The kind of music that the Athens, Georgia instrumental outfit Kenosha Kid purveys in is one of those things that is nearly impossible to describe with clarity that nonetheless makes sense by the time it’s all said and done. One spin of any of their knotty, mind-bending jams and it becomes clear that the group, headed up by guitarist Dan Nettles, has a very different conception of song structure than most musicians. Where others would think not to put certain ideas together, Kenosha Kid runs wild with the eclectic. Such is the case for the oddball “Zombie Party”, a track taken from the band’s forthcoming LP Inside Voices. A delirious hodgepodge of jazz, surf rock, and ‘60s pop, the tune’s perplexing composition is matched only by is music video, which… well, it’s best to let Nettles himself explain what’s going on here.
Nettles goes into detail with PopMatters about “Zombie Party”: “With zombies being so hot right now, there’s a whole group of us in the neighborhood who get together and watch “Walking Dead”. It mostly consists of us just shouting at the tv, hoping the child character Carl gets eaten. So this is one zombie party…
“An image also emerged early on, kind of a lampoon-ish surfer movie with the undead partying at a pool, bits of limbs and fluids getting everywhere, a nasty hilarious mess… so this was another zombie party.
“Somewhere, somehow along the way, these images prompted me into writing over a pretty basic surf beat, and the rest unfolded in a bizarre fashion.
“The song itself is a frankenstein of a composition, with half of the A section melody in one key, half perhaps in another, with two beats lopped off in between phrases. The bridge in between goes from an expected start to a long term ramble across some surprising harmony.”
Nettles on the recording process: “The song begins with a shambling mass of zombies approaching. Then the melody, and I became clever with the horn lines, adding lots of contrary motion within the harmony lines. Two brief horn assaults follow, Greg, then Peter, then Robby gets the bridge while the horns sweep back and forth in harmony. Jacob follows with a sputtering statement, like some ghoul coughing out it’s life jelly. Two hang loose sections of guitar solo, and then the track takes you out with the bridge melody, one final A section, and a moment for Marlon to destroy the drums.”
Then there’s the matter of the bizarro music video, which Nettles describes thusly: “Through my own dabblings with silent film, I became aware that the original Night of the Living Dead fell into the public domain because they forgot to put a copyright on the film. I became tempted to re-cut the footage into something for live performance, but nothing come of it until this year, when I dangled the idea of a video in front of my pal Ted Kuhn. I basically gave him free rein to do as he pleased, and he assembled a whole new hilarious narrative that seems to be about a very stressful dinner party… ? In my own squeamishness, I asked him to replace the gnarlier chicken scenes, but he stuck to his guns and here it is in it’s full raw glory!”
Inside Voices, which is being released independently by the band, is out on 3 March. You can pre-order the album on digital and vinyl formats via Kenosha Kid’s Bandcamp page.
Kenosha Kid will be on tour at the following dates:
MARCH 18TH - GREENVILLE - HORIZON RECORDS
MARCH 19TH - KNOXVILLE - BARLEY’S
MARCH 20TH - NASHVILLE - FAT BOTTOM BREWERY
MARCH 21ST - ASHEVILLE - NEW MOUNTAIN
MARCH 22ND - CHARLOTTE - SNUG HARBOR
MARCH 24TH - RALEIGH - POUR HOUSE
MARCH 25TH - CHAPEL HILL - THE CAVE
MARCH 26TH- COLUMBIA, SC - CONUNDRUM
MARCH 27TH- ATLANTA, GA- ELLIOTT STREET PUB
MARCH 28TH - ATHENS, GA - HENDERSHOT’S