I have a rudimentary understanding of the science behind how creative genius works, and it goes something like this; an idea in the brain gestates very slowly into a pebble-sized tumor, which is then expelled via the left ear into the world as a full-blown work of art. I know this to be true, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes in the case of the legendary Kid Congo Powers, the musical legend who has played, or collaborated with, seemingly every cool band of the post-punk era.
Powers’ musical resume is as confusing as it is impressive: he co-founded The Gun Club with the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce, left to join the Cramps, then returned to The Gun Club before quitting to join Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, then returned to The Gun Club while still playing with The Bad Seeds—and you get the idea. But what really makes Powers so fascinating is this: he spent years wandering the earth to and fro, endlessly searching for the perfect sound in this great band or that, when that perfect sound was with him the whole time, inside his head.
Since taking over as a frontman of his own band, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds—a nice nod, the band name, from a one-time glam kid and habitué of Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco to the one and only Ziggy Stardust—Powers has demonstrated his formidable skills as a songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist over the course of the four excellent LPs the quartet (Powers, Kiki Solis on bass, Ron Miller on drums, and Jesse Roberts on guitar and keyboards) has recorded since 2006.
And the band just keeps getting better; their most recent release, 2013’s Haunted Head, is their coolest yet. Its fetching fusion of spooky swampy hoodoo garage (that’s right, there’s a swamp in your garage! Complete with Spanish moss and cottonmouths! And even a stray gator or two! I wouldn’t go in there if I were you!), psychedelia, southern soul, and cool 1960s Chicano Rock will leave you wanting to drop acid, cruise East LA’s Whittier Boulevard with Thee Midniters on the radio in a low rider with a makeshift shrine to Santa Muerte on the front dash, and just plain dance, dance, dance, dance, dance. And I say do it! Do it all! You only live once, although with Santa Muerte on your side, who knows?