Photo by Kevin McGee
Avant-gardists, Zen gardeners, collectors of incidental and deliberate sounds, intake valve agitators, inventors of agoraphobic explosives ... Many are the hats and coats that Kreamy 'Lectric Santa has worn since its first kicks of musical discontent managed to connect with South Florida's underground ass.
The journey has been long and filled with the heartbreaks of a spinal injury, death, loss, and various geographic relocations. That last sentence is a requisite disclaimer whenever one sees the Kreamies in the media. And it's true. That road will probably continue to wind that way.
But what those facts fail to capture is that after all these years, Robert Price and Priya Ray continue to forge ahead with the chutzpah and stamina of their younger selves; that they've made it is this long is cause for celebration. Joining in the musical festivities that will eventually send Churchill's Pub owner Dave Daniels into his retirement, the Kreamies are in town with a new split seven-inch with Bobby Joe Ebola that's got a scorching cover of a Trash Monkeys' classic as well as the pop noise oddities you'd expect from K'LS.
Crossfade: How did the Bobby Joe Ebola split come to be? And why is your version of the Trash Monkeys' "Beautiful Boy/Beautiful Girl" better than the original?
Priya: We lived in the Bay Area for seven years and Bobby Joe Ebola had taken a hiatus while we were there. The first time we saw them was in Asheville and we we're blown away as they were by us. We thought it'd be cool to do a split seven-inch. Chattanooga label Mayfield's All Killer No Filler were immediately on board. I think we have a great release.
Robert: My take on doing covers is to either make a bad song good or a good song different. We loved "Beautiful Boy/Beautiful Girl" so much we decided to do an over-the-top rendition of it. The original is only vocals and guitar. Concerning our version compared to theirs, nobody can seriously outdo Lloyd.
Will you tackle covering the entire Saigon Kick album The Lizard? They'll be performing live very soon and need an understudy.
Priya: I've always been partial to Wasp and Morbid Angel.
Robert: Perhaps Neurosis' Enemy of the Sun, but most likely not.
What does Churchill's mean to you?
Robert: A lot has changed since I, Malcolm Tent, and Todd Jenkins did our first punk show in the late '80s. To me it was (is?) a safe spot for full-frontal decadent freedom. It was literally the CBGB of Miami. Think about it, a country/bluegrass bar in the Bowery or a British pub in Little Haiti both opened the doors for the unexpected and grew in other unlikely directions. Some nights were unreal and we hardly recall a great deal of it.
Priya: Dave always allowed us to do whatever we wanted, we got the door and he took the bar. It's where we started and what allowed a great deal of creative, punk, noise and outsider music thrive in Miami when there weren't any other available options.
What is your fondest Churchill's memory?
Robert: Having someone almost kill us when they threw a burning phone book onstage, Chuck [Loose] setting himself on fire, Adris taking a lighter to crepe paper along the bar. Hmm, lots of stories concerning highly irresponsible use of fire. Surprisingly, we're all still here to reminisce!
It's been a while and who knows how much longer before the next, but what is K'LS bringing to South Florida this time that will set the gig apart from previous ones?
Priya: Well, we have some amazing new songs and we will also be digging into our good-time, classic golden-oldie back catalog!
Robert: We currently have an excellent rhythm section. Morgan Stickrod (Dark Rides, Black Rainbow, and Tulsa) initially played bass with us, but he switched to drums. Andy Loebs (Axis Abraxxis, Wizardskin) is a creative, experimental young musician (he wasn't even born yet when we started) and adds a great deal of charisma and creative input to the mix.
Priya: This is a pretty wild lineup.
Now in your third decade as a band, what has K'LS learned about love, life, and happiness? Moreover, what lessons can you impart upon the younger generations?
Robert: Don't take anything too seriously and stay true to your creative passions. There are way too many bands that are direct carbons of their influences. Dig in deeper; the Internet opens up so many musical doorways that in the past required lots of money and/or supercool friends with great record collections.
Priya: If you really believe in what you're doing, don't let other people's opinions sway you.
What's next? When's the next full album coming out?
Robert: Priya and I are starting a label Hept Sepht and our first release is Tashi Dorji and Shane Perlowin, two phenomenal Asheville guitarists.
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Priya It's comprised of their impeccable acoustic and electric improv.
Robert: Concerning K'LS, if anyone has some extra dollars to throw our way, a new LP it can be done did as soon as next week, or more precisely, within a year. I have been working for some time on a series of short collaborative instrumentals called Sickly Sweet as well as a humorous little rock opera about the end of the world. Check, please?
Kreamy 'Lectric Santa's Miami Homecoming and Churchill's Farewell. With Shroud Eater, Dino Felipe, Severe Disappointments, Mr. Entertainment, DJ Skidmark, and Dave Loebs. Saturday, March 15. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission costs $10. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.