Kid Congo Powers Strips Down The Subterranean

Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds photo by Tyler Love
Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds photo by Tyler Love
posted Wednesday Oct 18th, 2006

Saturday at the Subterranean in Chicago, don't miss your chance to catch one of punk-era LA's guitarists extraordinaire in an intimate setting. One of the most underrated luminaries of the 1980s rock'n roll underworld has got to be the man known as Kid Congo Powers. Starting out life as Brian Tristan, and becoming one of the founding members of the Gun Club in it's earliest incarnation in 1979 (then known as Creeping Ritual), Kid Congo was initially taught guitar by his then bandmate Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Co-writing such classics as "For the Love of Ivy" with JLP may be really all you need to be known as a legend these days, but even before the Gun Club's debut album 'Fire of Love' was recorded and released, Kid Congo had already been invited closer to the object of his song. He'd been spied on by Lux and Ivy at early gigs, and was formally asked to join the Cramps in 1981, just in time to be included on their epic 'Psychedelic Jungle' LP. Fitting in well with Lux & Ivy's crew of musical monsters, he graced the early 80s Cramps discography up until the 'Bad Music For Bad People' album, then subsequently returned to the Gun Club's next incarnation to play and tour on the 'Las Vegas Story's album momentum. Being an important member of two of the 80s most influential bands drew great praise in the underground circuit, and Kid's gothic and residual guitar sounds eventually resulted in being recruited by yet another band of swampy, druggy, and overcast miscreants known as Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in 1986.

Continuing to work with both the Gun Club and the Bad Seeds for the next several years, Kid settled in New York City eventually and after several other projects throughout the 90s, he came together with several other New York scuzz rock luminaries to form the Knoxville Girls. Sharing the stage with the Chrome Cranks/Honeymoon Killers' Jerry Teel and Bob Bert, along with Jack Martin and Barry London in the 'Girls quickly led to an album on In The Red, and a national tour, all the while exposing and generating interest in Kid Congo's rich musical background. Fast forward to the 21st century, and Kid Congo's got a new new solo album and touring band, the Pink Monkey Birds out on the road, and they're set to tour through the midwest and west coast over the next few weeks. Older he may be, but his knack for soulful and gritty off-centered rock'n roll is set in stone and shouldn't be missed. Be sure to check them out live Saturday at the Subterranean and check out Kid Congo Powers' new webzine New York Nighttrain HERE for music and a complete oral history (even with accompanying audio commentary) on Kid Congo's exciting life. Being recruited as the scribe of the Screamers Fan Club newsletters as far back as 1977, shines brightly through today in his own periodical webzine, which you should check out if you haven't already.

here's a video clip from last month in Cleveland:

and here's a trailer for the Gun Club documentary with Kid Congo Powers interview excerpt: