Much to my poor roommate’s chagrin, I love to pop in Rock Band, turn up the volume on our crappy free TV and run around the living room kicking things while swinging my plastic guitar and shouting. But you can’t always be a ruffian in your own living room. Sometimes you need to find like-minded rabble rousers to share that energy with.
One of the best parts about working at Harmonix is that the culture of musicianship and music appreciation extends far beyond the office. People are always getting together to jam in the practice space, form bands, put shows together, and, most importantly, support each other at shows in the area. You can find a Harmonix band playing just about any day of the week at any number of venues in the Boston-area.
When I found out that one of my favorite “destroy my living room while playing Rock Band” bands, The Konks, was playing a show in nearby Harvard Square, I joined up with some of the HMX crew to yell, scream, and experience some general facemelt at nearby Charlie’s Kitchen.
HMXCrossss, TheBestSteph, and I, along with a few others, arrived at Charlie’s later that evening, ready to rock and support The Konks and their rad frontman (our coworker), Kurt Davis. At work, we know Kurt as our rocking office manager. At the show we met Kurt the frontman - a powerhouse of vocals and crazy, “minimalist” drum skills.
The Konks - Kurt, Bob, and Jon - were a veritable tornado, transforming the tiny Charlie’s upstairs into a full on rock club. Bob’s guitar riffs nearly made my ears bleed while Jon’s heavy bass literally shook the floor of the place. And there was Kurt in the middle of everything screaming and pounding The Konks' trademark two-drum setup (the drums were propped up on milk crates for the Charlie’s show). The guys played for a little over an hour and then, ears ringing, us ladies parted ways and headed home.
The next day, still deaf, I caught up with Kurt to chat about the show. We talked about the venue, the feeling of performing, and the experience of going to and playing live shows. Here’s a short recap of our informal interview:
HMXThrasher: In all the years I’ve lived here, and all the times I’ve gone to Charlie’s, I’ve somehow never caught a show there. Do The Konks play there a lot?
Kurt: We’ve played Charlie’s at least five or six times. I like playing there because it’s intimate. You’re right in peoples’ faces. You’re not elevated or above the crowd in any way – you’re just right there, playing with them.
HMXThrasher: If I can ask a somewhat cliched or cheesy question, what is your favorite part about performing with The Konks?
Kurt: I like being able to lose myself and not be a regular old person. Performing with the band you can yell and scream and lose yourself with reckless abandon. I like being able to have that freedom.
HMXThrasher: Aside from wearing earplugs (which I forgot to do), do you have any tips for Konks fans going to see you live for the first time?
Kurt: Hmm, I don’t really have any tips. I think when you go to shows – any shows – it’s best to just go into it wide-eyed. That’s better than trying to look or act a certain way or come off all cool like you know it all. Just be comfortable with yourself, have fun, don’t be so self-conscious.
HMXThrasher: I wish someone had given me that advice when I was younger.
Kurt: Well, I mean it’s natural – you kind of can’t help but to try to put on airs, especially when you’re going to see a band you really like for the first time.
HMXThrasher: [insert embarrassing story about the first show I went to at age 16]
Kurt: haha, I think the experience of going to shows is best learned on the fly. Even if you’re intimidated, it’s all a rite of passage.
HMXThrasher: Anything else for first-time show-goers?
Kurt: DANCE! Seriously, don’t be afraid or intimidated, just dance. Have fun.
HMXThrasher: Amen! So, what’s next for The Konks?
Kurt: We’ve been busy in the studio for the last few months and will have a 7" vinyl single available soon with more new recordings to follow soon. They’re less lo-fi than the last record we recorded, more “produced.” Definitely headphone-friendly. A new Konks listening experience. We have plans for some really cool packaging, too, if everything works out well. We’ll also be playing a bunch of shows in the area in the future. Be on a lookout for dates.
You can check out The Konks' MySpace page for more information on their upcoming show dates and new music.