Ben Godwin on "I Am Klaus Kinski"
One of my all-time favorite New York memories is watching a solo ENB gig after-hours at the Sidewalk Cafe. Apparently it was a secret gig, because nobody was there apart from the previous act- myself, Dan Costello, and Chris Kuffner- and two random dudes who looked like plainclothes cops. It turned out that the gig was so secret that the two random dudes (henceforth referred to as the TRDs) appeared not to know it was actually happening, and were concentrating on their beer & whiskey chasers, and their conversation. Their rather loud, drunken, nothing-to-do-with-Elastic-No-No-Band conversation. We ignored them.
That night was the first time I heard 'I Am Klaus Kinski'- in fact, it was the first time I'd heard of Klaus Kinski, as I'm not quite as erudite as Justin. ('erudite' is a word meaning 'one who watches a lot of old movies, googles them and writes songs about them.') But it didn't matter, because when Justin abruptly interrupted the song, jumped offstage, and proceeded to spend an uncomfortably long time in character as Klaus Kinski screaming at the TRDs, I felt like I had an instant and perfect understanding of his character and bearing. (Justin will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this performance was captured on No-No's. [Justin's note: Yes, that live performance is on the No-No's rarities CD, but there is also an mp3 of it at the end of this entry. Hooray!]) It was a glorious moment of WTF!!@#$! And the TRDs did, indeed, shut the fuck up. At least for a couple of minutes.
Here, the song is elevated to new heights of silliness, precisely because Justin sounds nothing like Klaus Kinski, and the actual tune is so incongruous with the subject that it's actually poetry: a colossal, Pythonesque non sequitur. The final 'We Are The World' style singalong is out of this world- it sounds exactly like Bob Geldof, Bono, Pink Floyd and the rest decided to get together and stage 'Klaus Aid' for some unfathomable reason. We are all Klaus Kinski. Magic.
A few brief words
I was tempted to leave the entry at that, with just Ben's words, but here are a few tidbits I couldn't keep myself from sharing:
*This song was inspired by the Werner Herzog documentary, My Best Fiend: Klaus Kinski. Over the course of a couple of days, a number of the folks working at Troma took time out of our busy schedule of manufacturing and marketing schlock to watch this flick in pieces while the bosses weren't looking. I essentially wrote the song afterward as an inside gag for my coworkers, but it has since become a popular staple of our live performances.
*This is the second of four songs on this album that also appear in different, lower-fi, stripped-down versions on our last album, The Very Best of Elastic No-No Band So Far.
*This is the only song on the album to feature an audible contribution from every human who worked on this album: Debe Dalton on banjo, Dibson T. Hoffweiler on electric guitar, Casey Holford on electric guitar, Tianna Kennedy on cello, and Angel Mendez on electric guitar, and everybody (including Major Matt and excluding Casey [we forgot to record his voice]) on sing-along vocals. Gummo the cat, who has a brief meow solo at the end of "Cheese Fries," is the only contributor who is completely excluded.
BONUS TRACK (FREE DOWNLOAD!) - What's up with these?
*I Am Klaus Kinski (Justin solo - 1 February 2007) - This is the solo performance that Ben talks about above. It is also included on our CD, No-No's (Leftovers and Live Songs)