Published Oct 25, 2009Montreal ex-pat King Khan has led a classically "rock'n'roll" lifestyle since leaving his home at 17, legally changing his name from Erich Khan to Blacksnake, and eventually relocating to Berlin. Since then, he's become renowned worldwide for his various garage, punk and soul projects, including the big-band soul project King Khan and the Shrines and his collaborative duo with Mark Sultan, the King Khan and BBQ Show.
This month sees the release of Invisible Girl, the third and arguably best King Khan and BBQ Show full-length. While the recent hype surrounding the garage-punk movement could have shrouded the album with unnecessary expectations, Invisible Girl exists as its own collection of low-key doo-wop, stomping garage rock, and a consistent thread of addictive melodies.
Invisible Girl follows a string of recent output from Khan. The Almighty Defenders, his gospel-tinged garage-cult with BBQ and the Black Lips, released their debut album in September. This month, he will also be releasing the only album from the Black Jaspers, a '77-style punk record he briefly fronted in 2002.
What are you up to?
In November, there's the new King Khan and BBQ record, and there's also my punk band that I did in 2002 called the Black Jaspers, which I'm really excited about. It's kind of a '77 punk, Electric Eels-style record. Also the Almighty Defenders record just came out.
Why do you live where you do?
I love Berlin, because there's a taxicab school near my house and it's actually a training centre for taxi drivers. And the only picture they have up in the whole school is of Robert Deniro in Taxi Driver. I think that's awesome.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky. It's just psychedelic on every level, visually and musically. It appeals to all the senses, except maybe for smell.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
I just saw the Mighty Hannibal recently on his 70th birthday. He played in New York City, and it was pretty inspirational. He was really on top of his game, and really hilarious. His voice was great. I got to introduce him and sing "I'm Coming Home" with him, which was quite an honour. It was inspirational to see how he's still kicking it at the age of 70, being blind and everything. He's a survivor.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
I have that "I'm rubber and you are glue" philosophy, so usually anything that's said to me like that bounces off of me and sticks to the other person.
What should everyone shut up about?
That mysterious weather balloon that keeps travelling everywhere with the kid inside of it. I can't believe how long it kept lingering after, too. It's disgusting. He was in the attic, of all places.
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
My girth. That's the answer to both, I think.
What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Going to the park, eating pizza and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
BJ Snowden. Look her up; she captures the essence of Canada.
What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
The soundtrack to Breakin', a bad breakdance movie from the '80s with Ice-T in it. [Eds. note: Ice-T is billed as "Rap Talker" in the film.]
What was your most memorable day job?
Working for a company called Mr. Grasshead. It was an invention that competed with the Chia Pet.
If I wasn't playing music I would be...
A plumber in a porno movie.
What do you fear most?
Michael Myers - he is the only thing that can bring me down.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Being called "King Kong" by Roky Erikson and hearing that they wear sunglasses on Mars made of human skin.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I would love to eat ribs with Little Richard.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
She wishes I was a National Geographic photographer.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow."