Wednesday, March 25, 2009

KIT

George Chen and I lived in Oakland together in 1998. Alex Klein and Courtney Kaplan rounded out our little quartet for the summer, when Courtney moved out and Travis moved in. We called our house the Appomattox and we put on shows there for The Blackheart Procession, Dub Narcotic, The Lapse, Nuzzle, The Court & Spark, etc. I am including scans of the all the flyers, which were all designed and executed by Gabe Mindel. Yes, that is actual film around the Nuzzle flier (I believe from Moog), although you have to look very closely at it to see the names of the bands as he hand inked it on the back.

That show with The Blackheart Procession and Dub Narcotic was nuts, there were well over 200 people in my 3 bedroom home that night to watch bands play in my dining room. It didn't help that my evening started with a call from Calvin Johnson, informing me that he was lost in Oakland. I spent the next hour driving around some pretty seedy parts of town with my friend Barbara Garber, until we finally found him sitting at a random gas station sipping on some apple juice as if nothing were wrong at all. This was before the age of cell phones so we had to check in at the house a few times to see if he had called with an update. What a night!

But I digress. I asked George if he had anything in particular to say about his band KIT, and he said that he did:

"The first two 7"s we put out were a different line up of this band with the same personnel. I played drums in KIT for the first two years. We started as a goof the Summer of 2002 after watching Friends Forever and it really took Steve calling me on my bluff of "we should start a band", which is pretty much what I tell everyone. No one in California ever follows through though, so it took the Alabama Brothers to corral Kristy and myself out of our ADD. First practice was a bit of a mystery, but that is how I ended up on drums.

The split with Wives was the first thing we did and it made sense in my head, I'd seen them play a show at Mission Records with Jonny X and the Groadies and Dean was super sick and I barely got to talk to him, I think he was puking, but I said that we needed to do a record together. One of the few early shows where Matt Grothman was playing sampler with them. The five songs here went unnamed. This was maybe a holdover from XBXRX, where the brothers insisted on not naming anything. To this day, the names we call the songs amongst ourselves do not match up with the titles we assign them on record, and it gets really confusing when someone subsequently asks me about a particular song and we both go "you mean the one that goes 'nah nah nah' or the part that goes 'weee-oo'." I asked Kim West to design the cover cause I love her artwork. Steve and I screened most of the covers at Eric Bauer (also of Crack: We Are Rock and Big Techno Werewolves)  and it is the first and last time I personally screen a record cover. My forearms were in a world of pain. This actually got repressed for a 500 pressing and Jennifer from Mika Miko photocopied the covers and spray painted them, that's the yellow cover.

The split with Deerhoof was supposed to come out on a CD one day with all the other Narnack splits, but that seems unlikely to happen and this thing is long out of print, so it's fair game. I bought a cymbal from Guitar Center to play on this recording and then promptly returned it, but I don't think it sounds that great. We recorded this on a 4 track in the empty room at my old house, Club Short, right before it became Vice's room for about four years. One song shows up on both our album as "Flat Earth" and on the 7" with Mike Watt, so it's the most repeat offense KIT song, other than maybe "Forest". The last song on here was supposed to be about New York, we never really got around to playing it live.

We had a year of not doing anything as a band. We actually ended up going to group therapy, just like Metallica. But cheap. At one point three of us lived under the same roof and there is a set of brothers and a couple all in the same unit, which can create a lot of issues. Once we re-formed the band, Vice moved to drums and I moved to guitar. Steve switches between bass and guitar. For a band that has been together for, god, seven (!) years, it only feels like we've been doing it for a little while. This is because everyone in the band is in like four other bands and we only have little windows of time in which to work. So by all rights, we should have burnt out, but we haven't yet."

If you find yourself enjoying KIT and would like to hear more, please feel free to order more of their records from my good friends at Upset The Rhythm. They put on some of the coolest shows in London and are some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, KIT.

KIT/Wives (Zum/Post Present Medium)
1. 1
2. 2
3. 3
4. 4
5. 5

















KIT/Deerhoof (Narnack)
1. 1
2. 2
3. 3



















KIT/Bodahab (Hug Life)
1. Song For Voices
2. Forest
3. (Percussive) Happiness
4. (Acoustic) Happiness


















KIT/Mirror/Dash (NFJM)
1. Sign Stars
2. 101 On Semlow
3. Seychelles

3 comments:

George Chen said...

i also forgot to mention for whatever reason the mastering job that Brian Miller did on "song for voices" totally neutered the impact of that track. it's supposed to come in super massive and loud at the mid point. probably just have to throw it up online somewhere. there are also supposedly 100+ copies of this single somewhere in Oklahoma without covers that will never see the light of day.

D said...

this rules!

Robbie B. said...

Whoa... My KIT/Wives record is like a different cover, it is the manila envelope style!