When Jeff Lynne stated that he had no future plans for The Electric Light Orchestra in 1986, Mik Kaminski looked for a new job. As Kelly and Mik wanted to perform "their" ELO songs live and they knew that this was no good under the name Player, they looked for musicians and founded OrKestra, with a K for "Kelly" and "Kaminski". The band's name was written with the K of Kelly's logo: "OrKestra". In March 1987 the group was complete. Besides Mik Kaminski (violin) and Kelly Groucutt (lead vocals and bass) the group consisted of Terry Pardoe (synthesizer), Clive Poole (guitar), Chris Tew (synthesizer) and Mac Poole (drums). The idea was to keep the ELO songs alive and introducing new OrKestra songs to the fans, like an ELO offshoot. They played several gigs in the Midlands area, the first one on April, 24th 1987 at the Allied Breweries Sport And Social Club in Burton-On-Trent. With a totally nervous Kelly the songs played were: "Twilight / Evil Woman / Some Kind Of Magic / Livin' Thing / Rock'n'Roll Fever / Don't Turn Away / Mr. Blue Sky / Vile Din-Nutrocker / The Fox / Clog Dance / Showdown / Ma-Ma-Ma Belle / Can't Get It Out Of My Head / Wild West Hero / Turn To Stone / Sweet Talkin' Woman / Confusion / Do Ya / Rockaria! / Hold On Tight / Don't Bring Me Down and Roll Over Beethoven". The songs "Vile Din" (Mik's Solo), "Nutrocker" and "Clog Dance" came in from the Violinski live set, "The Fox" and "Rock'n'Roll Fever" were Kelly's songs and "Some Kind Of Magic" and "Don't Turn Away" were brand new OrKestra songs composed by Kelly Groucutt / Terry Pardoe / Mik Kaminski.

Jeff Lynne took exception of using the name OrKestra and because of the many ELO cover versions and sued Mik and Kelly in return. Mr. Edward Cohen, for the ELO council said that High Court action had been started to avoid any attempt to "cash in" on the Electric Light Orchestra's reputation. Allegedly misleading publicity had been put out about a gig of OrKestra at a May Ball at Shotover Hall in Oxford on April 30th 1987. Mik and Kelly swore that they had not been responsible for the publicity, and denied that their new band was in no way connected with ELO. Mik and Kelly promised they would not make any misleading statement.

In January 1988 the first personal change took part: Mac Poole left the band and was replaced by Simon Fox on drums and percussion. In March 1988 their second UK tour named "Beyond The Dream" began. The first performance was in Newcastle at the Playhouse, where they played two by then unreleased tracks "Dirty Old Town" and "Beyond The Dream". The second one was dropped out of the set after this gig.

Peter Kuys, Kelly's executive producer from 1982, got involved with a movie called "Summer Job". This was a welcome opportunity to invite his group OrKestra to write some film music. Kelly: "At first it was just 'Some Kind Of Magic', but then it escalated to four tracks. We were then invited to appear in the film to play the part of an English band." The band could be seen at the end of the movie performing "Some Kind Of Magic" at a pool party. The soundtrack album also included "Bring On The Dancing Girls","Hold On To Love" and "Don't Turn Away" taken directly from the recording sessions for the album. It was released in autumn 1988. The movie itself was a teenage puberty comedy, which didn't win any awards, so the rental video copys were quickly thrown on the market.

The group was also involved with another film called "Midnight" featuring Tony Curtis, for which they contributed "This Is The Night" and "Crazy, crazy". No soundtrack album was released however.

OrKestra's manager Peter Kuys had secured a record deal for the band with Dino Records (Holland) in 1991, so the group went to Bullet Sound Studios at Nederhorst den Berg in Holland and recorded 19 tracks with Fred Haayen as co-producer. The finished album was finally released in Holland in November 1991 under the title "Beyond The Dream" and consisted of 11 tracks with "Crazy, Crazy" being renamed as "Who's That Calling". Also featured on the album was Hugh McDowell as special guest. As first single "Fly away" was chosen and released in Holland to good public reactions. 1992 saw Mik, Kelly and Hugh as OrKestra performing "Fly away" on May 17th in Italy at a Festival called "La Musica E Il Mare" in Genoa.

On May 1993 OrKestra's second album "Roll Over Beethoven" was released. It contained 13 tracks with 8 of them already originally released on the "Beyond The Dream" album. As this album had never been released in OrKestra's home country, there was nothing wrong about the idea to include the best songs on their first UK release. When Dino Records went bust in about 1992, the first OrKestra album wasn't available on the continent anymore. Therefore "All At Once" records decided to release the UK album all over Europe. An unnecessary inclusion was their version of the title track which was by far inferior to ELO's version from 1973. Further additions were the superb track "Dirty Old Town" (Which had been recorded back in 1991) and the rock'n'roller "Rock'n'Roll Fever". The other two "new" tracks were a re-recording of "Dear Mama" and "Sea Of Dreams", taken from Kelly's first solo album "Kelly".

After playing some live shows with Electric Light Orchestra Part II in 1991, Kelly and Mik left the group because of the Arden's dismanagement. When OrKestra's "Beyond The Dream" album was released, they played as special guests within ELO Part II on their German tour. In October 1992 they re-joined ELO Part II as full time members.

Information compiled by Marc Haines, Patrik Guttenbacher and Alexander von Petersdorff.
Shortened excerpt taken from their book "Unexpected Messages"

last modified: 19.03.2001