August Darnell

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August Darnell
Birth name Thomas August Darnell Browder
Also known as Kid Creole
Born (1950-08-12) August 12, 1950 (age 66)
The Bronx, New York City, USA
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, bandleader, record producer
Instruments Bass
Years active 1965–present
Associated acts Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band
Kid Creole and the Coconuts

Thomas August Darnell Browder (born August 12, 1950),[1] known professionally as August Darnell and under the stage name Kid Creole, is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known for co-founding Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band and subsequently forming and leading Kid Creole and the Coconuts.

Early life and career[edit]

Darnell was born in The Bronx in 1950. His mother was from South Carolina with Caribbean and Italian parents and his father from Savannah, Georgia. As an adult, Thom Browder began going by his two middle names, August Darnell. Claims in some sources that he was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, are erroneous; according to Darnell they stem from the fictitious back-story behind the Kid Creole character.[2]

Growing up in the melting pot of the Bronx, Darnell was exposed early on to all kinds of music.[3] Darnell began his musical career in a band named The In-Laws with his half-brother, Stony Browder Jr., in 1965. The band disbanded so Darnell could pursue a career as an English teacher. He studied English and drama at Hofstra University, later claiming that he established a musical career because he was a "frustrated actor".[4]

In 1974, again with Stony Browder, he formed Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, becoming its lyricist and bass player.[5] The band combined swing and Latin music with disco rhythms and had its biggest hit in 1976 with "Cherchez La Femme".[2] Their self-titled debut release was a Top 40-charting album which was certified gold and was nominated for a Grammy.

Kid Creole[edit]

In 1979, Darnell left Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. He began producing for other artists, such as Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band and Gichy Dan’s Beachwood No.9,[3] before adopting the name Kid Creole (adapted from the Elvis Presley film King Creole) in 1980. Darnell described the persona of Kid Creole as "a flamboyant, devil-may-care bon vivant".[6]

With his band and backing singers (including Darnell's then-wife, Adriana Kaegi), collectively known as Kid Creole and the Coconuts, he established an exuberant musical style drawing on such influences as big bands, notably that of Cab Calloway, salsa, jazz, pop music and disco. Darnell wrote the lyrics, which "satirised the high life at a time when America was ravaged by recession."[6] The group released three albums, Off the Coast of Me (1980), Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places (1981) and Tropical Gangsters (1982), that became especially popular and successful in Europe. Darnell also worked as a producer with acts on ZE Records.[2] However, the band were much less successful in the US, and were eventually dropped by Sony.[5]

Later life[edit]

Darnell moved to England in the 1980s, and later lived in Denmark, Sweden, and Maui,[4][6] occasionally re-forming Kid Creole and the Coconuts with new musicians.

References[edit]