Wednesday, May 13, 2015

An Interview with John Kay of the Koffin Kats

John Kay used to be one of the those guys that you would see at every show. He is a true music lover who enjoys watching other musicians and supporting the local music scene. Throughout the years he has played in bands like Bat On Fire and PT’s Revenge before joining his current band the Koffin Kats.

About a year ago John joined the band and began a journey that keeps him out of town for most of the year. The Koffin Kats tour the world and play shows almost every night when they are on the road. Their touring schedule is insane, but what's even more insane is how much John loves it. He loves playing music so much that he had to find a way to fit in a cool local show while he is in town this week. 

He called up Detroit's own John "Wolf" Abel from The Infatuations and Mike Hopper from Pick Axe Preacher and asked them to join together as a power trio for one night only at Simon's in Allen Park. The three former Bat on Fire members will be writing and recording new material this week that they will perform this Thursday at the show. Like we said, John and his friends are insane. 

We took this opportunity to ask John a few questions about the show, the Koffin Kats, and his touring schedule. Check out what he had to say and head out to Simon's this Thursday to check this spectacle out for yourself. It’s $10 to get in the door, Arm Your Enemy is opening the show, and 18 and older are welcome! 

HID- Why did you decide to reunite to play a show?
John Kay- "(laughs) Selfish reasons, I suppose. I haven't really played my drums in the last year and a half, and I miss it. Drums are my first instrument, and I lose a sense of who I am as a musician if I stray from them for too long. This whole idea started as a way to force me back onto the drum kit, since these days I don't play them unless I'm making a recording; I can't keep up my chops if I don't play. Hanging out recently with Thomas Pridgen of Trash Talk reminded me that I need to get back to my roots and smack the skins."

HID- Will you be playing Bat on Fire music or other music?
John Kay- "No Bat On Fire live, probably ever again. My brother (BOF vocalist) has moved on to a full-time career in tattooing and commissioned painting, and has no desire to return to performing live music. We'll likely play a couple songs from when I, Mike, and Wolf were doing the Mike Hopper Trio, a couple of covers, and we're going to write and record two or three songs in my studio to be performed and released at the show. That's the idea."

HID- Why did you decide to book this show at Simon's?
John Kay- "Location, relationship, and size. Mike lives in Trenton, and Allen Park is a quick trip from Detroit. I've known Kevin (Simon's owner) since 2009 and I knew I could do the show the way I feel makes most sense for the bands, fans, and venue. The size of Simon's means that we can hopefully pack enough people in to sell it out. Nothing is worse than a big room with few people in it. If we get 80 or more people inside Simon's it'll be a tight fit, and that makes for a good vibe for a rock and roll show."

HID- What other bands will be playing with you?
John Kay- "Arm Your Enemy is going to open the show at 9:00 PM, and that's it. It's a Thursday night, and no one wants to be out late on a typical work night, so getting two bands on and off the stage before midnight should hopefully make everyone happy."

HID- How much is it going to cost to get in?
John Kay- "$10 cover at the door."

HID- How much of 2014 were you on the road?
John Kay- "Most of it! (laughs) I started on the road with Koffin Kats in January 2014 as their sound/merch guy while Ian was still playing guitar in the band. I took over full-time guitarist duties in early March and ended up playing 165 shows across 19 countries. It was positively overwhelming."

HID- What's up next for the Koffin Kats?
John Kay- "We are in the process of compiling riffs and songs that will ultimately end up on our next record. Based on the feedback I've been getting from fans of the band, they are eager to hear the direction the music is going to go now that I've joined the group, and that warms my heart."

HID- What do you love about life on the road and what do you hate?
John Kay- "I love pretty much everything about it, and hate very little. This is what I've wanted to do since I've had a conscious memory, and it's truly fulfilling to be on the path to realizing my lifelong goals and dreams. Being away from the people I love sucks, but we all understand that this is my life and my job, and that I'm happiest when I'm out doing what I love. I've found that no matter how bad a day we may have on tour, playing the next show usually fixes everything, so I do my best to not allow petty things to eat at me for long."

HID- Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
John Kay- "Beyond Koffin Kats and this Power Trio project, I have a 10-song solo album (my first!) which has been mixed by Eric "Mixerman" Sarafin (Ben Harper, Barenaked Ladies, Foreigner) and is awaiting mastering by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Slayer, Bjork). It's my baby and I can't wait to finally share the finished product. If anyone wants a sneak peek at one of the tunes, you can check it out and download it (thank you!) here for one measly dollar: Also, I'm quite active on Twitter/Instagram (@TheRealJohnKay), and I interact regularly with fans and friends, so get at me on those platforms.

Thanks, Hip In Detroit for taking the time to ask me these questions!"


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