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Episode 138 : Kid Congo Powers on the Cramps + the Gun Club + Brian Eno audio

17 October 2022

In this episode we welcome the delightful Kid Congo Powers, all the way from his home in Tucson, and ask him to talk about his former lives in the Gun Club, the Cramps and the Bad Seeds — as detailed in the riveting new memoir Some New Kind of Kick.

The man born Brian Tristan looks back to his teen fanboy years from Frank Zappa to the New York Dolls, plus his memories of the L.A. glitter scene at Rodney's English Disco. He describes how it felt — as a gay Mexican American — to be a misfit among mainly white misfits on the punk scenes in L.A. and New York. He also explains how the Gun Club was conceived after he met Jeffrey Lee Pierce while queuing for a 1979 Pere Ubu show at the Whisky. We hear how Kid was then headhunted by the Cramps' Lux and Ivy, and what it was like to be part of their ghoulish B-movie aesthetic. We similarly learn how he was recruited (and "cast") as one of Nick Cave's drug-addled Bad Seeds in mid-'80s Berlin.

From the decline and premature death of Jeffrey Lee Pierce — via Kid's own eventual long-term sobriety — we shift into the rarefied and erudite world of Brian Eno, an iconic glam influence on the young Brian Tristan. Clips from Mark Sinker's 1992 audio interview with pop's resident egghead are heard, leading in turn to discussion of Eno's collaborations with Robert Fripp and Toby Amies' remarkable new King Crimson documentary.

Mark talks us through pieces about the Stones' 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' (1968), classic-blues septuagenarian Victoria Spivey (1975), the Police (1979) and Joe Bataan & Arthur Baker (1996) after which Jasper concludes the episode with quotes from pieces on bodyguard-to-the-stars Michael Francis (2003) and the "rise and rise" of Pharrell Williams (2015).

Watch a video clip from this recording

Many thanks to special guest Kid Congo PowersSome New Kind of Kick is available this week in all good bookshops. For more Kid, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @kidcongopowers.