King Khan and BBQ Show, with Miranda and the Beat@Underground Arts. September 9th, 2022.

Formed from the ashes of their old band, Spaceshits, Montreal’s The King Khan and BBQ Show have been rocking garage punk since 2004. Both guys do double duty.  BBQ playing drums with his feet like a one man band, while King Khan plays guitar and sings doo wop bass lines, when he isn’t singing lead.  I’m also a fan of King Khan’s soul band, the Shrines. 

The geniuses behind Waddlin’ Around have played everywhere, including a kick ass session on KEXP. Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson personally invited the boys to play the Vivid Festival. (If that isn’t bragging rights, I don’t know what is.) 

Tagging along were NYC’s Miranda and the Beat, who joined the headliner onstage during the dance off segment of their show. Ain’t nothing but a party.

Miranda and The Beat kicked off the proceedings right. Miranda shreds a little harder than one would expect from a singer. She could play lead guitar in a band. Wearing only a mesh shirt under her suit jacket, her nipples played peek-a-poo, making this the most nipple centric show I’ve ever seen. (More on that later.) Very burlesque-esque. 

The Beat’s rhythm section was tight and tasteful and the whole band had a cool aesthetic.

Their keyboard player was a little much for me at first, with his white boy ‘fro and late sixties garb. But later, I got a whiff of his cologne as he walked by. Now, that is commitment to a look. I’ll allow it. All in all, their set was a good time.

If there is one thing to know about King Khan, it’s that he doesn’t give a fuck.  The body positive rocker went topless, wearing some kind of animal skins on his head and groin area, nipples flowing in the breeze.

Freeing the nipple is a trademark of the boys’ show.  BBQ had nipple holes cut out of his shirt, sporting a look I like to call the anti-paiste. 

 These guys love to talk between songs. Even BBQ Show made fun of their endless banter, comparing their show to a Henry Rollins spoken word set. You can tell that they are both usually the guy who does all the talking in their other bands.  Between songs, there were flashes of mutual annoyance like two youngest children competing for attention, as they both jockeyed for the spotlight. But while they played together there was nothing but love, baby. L-U-V.

Most of their chit chat was hilarious, the highlight being about the song that made their publicist drop them. The lyrics involved their wanting to have taste buds on their genitalia and buttholes, to savor every taste. I hope the door didn’t hit the publicist on the way out. My buddy Chip was there, and he agrees. Chip may not play instruments, but he knows bad management when he sees it. 

Some kid staged dived and the audience dropped him, just like they did to the singer from Viagra Boys when I saw them at Underground Arts. 

King Khan was amused. “That’s what we love about Philly. They drop you, but then they pick you up again.” 

There is a metaphor in there somewhere. 

Their cover of the 1978 Johnny Thunders classic, “You can’t Wrap Your Arms Around a Memory” had me singing, to the disappointment of everyone around me including Chip, who stood a couple people away for a while. 

The boys brought the bartender on stage for everyone to applaud. To a novice, that might seem like a cheap ploy to get into her pants. But judging the size of their bellies, I’d say it was a cheap ploy to get free drinks. Respect.

Make sure you check both these bands out next time they come to a venue near you. And don’t forget to tip your bartender. 

A Sure Fire Hack that Makes Everyone Want to Jam With You.

Don’t Worry. This method has nothing to do with scale, modes, or time signatures. Technically, It doesn’t even really have to do with making music. But I guarantee, if you just follow these two simple steps, your jam card will always be full. Your bandmates will love you, and so will every sound engineer that you encounter live or in the studio. Heck, you may even snag some session work off of it. And you literally have to do nothing. 

Step One: Stop making noise and STFU when other people are trying to talk or trouble shoot gear around you.

Step Two: Repeat as necessary.

Who hasn’t been in this situation? The guitar player is showing the bass player the chords, while Keith Moon in the corner is thrashing away at full volume, trying to decide between a paradiddle, a double paradiddle, or a flamadiddle to lead into the next chorus. 

But, of course— and this isn’t said out loud very often— it’s not always the drummer’s fault. If only there was a way for the guitarist to doodle between songs without getting on everyone’s last nerve. Sigh.

But Wait! There is! We have the technology in the form of a new fangled device called the “volume knob.” (see picture below.) 

First try playing a power chord with the volume knob turned up all the way. Then ask your lead  singer how much back rent they owe their landlord. It’s not easy to discern the amount, is it*? 

 Now, turn the volume knob completely off. Notice how you are the only one who can hear the guitar now, and people around you can enjoy a conversation without shouting? Volume knob technology has also made its way to keyboards, Omnichords, Stylaphones, and even bass guitars! 

But what about Acoustic instruments, you say? They don’t have volume knobs. Drummers can play air drums or on your knees. Guitar players can just strum quietly. Didgeridoo players, use a didgeridoo mute. Everyone around you will be so much nicer to you.

Think you got it down? Take the quiz:

  1. You are waiting for an engineer to finish setting up your drums mic. His ear is located right next to an 24” Paiste Rude ride cymbal and he isn’t wearing hearing protection.

Should you: 

A. Do your best Meg White impression and wail on the edge of the cymbal.

B. See how your rim shot technique has come along. Is it loud enough yet? How about now?

C. Do nothing but stare blankly into space.

2.  Your keyboard player spilled another beer on her $650,000 vintage Farfisa organ. 

Should you:

A. See if you can get your sax to squeal like Big Jay McNeely.

B. Play the Benny Hill theme while she scrambles to find canned air to dry out the insides.

C. Do nothing but stare blankly into space.

3. The front of the house engineer yells “kick” and starts tweaking the gate on the drummer’s bass drum. Should you:

A. Jam along with kick drum ¼ notes, because what is drums without bass? Boring!

B. Tune your four-string at full blast for the whole audience to enjoy.

C. Do nothing but stare blankly into space.

Please forward this to anyone who needs to read it.

Answers: C. The answer is always C.

*This was a joke. Any lead singer worth their salt has no idea how much money the landlord is owed. That’s what roommates are for. That and toilet paper. And peanut butter. And . . .

Beat the Heat! These Isolated Tracks will give you Goosebumps.

John Bonham: Fool in the Rain.

I could get kicked out of the drummer’s union if I didn’t make Bonham number one. A variation on the Purdie shuffle, this drum beat combines two time signatures: triplets on the hi hats with a 2/4 backbeat on the kick and snare. 

Being able to play it is one thing. Grooving it is another.

I’ll let James Brown’s Bernard “Pretty” Purdie himself ‘splain how to play a half time shuffle as only he can.

Clyde Stubblefield: The Funky Drummer.

Here is another of James Brown’s drum assassins, rocking the most sampled breakbeat in history. 

Ain’t it funky? Why yes, James. It is. It sure is.

Freddy Mercury: Don’t Stop Me Now.

100 degrees. He is the intersection of technique and passion, with a voice as bashful as a berserker. Damn, when he glides from chest voice to head voice, it’s like he was born without a zona di passaggio. Not sure if this was before or after he wupped Sid Vicious’ ass.

Marc Bolan: 20th Century Boy.

I love everything about this track: the playing, the sound, the production, the attitude, the style. While not the most technical guitar player, Marc Bolan has feel for days, so much so that Ike Turner tapped him to play rhythm for Tina.

Billy Preston: I Want You. (She’s so Heavy)

The fifth Beatle, Billy Preston, sprinkles a quarter-pound of fairy dust all over this track. I can see why the Fab Four kept this dude on retainer. The rooftop concert is the only live footage I could find of Preston playing with the boys.

I love the stabs during the bass feature parts. Speaking of…

Paul McCartney: Paperback Writer.

While I wouldn’t call it a shame that the Cute One’s singing and songwriting overshadows his talents as a bass player, the proof is in the pudding. Recording engineer Geoff Emerick said that McCartney was generally easy going in the studio, but was a stickler for his bass tone, spending hours redoing his parts when the other guys retreated back to the giant row home that shared from Help!

Wilton Felder: I Want You Back.

Randy Roads: Crazy Train.

On my first day at Scouts, I tried to make conversation with a long-haired, older kid while he sneaked a smoke.“Hey Jay, what is up with that patch on your jean jacket? Who is Randy Roads?”
He looked at me like a slandered Mr. T. ”Are you kidding me? You don’t know who fucking Randy Roads is? What the fuck is wrong with you, Steve? And if you tell anyone about this cigarette I’ll kick your ass.”
I still owe him.
Randy’s amp was so loud that they needed to put him in an isolated room for his own safety.

Whitney Houston: “I Will Always Love You.”

Dolly Parton first heard Whitney’s version on her car radio.” I was shot so full of adrenaline and energy, I had to pull off, because I was afraid that I would wreck, so I pulled over quick as I could to listen to that whole song,”

The only person happier than Dolly was her agent after the royalty checks rolled in.