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Kicking Harold - 2002 Interview with Tim David Kelly


INTERVIEW: Kicking Harold (Sep 2002)
Andrew Ellis talks with Tim David Kelly.

Kicking Up A Fuss
In The Spotlight - Kicking Harold
Interview with Tim David Kelly
Written by: Andrew Ellis (September 2002)

The old saying may be 'never go back', but by fronting acclaimed indie rockers Kicking Harold for a second time, Tim David Kelly proves that old sayings are exactly that. By contrast, the punchy, melodic modern rock Kicking Harold display on new album 'Space Age Breakdown' is most definitely new, and the decidedly forward thinking attitude Kelly possesses is evidence that bands can make great records (and even great music videos) without the help of a major label.

The vocalist/guitarist originally founded the three-piece in 1995, got a record deal with MCA Records, and 4 years after the band disintergrated, he's resurrected the moniker once more following a successful stint as a solo artist. Now, in his own inimitable style, he discusses the aforementioned new album, video and other Kicking Harold related stuff. Enjoy.

Congratulations on releasing the new record. It's excellent and betters 'Growing Up Naked' by some margin, an indie record so good I thought that wasn't possible. How do you look back on 'Growing up Naked' a couple of years down the line?
Thank you. I look back at the solo experience with the kind of glow they put on all the women in old Star Trek episodes. I met a lot of cool people and played a ton of weird solo coffee house type gigs but the details and reasons I did it are a bit fuzzy around the edges.

I must admit, after the success of the solo record, I was expecting you to make a follow up. What was the thinking to resume being a band member? Loneliness or just the fact bands are generally more appealing to record labels than solo artists?
Let's see ... Yes, I missed the band vibe and ... no, I don't care what labels think. You can lose your mind going down that road. The new band just kind of happened. Like all cool bands do. It was a happy accident.

Also, why did you decide to resurrect the Kicking Harold name?
'Weenie Boy and the Spam Slappers' was taken.

Where did you find the other guys, Daniel Todd Ramsay and Michael Phillips Keeley? Were they picked purely for the symmetry of being a three-piece band with each member having three names?!
Yes. I got a listing of all the paroled serial killers and those two lived in my area. Seriously though, Todd was in KH during the second album years and I was always in awe of his bass playing, singing and writing talents. Michael, or 'Kron' as we call him, was a friend that Todd and I would go to see in his earlier bands and say, 'Look at that guy! Holy shit!'. He is the most amazing drummer I have ever seen or played with...Just a monster.and.. I guess fate intervened because both their bands broke up right when I was looking to record again. I asked them to help me work up the tunes for my next solo CD but the power and chemistry between us is why that never happened. It didn't feel right playing under a solo guy name anymore. I was handed this 'Acoustic Metal Power Trio' from hell so I said, 'Fuck coffee houses, I want to rock again.'



Onto the album, how long did 'Space Age Breakdown' take to record? How many songs were recorded in all? Was it an easier process to 'Growing Up Naked' which you did entirely yourself?
Well, we tracked all the drums live at a great studio called SonicPool in Hollywood, CA. and the rest in my evil superhero home studio liar in Sherman Oaks, CA, where I did my solo CD. It took three months to track, a month to mix, and was overall a much more focused effort. On my solo record it would have been three months just getting a loop noise right. This was more like getting a snap shot of a volcano exploding. We only tracked the 11 songs that appear on the CD because that was our live set more or less. Having those two as players made it really easy for me as a producer. They both did their tracks in about 4 days and the rest of the time was me fucking things up with my guitars and vocals.

All of the songs on the album were written by you, except 'Selfish', which is a great fit on the album. In some ways the album seems lyrically darker than 'Growing Up Naked'. Would you agree?
Yes. It was darker time personally for me and the power of the music seemed to beg for darker themes in the lyrics. I asked Todd if we could do his song because I loved it and thought it fit perfect on the CD. He is a great writer and I hope we use more of his stuff on future KH discs. I'm the founding member of the Daniel Todd Ramsey fan club. Deep Van Nuys non-union chapter #2112. (ha ha)

'Happy In The Sun' must have a real personal meaning to you, since I assume it relates to the passing of your friend George John Pappanastas?
Sure does. George was a close friend of the whole band and an amazing musician that played bass in Spock's Beard right before he passed. It was a real shock to everyone. Just so sad and so fast. It really made me take stock of what is important in my life.

'Gasoline' is my standout, for it's sheer power. Which of the new ones go down best live?
Thank you. I'm glad you like it. That one goes over great live and Thirteen Candles gets a crowd going as well. Since the CD is from our live set most of the songs work pretty well. The only one we don't do live is 'To Shine'. It's just to mellow for most situations. Unplugged we might do it though.

Speaking of live gigs, how was the recent Red White and Bloom festival the band played? I believe there were 35,000 people there. Any other gigs planned in the near future?
That was a great time. Brian Saliba got us that gig so we owe him a public thanks. Las Vegas has always been great to KH. I love that town. The best way to catch us live is to check on our website. Any gig that is going to really happen, goes up there.

You've also recently made a video for 'Gasoline'. Was it self-directed and what's the general concept?
The concept is rage and anger in the work place. The main character is a mail-boy that just loses it from the bad treatment at his shitty day job. He is listening to us on a walkman and starts to hallucinate that we are playing in the cubicles. He eventually freaks, tells off the boss as we are rocking out in the office space. Anyone who has had this kind of job can relate. An amazing director named Sean Ferjanec and his team at Ninefish Productions came up with the whole thing. We just sat back and ate kraft service and performed like pabloff circus dogs when the word action was called. Any bands out there looking for a killer video for indie money must talk to Sean. He is the man.

'Thirteen Candles' has also been played quite a lot on KOMP, a Las Vegas rock station. That's quite impressive for an indie band. How did that come about?
I would like to say it was hard but I just sent the PD a copy of our disc and he added us over all the major labels in the pile. It was the first and only CD I sent to any station. John Griffen, The Program Director, is proof there is hope for the music industry. He rules!! KOMP rules!! Vegas Rules!! Ouch, I think I just hurt myself.

It's been a couple of years now since you've been making music independently. Is another major label deal still your goal, and do you think it's getting harder to get a deal, especially with labels fixated on finding talent through shows such as American Idol?
Deals are like car accidents. They come out of nowhere. Change your life and you just hope you live thru it so you can to tell the story. My advice to anyone is to make music that you can be proud of and would play for free even if you never get a deal. I do always wear my seatbelt at every gig though. Just in case a drunk A and R man is swerving our way. It happens. Be careful out there.

Do you still produce for other bands?
Yes sir. Always. I love producing and helping artist. It's makes me very happy. If any of your readers are interested in my services all they need to do is just go to our site and email me. I love to see what's bubbling under the radar.

Space Age Breakdown


'Space Age Breakdown' is again being sold through Cd baby, and is already a top seller. Do you have plans to distribute the album through other channels?
No plans but we are always open to new ideas. I do still think CD Baby is great. Derek Sivers is doing us all (indie musicians) a great service and has my respect for not selling his site. He is giving indie cd's a wonderful home.

Between your solo album and Kicking Harold, you signed with a management company. How much difference has experienced management made on your career?
Not much of a recent difference really so we are back to being self-managed again. It seems to work best for us right now but that answer always changes with our mood and the quality of the contracts being waved in our faces.

Finally, what are your goals for the next 6-12 months?
Let's see. If my goal is to fail then success is really a failure and I have actually achieved my original goal to fail thus making it a success. Right? Ok then. My goal is to fail. Time for a nap. Carry on. Cheers.

Resources:
http://www.kickingharold.com
http://www.cdbaby.com/kickingharold
http://www.sonicpool.com
http://www.ninefish.tv

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