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Greg Kihn Interview

June 13, 2017

 

Greg will be fondly remembered as an 80s-music icon for his two catchy, chart-topping hits, “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) in 1981 and the 1983 smash single, “Jeopardy,” which charted #2 on the Billboard Top 100.

 

First signed in 1973 to the now legendary record label, Beserkley Records, Greg was the focal point of a roster at that time that included Jonathan Richman, Earthquake and The Rubinoos…. artists who all performed and recorded melodic pop with a strong 60s pop sensibility. 

 

Greg’s groundbreaking video for “Jeopardy” became one of the first concept videos and was played extensively on MTV during the early days of the then fledging video channel.  The Greg Kihn Band also spent much of the 80’s touring with the likes of Journey, The Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead and appearing on popular TV shows including Solid Gold, American Bandstand and Saturday Night Live.

 

He also carved out a very successful 16-year career as a top-rated DJ on KUFX in San Jose, California, rising from a late-night host to one of the top-rated morning jocks in his area in the nation’s fourth largest market before leaving the station in 2012.

 

Greg is also an accomplished author, having written six well-received novels and numerous short stories, along with two screenplays.  He and his band still tour extensively throughout North America. 

 

He just released his first new album in 21 years, entitled ReKihndled, and is doing some touring- look for dates in your area!

 

G-Note Entertainment Magazine chatted with Greg Kihn from his California home before hitting the road in support of his new album “ReKihndled.”

 

 

G-Note: Greg Kihn! Thanks for taking time out to talk with us here at G-Note Entertainment Magazine! What’s been going on for the last 20 plus years with you?

 

GK- "Thank you sir, it is my pleasure to talk to you. (Chuckling) I get asked that question a lot, the truth is, we just came out with our first studio album “ReKihndled” as in I hope this 'reKihndles' my career!  This is the first studio album we have done in 20 years and I'm pretty proud of it.”

 

“Really,  I haven't gone anywhere, I have been doing a radio gig for 20 years, including a 18 plus year stint on radio at KFOX in San Francisco, and you know when you are the morning guy and you have to get up at 4:00am, you don't have much of a life and you aren't going to do much other than that because you're too pooped to go out on the weekends and play gigs with the exception of the once a year “Kihncert” that is played at the Shoreline Amphitheater every summer.

 

Kihn continued on “You know when the radio station cut me loose a couple of years ago it like “Oh My God”, I now have my life back! It was liberating and now I have all this time so I can go back on the road.  So, I “reKinndled” the band so to speak and I know have my son Ry Kihn on Lead guitar who by the way was taught by none other than Joe Satriani.  Ry is a shredder in the first degree! We also have Robert Berry on Bass who also produces the record and owns the studio where we recorded it. Then we got Sammy Hagar's drummer Dave Lauser who after a conversation with Sammy after a gig, where I said to him man, do you know any drummers that would be available to go out on the road and Sammy says, why don't you take my guy because I'll be doing some other projects and he'll have some time off. So, go ahead and take him. So, we start rehearsing and this guy turns out to be Keith Moon! He is unbelievable!

So hence, I back, I proud and I'm liberated and can't wait to back on the road with these guys!”

 

G-Note: When people hear the new album what do they think of it?

 

GK- “People tell me that this sounds like a Greg Kihn album, you know you wonder what we would sound like 20 years later, this it, this is what we would sound like! I gotta tell you, we had a lot of fun making this album! There a lot of first takes and it felt great every step of the way!”

 

G-Note:  I have to tell you, your song “Pink Flamingo's” is a little rockabilly ditty and I was pleasantly surprised by that. Not what one would expect from a Greg Kihn MTV song.

 

GK- “I got to tell you man, that was the first song we recorded on the album and it may be my favorite. My son Ry came into the studio and we were talking. I said I want to write a song like “Oh Well” by Fleetwood Mac you know where they play, they stop and they sing and they play and he says oh, I know what you mean like Zeppelin's “Black Dog” and I said that is exactly what I meant.”

 

“The next day, Ry comes into the studio and he starts playing the riff that would become “Pink Flamingo's.” I just loved it and out of the clear blue sky, I started singing big pink flamingos, I don't know where it came from it was like it is floating around in the air in front of me and I snatched it up and

channeled it. We ended up writing it 15 minutes! You know it's a good song if you write it in 15 minutes!”

 

G-Note: It looked like you had fun with the Pink Flamingo's video, in all your video's you appear to have a lot of fun!

 

GK- “You know the “Break Up Song” was a hit before MTV back in '81 and music videos were just becoming part of the scene, and when “Jeopardy” came out in '83, it was MTV's first concept video so they played the heck out it, pretty much every hour and they liked it because it told a story.”

 

“Here's a little back story for you, we did the “Jeopardy” video in a 48-hour shoot. Our producer Joe Day had procured this church that we were renting for the 48 hours. I gotta tell ya, I am going to Hell for what I did in that church after hours, I am sure I broke every law of God and man in that church, we were partying our asses off,we were out of control!”

 

Kihn continued "When “Jeopardy” was a hit we were opening for Journey all over the land, places like Madison Square Garden and just everywhere and after it became number 1, then “Wierd Al” Yankovic comes out with this parody of “Jeopardy” and he has to go on the road to promote it and I have to say, I love all that mailbox money!”

 

G-Note: Did you know when you recorded the “Break Up” song and “Jeopardy” that they were going to be as big as they were?

 

GK- “I kinda did. “The Break Up” song took a little time to grow and catch on and it still gets air play same with “Jeopardy” they get played all over the world which is great for me – more mail box money but “Jeopardy” again was just one of those songs that was right in front of me just swirling around and I snatched it up and we recorded it in like 10 minutes. I knew when we played a few gigs later that weekend when people were singing along without knowing the lyrics that I knew we had a hit!”

 

G-Note: Is there anything you would like to share that we didn't cover?

 

GK- “No man, it's been a blast and I appreciate your time and looking forward to seeing everyone on the road!” Go Buy “ReKihndled!”

 

For all things Greg Kihn including information on his tour and his new album 'ReKihndled” check out www.gregkihn.com and https://www.facebook.com/gregkihn/

 

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