Thursday, June 26, 2008

King Khan voodoo INTERVIEW!

Devil not in disguise: Khan signs to Vice, takes over world!
photo: Christian Kock

By: Rich Tupica

King Khan has been an eccentric figure in the garage-punk scene for over a decade.
While he may be notorious for wild (often nude) live shows, he has a catalog of records under his belt that prove he is more than a great showman.
The Canadian born Khan got his start in music alongside his longtime friend Mark “BBQ” Sultan, as a member of one of Montréal’s best garage bands, The Spaceshits, who mixed punk and true rock’n’roll. Since then he has expanded his sound and toured non-stop with either the doo-wop laced King Khan & BBQ Show, or the psychedelic-soul inspired King Khan & The Shrines.
The Shrines are currently on the road and working on new material. Khan describes it as a "mix of '60s psychedelic punk, old school R&B, 60's New Orleans funk and a bit of Sun Ra freak-out," he said. "I usually like to describe it as a Japanese animation monster tearing things up with eight dicks."
To find out about more about Khan's recent deal with Vice Records, progress on a new album with BBQ and his upbringing in voodoo, check out the interview below.

I hear you grew in a musical family, can you tell me about that?
Well apparently my great grandfather was a sitar player who was not so successful and became addicted to opium. My father also attempted to play sitar when I was a kid and actually smashed one, no joke! He had a very bad temper. Poor sitar. Poor me. My little brother, little sister and I started playing instruments when we were pretty young, I was around the age of 12. We actually have been recording songs together for the past eight years. My sister played electric piano in the Del Gators and is now busy making babies and her solo project called Cocobeurre. My little brother has kind of this Lou Reed meets Mississippi John Hurt thing going for him. I hope to put out the “Best of Moon Studios” this year which will have lots of their stuff.

Quiet time: Khan poses sexy for Theresa K!

I hear you are interested in voodoo, how did that come about?

I remember my grandma telling me stories about Indian witches who could steal your soul with owl meat when I was a kid. Since then I was pretty interested in it. The first real voodoo stuff started happening to me when my wife and I bought some Chango candles. We bought them because they smelled good and had a really cool print on them, we had no idea what we were getting into. So my wife started lighting these candles whenever I would go away on tour. This was an old German sailor’s wife tradition whenever the sailor went away. After a while we started noticing that bad stuff would happen when she would forget to light the candles. Anyways I basically let the spirit of Chango into my life and became more aware of signs and hocus pocus.

Have you ever actually practiced voodoo?
When BBQ and I went to Brazil that was also a totally huge learning experience. I was on this quest where I would dress up like the devil and do tarot cards hoping to be the voice of the devil. I went to a big voodoo church and asked if this was okay and they told me it was very dangerous, but if anything bad happened I could be cleansed there. So I did it, and it was fun and scary. Every time I read someone’s cards the devil card would pop up, every time! Cole from the Black Lips and I used to play this game where you spread the cards and try and find the devil. The first tour we did in the south together he managed to pull out the devil card every morning on his first try - he is a pretty magical guy.
The trip to brazil was really amazing. I was hoping to really get scared and see some kind of scary black demon but instead we went on a camping trip in the jungle and wound up in Dr. Mengele's backyard. So in some way I found the devil's hideout but he was white, German and long gone, thank god.

Khan looking unbeweavable! photo: Funny.Cars

How is it touring with 12 Shrines?
It makes my life an endless rollercoaster but as the song goes - I live the life I love and I love the life I live. I support my family with my music and am very proud of that. The constant touring can be painful sometimes, but it’s the only thing I want to do. The best part is obviously playing intense chaotic shows, watching people go ballistic and joining them. Actually even better then that is the feeling of coming home and having my girls freak out when I open the door. The worst part is road ass and food that has been cooked with no love.

What was the first band you ever played in? What type of music did you play?
My first band was called The Krishnas and I dressed up like an Indian woman for it ... I was about 12 years-old. My best friend from childhood would come over with his little brother and we made a very embarrassing movie about it. We played our own type of "Indian music" with a sitar, Tablas and a harmonium. It was more like musical comedy than a band. What’s even funnier is that my buddy who was in that band is now inventing adult toys and has a revolutionary new dildo that will open the gates for the next big sexual revolution, unfortunately I am not permitted to divulge any more information about this subject.My first real band was with Danny from the Spaceshits (CPC Gangbangs, Del Gators) we went to kindergarten together and started playing music together when we were like 17 years-old. It was called the Maury Povitch 3 and it was some kind of indie rock - punk stuff. Then I joined the Spaceshits and my life was saved by rock ‘n’ roll.

On the air: Khan on 106 FM Jerusalem photo: 106fm

Why did you move away from Canada?

I fell in love, made babies, and started a new life in Germany.

How is living in Germany? How is the vibe there?

The people are wonderful and open minded. The beer is amazing and plentiful and the hot dog was invented here I think. What more props can you give to a country? I also like saying that I became a father in the fatherland.

How often do you write music? What inspires your music?
Inspiration comes in spurts like all of the most wonderful things in life. I am generally quite lazy so I can never really sit down and write stuff - it usually starts with a gut feeling and then flush!

Goners: Khan with BBQ at Goner Fest 2005! photo: Canderson

I hear you have children, what do they think of your music?
I have two daughters and they love it. “Teenage Feotus” is Saba Lou's favorite song. Bella's favorite is “Why Don't You Lie.” Saba Lou just put out her first single on Die Slaughterhaus Records. They make me very certain that the future will be okay for rock ‘n’ roll.

What has been your proudest moment as a musician?
There have been many, among the top ones I would say playing in San Paolo and watching my friend give head to her boyfriend on stage while me and BBQ played; hanging out with the Sun Ra Arkestra in their hotel room for three nights -they let me crash on the couch - recording the Black Lips “Let It Bloom” in my living room; and basically every time I record a song with my family.

Now that you're on Vice Records, what is next for you and The Shrines? Any plans with the label yet?
Since none of The Shrines’ records were ever officially released in the U.S., we made the “Supreme Genius” compilation. The next album will also be on Vice Records. The plans haven’t changed since we started - just plain and simple world domination.

Aside from music, what are some leisurely hobbies that you partake in?
Laziness, painting, rolling up boogers, being the tooth fairy, cooking, eating, making love, eating hot sauce ‘til it hurts and making booties shake.

Are you and BBQ going to put out another King Khan & BBQ album? Any plans of that in the near future?
We have just recorded about seven new songs at Moon Studios here in Berlin and will finish the rest of the songs in Montreal this summer - so I think by early next year we should have a new record. With The Shrines the process is a bit longer but I hope sometime next year there should be a new record.

What else are you currently working on?
Besides my abs, I am preparing for The Shrines U.S. invasion in July. I have also been recording some new songs here and there with my daughters. Summertime is here finally and it is time to take a trip.

Check out ALL the hits and more....
King Khan & the Shrines
KK & BBQ Show
Cocobeurre (Khan’s sister)
Moon Studios -Berlin

King Khan recommends three albums:
MF Doom - “MM..Food?” (Rhymesayers)
The Instant & Minit Story” - Various (Charly)
Ethiopian Modern Instrumental Hits” LP - Various, (L arome Productions)

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