Interview: King Khan and BBQ
"I actually smoked pot with [Jay Reatard's] mom."
If you know King Khan, you probably know him from his psych-funk extravaganza, King Khan and the Shrines, or from the fact that he mooned McCarren Park Pool this past summer. After nearly a decade toiling in Germany, Khan's manic, James Brown-meets-Andy Kaufman antics have finally managed to turn heads Stateside with his 10-piece band's greatest hit collection, The Supreme Genius of King Khan and the Shrines (that it came out on Vice certainly helped). But for nearly as long, the Berlin-based Khan and his blood brother BBQ (born Mark Sultan)--both formerly of the notorious Spaceshits--have traipsed around the globe as the King Khan and BBQ Show with just as much success and certainly no less silliness, whittling down rock to its primal essentials: Chuck Berry guitar, a bass drum, a libido, and (if you're Khan) a purple wig.
We caught up with Khan and BBQ at Bushwick's Crypt Records--the same little label responsible for a number of the pair's releases--a day after their show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg with Jay Reatard and Mission of Burma. While Khan stuffed vinyl copies of the band's Teabag Party EP into empty sleeves, we chatted about the Black Lips, Jay Reatard's infamous oven-cleaner incident, and public urination. -- John S.W. MacDonald
So I saw your show last night with Jay Reatard at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
KK: We've known Jay Reatard for 13 years and we used to play with him. We played with him in Memphis a whole bunch back in the day when we were in the Spaceshits. I actually smoked pot with his mom.
What was his mom like?
KK: His mom was very kind and very poor and they lived in this trailer-style thing in Memphis. He came from a very, very poor family, that's why both of us are very proud of him... To be honest, out of all the people I know, Jay Reatard is probably the punkest guy I've ever met. We're talking about a guy who, at 17, would jump into a cesspool.
KK: Or here's the best Jay story. When he was 17, he played at a mechanic's garage. This guy that was a fan of the Reatards [Jay's former band] set up a show in some garage. So while the show was going on, Jay was getting really crazy. While he was playing, he got naked and he opened up a can of motor oil and dumped it all over his head and was slipping and sliding everywhere. And then some smart-ass in the audience just rolled up a can of something on stage--it was all dirty, so he didn't know what it was. Jay grabbed it and opened it up and sprayed it on his dick. Within 10 seconds he started screaming in agony on the floor in the fetal position--"Ahhhhh!"--while covered in oil. Then he grabbed the can and scrapped the dirt off from it--it was EASY-OFF oven cleaner.