Tom Collins and the Cocktail Shakers (1991 - 1994)


Tom Collins was formed in the fall of 1991 by Gerry LaFemina and Matt Mullins, two mfa students at WMU. As far as we know they were Kalamazoo's first and only ska fusion band. At its height the band contained 10 members: Gerry (vox), Matt (guitars) Levi Strickland (bass), AA Miller (drums), Megan Coats (keyboard), Kelly Argyle (baritone sax) Jon Laviari (tenor sax), Paul Dorich (alto sax), Dave Marlatt, (trombone) and Jeff Sarnacki (trombone). They regularly played Club Soda, Harvey's, local festivals and various clubs throughout Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In late 1991 they put out their first recording, a 45 with the songs "Chaplinesque" and "Animated Violence" recorded at Brown and Brown studios. This was shortly followed by their full length cassette release "Pick it Up" also recorded at Brown and Brown. The band was known for its high energy shows and played with a number of Ska legends including, Bad Manners and The Toasters. The band broke up in 1994. Members have since gone on to play in many well known local bands including, Schrodinger's Cat, Tao Jones, The Large Hungarians, Blue Dahlia, Whiskey Before Breakfast and Yoroka.