A lovely chat with King Khan and the BBQ Show
Understandably both King Khan and BBQ were annoyed to be discussing their recent arrest in Kentucky.
BBQ: “You think it was funny? It wasn’t.”
Khan: “What do you want us to say, we hate the U.S.?… We stand by the United States, even though we’ve been shackled.”
BBQ: “It was one county in one state.”
Khan: “It’s the worst place to get in trouble, but it happened and we survived. We’re like cockroaches. We could survive a nuclear holocaust.”
OK, next subject. Luckily our conversation started on a lighter note before the accusations of dirty journalism, which caused a backlash of entertaining yet too-good-to-be-true, unconfirmable tales of life on the road – including Khan’s South German tour with the Shrines where he met the family of animal magicians Siegfried and Roy. This of course turned into a celebrity-studded German porn-themed after party in Vegas to which he is sworn to secrecy. Then there was the gig at a De Beers diamond anniversary convention in a South African mining gorge.
“We got to visit and play on these diamond mines. It was like (the movie Blood Diamonds) – there were people being whipped with machine guns in their face. They were supposed to make them work… We stopped playing, they were like hey, what are you doing?”
“But the fact that we played meant more production would happen, and in the end you came out with a few necklaces and stuff.” BBQ deadpans.
“We’re not politically correct,” says Khan. “We’ve done this stuff before, like for a kangaroo fur company that, like, scalps kangaroos and they just sew it onto balding dudes… That was another show we didn’t understand what we were getting ourselves into… then there was the whole seal clubbing thing.”
Obviously touring Canada is nothing compared to South Africa, but they seem genuinely stoked to be ending their latest tour at the Babylon in Ottawa tonight – close to Montreal, where they were raised in a tight-knit community of garage rockers (one of which is Red Mass frontman Choyce, who was formerly in Les Sexereenos with BBQ and also went to law school with Khan’s sister.) Speaking of close knit, during the interview fellow Montrealer and opening act Bloodshot Bill – also experienced with U.S. policing, having been banned from the U.S from 2007 until 2011 – walked in the room to see what’s up. Khan and Bill have been working on a delicious little side project called Tandoori Knights.
Khan has been prolific on the collaboration front lately, and that GZA appearance this summer at Yonge-Dundas square for NXNE was no fluke.
“I don’t know what’s happening exactly, but he wants me to do a session. He’s also asked Damian from Fucked up and Cole from the Black Lips,” with whom Kahn and BBQ formed the gospel garage punk project the Almighty Defenders.
“I guess (GZA’s) just trying to reach out to another type of people. Not necessarily another audience but just to work with another type of artist he respects. I’m really happy he digs what I do. I think Liquid Swords was amazing and I was really proud to play with them. He told me I was the best guitar player Wu Tang ever had. And he gave me a Wu name: Lord Khan.”
The latest and most important project, of course, is KK and BBQ’s Invisible Girl, out last month and receiving high praise from unlikely places.
It has been said the album is based on tales of love in relationships – nothing personal though, and certainly not between KK and BBQ, despite their coming off as a married couple .
“Love, hate, and contradictions in general are just part of life and assuming that has anything to do with us personally is kind of ridiculous,” says BBQ.
“That’s just the basis of any kind of good friendship,” says Khan.
“We’re super good friends and have known each other forever,” adds BBQ.
“But it has nothing to do with our songs. They’re more like a painting” says Khan.
“We understand the role of the unconscious inspiring songs, but when I write I don’t think of him,” BBQ says referring to Khan, who laughs: “There’s a lot of love.”
“… and a lot of hate,” they both add.
- Marsha Casselman