So I had picked up this game from the Five Below (for those that don’t have a Five Below store near them, it’s basically a dollar store that  doesn’t lie about everything being a dollar. Everything here is really $5 or below) called Bonzai. It was only $1 and was billed as an interactive DVD betting game. For a buck, why not?  So it’s based on this Japanese game show called Bonzai which has celebrities doing really stupid things pretty much simply for the hell of it.  As for the game it boils down to you betting on what the outcome of these random clips are. The very first clip that comes up is a race between the singer of two bands to see how many times they can completely rotate a revolving door in 60 seconds.  I don’t remember who the first singer was off hand, but the second one was Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot from Curiosity Kills the Cat.  I immediately thought of Bottom Feeders and had to simply share this with you. I was the only one in my house to get excited.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! To celebrate it’s the entire letter K in one long post. Enjoy.

Kansas
“Chasing Shadows” 1982, #54 (download)
“Everybody’s My Friend” 1983, #34 (download)
“Perfect Lover” 1984, #54 (download)
“Stand Beside Me” 1988, #13 (download)

I’m not really that familiar with the key output from Kansas in the ‘70s outside of the singles and I’m pretty sure there’s no album in the ‘80s worth listening to from start to finish, so Kansas really is never going to do much for me. I do love “Power” from ’86 and each record has moments here and there but that’s about it. “Chasing Shadows” is probably the best of the four tracks here as it’s definitely a pretty song even though I keep waiting for the rock to kick in and it never does. The song was off Vinyl Confessions, the last Kansas record that was a hit.

Drastic Measureswas the album that followed which Kerry Livgren apparently hated thanks to the shift in direction to a very commercial sound, not far from someone like Loverboy (speaking of Loooverboy, the dude that hosted Hit Me Baby One More Time is the host of Skating with the Stars!). Needless to say, it’s the most typical ‘80s sounding record they did and peaks my interest the most of any of their albums.

“Perfect Lover” maintains that Loverboy sound and is the most interesting track here because I think it’s kind of rare at this point. It was the lone new track on the Best of Kansasreleased by CBS records in 1984 after the band decided to go their separate ways for a few years and was created without their input. When the disc was reissued in 1999, the band got their way and pulled “Perfect Lover” from it, so you won’t find that unless you get a copy of the original version. I can’t find any evidence that it appeared on any other hits disc either. Plus, the versions of “The Wall” and “Carry On Wayward Son” were “remixed” to sound more ‘80s for the original version so the record itself ends up being a must have for completionists.

John Kay & Steppenwolf
“Hold On (Never Give Up, Never Give In)” 1987, #50 (download)

Steppenwolf had been John Kay & Steppenwolf since Kay decided to make music again under the group’s name back in 1982. The lineup for the new band was totally different in ’82 than the original hit makers in the ‘70s and by the time Rock & Roll Rebels rolled around in 1987, it was completely different again. I’ve never heard the album and while “Hold On” isn’t a bad tune, it also doesn’t make me run out to find the disc either. Weirdly enough it was re-released in 1996 under the name Feed the Fire with two songs taken off and two songs added. One of the songs taken off was “Give Me Life,” the first track on the original disc. Again, I’ve never heard the album but it doesn’t say much for the quality when the opening track on your disc gets pulled during the reissue.

KBC Band
“America” 1986, #8 (download)

Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light. What so proudly…

Kantner, Balin, Casady – Jefferson Airplane light.

I always end up hearing Neil Diamond’s “America” and Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” when I hear this track.

That’s all I got.

Paul Kelly and the Messengers
“Darling It Hurts” 1987, #19 (download)
“Dumb Things” 1988, #49 Modern Rock #16 (download)

Mistaken identity? Paul Kelly and the Messengers weren’t really Paul Kelly and the Messengers. In their native Australia they were Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls but everyone else seemed to think that might be racist and most of the rest of the world (if not the whole world outside AU) got Paul Kelly and the Messengers instead. And the versions of the two albums from which these songs came were different for both areas. “Dumb Things” came from Under the Sun which had a few different mixes of songs and one track completely different, but “Darling It Hurts” was on Gossip which is has drastically different versions for the US and Australia and was reissued at one point with another different set. It’s quite confusing to be honest, but what isn’t confusing is that Paul Kelly constructs three minute pop songs with relative ease, so whatever version you are listening to, if you like pop music it’s almost a given you will like him.

Greg Kihn Band
“Sheila” 1981, #39 (download)
“The Girl Most Likely” 1981, #57 (download)
“Testify” 1982, #5 (download)
“Reunited” 1984, #9 (download)

Looking back at the Ass End series and now at the Rock End, the differences are remarkable for me. Tracks like “Love and Rock and Roll” and “Every Love Song” were okay, but rather uneventful. But if these four tracks were my first introduction to the group I’d think they were one of the greatest rock bands in the world.

“Reunited” is by far my favorite Greg Kihn Band tune, a little cheesy but way fun and I’m totally shocked “The Girl Most Likely” wasn’t a major hit for them as it’s got the words “radio friendly” tattooed across it. “Testify” is also a killer tune – so fun and so rockin’ at the same time. Everything here bubbled under the Hot 100 except for “Testify” with “Reunited” just missing the crossover at #101. I wish all Greg Kihn songs were as good as these ones. If they were, I wouldn’t be so torn on whether they were really good or not.

John Kilzer
“Red Blue Jeans” 1988, #12 (download)
“Green, Yellow and Red” 1988, #36 (download)

Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and more Red – this guy liked colors, didn’t he? Two really excellent rock songs here, especially “Green, Yellow and Red” both off Memory in the Making which overall doesn’t stray much from the sound of these two tunes and ends up being decent but not the most memorable thing in the world.

The Kind
“I’ve Got You” 1984, #43 (download)

Thanks to Mr. Joel Whitburn I know the Kind were from Chicago, released an album called Pain and Pleasure on Three-Sixty records and had this pretty cool albeit very minor hit from it. Past that I’ve never found any info on the group. So if any of you know anything about them, I’d love some info.

King Crimson
“Heartbeat” 1982, #57 (download)
“Sleepless” 1984, #51 (download)

So now, for all of you that have been reading the Bottom Feeders series for a while (maybe even years) now, you know my taste in music. So now when I say that I’ve never listened to a King Crimson album in full you shouldn’t be terribly surprised. But should I? I mean, I like “Heartbeat” a lot, but if I’m not mistaken that really wouldn’t be the sound I’d hear on most albums from them, right? And I’m also supposing that based on what I like, if I’m going to start somewhere, 1982’s Beat would probably be the right spot and not Three of a Perfect Pair which is where “Sleepless” came from.

Kingdom Come
“Living Out Of Touch” 1988, #27 (download)
“What Love Can Be” 1986, #26 (download)
“Do You Like It” 1989, #21 (download)
“Who Do You Love” 1989, #37 (download)

Yes, I do often realize things like the fact I’ve never listened to a King Crimson album but I can actually sing two songs from Kingdom Come might be a bit bizarre. But it is what it is. Trust me, I kind of wish I didn’t know the words to “Living Out of Touch” almost by heart because nothing good really comes out of Kingdom Come records. Every time a song came along that sounded just slightly unlike Led Zeppelin they had to throw something silly in – like if you listen all the way to the last thirty seconds of “Living Out of Touch” they throw in a total Zep breakdown and channel Robert Plant for five seconds or so. And this was after a decent song that may not have been unique but only sounded like it was influenced by Zeppelin rather than cloning them. I just think Kingdom Come was a total joke.

Kings of the Sun
“Serpentine” 1988, #19 (download)

This is a killer tune from this Australian band from their self-titled debut. Just like “Black Leather” which hit the Hot 100, “Serpentine” was a great choice for a single from a group that almost was a can’t miss proposition. That is until singer Jeff Hoad started talking shit about Axl Rose while the group was on tour with GnR. No one out dicks Axl Rose. No. One. I would love to talk to one of the other members of Kings of the Sun and find out what they think about this today. These guys were totally good enough to be stars and it really does seem like yappin’ was the main reason for their demise.

King Swamp
“Is This Love?” 1989, #21 (download)

Here’s another pretty damn cool song this week from a London group that only lasted two albums. The group consisted of Dave Allen, Steve Halliwell and Martyn Barker from Shriekback, Dominic Miller from World Party (and I believe part of Sting’s backing band when he’s not playing the lute) and singer Walter Wray. After listening to “Is This Love?” maybe 20 times in the past week I think I need to go back and listen to the full record. There’s nothing that stands out from the record for me, but this track is so good that I think I owe the LP another spin.

Sam Kinison
“Wild Thing” 1988, #18 (download)

Sam Kinison’s version of “Wild Thing” doesn’t hold up as well as I thought it would without video accompaniment. How often was this thing played on MTV? Twice an hour? It was boner-riffic that’s for sure. Without Jessica Hahn, it’s just a dude screaming. So I feel the need to include the video and bring us all back to those wonderful breasts again. How did this pass through the censors at MTV?

And let’s play a game – take one pass at the video again and see how many celebrities/musicians you can pick out. I’m going to start.

Rodney Dangerfield, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Billy Idol, Steven Adler, Steven Tyler, Steven Pearcy, Joe Perry, Tommy Lee, Slash, Steve Vai.

You keep it going – there are plenty more that don’t come to me from just one pass.

 

The Kinks
“State of Confusion” 1983, #26 (download)
“Living on a Thin Line” 1985, #24 (download)
“Rock ‘N’ Roll Cities” 1986, #37 (download)
“Working at the Factory” 1986, #16 (download)
“Lost and Found” 1987, #37 (download)
“The Road” 1988, #14 (download)
“How Do I Get Close” 1989, #21 (download)

No member of the Kinks had breasts like Jessica Hahn, so all of this is very disappointing right now.

For those of you that lived through the early ‘80s and were paying attention, I’ve always been curious as to what the critical reception to the Kinks ‘80s output was. Obviously I can see plenty of average reviews for Give the People What They Want (’81), State of Confusion (’83) and Word of Mouth (’84) and pretty miserable reviews for Think Visual (’86) and UK Jive (’89) (and I don’t disagree) but at least the first two had some pretty big tracks on them. Over the years though what I haven’t heard is anyone really talk about the Kinks in the ‘80s beyond “Come Dancing” or “Destroyer.”

As for the songs here you’ve got a weird combo. I mean, “Living on a Thin Line” is pretty great, but “Rock ‘N’ Roll Cities” is laughably bad. “Lost and Found” isn’t terrible, while “How Do I Get Close” is a throwaway. But the tune I actually really like out of all of these is “The Road,” released on the album of the same name back in ’88.

Krokus
“Burning Bones” 1981, #46 (download)
“Winning Man” 1981, #26 (download)
“Long Stick Goes Boom” 1982, #22 (download)
“American Woman” 1982, #53 (download)
“Eat the Rich” 1983, #33 (download)
“Screaming in the Night” 1983, #21 (download)
“Stayed Awake All Night” 1983, #31 (download)
“Our Love” 1984, #22 (download)

Krokus piss me off a bit. This is a group that I’ve always seen as pretty talented yet they rarely bothered to do more than crank out the same boring shit over and over. Now granted, it was often hard to tell them apart from AC/DC and some of their best material is almost a clone of that, but they couldn’t even keep that consistency up.

1982’s One Vice at a Timeis one fabulous rock record. Last year in the close to 3-foot snow storm that crippled the Northeast, I found myself listening to that album (“Long Stick Goes Boom” and “American Woman”) after three straight hours of shoveling and despite having no energy and sweating like I’ve never perspired before I found myself playing the air guitar in the middle of an icy street while people looked on like I was crazy. Well fuck ‘em all and their snowblowers!!! Um, I mean sure I was a little crazy at that point. That’s a pretty brilliant album though and the follow up (1983’s Headhunter) is rockin’ as hell as well. But then The Blitz and Change of Address are almost unlistenable. It seems almost impossible to go from two excellent records to two I want to break in half but that’s what happened. So really what you need to do here is stick to the songs that appeared on those two records – the tunes mentioned above from One Vice and “Eat the Rich” and “Screaming in the Night” and “Stayed Awake All Night” (maybe screaming or because of the screaming?) from Headhunter. Before and after, avoid like the plague.

Quick Hits
Best Song: King Swamp, “Is This Love?”
Worst Song: Kingdom Come, “Do You Like It”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Kajagoogoo (1): “Too Shy”
Kansas (5): “Play the Game Tonight” “Right Away” “Fight Fire with Fire” “All I Wanted” “Power”
Katrina and the Waves (1): “Walking on Sunshine”
KBC Band (1): “It’s Not You, It’s Not Me”
Nik Kershaw (1): “Wouldn’t It Be Good”
Greg Kihn Band (5): “The Breakup Song” “Happy Man” “Jeopardy” “Lucky” “Love and Rock and Roll”
Tom Kimmel (1): “That’s Freedom”
Kingdom Come (1): “Get It On”
Kinks (5): “Better Things” “Destroyer” “Come Dancing” “Don’t Forget To Dance” “Do It Again”
Kiss (6): “Lick It Up” “Heaven’s On Fire” “Tears Are Falling” “Crazy Crazy Nights” “Reason To Live” “Hide Your Heart”
Kix (1): “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
Lenny Kravitz (1): “Let Love Rule”
Krokus (1): “Midnite Maniac”