King Kurt

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King Kurt
King Kurt (5 von 17).jpg
King Kurt Live in Munich
Background information
Years active1981–1988, 1992–1996, 2012–present
MembersGary "Smeg" Cayton - Vocals
Paul "Thwak" Laventhol - Guitar
John Reddington - Saxophone
Gaff - Drums
Bert Boustead - Bass
Eli Irving - Guitar

King Kurt are a 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).


The band began as Rockin' Kurt and his Sauer 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]


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 were known for their stage performances in which eggs and bags of flour were thrown around both 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 the stage.


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.


During 1988 the band split, though between 1992 and 1996 the group, featuring three of the original members, were performing as a live act. John Reddington has been a solicitor and trademark lawyer for two decades. 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 on the same bill as Conflict, Subhumans and Stiff Little Fingers.[3] In 2017 the band were booked to play several gigs in the north of the UK.



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


Year Title UK[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]

Year Title Label
1989 Live & Rockin
1990 Destination Demoland
2001 Alcoholic Rat
Live and Unreleased
2009 Ooh Wallah Wallah (CD/DVD) Jungle Records
2012 Zulu Beat (CD/DVD) Secret Records

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Official website "History". Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  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. ^ Official website "News". Retrieved 21 February 2010.

External links[edit]