Posts Tagged ‘Kevin K Band’

8165oFhMAHL._SL1500_If I have written one word about Kevin K over the years, then I have written a thousand. I can wax lyrical about the music of Kevin K forever and a day, and to anyone who cares to listen. Kevin K deserves every success. He has paid his dues time and time again. And again. Over and over. Yet this is what he does. He writes and plays rock ‘n’ roll – as he always has. And no one does it better. Listening to Kevin K rock ‘n’ roll always puts me in a good mood, it always has. Kevin K is my favourite rock ‘n’ roller of all time – past present and future. That fact will never change. I am biased when it comes to Kevin K, but so what, at least I’m honest. I’d like to think that after a lifetime of rock ‘n’ roll, I know a thing or two about what’s good and what’s not. Kevin K rock ‘n’ roll has been a constant in my life for close on 25 years now. I own all his records, and have followed his career throughout the years. He is, if nothing else, consistent.  In recent years, many of his contemporaries:  Jeff Dahl, Freddy Lynxx, Rick Blaze and Nikki Sudden have either faded from the music biz or (sadly) passed way, yet Kevin tenaciously keeps at it – and for that, we should all be thankful. Show some respect.

And so it is 2016, and I’m listening to ‘Manhattan Project’, the latest Kevin K offering, and in one word  – it’s great.  Thematically, for many albums now, Kevin has had a preoccupation with, and written about, different aspects of the Second World War and the occupation years that followed in Europe – Everything from the D-Day landings to East Berlin and the Berlin Wall. Kevin’s father is a World War II veteran,  so that has no doubt had an influence on Kevin’s writing too. Old Man Crack (whom I think is 91 nowadays) plays a smokin’ harmonica, and even lays down a harp solo on the tune, ‘Bar Stuck’. (Sounding good Mr K!) Theme wise, ‘Manhattan Project’ follows suit. The Manhattan Project was the research and development project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II, yet it’s also a nod to the Big Apple with Kevin acknowledging his past association with NYC, CBGB’s and all that’s now long gone….

With a whopping 16 tracks, there’s plenty to like. ‘Hey Hey Hey’ is a strong opener, and lyrically it has KK reflecting about life, and me thinks he must have been listening to early Coop circa early 70s as there are references to ‘muscle of love’ and ‘caught in a dream’. Catchy pre-chorus, and sing-along chorus. Rippin’ guitar solo too courtesy of Joey D, whose slashing solos add additional salt to the KK sound. A reworking of the Alan K tune ‘Nine Lives’ is welcome –melodically brooding, this version stays true to the original and gives the music of his brother renewed relevancy. And rightly so. I still think Kevin should release an entire album of Alan K penned tunes, but I’ll take what I can get – and this one remains on high rotation with me. (Go buy Kevin’s 1997 album ‘Rule The Heart’ which includes several great demos by Alan K). The faster paced ‘In The Cold’ heads down familiar ‘77 Dead Boys territory, as does an updated version of ‘Better Class Of Slut’. That’s a good thing folks. ‘Rocks Off Union’ is a good example of what I call the ‘Kevin K sound’ and what makes KK r ‘n’ r so great. Lots of hook, mid tempo riff, likeable vocal, catchy sing-along chorus and an oversupply of melody. Nod your head in time kids – this is the shit, and he has written dozens and dozens of tunes like this. I also have to make mention of Joey D’s rippin’ solo on this one – tasteful, melodic, memorable. It’s always music to my ears (pardon the pun) when Kevin pays homage to his musical past – giving life to tunes that were perhaps overlooked the first time around (and at the same time honouring the legacy and memories of his brother Alan K and Peter Cain). That way a whole new audience gets to hear ‘em. That concept continues with renewed versions of a few Road Vultures tunes, namely ‘Hangin On’ and the super catchy ‘Rosalene’ (from 1994’s ‘Ride’ album), and ‘OK Tonight’, ‘Hassles’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Bar’ (from 1993’s ‘Fire It Up’ album). ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Bar’, probably Kevin’s signature tune, is an out and out classic, and this version (again with a blitzin’ Joey D solo) simply kicks ass. Whip it out Cheetah.  The melancholic ‘OK Tonight’ is probably my favourite all time Kevin K tune.  Contemplative, unassuming, brilliant.  The tribute to Alan K and Peter Cain continues with reworked versions of Lone Cowboys tunes  ‘Nothin From Nothin’ and ‘Skulls Have Eyes’, both of which originally appeared on 1985’s  ‘Streets Of Poison’ cassette.  ‘Nothin From Nothin’ is a brilliant pop/rock song. Melody galore and further evidence of what a gifted songwriter Alan K was. A great song is a great song – and time doesn’t diminish that fact. The music of Alan K deserves to be heard. It’s that good. There’s also some cool covers included in the mix for good measure. The obligatory tip of the hat to Johnny Thunders with a faithful rendition of ‘All By Myself’, and a likeable take of Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’.

Top to bottom – Manhattan Project contains consistently strong songs – and with the year only half over, it’s safe to say I already have one of the THE album of 2016. As I’ve said many times before, whoever else it is you are listening to, whoever else it is you think is rock n roll – pales in comparison to Kevin K. Manhattan Project is another in a rich body of musical work that remains the soundtrack to my life. Kevin K is without peer. Become a convert today. Buy the album online or directly from Kevin here. 10 out of 10.

 

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Christmas has arrived early! October 2014 and a new Kevin K album. That’s cause for celebration folks, for the man with the best voice in rock ‘n’ roll has yet again delivered the goods with his new album, ‘Hurt You’. I’ve always loved Kevin’s acoustic tunes. He has an earnest voice suited to the stripped back style, with an infectious appeal that’s hard not to like. Kevin K released a bunch of acoustic tunes back in 2001 with the excellent ‘From The Delta To The Bowery’ CD, and ‘Hurt You’ takes more from the top shelf. As a concept, ‘Hurt You’ is in many ways a tip of the hat to Johnny Thunders’ 1983 solo album ‘Hurt Me’, both in look (cover art) and sound (stripped back acoustic), with many of Kevin’s best known rockers given the acoustic treatment. The album opens up with the pondering ‘Intrusive’, awash with reflection and a catchy chorus, before a pared back version of ‘Joey and Me’ follows. Kevin’s heartfelt tribute to his pet of 15 years, this song continues to move me, and anyone who has ever lost a lifelong pet or someone close will relate. I was listening to this tune a lot in May this year when I had to put our dog of 14 years to sleep. A powerful and evocative song.  Up next is a peeled back version of the now classic tribute tune to Jennifer Love Hewitt,  ‘Jennifer Love’, with the acoustic guitars right up front. Catchy, sing-along classic. Kevin K is a guy who has always worn his heart (and influences) on his sleeve, with nods to Thunders, the Ramones and Stiv Bators evident here. If there’s been a better tribute to the Ramones than KK’s ‘Joey and Dee Dee’, I am yet to hear it.  No Ramones indeed. The take of Thunders’ ‘It’s Not Enough’ is as expected, spot on, whilst his cover of the Lords ‘Russian Roulette’ also hits the bullseye.  There’s an extremely likable renewed version of the Road Vultures ‘Call’ that sounds great to my ears, melodic sensibilities in overdrive. Hot summer days, ice cold beer and the two Road Vultures albums blasting from my speakers. A practice I subscribe to often, and so should you. A pleasant surprise to hear long time KK bass man Ritchie Buzz sing lead vocals on a couple of tunes, with ‘Waitin For You’ a particular highlight. With right hand man Ricky Rat sounding as rock solid as ever on guitar, ‘Hurt You’ is the one album you need in 2014. The CD comes with a remastered bonus – Kevin’s ‘Story Of My Life’ CD , which was originally released back in 2002 on Freddy Lynxx’s Sucksex label. This album still sounds as vital and relevant as it did back then, and kicks major ass. Effectively, you are getting two Kevin K albums for the price of one. Kevin K has a back catalogue of musical riches that is an Aladdin’s cave – so if you ain’t done so already, go forth and discover the enriching music of Kevin K, the one and only rock ‘n’ roller who consistently delivers. Kevin has a DVD out that is a visual bio of his life in rock ‘n’ roll, and a book about his life too called ‘How To Become A Successful Loser‘.  ‘Hurt You’ is another in a long line of great Kevin K albums, and is out now on Realkat Records. Get it today! 10 out of 10.

The best blues didn’t always hail from the Mississippi Delta you know. Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Bessie Smith, and others you all know – but what about that old harmonica playin’ guy from the swampy gator country of Southern Florida ? Well, SW Florida to be more precise – by way of Buffalo to be even more precise. He’s 85 years young, he’s the real blues n roots deal, – he is Old Man Crack, and in 2011, he’s still sitting on his back porch blowing away on that 10 hole diatonic – and that’s a good thing my friends. Today I’m listening to his new album, ‘Feel The Fuckin’ Crack’.  Louis Jordan may have been “The King of the Jukebox”, but Old Man Crack reigns supreme in Florida’s beauty salons and bingo halls. Dig the comic classic, ‘Nobody Home But Us Chickens’ – If Louis Jordan had of played a Gibson Jr. ? Now you get the picture. In fact Jordan is a good line in the sand for the OMC sound.  Imagine “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” with buzz saw guitar and your half way there. OMC lays down the laconic, humorous vocals – whilst Junior Crack supplies the ‘lectric pop punk guitar. ‘Chicken Beak Boy’ sung by Junior Crack is a catchy and melodic ode to the Ramones (and head chicken beak boy Marky Ramone), with OMC singing the chorus. OMC sneers his way through ‘I Don’t Want U’ which reminds me of the Ronnie Biggs / Pistols collaboration. Speaking of the Pistols, Old Man Crack delivers a rippin’ version of  ‘Problems’, complete with harmonica. Many tunes have a distinctive comical narrative, loaded with OMC’s wry social commentary – and always including some appealing blues harp. ‘Your Sisters A Dog’ and ‘Corner Liquor Store’ both have that likeable 12 bar boogie blues thing happening – and both sound great to me. From an album of high points, the track ‘Old Man Crack’ comes close to being my personal fave, complete with an OMC spoken word message for all the kids in America, a shredding guitar solo from Junior Crack, and obligatory blues harp solo . There are several OMC rumours that are yet to be verified – Did OMC teach Larry Adler and Little Walter how to play the harmonica? As a young boy OMC would return home from a day’s work in the corn field, and at the riverbank he’d pick up reeds which he blew on as a homemade harmonica while at home, his brothers and sisters danced to the music he made. Was he really performing  as a professional harmonica player by the age of 14? Who knows, who cares. As with all Old Man Crack records, only one rule applies – and that is there are no rules!  This ain’t no Saturday night fish fry folks – this is old style Florida blues to smoke your corn pipe to. Feel the fuckin crack! Email Junior Crack and he’ll sell you a copy of this.

What: Kevin K Band – 1998 Japan Tour Tee-Shirt

…and so it was that in late 1998 – the Kevin K Band from NYC undertook a tour of Japan. The ‘Scene Of The Crime’ visited cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and even historic Kyoto !  If you do not know who Kevin K is – shame on you. Go and discover one of the last of the genuine rock n roll heroes left alive. I just unearthed this tour shirt which brings back great memories of Kirin Beer, the Trash Brats (Ricky and Toni were in KK’s band), Elmer Germack, Ted Sterns, Gaku Tori, Tokyo’s guitar-trash kings the Golden Arms, Murder Style – and a drummer named Karl Durden who was dubbed Jerry (as in Nolan) ! Oh yeah, and some blistering rock n roll tuneage which was enjoyed by all who attended !!

Site Name: 13th Street Entertainment

Thirteenth Street Entertainment is – obviously enough – located in New York City. If you are looking for information on the great Kevin K, here is the place to visit. Site owner Ted has been a pal of KK’s for years and his knowledge of Kev’s previous bands like Aunt Helen, Lone Cowboys, Road Vultures etc comes first hand. They’ve got a great shop where you can buy CD’s and other merch as well.

KEVIN K BAND  
NIGHTLIFE 
(Circumstantial)

Strong yet reflective, smooth around the edges and definitely durable. This effectively sums up the classic rock n roll songs on Kevin K’s first solo outing from 1995 – ‘Nightlife’. A very solid collection of melodic, mid tempo rock n roll tunes with enormous appeal to any cat who digs the Stones or Thunders. Ex-Road Vulture’s guitar slinger Kevin K offers some very tempting razor edged riffs whilst the solos are very Thundersesque in parts, yet that’s always music to these ears. Kevin K however, is no clone. He writes, sings, plays and produces ’em, and these tunes invariably stand on there own merits with Kevin’s smooth and charismatic vocals really the key to making each song happen. The charm of the voice has an almost alluring appeal. This is one of those exceptional records where every number is a stand out, yet I’ll have my two cents worth and suggest some highlights. ‘Lost Girl’ is a sonic punk rocker featuring some substantial  riffing, and telling the all too familiar tale of a runaway lost on the heartless streets of New York. The big riffing title track ‘Nightlife’ is venturing into raw hard rock territory and features some solid axe work. The rapid fire riffs continue on the melodious ‘First Time Last Time’, with lotsa hook and some complimentary harmonica. The hard rockin’ boogie action of ‘See You Soon’ is sheer delight. R n B with a punk edge, and a hard, buzzsaw boogie riff. The solo cuts to the bone and would no doubt draw a smile to the face of Mr. Johnny Volume. An absolute monster !! ‘Dance’ is another well written rock tune with enormous radio appeal and bears more than a faint resemblance to mid 80’s era Screaming Tribesmen. Perhaps the most likeable record to emerge in the 90’s and definitely deserving of more exposure. Kevin K’s latest effort ‘Party Down’ was released last year and also comes highly recommended. Kevin K  is one of the best kept secrets in rock n roll today, and I urge you to check him out. You won’t be disappointed.

Kevin K Band: Oriental Nights (1999)
Tracks: 1. Fire It Up 3:38; 2. Melody 2:12; 3. Too Fast To Live 2:14; 4. Hook Me Up 3:55; 5. Time Don’t Wanna Tell 3:03; 6. Blame It On Mom 3:44; 7. Disappointed In You 2:23; 8. Crime Scene 3:04; 9. She 3:20; 10. La Vida Loca 2:44; 11. Teen Suicide Story 3:07; 12. Too Much Junkie Business 3:36; 13. Chinese Rocks 3:09; 14. Too Fast To Live (Studio) 2:02; 15. Hook Me Up (Studio) 2:46; 16. Just Like That 2:57; 17. OK Tonight 2:20; 18. Lives Up On A Hill 3:01; 19. Just Another Girl 3:50; 20. Bad Moon Rising 2:09
This is such a cool live album – highlights ? ALL OF IT ! Ricky Rat doing Time Don’t Wanna Tell is cool too. http://www.13th-street.com/Artists/KevinK/