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LESSONS LEARNED

MILKRUN, WITH BOBO, EMERSON AND BLUER SKIES

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Cloud 9, 3057 Main St.

INFO: 832-6020

Andy and Art Keller are two of the rare people who view a slice of creamy cheesecake with their minds and not their stomachs.

The brothers have worked in the family business, Culinary Arts in Cheektowaga, for the past decade. They've done everything from painting and landscaping to working second shift to create some of the delicious cheesecakes the company ships locally and around the world. It's been an educational experience where lessons learned have been parlayed into their passion for music as the punk band Milkrun.

"My brother and I talk a lot about how we can relate many things between the two," Andy Keller explained. "The music industry is a business like any other. We learned there are ways to go about things and ways to not do things."

The Keller brothers, along with Gus Walters and longtime friend and co-worker Ron Glose, formed Milkrun six years ago, but the close-knit band has ties going back to childhood. Andy Keller, the younger of the brothers, jokes that Art Keller and Glose would "poke at me in my baby crib." The trio was inseparable after that, hanging around and looking for activities to keep themselves busy.

It was only a matter of time before they tried music. They took lessons and taught themselves, later meeting Walters at Sweet Home High School and forming a band. They worked up plenty of Metallica tunes, but after realizing there could only be one Metallica, they decided to work on original material in the vein of punk favorites Bad Religion.

"The most dominant musical influences for us was punk music," said Andy Keller, explaining how the band's current pop-punk sound was forged. "So we cut out the fancy guitar work, stripped it all back and added more vocal harmonies. We continue to refine our sound in different ways."

The national emergence of power pop-punk music over the past few years, evidenced in the popularity of the Warped Tour bands, has been a confidence booster for the Kellers and their bandmates.

Milkrun spent nearly a year completing its 13-song debut "Dedicated To," which was released last October. Shortly afterward, Milkrun began working on new material that resulted in a six-song EP that was completed this week.

"We put the first CD out too fast," said Andy Keller. "We're much more pleased with this. It's a lot closer to where we want to be and to how we envisioned the songs."

The new EP has a planned March release when the musicians will use their business savvy to ship it off to labels and other industry insiders in an effort to gain coveted national exposure.

Whatever the outcome, Andy Keller said the band plans to keep performing.

"One way or another, even if we don't make it our career, we will be involved with music," he said. "We just love to play."

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