Difference between revisions of "Kid Congo Powers"

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{{Infobox musical artist <!-- See Wikipedia:WikiProject Musicians -->
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{{Infobox musical artist
 
| name                = Kid Congo Powers
 
| name                = Kid Congo Powers
| image              =
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| image              = Kid-Congo.jpg
 
| caption            =
 
| caption            =
 
| image_size          =
 
| image_size          =
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| alias              =
 
| alias              =
 
| birth_date          = {{birth date and age|1959|3|27}}
 
| birth_date          = {{birth date and age|1959|3|27}}
| birth_place        = [[La Puente, California]], United States
+
| birth_place        = La Puente, California, US
 
| death_date          =
 
| death_date          =
 
| instrument          = Guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals
 
| instrument          = Guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals
| genre              = [[Post-punk]], [[alternative rock]], [[garage rock]]
+
| genre              =  
| occupation          = Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist,
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| occupation          = Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist
 
| years_active        = 1979–present
 
| years_active        = 1979–present
| label              = [[Mute Records|Mute]]
+
| label              =  
| associated_acts    = [[The Gun Club (band)|The Gun Club]], [[Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds]], [[the Cramps]], the [[Divine Horsemen]], [[Congo Norvell]], Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds
+
| associated_acts    = The Gun Club, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Cramps, the Divine Horsemen, Congo Norvell, Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds
 
| website                = [http://kidcongopowers.blogspot.com Official website]
 
| website                = [http://kidcongopowers.blogspot.com Official website]
| notable_instruments = [[Squier]] guitar<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidgear.html |title=Kid Congo Powers: GEAR |publisher=Newyorknighttrain.com |date=2006-01-15 |accessdate=2014-07-12}}</ref>
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| notable_instruments = Squier guitar<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidgear.html |title=Kid Congo Powers: GEAR |publisher=Newyorknighttrain.com |date=2006-01-15 |accessdate=2014-07-12}}</ref>
 
}}
 
}}
  
'''Kid Congo Powers''' is the [[stage name]] of '''Brian Tristan''' (born March 27, 1959),<ref name="Strong">Strong, Martin C. (2003) ''The Great Indie Discography'', Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 25, 41, 359</ref> an American [[rock guitarist]] and singer, best known as a member of [[The Gun Club]], [[the Cramps]] and [[Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds]]. He has also played with the [[Divine Horsemen]], the [[Angels of Light]] and [[Die Haut]].<ref>{{cite web|title="Music to Remember Him By" Solo, Die Haut, and Congo Norvell and the emergence of Kid Congo Powers as a singer and songwriter (1988 - 1998)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidhautnorvell.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>
+
'''Kid Congo Powers''' is the stage name of '''Brian Tristan''' (born March 27, 1959),<ref name="Strong">Strong, Martin C. (2003) ''The Great Indie Discography'', Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 25, 41, 359</ref> an American rock guitarist and singer, best known as a member of The Gun Club, the Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He has also played with the Divine Horsemen, the Angels of Light and Die Haut.<ref>{{cite web|title="Music to Remember Him By" Solo, Die Haut, and Congo Norvell and the emergence of Kid Congo Powers as a singer and songwriter (1988 - 1998)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidhautnorvell.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>
  
 
As of January 2015, Powers' primary musical project is the band The Pink Monkey Birds.<ref name="Marszalek">Marszalek, Julian (2009) "[http://www.spinner.com/2009/11/30/kid-congo-powers-pays-tribute-to-mentors/ Kid Congo Powers Pays Tribute to Mentors]", ''Spinner'', 30 November 2009, retrieved 2010-01-30</ref>
 
As of January 2015, Powers' primary musical project is the band The Pink Monkey Birds.<ref name="Marszalek">Marszalek, Julian (2009) "[http://www.spinner.com/2009/11/30/kid-congo-powers-pays-tribute-to-mentors/ Kid Congo Powers Pays Tribute to Mentors]", ''Spinner'', 30 November 2009, retrieved 2010-01-30</ref>
  
 
==Early life==
 
==Early life==
Born in [[La Puente, California|La Puente]], [[California]], Powers is a second generation [[Mexican American]]. His earliest childhood influences were the Southern California Chicano rock band [[Thee Midniters]]. In 1976, he was president of [[The Ramones]] fan club, then ran a [[fanzine]] for [[The Screamers]].<ref name="Remezcla">[http://remezcla.com/features/music/kid-congo-powers-interview/ Remezcla.] ''Punk Was Always Gay: Kid Congo Powers on the Genre’s Queer Beginnings.'' June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.</ref>
+
Born in La Puente, California, Powers is a second generation Mexican American. His earliest childhood influences were the Southern California Chicano rock band Thee Midniters. In 1976, he was president of The Ramones fan club, then ran a fanzine for The Screamers.<ref name="Remezcla">[http://remezcla.com/features/music/kid-congo-powers-interview/ Remezcla.] ''Punk Was Always Gay: Kid Congo Powers on the Genre’s Queer Beginnings.'' June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.</ref>
  
 
==Music==
 
==Music==
 
 
===1979–1987: The Gun Club and The Cramps===
 
===1979–1987: The Gun Club and The Cramps===
After traveling to London and New York City he returned to L.A. and in 1979 met [[Jeffrey Lee Pierce]].<ref>{{cite web|title="Rock And Roll High School": Kid Grows Up (1960 – 1979)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/1/kidpregun.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY Pt 1|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>  Pierce taught him to play guitar using [[open tuning]], and they formed The Creeping Ritual, which became The Gun Club.<ref name="Strong" /> Powers left that group before their recording debut, instead joining New York-based band The Cramps in December 1980.<ref name="Strong" /><ref>{{cite web|title=The Gun Club, Pt 1: "Preachin' the Blues" Creeping Ritual and the Genesis of The Gun Club (1979 – 1980)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/1/kidgun1.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY PT. 1|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>
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After traveling to London and New York City he returned to L.A. and in 1979 met Jeffrey Lee Pierce.<ref>{{cite web|title="Rock And Roll High School": Kid Grows Up (1960 – 1979)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/1/kidpregun.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY Pt 1|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>  Pierce taught him to play guitar using open tuning, and they formed The Creeping Ritual, which became The Gun Club.<ref name="Strong" /> Powers left that group before their recording debut, instead joining New York-based band The Cramps in December 1980.<ref name="Strong" /><ref>{{cite web|title=The Gun Club, Pt 1: "Preachin' the Blues" Creeping Ritual and the Genesis of The Gun Club (1979 – 1980)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/1/kidgun1.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY PT. 1|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>
  
 
Powers rejoined the Gun Club briefly in 1983,<ref>{{cite web|title=The Gun Club Pt 2 "Walkin’ With the Beast The Las Vegas Story (1984)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/1/kidgun2.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY PT. 5|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref> touring with Pierce's band in Australia the following year,<ref name="Pat" /> and then again between 1985 and 1988.<ref>{{cite web|title="City of Refuge" Berlin and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1986 – 1990)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidbadseeds.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>
 
Powers rejoined the Gun Club briefly in 1983,<ref>{{cite web|title=The Gun Club Pt 2 "Walkin’ With the Beast The Las Vegas Story (1984)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/1/kidgun2.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY PT. 5|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref> touring with Pierce's band in Australia the following year,<ref name="Pat" /> and then again between 1985 and 1988.<ref>{{cite web|title="City of Refuge" Berlin and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1986 – 1990)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidbadseeds.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref>
  
 
===1988–1996: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds===
 
===1988–1996: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds===
Powers joined Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in [[Berlin]], Germany, around 1988 for several albums and corresponding tours.<ref name="Strong" /> Powers recorded the ''Tender Prey'' and ''The Good Son'' albums with Cave and his band, and he said in early 2015 that he "loved" the "primaeval element of rock'n'roll" that they had a firm grasp of.<ref name="Pat">{{cite news|author1=Patrick Emery|title=Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds perform in Australia in late January|url=http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/kid-congo-powers-and-the-pink-monkey-birds-perform-in-australia-in-late-january-20141229-12evkz.html|accessdate=6 February 2015|work=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=1 January 2015}}</ref>
+
Powers joined Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in Berlin, Germany, around 1988 for several albums and corresponding tours.<ref name="Strong" /> Powers recorded the ''Tender Prey'' and ''The Good Son'' albums with Cave and his band, and he said in early 2015 that he "loved" the "primaeval element of rock'n'roll" that they had a firm grasp of.<ref name="Pat">{{cite news|author1=Patrick Emery|title=Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds perform in Australia in late January|url=http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/kid-congo-powers-and-the-pink-monkey-birds-perform-in-australia-in-late-january-20141229-12evkz.html|accessdate=6 February 2015|work=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=1 January 2015}}</ref>
  
 
===1997–2009: JLP tribute albums, The Pink Monkey Birds and ''Dracula Boots''===
 
===1997–2009: JLP tribute albums, The Pink Monkey Birds and ''Dracula Boots''===
For his next project, The Pink Monkey Birds, Powers initially collaborated with New York City guitarist Jack Martin,<ref name="Marszalek"/> who he has also collaborated with for the [[Congo Norvell]] and [[Knoxville Girls]] projects.<ref>{{cite web|title="Black Bag" Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds (2001 - Present)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidpmb.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title="NYC Briefcase Blues" Knoxville Girls (1998 - 2001)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidknox.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref> Then, in 2009, Powers recruited Kiki Solis on bass, Ron Miller on drums, and Jesse Roberts on guitar and keyboards. The band moved to In The Red Records and released the much acclaimed debut studio album, ''Dracula Boots'',<ref>{{cite web|title=Dracula Boots|url=http://www.allmusic.com/album/dracula-boots-r1490636/review|work=All music|publisher=Rovi Corporation|accessdate=13 May 2012|author=Thom Jurek}}</ref> which was called a "return to form."<ref>{{cite web|title=BREAKING SOUNDS: Kid Congo Dracula Boots LP|url=http://www.victimoftime.com/articles/breaking-sounds-kid-congo-pink-monkey-birds-lp/|work=Victim of Time|publisher=Victim of Time|accessdate=13 May 2012|author=Todd Killings|format=Article|date=5 June 2009}}</ref>
+
For his next project, The Pink Monkey Birds, Powers initially collaborated with New York City guitarist Jack Martin,<ref name="Marszalek"/> who he has also collaborated with for the Congo Norvell and Knoxville Girls projects.<ref>{{cite web|title="Black Bag" Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds (2001 - Present)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidpmb.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title="NYC Briefcase Blues" Knoxville Girls (1998 - 2001)|url=http://www.newyorknighttrain.com/zine/issues/2/kidknox.html|work=KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY|publisher=New York Night Train|accessdate=13 May 2012}}</ref> Then, in 2009, Powers recruited Kiki Solis on bass, Ron Miller on drums, and Jesse Roberts on guitar and keyboards. The band moved to In The Red Records and released the much acclaimed debut studio album, ''Dracula Boots'',<ref>{{cite web|title=Dracula Boots|url=http://www.allmusic.com/album/dracula-boots-r1490636/review|work=All music|publisher=Rovi Corporation|accessdate=13 May 2012|author=Thom Jurek}}</ref> which was called a "return to form."<ref>{{cite web|title=BREAKING SOUNDS: Kid Congo Dracula Boots LP|url=http://www.victimoftime.com/articles/breaking-sounds-kid-congo-pink-monkey-birds-lp/|work=Victim of Time|publisher=Victim of Time|accessdate=13 May 2012|author=Todd Killings|format=Article|date=5 June 2009}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
''Dracula Boots'' was co-produced by Jason Ward and recorded in a former high school gymnasium in Harveyville, Kansas, which is now an artists' retreat called "The Harveyville Project." ''Dracula Boots'' consists of numerous genres, including southern soul, 60s Chicano rock, and psychedelic imagery. British magazine ''N.M.E.'' wrote: "In short, on ''Dracula Boots'' Kid Congo Powers has once again found the juicy jugular of soul-fired, funked-up rock’n’roll. You’d be foolish not to take a bite."{{citation needed|date=February 2015}}
 +
 
 +
===Involvement with Mark Eitzel===
 +
Powers played guitar on "[[Goodbye]]", "[[If I Had A Gun]]" and "[[Cold Light Of Day]]" from [[Mark Eitzel]]'s 1998 album ''[[Caught In A Trap And I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby]]''.
  
''Dracula Boots'' was coproduced by Jason Ward and recorded in a former high school gymnasium in Harveyville, Kansas, which is now an artists' retreat called "The Harveyville Project." ''Dracula Boots'' consists of numerous genres, including southern soul, 60s Chicano rock, and psychedelic imagery. British magazine ''N.M.E.'' wrote: "In short, on ''Dracula Boots'' Kid Congo Powers has once again found the juicy jugular of soul-fired, funked-up rock’n’roll. You’d be foolish not to take a bite."{{citation needed|date=February 2015}}
+
Additionally, Eitzel sang on Powers' band [[Congo Norvell]]'s 1998 album ''[[Abnormals Anonymous]]''.
  
 
===2010–present: ''Gorilla Rose''===
 
===2010–present: ''Gorilla Rose''===
 
In 2011, Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds released their sophomore album, ''Gorilla Rose'', which was also on the In The Red Records label. Eamon Carr of ''The Dublin Evening Herald'' said of ''Gorilla Rose'', "Having a working band is paying off. ''Gorilla Rose'' elevates seedy go-go weirdness to the level of high art."{{citation needed|date=February 2015}}
 
In 2011, Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds released their sophomore album, ''Gorilla Rose'', which was also on the In The Red Records label. Eamon Carr of ''The Dublin Evening Herald'' said of ''Gorilla Rose'', "Having a working band is paying off. ''Gorilla Rose'' elevates seedy go-go weirdness to the level of high art."{{citation needed|date=February 2015}}
  
Powers returned to Australia for the first time in 25 years—when he toured with Cave's Bad Seeds project—at the end of January 2015. The band played at [[Melbourne]]'s "Summersalt Festival" and the [[Sydney Festival]].<ref name="Pat" /> In a promotional interview for the Australian shows, Powers spoke in regard to his new band:
+
Powers returned to Australia for the first time in 25 years—when he toured with Cave's Bad Seeds project—at the end of January 2015. The band played at Melbourne's "Summersalt Festival" and the Sydney Festival.<ref name="Pat" /> In a promotional interview for the Australian shows, Powers spoke in regard to his new band:
  
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
 
I think the Pink Monkey Birds conjures up all the best aspects of primal rock'n'roll ... Lyrically, I'm speaking in images, and from a very skewed viewpoint, whatever the subject may be. I still have the passion and the incentive to make music that's different, but still within the confines of a punk rock language people will know and understand.<ref name="Pat" /></blockquote>
 
I think the Pink Monkey Birds conjures up all the best aspects of primal rock'n'roll ... Lyrically, I'm speaking in images, and from a very skewed viewpoint, whatever the subject may be. I still have the passion and the incentive to make music that's different, but still within the confines of a punk rock language people will know and understand.<ref name="Pat" /></blockquote>
  
The Pink Monkey Birds, whose name Kid credits to inspiration from [[David Bowie]],<ref>{{cite web|author= |url=http://kidcongopowers.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-pink-monkey-birds-would-not-be-so.html |title=Kid Stuff: The Pink Monkey Birds would not be so named without you David Bowie! R.I.P |website=Kidcongopowers.blogspot.com |date=2016-01-19 |accessdate=2016-05-26}}</ref> has been an evolving unit since their earliest albums, and as of 2016 the touring members are bassist Kiki Solis, drummer Ron Miller, and guitarist Mark Cisneros.
+
The Pink Monkey Birds, whose name Kid credits to inspiration from David Bowie,<ref>{{cite web|author= |url=http://kidcongopowers.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-pink-monkey-birds-would-not-be-so.html |title=Kid Stuff: The Pink Monkey Birds would not be so named without you David Bowie! R.I.P |website=Kidcongopowers.blogspot.com |date=2016-01-19 |accessdate=2016-05-26}}</ref> has been an evolving unit since their earliest albums, and as of 2016 the touring members are bassist Kiki Solis, drummer Ron Miller, and guitarist Mark Cisneros.
  
Kid Congo Powers was profiled by [[Vogue (magazine)|Vogue]] in late April 2016 while promoting their fourth album,<ref>{{cite web|author=Kristin Anderson |url=http://www.vogue.com/13429213/kid-congo-powers-interview-style-la-arana-es-la-vida-record-release/ |title=Punk Legend Kid Congo Powers on His Style Throughout the Years |publisher=Vogue |date=2016-04-25 |accessdate=2016-05-26}}</ref> where he was noted for his iconic sense of punk style. In his Vogue interview he mentions the aesthetic importance of tying the look of the band to match the music.
+
Kid Congo Powers was profiled by ''Vogue'' in late April 2016 while promoting their fourth album,<ref>{{cite web|author=Kristin Anderson |url=http://www.vogue.com/13429213/kid-congo-powers-interview-style-la-arana-es-la-vida-record-release/ |title=Punk Legend Kid Congo Powers on His Style Throughout the Years |publisher=Vogue |date=2016-04-25 |accessdate=2016-05-26}}</ref> where he was noted for his iconic sense of punk style. In his Vogue interview, he mentions the aesthetic importance of tying the look of the band to match the music.
  
<blockquote> “For me, the whole art of being a band—and I do think it’s an art—is to create a whole world, a whole language, that is every aspect. [[The Gun Club]], we kind of made it up as we went along, but what I learned from [[The Cramps]] and [[Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds]] is that they created a whole uncompromising world, and it’s all kind of sprung out of that. You want to communicate with people, and I think through all aesthetics—artwork, the look, and music—you get to keep your world, and you get to let people enter your world and live in your world with you.”</blockquote>
+
<blockquote> “For me, the whole art of being a band—and I do think it’s an art—is to create a whole world, a whole language, that is every aspect. The Gun Club, we kind of made it up as we went along, but what I learned from The Cramps and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds is that they created a whole uncompromising world, and it’s all kind of sprung out of that. You want to communicate with people, and I think through all aesthetics—artwork, the look, and music—you get to keep your world, and you get to let people enter your world and live in your world with you.”</blockquote>
  
 
==Personal life==
 
==Personal life==
Kid Congo Powers is openly gay and is married.<ref name="Remezcla"/> During the 1980s, he was involved with the [[ACT UP]] advocacy group.<ref name="Remezcla"/>
+
Kid Congo Powers is openly gay and is married.<ref name="Remezcla"/> During the 1980s, he was involved with the ACT UP advocacy group.<ref name="Remezcla"/>
 
 
==Selected discography==
 
*1981 [[The Cramps]] - ''[[Psychedelic Jungle]]''
 
*1984 The Cramps - ''[[Smell of Female]]''
 
*1984 [[The Gun Club]] - ''[[The Las Vegas Story (album)|The Las Vegas Story]]''
 
*1987 The Gun Club - ''[[Mother Juno]]''
 
*1990 The Gun Club - ''Pastoral Hide and Seek''
 
*1991 The Gun Club - ''Divinity'' EP
 
*1985 The Fur Bible EP
 
*1988 [[Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds]] - ''[[Tender Prey]]''
 
*1990 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - ''[[The Good Son (album)|The Good Son]]''
 
*1988 [[Barry Adamson]] - ''[[Moss Side Story]]''
 
*1998 [[Mark Eitzel]] - ''[[Caught in a Trap and I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby]]''
 
*2005 Kid Congo Powers - ''Solo Cholo''
 
*2006 Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds - ''Philosophy and Underwear''
 
*2006 Madrugada - ''Live at Oslo Spektrum'' [DVD]
 
*2009 Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds - ''Dracula Boots''
 
*2011 Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds - ''Gorilla Rose''
 
*2013 Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds - ''Haunted Head''
 
*2016 Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds - ''La Araña Es La Vida''
 
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
Line 87: Line 71:
 
*[http://www.rockerzine.com/index.php/2013/03/kid-congo-powers/ 2013 ''Rocker Magazine'' interview - video and print]
 
*[http://www.rockerzine.com/index.php/2013/03/kid-congo-powers/ 2013 ''Rocker Magazine'' interview - video and print]
  
{{Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds}}
+
[[Category:Guest musicians]]
{{The Gun Club}}
 
{{The Cramps}}
 
 
 
{{Authority control}}
 
 
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:Powers, Kid Congo}}
 
[[Category:American indie rock musicians]]
 
[[Category:American blues guitarists]]
 
[[Category:American male guitarists]]
 
[[Category:American rock guitarists]]
 
[[Category:Punk blues musicians]]
 
[[Category:The Cramps members]]
 
[[Category:1961 births]]
 
[[Category:Living people]]
 
[[Category:American musicians of Mexican descent]]
 
[[Category:LGBT musicians from the United States]]
 
[[Category:Musicians from Los Angeles County, California]]
 
[[Category:People from La Puente, California]]
 
[[Category:20th-century American musicians]]
 
[[Category:21st-century American musicians]]
 
[[Category:Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds members]]
 

Latest revision as of 13:24, 13 August 2018

Kid Congo Powers
Kid-Congo.jpg
Background information
Birth name Brian Tristan
Born (1959-03-27) March 27, 1959 (age 60)
La Puente, California, US
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist
Instruments Guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals
Years active 1979–present
Associated acts The Gun Club, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Cramps, the Divine Horsemen, Congo Norvell, Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds
Website Official website
Notable instruments
Squier guitar[1]

Kid Congo Powers is the stage name of Brian Tristan (born March 27, 1959),[2] an American rock guitarist and singer, best known as a member of The Gun Club, the Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He has also played with the Divine Horsemen, the Angels of Light and Die Haut.[3]

As of January 2015, Powers' primary musical project is the band The Pink Monkey Birds.[4]

Early life

Born in La Puente, California, Powers is a second generation Mexican American. His earliest childhood influences were the Southern California Chicano rock band Thee Midniters. In 1976, he was president of The Ramones fan club, then ran a fanzine for The Screamers.[5]

Music

1979–1987: The Gun Club and The Cramps

After traveling to London and New York City he returned to L.A. and in 1979 met Jeffrey Lee Pierce.[6] Pierce taught him to play guitar using open tuning, and they formed The Creeping Ritual, which became The Gun Club.[2] Powers left that group before their recording debut, instead joining New York-based band The Cramps in December 1980.[2][7]

Powers rejoined the Gun Club briefly in 1983,[8] touring with Pierce's band in Australia the following year,[9] and then again between 1985 and 1988.[10]

1988–1996: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Powers joined Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in Berlin, Germany, around 1988 for several albums and corresponding tours.[2] Powers recorded the Tender Prey and The Good Son albums with Cave and his band, and he said in early 2015 that he "loved" the "primaeval element of rock'n'roll" that they had a firm grasp of.[9]

1997–2009: JLP tribute albums, The Pink Monkey Birds and Dracula Boots

For his next project, The Pink Monkey Birds, Powers initially collaborated with New York City guitarist Jack Martin,[4] who he has also collaborated with for the Congo Norvell and Knoxville Girls projects.[11][12] Then, in 2009, Powers recruited Kiki Solis on bass, Ron Miller on drums, and Jesse Roberts on guitar and keyboards. The band moved to In The Red Records and released the much acclaimed debut studio album, Dracula Boots,[13] which was called a "return to form."[14]

Dracula Boots was co-produced by Jason Ward and recorded in a former high school gymnasium in Harveyville, Kansas, which is now an artists' retreat called "The Harveyville Project." Dracula Boots consists of numerous genres, including southern soul, 60s Chicano rock, and psychedelic imagery. British magazine N.M.E. wrote: "In short, on Dracula Boots Kid Congo Powers has once again found the juicy jugular of soul-fired, funked-up rock’n’roll. You’d be foolish not to take a bite."[citation needed]

Involvement with Mark Eitzel

Powers played guitar on "Goodbye", "If I Had A Gun" and "Cold Light Of Day" from Mark Eitzel's 1998 album Caught In A Trap And I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby.

Additionally, Eitzel sang on Powers' band Congo Norvell's 1998 album Abnormals Anonymous.

2010–present: Gorilla Rose

In 2011, Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds released their sophomore album, Gorilla Rose, which was also on the In The Red Records label. Eamon Carr of The Dublin Evening Herald said of Gorilla Rose, "Having a working band is paying off. Gorilla Rose elevates seedy go-go weirdness to the level of high art."[citation needed]

Powers returned to Australia for the first time in 25 years—when he toured with Cave's Bad Seeds project—at the end of January 2015. The band played at Melbourne's "Summersalt Festival" and the Sydney Festival.[9] In a promotional interview for the Australian shows, Powers spoke in regard to his new band:

I think the Pink Monkey Birds conjures up all the best aspects of primal rock'n'roll ... Lyrically, I'm speaking in images, and from a very skewed viewpoint, whatever the subject may be. I still have the passion and the incentive to make music that's different, but still within the confines of a punk rock language people will know and understand.[9]

The Pink Monkey Birds, whose name Kid credits to inspiration from David Bowie,[15] has been an evolving unit since their earliest albums, and as of 2016 the touring members are bassist Kiki Solis, drummer Ron Miller, and guitarist Mark Cisneros.

Kid Congo Powers was profiled by Vogue in late April 2016 while promoting their fourth album,[16] where he was noted for his iconic sense of punk style. In his Vogue interview, he mentions the aesthetic importance of tying the look of the band to match the music.

“For me, the whole art of being a band—and I do think it’s an art—is to create a whole world, a whole language, that is every aspect. The Gun Club, we kind of made it up as we went along, but what I learned from The Cramps and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds is that they created a whole uncompromising world, and it’s all kind of sprung out of that. You want to communicate with people, and I think through all aesthetics—artwork, the look, and music—you get to keep your world, and you get to let people enter your world and live in your world with you.”

Personal life

Kid Congo Powers is openly gay and is married.[5] During the 1980s, he was involved with the ACT UP advocacy group.[5]

References

  1. "Kid Congo Powers: GEAR". Newyorknighttrain.com. 2006-01-15. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 25, 41, 359
  3. ""Music to Remember Him By" Solo, Die Haut, and Congo Norvell and the emergence of Kid Congo Powers as a singer and songwriter (1988 - 1998)". KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY. New York Night Train. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Marszalek, Julian (2009) "Kid Congo Powers Pays Tribute to Mentors", Spinner, 30 November 2009, retrieved 2010-01-30
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Remezcla. Punk Was Always Gay: Kid Congo Powers on the Genre’s Queer Beginnings. June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  6. ""Rock And Roll High School": Kid Grows Up (1960 – 1979)". KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY Pt 1. New York Night Train. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  7. "The Gun Club, Pt 1: "Preachin' the Blues" Creeping Ritual and the Genesis of The Gun Club (1979 – 1980)". KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY PT. 1. New York Night Train. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  8. "The Gun Club Pt 2 "Walkin' With the Beast The Las Vegas Story (1984)". KID CONGO POWERS ORAL HISTORY PT. 5. New York Night Train. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Patrick Emery (1 January 2015). "Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds perform in Australia in late January". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  10. ""City of Refuge" Berlin and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1986 – 1990)". KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY. New York Night Train. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  11. ""Black Bag" Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds (2001 - Present)". KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY. New York Night Train. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  12. ""NYC Briefcase Blues" Knoxville Girls (1998 - 2001)". KID CONGO POWERS PT 2 ORAL HISTORY. New York Night Train. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  13. Thom Jurek. "Dracula Boots". All music. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  14. Todd Killings (5 June 2009). "BREAKING SOUNDS: Kid Congo Dracula Boots LP" (Article). Victim of Time. Victim of Time. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  15. "Kid Stuff: The Pink Monkey Birds would not be so named without you David Bowie! R.I.P". Kidcongopowers.blogspot.com. 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2016-05-26. 
  16. Kristin Anderson (2016-04-25). "Punk Legend Kid Congo Powers on His Style Throughout the Years". Vogue. Retrieved 2016-05-26. 

External links