In this Preshow Rituals segment, the indie rock band, Kiss Me Deadly, share what they do before every show. You can check out their rituals, after the break.
Because playing music, like any type of creative or athletic performance, is so ephemeral, so of the moment, and as such is so subject to any number of contingencies, it’s inevitable that anyone doing it is going to have his or her rituals in order to ward off bad luck and evil spirits no matter how practical or down to earth they might be. Well, we’re neither practical nor down to earth and so we have quite a few pre-show rituals that not only take place before performances but extend throughout our week.
Rigorously adhered to is the practice of Taco Tuesday at Becky’s, the king of all dive bars and our home away from home. Every Tuesday, whether or not we plan on practicing that night, Kiss Me Deadly can be found at Becky’s eating dollar tacos and drinking Jameson Irish whiskey (Evan), Vodka-soda-splash of grapefruit juice (Jen), or Ice Tea (Madelyn trying to be “good”). Though it is not a music venue, about once a month Becky’s builds a little stage, pulls out the PA and the band plays a show, which includes wacky covers (Steve Miller’s The Joker?), crowd participation, rampant shot buying, and general mayhem.
The week before a big show there are two important rituals that must be enacted – Hair Party Time and 10×3. Hair Party Time consists of Madelyn, who as a licensed massage therapist is allowed to buy professional hair care products (what!?), coloring and often styling Jen’s hair, experimenting with color combinations, weaves, extensions, and generally playing live Barbie. There is often talk of band business, songs we want to learn, new songs we’re trying to move into the rotation, new venues we’re trying to play – it’s like a band business meeting only with hair. Meanwhile, Evan plays DJ unless he’s too involved watching Ancient Aliens on H2 or there’s a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game on TV. Hair Party Time even has its own theme song and dance!
10×3 is a variation on an open mic hosted by Brent Kirby one of Cleveland’s premier singer-songwriters and a member of too many great bands to even list. We suspect there are clones of Brent playing different gigs at the same time across the city. On Wednesday nights at Brothers Lounge, Brent lines up 10 bands/performers to each play 3 songs, at least 2 of which have to be original. This is not the kind of hit or miss open mic we are all familiar with. Everyone who plays 10×3 tends to be pretty awesome, there’s always a packed, enthusiastic house, and it has become something of a hub for the Cleveland musical community. Kiss Me Deadly wouldn’t consider playing an important show without a 10×3 performance the previous Wednesday, and this ritual has never failed us.
On show days, Evan doesn’t eat before playing while Jen and Madelyn don’t drink before playing. We are always the first to arrive at the venue and most often the last to leave, with even the bartenders wondering if we plan on staying overnight. To prepare for the show, Evan plays scales on the bass to loosen up his hands while Jen and Madelyn repair to the restroom where they sing the chorus of “Agent” at least four times. The set list is made at the last possible minute with the vibe of the crowd and the feeling of the band taken into account when we decide what songs we’re going to play and in what order. Finally, we sacrifice a chicken, no wait, we don’t do that at all, we’re animal lovers. Evan takes the stage with a double Jameson and a large water and then … KMD ROCKS!
Check them out on tour!
6/27 – Cleveland, OH @ Waterloo Arts Fest
6/27 – Akron, OH @ Highland Tavern (10pm)
6/28 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
6/29 – Washington D.C. @ Treehouse Lounge
7/01 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Grape Room
7/02 – New York, NY @ Pianos
7/03 – Providence, RI @ Firehouse 13
7/04 – Boston, MA @ The Midway
7/05 – Burlington, VT @ Monkey House
7/06 – Montreal, CAN @ Bar Pub-St Denis
7/07 – Ottawa, CAN @ Pressed Cafe
7/08 – Toronto, CAN @ The Smiling Buddah
7/09 – Detroit, MI @ Smalls
7/10 – Toledo, OH @ House Concert
7/11 – Cleveland, OH @ Becky’s Bar