Greg Kihn in concert, September 2008
July 10, 1949 |
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
|Occupation(s)||Musician, radio personality, novelist|
|Associated acts||The Greg Kihn Band|
Gregory Stanley "Greg" Kihn (born July 10, 1949) is an American rock musician, radio personality, and novelist.
Greg Kihn's early influence was The Beatles and their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. "Just about every rock and roll musician my age can point to one cultural event that inspired him to take up music in the first place: the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. If you were a shy 14-year-old kid who already had a guitar, it was a life-altering event. ... In a single weekend everything had changed. I'd come home from school the previous Friday looking like Dion. I went back to class on Monday morning with my hair dry and brushed forward. That's how quickly it happened."
Kihn began his career in his hometown of Baltimore, MD, working in the singer/songwriter mold, but switched to straightforward rock & roll when he moved to San Francisco in 1972.
He started writing songs and playing coffee houses while still in high school in the Baltimore area. When Kihn was 17, his mother submitted a tape of one of his original songs to the talent contest of the big local Top 40 radio station WCAO, in which he took first prize and won three things that would change his life: a typewriter, a stack of records, and a Vox electric guitar.
He moved to California in 1972 and worked painting houses, singing in the streets, and working behind the counter at Berkeley record store Rather Ripped Records with future band mate and Earth Quake guitarist Gary Phillips.
The following year, he became one of the first artists signed to Matthew King Kaufman's now-legendary Beserkley Records. Along with Jonathan Richman, Earth Quake, and the Rubinoos, Kihn helped to carve the label's sound—melodic pop with a strong 1960s pop sensibility—an alternative to the prog rock of the time.
In 1976, after his debut on the compilation Beserkley Chartbusters, he recorded his first album with his own band, called The Greg Kihn Band, consisting of Robbie Dunbar (guitar), Steve Wright (bass), and Larry Lynch (drums).
Dunbar, already a member of Earth Quake, was replaced by Dave Carpender in time to record their second album, Greg Kihn Again. Meanwhile, Kihn's old record store pal, Gary Phillips, who had contributed guitars to Kihn's first album returned as a session musician on the band's 1980 Glass House Rock album and officially joined the band as keyboardist for the follow-up album, Rockihnroll. The lineup of Kihn, Wright, Lynch, Phillips, and Carpender lasted until 1983, when Greg Douglass replaced Dave Carpender.
Through the 1970s, Kihn released an album each year and built a strong cult following through constant touring, becoming Beserkley's biggest seller. In 1981, Kihn earned his first bona fide hit with the Top 20 single, "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)," from the Rockihnroll album.
Kihn continued in a more commercial vein through the 1980s with a series of pun-titled albums: Kihntinued (1982), Kihnspiracy (1983), Kihntageous (1984), and Citizen Kihn (1985).
He scored his biggest hit with 1983's "Jeopardy" (number two) from the Kihnspiracy album. "Jeopardy" was spoofed by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "I Lost on Jeopardy" on Yankovic's album "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D; Kihn made a cameo appearance in the music video for that song.
In 1983, the groundbreaking "Jeopardy" video became an MTV favorite. Many of the videos that followed were sequels with connecting story lines. One of the earliest examples of a "concept" video with its Night of the Living Dead theme, "Jeopardy" received heavy airplay on the fledgling cable music channel and spawned countless imitators.
Kihn spent most of the 1980s touring constantly, opening arena-sized shows for groups such as Journey, the Grateful Dead, and the Rolling Stones. Kihn often appeared on TV during this period on shows such as Solid Gold, American Bandstand, and Saturday Night Live. On May 10, 1981 Kihn and Willie Nile appeared live on the King Biscuit Flower Hour from the Savoy Theater, New York City.
In 1985, Kihn broke with Beserkley Records and signed with EMI. Matthew Kaufman continued to produce Kihn's albums. 1985's "Lucky" broke the top twenty and spawned a splashy video sequel to the popular "Jeopardy" video.
In 1986 Joe Satriani replaced Greg Douglass on lead guitar, Tyler Eng replaced Larry Lynch on drums, and Pat Mosca replaced Gary Phillips on keyboards. This is the lineup that went into the studio to record the 1986 album Love and Rock & Roll.
Kihn returned to Baltimore to record a pair of solo acoustic albums at the studios of his longtime friend Jack Heyrman for Clean Cuts Records, Mutiny in 1994 and Horror Show in 1996.
Kihn began his radio career in 1996 when he went on the air from 7:00pm to midnight for San Jose Classic Rock station KUFX FM 98.5, "The Fox." A year later he was offered the morning show job when the syndicated Don Imus Show was dropped from the station. Kihn remained the morning show host until 2012. KUFX, which started out as a little mom-and-pop FM station in San Jose, went through a series of ownership changes and is now a San Francisco super station boasting two signals – 98.5 in San Jose, and 102.1 in San Francisco. Kihn's top-rated KUFX morning show was heard by millions of people every week from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz, the fourth largest market in the United States. After 16 years, Kihn was fired from KUFX following his September 12, 2012 broadcast. He was replaced by Annalisa, who moved over from crosstown KFOG.
Kihn's literary career began in 1996 with the release of his first novel, Horror Show, published by Tor/Forge Books. Horror Show was nominated for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. It was followed by Shade of Pale in 1997, Big Rock Beat in 1998, and Mojo Hand in 1999. Kihn also published many short stories during this period, some appearing in the Hot Blood series of erotic horror fiction. Kihn was contributing editor to Carved in Rock, a compilation of short fiction by musicians including Pete Townshend, Joan Jett, Ray Davies, and Kinky Friedman.
Kihn has also written two screenplays and is currently negotiating with several production companies and Hollywood directors for both a TV series and a feature film.
The Greg Kihn Band continues to play with a lineup consisting of Greg's son Ry Kihn on lead guitar, Dave Danza (from Eddie Money) on drums, Dave Medd (from the Tubes) on keyboards, and Robert Berry (from Hush) on bass.
Every year KFOX hosts a big concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View. California called the "Kihncert" featuring the Greg Kihn band playing alongside many of the greatest classic rock bands ever.
The Kihncert has always featured Greg Kihn as the show opener and sometime emcee, along with other KFOX-FM air personalities. Through the years, the Kihncert has featured live concert appearances by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jefferson Starship, Eddie Money, Boston, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, The Who, Steve Miller Band, George Thorogood, John Waite, Pat Travers, Night Ranger, Mickey Thomas' Starship, Styx, REO Speedwagon, .38 Special, Blue Oyster Cult, Yes, and Kansas.
In addition to the Kihncert, Greg Kihn performs private, public, charity and KFOX FM-sponsored and/or promoted events, such as San Jose's popular 'Concert in the Park' series, he has frequently sung the National Anthem for his favorite baseball team, the Giants, at AT&T Park in San Francisco and his favorite hockey team, The San Jose Sharks, the BR Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival, Operation: Care and Comfort’s Troopfest, and on May 19, 2012 he performed at the legendary Catalyst Club.
Kihn spends his extra time doing charity work, mostly for “Operation Care and Comfort” a military support group responsible for care packages for hundreds of units deployed in harm’s way around the world. Greg Kihn was nominated for the 2010 “Man of the Year Award” by the Lymphoma Society and also does work for Children’s Hospital in Oakland in the never ending fight against cancer.
Kihn is managed by original Beserkley partner Joel Turtle and the two men have remained best friends and business partners since the early 1970s.
Greg Kihn was inducted into the San Jose Rock Hall of Fame in 2007.
In September 2013, Kihn conducted an interview with Music Life Radio detailing his life, including music, radio, and writing careers.
- 1976 Greg Kihn
- 1977 Greg Kihn Again
- 1978 Next of Kihn
- 1979 With the naked eye (as Greg Kihn Band)
- 1980 Glass House Rock (as Greg Kihn Band)
- 1981 Rockihnroll (as Greg Kihn Band)
- 1982 Kihntinued (as Greg Kihn Band)
- 1983 Kihnspiracy (as Greg Kihn Band)
- 1984 Kihntagious (as Greg Kihn Band)
- 1985 Citizen Kihn
- 1986 Love And Rock And Roll
- 1989 Kihnsolidation: The Best of Greg Kihn
- 1992 Kihn of Hearts
- 1994 Mutiny
- 1996 Horror Show
- 2012 Kihn Family Christmas
Kihn has written four horror fiction novels with the first being 1996's Horror Show (nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel) followed by 1997's Shade of Pale. Big Rock Beat and Mojo Hand were subsequently released as sequels to Horror Show.
Kihn also released Carved in Rock: Short Stories by Musicians, a collection of short stories written by himself and other well known rock musicians including Pete Townshend, Graham Parker, Joan Jett, and Ray Davies.
In 2013, Kihn released Rubber Soul, a murder mystery novel featuring the Beatles.
- Horror Show. Tom Doherty Assoc Llc. 1996. ISBN 0-8125-5108-7.
- Shade of Pale. Tor Books. 1998. ISBN 0-8125-5109-5.
- Big Rock Beat. Forge Books. 1998. ISBN 0-312-86756-5.
- Mojo Hand. Forge Books. 1999. ISBN 0-312-87246-1.
- Carved in Rock: Short Stories by Musicians. Thunder's Mouth Press. 2003. ISBN 156025453X.
- Rubber Soul. Premier Digital Publishing. 2013. ISBN 1624670946.
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart