A poem by Kroutsef © Iliana Michali — Thinkbabymusic Collective

King Khan & The Shrines

Been so busy these past weeks working on making a soundtrack to a really amazing documentary about a black power group called The Invaders. I feel honored to be given this opportunity, while I get to pick some of the greatest tunes that inspired me and put them on film. I have also started recording a fourth album with Mark Sultan.

Also got a big tour ahead of me, I hope I'm ready, maybe you can throw some goats into a volcano so Zeus will protect me.

With the Shrines, it usually takes years to finish an album. mainly because getting us all together is almost impossible. We usually do the rhythm section first then overdub the horns; while for King Khan & BBQ Show, the process is much faster obviously because there is only two of us. I have done whole records in three or four days and others in three to four years.

I also produce projects, meaning I just try to make them sound real. I don't produce anything that I don't love. If i produce a great song I try to give it the proper things it needs to sound its best. I guess in a way i think of it like taking care of a baby, and sometimes babies can be ugly. Two bands i just produced are The Anna Thompsons, and Mary Ocher. I love the new Black Lips record, Hell Shovel are also great.

By the way, last good 1980’s movie I saw was STIR CRAZY with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, that and OVERBOARD with Goldie Hawn.

My main inspirations growing up were Malcolm X, William S. Burroughs, and Saturday Night Live. I probably realized I was going to play music for the rest of my life at the age of 17 or 18 after playing New York City back in the day when it was still dangerous. We played a bunch in NYC and it was exciting back then there were junkies and tranny's still wandering around.

Shortly after that we started touring around the US and then being in another city everyday just felt like such freedom. I guess I have always loved the gang mentality aspect of it too and travelling with a rock n roll gang of juvenile delinquents changes the way you look at the world. I've become the master of my own destiny.

I still feel music has the power to unite, definitely, the civil rights movement was always very inspiring to me, especially the way you had people like Sun RA or Philip Cohran assemble these orchestras and make this incredible music which seems to have come from outer space. When i think about the suffering that was going on in the 1960's and 70's I see how the music was not only a liberation from that but it was a way to cleanse the universal soul of the peoples.

Music is my religion and my salvation. It saved me from my very own hands and continues to guide my soul and propels it every day to break all limitations within me. Complacency pisses me off, though.

I have recently became good buddies with Sean Lennon and the first time we were hanging out he gave me a pair of Italian leather Beatle boots! And they fit perfectly! I love The Beatles and The Stones, mostly, though, I love Little Richard!

Published: In Print Issue Nº 03—2014
Interview by Vice Lesley, Thinkbabymusic Collective 
Photography © Kathy Tran