Put this on your list of new albums to buy! Legendary 80’s rocker, Greg Kihn, is proud to announce the release of his new album, Greg Kihn Band: Best of Berserkley, 1974-1985, as both hardcopy CD and digital download. The album contains 21 tracks and features 19 Greg Kihn remastered original hits drawn from his eight-of-nine full-length Beserkley Records studio albums, including The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘em Like That), Jeopardy, Happy Man and Reunited, along with two tribute tracks to Bruce Springsteen (long considered one of Greg’s biggest musical influences), Rendezvous and For You.
In the late 80’s, Beserkley Records sold the original Greg Kihn Band master recordings, along with the rest of the Beserkley Records catalog. After many years of legal wranglings, Greg finally obtained the rights to release his back catalog from this seminal era of his musical career. Existing diehard and new fans who have followed Greg Kihn from the beginning of his career as a folkie/pop-rock troubadour to one of the most recognizable and popular Gold-selling video Rock Stars during MTV’s 1980’s glory years will want to add this essential compilation to their classic rock music collection.
I recently caught up with Greg about this release and other projects...
Kathy Wagner (KW) - Congrats on the release of Best of Berserkley, 1974-1985. In addition to 19 remastered original hits, I understand it contains two tribute tracks to Bruce Springsteen, "Rendezvous" and "For You".... tell me about those tracks?
Greg Kihn (GK) - At the time (1977 or so) there were only 2 other Springsteen covers. The Pointer Sisters (Fire) and the Hollies (Sandy from Asbury Park). So I was among the first to seriously cover the Boss and I had envisioned a Byrds-like arrangement with jangly 12-string Rickenbackers and nice harmonies. So I did this (in one take!) at the old CBS studios in San Francisco and Bruce liked it so much, he started doing my version LIVE! Way cool, and then he showed up backstage at the Roxy in LA and gave me Rendezvous.
KW – With such a large catalog to draw from, it must have been difficult to narrow down the list of songs that you chose to include on this album. If you had to choose just a few, which of the 19 remastered hits are you the most proud of? Which songs still mean the most to you today?
GK - I’ve been fighting to get the rights to release all this early material for years and I finally obtained the rights to the master recordings. First thing I did was put out this “greatest hits” compilation containing a song or two from each album. I had a ball going through the old 2-track tapes and digitally remastering it. It was surprisingly easy to choose these songs… many choose themselves.
KW - I've gotta touch on the video for "Jeopardy." In the early days of MTV, it was played in such heavy rotation that it's burned into my memory -- I can still "see it" in my head whenever I hear the song -- there's a lot to be said for that. Many other videos were not nearly as memorable! Where did the idea for that video originate?
GK - That was inspired by “Night of the Living Dead” and directed by Joe Dea who did a great job on the special effects. We were on a shoestring budget and we really had to get creative. MTV loved it and played it heavily because it was one of the first “concept” videos that told a story.
KW - You've just announced a CD Release / Reunion Party for May 19th at the Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz. What can fans expect at this show? Who will be performing in your band?
GK - Well, unfortunately, many former members of the band are no longer with us and that’s a drag; Dave Carpender, Mark Ross, and Gary Phillips are gone. But we’ve got original drummer Larry Lynch, bass player Steve Wright, and Greg Douglass (from the jeopardy era on lead guitar.) The current lineup of the GKB is my son Ry on lead guitar, Robert Berry on bass, Dave Medd on keys, and Dave Danza on drums. I can’t wait. We’re even going to rehearse for this one!
KW – When I mentioned to a few people that I'd be doing an interview with you, more than one person immediately chimed in with, "Did you know that he's a horror writer?" High praise was given to "Horror Show" (1997). For someone who has never read any of your novels, which book would you recommend they start with? Best to go with the first one, or would it be okay to start with the most recent and work your way back?
GK - The best one to start with is “Horror Show,” which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. But, they all stand up individually as well.
KW - Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?
GK - Actually, yes, I was thinking about it doing it sometime soon while I still have my wits about me. All I need is a catchy title…
KW - I understand you have a screenplay in development for a new cable series about how the mafia ran the music industry in New York City during the early 1960's, titled "45 RPM" and described as a cross between "The Sopranos-- Meets-- Almost Famous." Tell me about this, and do you have any actors / actresses in mind to play certain roles? (perhaps yourself??)
GK - I am not an actor and besides, we need young studly dudes to play these roles. It’s about the mafia in the music business, so all the actors either need to be Goombahs (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goombah) or rock stars.
KW - You've been a DJ at KFOX since 1994. How did this gig begin, and do you remember what your very first airshift was like? Were you nervous? Did you make any embarrassing mistakes? And what do you enjoy most about being on the air at KFOX?
GK - I hate getting up in the morning, but I love it once I get to the station and start talking. I am addicted to talking to a million people everyday. It’s a lot of fun. Radio is easy for me, it’s not really “working”. They pay you to get up and drive to the studio… that’s the work part… the show is the fun stuff!
KW - Of all the people you've interviewed as a DJ, who was your favorite person to interview and why?
GK - I love talking to all my old friends from the rock and roll wars like Eddie Money, Joan Jett, Steve Miller, Robin Zander, Rick Neilson, Neal Schon, and Huey Lewis, guys like that.
KW - In addition to the CD Release Party on May 19th, you also have a big show planned with the Steve Miller Band and Pat Benatar at the Shore Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA on July 14th. Are there plans to tour any other cities this year?
GK - There are no plans to take it on tour. I do about 8 gigs per year in the San Francisco Bay Area and infrequent appearances in other states or parts of the world, which is enough for me.
KW - I'm an animal lover, so I've gotta ask -- Do you have any pets?
GK - I’m a cat person, and I have 2 cats- Mojo and Zuzu. Both are female torties, IE; Calicos. Mojo I’ve had for 15 years and Zuzu is 4 years younger. I used to have third but we had to put him down because of cancer. It broke our hearts, but there was no other choice for Bijou. Mojo is pretty much retired these days and spends most of the time sleeping.
KW - My last question is a standard question that I always ask -- and I'll have to phrase it a little differently for you, since you wear so many hats! It's usually "If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing?" But in your case, it will be a little longer! If you weren't a musician, and an author, and a DJ, is there anything else you might have been interested in doing?
GK - If I wasn’t a musician, I would be in radio and a writer, both of which I do anyway.
Greg Kihn Band: Best of Berserkley, 1974-1985 can be purchased through GregKihn.com, iTunes at http://itunes.gregkihn.com, Amazon.com at http://x.co/kihn7485cd, and other online digital and CD music retailers.
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