By Josiah HughesCanadian doo-wop garage punk hero Mark Sultan had a busy year in 2010, releasing his excellent solo album $ and, sadly, seeing the temporary demise of his beloved King Khan & BBQ Show project after an onstage meltdown in Australia. Now, the group are back, and Sultan has also revealed a variety of other projects on the horizon, including two new solo albums this year.
Sultan's solo efforts are called Whatever I Want and Whenever I Want, and will both come out at some point this year, with the first expected for release in late August or early September.
Speaking with Exclaim!, Sultan revealed that the album titles are an exaggeration of what he truly believes, saying, "The names are just supposed to be snotty punk-inspired piss-take slogans. Just being a prick. Even though those lines really are my mantra, they are usually gussied up in less arrogant words."
Sultan went on to explain that the albums are part of 31 tracks recorded over the last year, some recorded in Venice, Italy, and others in Toronto. "They sound like most of my stuff," he says of the recordings. "Lots of rock'n'roll, psych, doo-wop... some punk, hardcore, garage shit... whatever I felt like doing. I mostly recorded and/or mixed, so I tried to have it sound purposefully timeless in terms of recording, for the most part."
Both Whatever I Want and Whenever I Want will be released via In the Red Records on vinyl, with a CD taking the best of each after that. The vinyl releases will also include download codes for the digital tracks on $, the release of which Sultan says "was handled horribly and which I now have back as my own."
While he doesn't get into details about what went wrong with Last Gang Records, who released the album last year, Sultan tells Exclaim!, "All I can say is that I was naive and made a mistake and should have followed my heart."
When he wasn't recording music for his solo material, Sultan took the time to reconvene with King Khan for a surprise King Khan & BBQ Show performance in Venice. As he explains on his blog, "We are both back to 'normal' and are brothers once more. Expect a new single this fall, I think."
Sultan clarified the circumstances of their reunion to Exclaim!, saying, "We were always kind of on hiatus. We just had to wait to get better. Both of us... We were both set to be in Venice at the Guilty Party Boat Cruise at the same time, and I had just stayed over at his place a few days in Berlin. We just talked about it for a second and thought it would be fun. So, in typical KKBBQ style, we didn't practise and just played a few songs at the end of my set. Complete chaos ensued."
Along with two new solo albums, Sultan is resurrecting his Sultan Records imprint with a solo single, a King Khan & BBQ Show/Black Lips split seven-inch and a release from Red Mass. On top of that, there's also chatter of a new album from Sultan side-projects the Ding Dongs and maybe even another release from the Almighty Defenders, the supergroup made up of the Black Lips and King Khan & BBQ Show.
All in all, it points to a hard-working musician who will be making vintage garage and punk music long after the current trends die out.
"I was never welcome into the 'fad' side of this music and have been doing this shit way before it was a fad," he tells Exclaim! "I don't care about that shit. In fact, I would rather not have crowded shows than have a bunch of knobs posing on the dance floor, sippin' a Zima, while I destroy my soul onstage. I have amassed a dedicated and loyal fanbase who understand where I am coming from and to whom my music means something. And as a musician, that is all I can ask for."
For now, Mark Sultan is gearing up to embark on a North American tour, including Canadian stops in Vancouver and Toronto. All dates are available below.
6/14 Vancouver, BC - The Astoria 6/16 Portland, OR - East End 6/17 Los Angeles, CA - Blue Star 6/18 Mexicali, Mexico - Bambino's Bar 6/19 Tijuana, Mexico - Bar La Jiribilla 6/20 Calexico, CA - Rock The Border's Tiki Pool Party @ Holiday Inn Express 6/22 Atlanta, GA - The Earl 6/24 Brooklyn, NY - The Knitting Factory 6/25 Toronto, ON - The Garrison