Photo by Alan Snodgrass

Interview with vocalist and guitarist Kid Congo Powers | By Thomas Pizzola

Punk rock legend Kid Congo Powers—who has slung guitar for such bands as The Gun Club, The Cramps and The Bad Seeds—is getting ready release his fourth album with his current band, The Pink Monkey Birds.

Entitled La Araña Es La Vida, the album—which drops April 22 on In The Red—once again shows Powers and his henchmen, bassist Kiki Solis, drummer Ron Miller, and new guitarist Mark Cisneros, delivering another master class in the art of primal rock ‘n’ roll. It’s dark, but also seductive and fun. In fact, it’s their strongest album to date.

Powers credits that to the addition of Cisneros, who brings a fresh perspective to their sound. “He really can play that Chicano rock style we love from the ‘60s better than anyone,” Powers says. “I was thinking to abandon that element, but he made it so fresh and appealing, I fell in love with the genre again. Renewed my vows. But it’s only an element in the language of our music. We get closer to the holy grail of mixing different styles of songs that sound like the same band. The Pink Monkey Birds has become a beast of its own.”

The album title references Mexican folklore. Powers was enthralled by the legend of La Araña, the Great Spider Goddess Teotihuacán, and how that applies to the world of underground rock. “I love Mexican folklore and The Great Spider Goddess of Teotihuacán spoke to me when reading about her,” he says. “She sprouts hallucinogenic morning glories and protects the underworld. I thought that is very much like our duty as a band, to have the most open mind to vivid psychedelic dreams to create and protect the world of underground music, the music of the soul. Protect it from unimaginative, unfeeling commercial music. No magic there. Plus, I like the associations The Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, Spider Baby, ‘the tangled webs we weave,’ The Spider and The Fly. One way or another, she’s gonna get you!”

In addition to new Pink Monkey Birds albums, Powers is also writing a book about his coming of age in Los Angeles. Plus, he has another band in the works called the Wolfmanhattan Project with The Gories’ Mick Collins and ex-Sonic Youth drummer, Bob Bert.

He certainly knows how to keep busy. But this need to create goes much deeper. “It’s very indescribable what the drive is, but aside from not knowing what else I would do, I still feel like I have something to say even though I don’t know what it is,” Powers explains. “I think there is always a way to communicate and put music forth that is going to say something that hasn’t been said before. I do it in a rock ‘n’ roll way, but I want to go beyond just rock ‘n’ roll. I want the music to be its own language, and I want it to be heard by many people. Even if it’s just preaching to the converted, that’s fine, but I think there are always people who are ready to learn a new language. That’s what I am striving for… to keep speaking in this different language. I still enjoy performing immensely, too.”

Pick up La Araña Es La Vida here.

Tour Dates:
5/3/2016 San Diego CA Soda Bar
5/4/2016 Los Angeles CA Echo
5/5/2016 San Francisco CA Thee Parkside
5/6/2016 Portland OR Dante’s
5/7/2016 Vancouver BC Rickshaw Theatre
5/8/2016 Seattle WA Sunset Tavern
5/11/2016 Brooklyn NY The Bell House
5/12/2016 Washington DC Comet Ping Pong
5/13/2016 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie
5/14/2016 Pittsburgh PA Brillobox
5/15/2016 Cleveland OH Now That’s Class
5/16/2016 Cincinnati OH MOTR Pub
5/17/2016 Chicago IL Schubas Tavern
5/18/2016 Detroit MI Lager House
5/19/2016 Toronto ON Silver Dollar
5/20/2016 Montreal QC Le Ritz
5/21/2016 New Haven CT Cafe Nine
5/22 Portland ME Space Gallery
5/23/2016 Providence RI Aurora

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