KING TUFF: IT’S NOT NORMAL
Hold the phone! This is an unscheduled surprise! Discovering that we’re following roughly the same course back from SXSW that King Tuff is taking towards his new home, Los Angeles, we’ve accosted this young man at illegal trainyard shows and Arizona’s The Thing! Tourist trap gift shop to get the real skinny on Burger Records and his time in Witch. He talks to us now with a smile on his face and a rosy hue to his cheeks that must either be shy coyness or else the onset of rosacea. This interview by Dan Collins.
What’s your favorite part about The Thing in Arizona?
Probably the life-sized torture statues carved out of solid wood that represent an investment of thousands of dollars. There’s a whole display of people torturing each other in weird masks and eye patches. It’s fucked. It’s not normal.
What’s the gnarliest things have gotten on tour?
Things are kinda gnarly right now. Dudes are feeling ill. Faces are pasty. We’re at the thing where I’m getting a tan. I’m gonna go get a tan on the roof.
Audacity was your backing band at SXSW. Do you have a regular band?
I have these guys that I played with on my first tour, up until SXSW, and then they went back to New York. The guitar player and the drummer are in another band. I’m really just open to playing with anyone. I just wanna keep things fresh. I get bored really easily. I’m going to gonna play a couple more shows with them and then drop ‘em like a fuckin’ bomb! Ha ha!
Are you gonna give them a parting gift?
Yeah, maybe—maybe a little French kiss.
Or a lapdance? They’re so baby faced. You might taint them for life.
I think they’re already pretty tainted.
Maybe you could lick their taints.
I’m not going that far—I don’t know what’s going on down there! I’ve seen what they eat at the gas stations.
Yeah, the Burger boys are pretty sweaty. I got a lot of other people’s sweat on me tonight. Is this normal for you when you play shows?
Yeah. In Austin, all the shows have been wild. I love that—that’s something I didn’t get in Happy Birthday. This is so much better. The music is just more straightforward and easier to dance to.
What is King Tuff? What is this niche you decided you need to be filled with King Tuff?
Playing the Happy Birthday stuff was fun. They’re kind of complex. But the King Tuff has always really been the stuff I’ve done since I was a teenager. Catchy pop songs. But it’s all rock ‘n’ roll to me. I just try and make songs that I like and I hope other people like them too.
How did you get in touch with the Burger guys?
I don’t know how they got my number, but I was into it. I think Sean and Lee are the best dudes. You know those guys?
Yeah, we have similar fashion styles.
Those guys—I feel like Lee is a very perfect piece of spaghetti and Sean is like a Persian kitty.
Brian is like a koala or something. He’s just chilling up there in a tree.
But with a couple vicious claws?
Eh. Maybe he’s got one jagged toenail.
Kim Fowley writes for L.A. RECORD. Would you ever have him do any of your stuff?
I’m willing to work with anyone. I’ve always done my old stuff, but at this point I’m so sick of dealing with chords. I really like working with other people. I record my own demos but it could be so different.
What about Van Dyke Parks? Could you go more orchestral?
I do have some songs that are more acoustic. I wanna make an album that’s more acoustic and beautiful. Does that count? I could use some strings. A fucking oboe. Some baritone sax.
What’s an instrument you’d like to play but people wouldn’t expect you to play?
I love the saxophone.
Do you play?
Hell no! I can make like one toot. One Note Johnny. I’d like to have … anything, I don’t fuckin’ care! As long as it sounds good.
I only realized recently that you’re the guy from Witch.
That’s a pretty doom-y band. Do you still have doom in your heart?
Oh, yes. There’s always the doom in my heart.
Have you ever met any aliens?
I feel like the only people I’m friends with are aliens.
Any L.A. aliens yet?
I know some L.A. aliens. Dan, can I get the whole pizza, man?
Yeah. I’ll slice you tonight, that’s for sure!
A pizza with a hole in it!
KING TUFF WITH APACHE, AUDACITY, COSMONAUTS AND CRAZY BAND ON THUR., MAR. 24, AT FIVE STAR BAR, 267 S. MAIN ST., DOWNTOWN. 9 PM / $10 / 21+. BURGERRECORDS.COM. KING TUFF’S … IS DEAD IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM THE COLONEL OR BURGER RECORDS. VISIT KING TUFF AT MYSPACE.COM/KINGTUFF.