So, there’s this suitcase in the garage, it’s over 30 years old and covered in dust. To some it'd be close to invisible amongst all the clutter but to me it stands out, it’s enticing. I drag it out onto the lawn and without hesitation pull it open. Peering inside I'm transported into my dad’s tiny box of a bedroom in the 80s.
I find a photo album and spend ages looking up and down all the pictures soaking in my dad’s youth.
I come across a section called ‘August 1984- America’ and I notice what he is wearing in most of the photos, a King Kurt band tee.
Later on, I ask him who’s King Kurt?
He’s surprised I haven’t heard of them and tells me to check them out…
What I learn about King Kurt is that they are more than just a rock band they're a PYSCHOBILLY rock band who’s gigs became tribal gatherings for many fans; and hell on earth for those who attended unprepared for what the night had in store.
The band formed in England, 1981 and consisted of frontman Smeg, guitarist Thwack, saxophonist Maggot, Bert on bass and drummer Rory.
They drifted around on the UK’s pub scene for a while building up their name and becoming recognisable for their peculiar choices of props; after one particular show when Smeg had gone to a butchers earlier that day in search of a dead rabbit which he would wear as a necktie on stage that same night. Not to mention the dead goose that also made an appearance at another gig.
Remarkably, the band acquired a bunch of like-minded scamps who followed in their footsteps and were more than happy to adhere to King Kurt’s dress code for their gigs “all male concert-goers must wear dresses”. But that was only the start of a series of traditions that were followed by the fans. As soon
After learning all of this, I jumped straight on YouTube to find a video of one of their shows and the first thing I noticed was 1. Smeg’s hair! And 2.the mess. I later learnt this was because along with shaving foam cannons, beer that was thrown , blood (sometimes fake ,sometimes real!) the band and the audience would also bring their own food to throw around in a food fight-esc manner. Baked beans, flour, eggs… the poor caretakers!
And if it couldn’t get any more chaotic fans also liked to partake in the near-tribal ritual of free haircuts! Perhaps this is the reason why my dad is wearing a racoon tail hat on his head in the picture above?!
Since discovering King Kurt I’ve fallen in love with not exactly their music but their way of creating an experience for all their fans, the chaos, the hair, the gigs, the attitude.
To be a King Kurt fan wasn’t a phase, it was a way of life.
See you back here soon with another piece from Inside the Suitcase!