King Kurt

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King Kurt was a 1980s psychobilly rock band from the UK. They formed in 1981 and split up in 1988, although they have reformed sporadically and played a reunion concert in 2010. They are best known for their hit single, "Destination Zululand" (1983).

Formation[edit]

The band was formed as Rockin' Kurt and his Saur Krauts in 1981, with Jeff Harvey on vocals, John Reddington on guitar, Bert Boustead on bass guitar, Alan "Maggot" Power on "saxamaphone" and Rory Lyons on drums. Paul "Thwack" Laventhol joined on guitar at their third gig in July 1981, and the name was shortened to King Kurt later that year.[1]

Notoriety[edit]

Harvey left in 1982 to be replaced by Gary "The Smeg" Clayton as vocalist, and it was at Harvey's farewell concert at the 101 Club in Clapham, London that the infamous "food fight" gigs started.[1] The band was known for their stage performances in which eggs and bags of flour were thrown around on and off stage. Free haircuts and other audience participation included stage props such as "The Wheel of Misfortune", a wheel on which a fan was strapped and fed snakebite through a tube. Themed concerts included "Kurt Skirts", where admittance was refused to men unless wearing a skirt, or Easter concerts with the band dressed as legionaries, angels on flying trapeze, and an extra in a loincloth on a cross at the back of stage.

Albums[edit]

The band joined Stiff Records in 1983 and recorded the album Ooh Wallah Wallah with producer, Dave Edmunds. They had a few minor hit singles that featured in the UK Singles and UK Indie Charts, such as "Zulu Beat", Weill and Brecht's "Mack the Knife" and "Banana Banana", along with their Top 40 hit "Destination Zululand", which reached No. 36 in the UK Singles Chart in October 1983.[2]

Their second album, Big Cock, was produced by Phil Wainman and released on Polydor in 1986, which included their cover of Bernstein and Sondheim's "America" from West Side Story.

Post-heyday[edit]

During 1988 the band effectively split, though between 1992 and 1996 the group, featuring three of the original members, were performing as a live act. John Reddington, is now an attorney with Williams Powell.[3] Smeg performed as 'I Can't Believe It's Not King Kurt'. A compilation album was issued in 2009, and a reunion concert took place in March 2010. In 2012 they were confirmed to play the Olympia 1 and 2 at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool sharing the stage with Conflict, Subhumans and Stiff Little Fingers.[4]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Month Year Title UK Singles Chart[2] Record Label
N/K 1982 "Zulu Beat" / "Rockin' Kurt" dnc Thin Sliced Records
October 1983 "Destination Zululand" / "She's as Hairy" #36 Stiff Records
April 1984 "Mack the Knife" / "Wreck a Party Rock" #55 Stiff Records
August 1984 "Banana Banana" / "Bo Diddley Goes East" #54 Stiff Records
June 1985 "Billy" / "Back on the Dole" dnc Stiff Records
September 1985 "Road to Rack n Ruin" / "Poppa Wobbler" dnc Stiff Records
November 1985 "Slammers" / "Ape Hour" dnc Stiff Records
November 1986 "America" / "High and Mighty" #73 Polydor
May 1987 "Land of Ring Dang Do" / "Zulu Beat" / "Horatio" / "Gather Your Limbs" #67 Polydor
N/K 1988 "Bye Bye Baby" / "Prussian Stomp" – (as 'The Kurts') dnc GWR

Albums[edit]

Year Title UK Albums Chart[2] Record Label
1983 Ooh Wallah Wallah #99 Stiff Records
1986 Big Cock #50 Stiff Records
1988 The Last Will & Testicle dnc GWR
1994 Poor Man's Dream dnc Demon Records

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Live & Rockin' (1989)
  • Destination Demoland (1990)
  • Alcoholic Rat (2001)
  • Live and Unreleased
  • Ooh Wallah Wallah, Jungle Records (2009)
  • Zulu Beat - CD/DVD Secret Records (2012)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Official website "History". Retrieved on 2010-02-21.
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 303. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Williamspowell.com
  4. ^ Official website "News". Retrieved on 2010-02-21.

External links[edit]