Kitty and the Kowalskis are readying their new album 'Full Metal Jackass' as I write, in a studio in New York. The new record is the long awaited follow-up to their international indie hit, "All Hopped Up On Goofballs." The band currently consists of Kitty on guitar and vocals, other Kowalskis include Mike Hunt, Greggie, Mike Sux and an assorted cast of prominent NY'ers. Speaking of 'ers, because I am one of the worlds' self-styled laziest f'ers, and given what Kitty Kowalski has to say about the new record, the band and all sorts of stuff is far more interesting than the grandiloquence I usually preface interviews with, I'll just quickly add, fans of the Muffs, Blondie and the Heartbreakers, definitely need apply. And I'll turn it over to her...
Q: How did you get started?
Kitty Kowalski: I've been trying to get into bands since I was fourteen. I played my first show at CBGBs when I was 16 with a band called The Vatican Commandos. My claim to fame is that I was booted out of that band and replaced by Moby, who was in that band to begin with. I had an all-female rap band after that, which went nowhere. I quit for a while, and then became friends with these girls that were into the same music as me, so we decided to start a band called Starkist. We were completely oblivious to the tuna reference. Our first show was sold out - 300 people at the Fez. We were a trainwreck in hot pants and halter tops. After that, I decided to be semi-serious,and stuck with the other guitar player from Starkist. We were Killer Kowalski for a while, and after a few lineup changes and a cease and desist letter from the former pro-wrestler of the same name, we became the Kowalskis.
I'm changing the name of the band to Kitty & The Kowalskis. Basically, the only consistent person is me. I wrote all the songs on our new record. I'll even appear, just me, myself and I, when pressed. I wanted to be a band, like The Pretenders, but that is proving harder and harder, so in the end, I had to accept that this is my thing and no one else really cares about it in the long run but me.
Residency seeks to rejuvenate the tired out rocknroll interview format and offer unreleased tracks, exclusive to outsideleft.
Following an initial introduction to the artist, over the next few weeks, we'll offer a portrait of the artist as a sundowner, homeowner, party animal and check book balancer. All of the things someone told you you'd never want to read. It's a real 'what they look like without make-up'.
DOWNLOAD THE MUSIC
The music is an unreleased track, exclusive to outsideleft. It's an essential element to the residency. The artists live to make music and we believe the bands we feature should be paid for doing it. Use the Paypal link below to pay one measly dollar to download the song.
(Pay $1 by Paypal using the link below. When payment is received, you'll be sent a link to download an MP3 version of the song. The link will be active for seven days or until you download the song.)
DOWNLOAD THE MUSIC
click on the Paypal button below to download Kitty and the Kowalski's - Human Being (mp3)
Q:Tell us something about the early Kowalskis shows. You seem quite well connected.First shows/biggestshows/most fun shows/left before the end of the... shows (particularly if asked!)
Kitty Kowalski: With the lineup we had on the Goofballs album, our first show was with Iggy Pop. That was awesome. We hadn't even rehearsed with our bass player. I was like, "let's go in the basement of the club and practice", and the rest of the band wanted to watch Iggy soundcheck. I've never been so nervous.
Our biggest show was with The Toy Dolls at Irving Plaza. We were such huge fans and were out of our minds with joy. I also had never played on a stage so high before, and wore this cheerleading uniform with boy's underwear underneath, not realizing that everyone could see right up my skirt. I don't even know if they could see my face at all. Partying with them and becoming friendly with Olga was just the best. He is amazing.
We had amazingly fun shows in Switzerland of all places! Zurich and Winterthur were totally off the chain. Completely unexpected. I thought the swiss would be kind of reserved, but they went totally nuts. I loved those shows. Italy was great too because we got to play with our friends The Manges and the punks there are really cool - Las Pezia punkrockers.
I was just in Boston and recalled one of the worst shows ever. We were playing a Sunday hardcore matinee at the Rat. We are not hardcore in the slightest. We were playing with all these kind of street punk bands, and here I come out this little glamour girl with pop songs. They hated us. One kid jumped on stage and grabbed the mike and would not get off it, so our bass player literally kicked the kid of stage. Then they wanted to kill us. I could not wait to get out of there.
Q: I read that the first Kowalksi's single was recorded for $250?
Kitty Kowalski: Our first single was pressed from a demo we recorded in ADAT in about eight hours. We had four songs, and I remember sending this as a cassette to fanzines and labels. Blackout liked it and pressed our first 7" "First Date". That did well - they don't have any more, and then they gave us money to record our full-length with Andy Shernoff. We spent most of our budget with him, and it was well worth it. We were big fans of his songwriting skills, and he rehearsed with us and helped us tighten up our arrangements. He was great to work with, and I STILL like that record to this day, which is rare. Usually I hate something I've recorded the minute it's shipped off to the pressing plant.
Times sure have changed - no one will give you money to record up front. Now, as an indie artist, you record your record, shop it, and if someone likes it, they put it out. That's it.
Q:What are the plans for 'Full Metal Jackass'? That's a great name.
Kitty Kowalski: Mike gets the credit for "Full Metal Jackass". He thought that up when we were at punk rock bowling last year. I want to have it out by the summertime.
We have no label. We're not exactly "major" material the way things work now. We're almost done mixing this one, and I'll put it out there for a couple of months, and if no one bites, I'll do it myself. Then, I get to keep all the money. The only thing a label will do for me is deal with distro, which I am dreading. Everything else I can do myself, and do it my way. It would be nice to have tour support, though, but that is super-rare.
From New York To Tokyo via the Happiest Place on Earth
Q: When the record comes out are you planning to tour to support it? I know that you've played at the Doll Hut, before, way out west...br /> Kitty Kowalski: (That time) We were touring California and were playing a bunch of So Cal dates with our friends, Blockage. Linda's Doll Hut is a legend, so we had to play there. It was awesome. How could we not? We will tour with the new record, it'll all depend on money and whatever, but we'll do East Coast, West coast, Canada and Midwest, maybe Europe. I want to go to Japan this year. That is my big goal. I think we would be big in Japan! I'll be Hello Kitty Kowalski!
LISTEN TO KITTY AND THE KOWALSKIS
The song Kitty and the Kowalski's have made available to us is their previously unreleased cover of the New York Dolls', Human Being (from the Dolls' 1974 album 'Too Much, Too Soon.' Click on the Paypal Button on this page to download the song for a measly dollar.
Kitty Kowalski: We were asked to do this Johnny Thunders tribute and picked this song. "Too Much, Too Soon", was one of my favorite records as a teenager. I kind of put my own stamp on it, so I wasn't aping Johansen. It was also the first time I sang really pissed off, and it came out great.
Residency is outsideleft's attempt to do something, anything a little differently. Kitty and the Kowalskis have been subjected to enough questions to last throughout March. Following this week's introduction, we'll revisit them and each week will reveal a different portrait of the artist as a sundowner, homeowner, party animal and check book balancer. All of the things someone told you you'd never want to read. Next week... The Problems facing a Potential Mr. Kowalski, and David Johansen Problems. All this and at the same time fans new and old can download exclusive music from the band.
Visit the Kowalskis online at www.thekowalskis.com