound man, Mike Cusimano, on his toes.

Zach “Dr Nyce” with a Doctorate of Musical Arts under his belt, is well-known for his amazing ability to play and sing just about any song on the keyboard. A superb solo musician who, when mixed with the diverse group of musicians forming Katz 22, has the ability to really let his skills shine on the big stage. The doctor lays the smack down on the keys and can sing along with the best of them. He prefers a Nord Electro D6 and a Roland Juno DS 88 directly into the board. He carries his rig in a custom-made wooden Sassafras case/stand that his father, a retired concrete contractor, built for him. The handcrafted case is built to last with dovetailed corners and a custom folding stand that has been redesigned a couple of times to be able to withstand the rigors of band life day after day.

PMM:When asked what drives the band and keeps them going?

Kat: We’ve always had a special connection to each other. I was fired from a band that we were all in together, so the others decided to quit that band, and they asked me to join them in forming a new band. I was flattered, to say the least. It ended up bringing us even closer together, and it was probably the best thing that could’ve ever happened to all of us. The mutual respect and love we have for each other is incredibly strong, and when you combine that with superb musicianship and great chemistry, you end up with something magical. Performing together is a joyous, magical thing.

Rusty: I think what drives me is the enjoyment of playing with excellent musicians who are great people. The challenge of playing complicated songs as a four-piece band without backing tracks is also a lot of fun.

John: We are truly a band family consisting of the best people and friends ever! It makes everything so easy. This is the best band I’ve had the honor to be a part of. Not just fabulous musicians, but together as a band — it’s magic. We somehow have the missing ingredient that you can never find. I’m driven to do my best every night because I know everyone else in the band will be doing their best every night. True professionals. The feeling of looking out as we are putting on a show and seeing people having a good time because we are doing what we love to do is just about the best feeling you can have. Our fans are so friendly, kind, personable and loyal. Doing the best we can for the people who take the time out of their busy life to see Katz 22 is a huge honor and driving factor for the band.

Zach: Simply put we have a ton of fun on and off stage together. Of course, it’s not all fun and games, everyone does a ton of work to keep the band going; bookings, scheduling, rehearsal, promotion, production, etc. Beyond all that we share the load to keep things going because we have a serious passion for music, and love and respect for each other. As a band, we’re highly professional and aren’t afraid to offer constructive criticism to each other so that we can offer the best product we possibly can to our venues and supporters. I got incredibly lucky that this is the first band in which I’ve been a founding member.

PMM: With such a diverse setlist how do you pick your songs?

Rusty: We have a very democratic process in picking songs. When it’s time to add songs, each member selects songs they want to sing, except our drummer John. He selects songs as well and then we figure out who will sing them. We play a lot of different venues, so we try to pick songs that fit us but will work well in certain venues.

Zach: We pick songs very democratically, although sometimes that doesn’t mean a song is going to make it to a show. Sometimes songs just don’t work; one memorable example was Piano Man (to be honest I’m really happy that one never worked out for us haha, great song but I’m beyond tired of it). We pick songs that are not only well-crafted but are challenging as well. One rule of thumb for me is if we all aren’t excited to be playing a song, it’s probably not going to work out.

Kat: I personally look for songs that other bands aren’t doing and that show off our instrumental skill and vocal harmonies.

Katz 22 has partnered with Little Rock Productions and “The Resistors” and will be bringing The Ultimate Classic Rock and Roll Experience to larger venues in the area. The sold-out show at the West Shore Theatre was just the beginning. The combination of the two bands gives you a full night of classic rock and roll you don’t want to miss. Be on the lookout for upcoming shows and get your tickets fast before they sell out.

Katz 22 would like to thank the following:

Rusty: I’d like to thank my wife Pam for putting up with me being in a band, our sound crew Mike Cusimano and his assistant Dave Wands, Little Rock Productions and PA Musicians Magazine for the support you give us and all music in the area.

Kat: My partner, Deb, for all her support, everyone Rusty mentioned, and all of our fans who have supported us in so many ways.

John: Thank you to my wife Jill for all her love and support. I also want to thank all my kids and my family and friends for always coming out to see us.

Zach: Thank you to my partner, Martha. She’s incredibly supportive and helpful in too many ways to list. Love you babe!

If you want to check out Katz 22 for yourself, catch them at the Hollywood Casino in York on Saturday, March 2nd  and check out their full schedule on page 5.

Book Katz 22 at your venue, email: katz22band@gmail.com or call 717-752-2267

Like Katz 22 on: facebook.com/katz22band www.katz22band.com