Categories
News

Out Now

Out Now: New Single

Out now: New Single – Do Yourself A Favor-  Kid Creole and the Coconuts ft. Savanna

ORDER your copy today! Available on iTunes

Release date is April 6th: OUT  NOW!!!!! 
out now

KID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS has a new single. It’s about time. It’s called Do Yourself a Favor. Produced and written by August Darnell and Peter Schott (the same team who brought you I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby: “Take a look at me, you know I couldn’t look no better!”). And it’s available on their own label, appropriately called 2C2C (too cool to conga music)!
However, you won’t hear The Kid’s voice on the single. He is so eager to retire and spend more time in his home in Bora Bora, that his latest album is featuring 7 different vocalists that he ‘discovered’ on his travels around the world.
This single features the vocals of Savanna, who just happens to be The Kid’s daughter!
The ReMix, which will be available in late April, was done by Youngr, who just happens to be The Kid’s son.
Nepotism Galore. Hey, that’s a good name for an album. Maybe next year.
This year the new album is called Port D’Arñelle. It was recorded in Copenhagen and it will be available in September.
Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy the single as much as it will enjoy you.

The song features a brand new artist, Savanna, who looks and sounds just gorgeous.

True fact: Savanna is the daughter of August Darnell! True fact!

A little bit a bout Savanna:

Savanna was born in Sheffield, England and is 22 years old. Savanna is a performer who loves music, specialising in R&B and pop.
She is currently in the studio, writing and recording her first EP, which will be released this year!!

She says: “My family…. my Dad is an American musician, I’ve grown up watching him on the stage, watching him made me realise  “This is what I want to do”.  My Mum is  a professional photographer and has stood by me from the beginning . I don’t know what I would of done without them”.

She attended the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama for 3 years, where she met many inspiring people and made some really good friends. Having graduated last year, went straight on tour throughout the U.K, Europe, China, Egypt + Israel in the stage production of Thriller Live! This was extremely exciting as a live performer and was a great way to start her career.

For more on Savanna visit her website: Savanna’s Music

The single will be released worldwide on April 6th and is available to download on iTunes and Apple Music and will also be on Spotify plus may other online outlets.

out now

Up up and away,
THE 2C2C TEAM
Categories
News

New Single

New Single

New Single – Do Yourself A Favor-  Kid Creole and the Coconuts ft. Savanna

PRE-ORDER your copy today! Available on iTunes

Release date is April 6th.
New Single

KID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS has a new single. It’s about time. It’s called Do Yourself a Favor. Produced and written by August Darnell and Peter Schott (the same team who brought you I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby: “Take a look at me, you know I couldn’t look no better!”). And it’s available on their own label, appropriately called 2c2c (too cool to conga music)!
However, you won’t hear The Kid’s voice on the single. He is so eager to retire and spend more time in his home in Bora Bora, that his latest album is featuring 7 different vocalists that he ‘discovered’ on his travels around the world.
This single features the vocals of Savanna, who just happens to be The Kid’s daughter!
The ReMix, which will be available in late April, was done by Youngr, who just happens to be The Kid’s son.
Nepotism Galore. Hey, that’s a good name for an album. Maybe next year.
This year the new album is called Port D’Arñelle. It was recorded in Copenhagen and it will be available in September.
Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy the single as much as it will enjoy you.

The song features a brand new artist, Savanna, who looks and sounds just gorgeous.

True fact: Savanna is the daughter of August Darnell! True fact!

A little bit a bout Savanna:

Savanna was born in Sheffield, England and is 22 years old. Savanna is a performer who loves music, specialising in R&B and pop.
She is currently in the studio, writing and recording her first EP, which will be released this year!!

She says: “My family…. my Dad is an American musician, I’ve grown up watching him on the stage, watching him made me realise  “This is what I want to do”.  My Mum is  a professional photographer and has stood by me from the beginning . I don’t know what I would of done without them”.

She attended the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama for 3 years, where she met many inspiring people and made some really good friends. Having graduated last year, went straight on tour throughout the U.K, Europe, China, Egypt + Israel in the stage production of Thriller Live! This was extremely exciting as a live performer and was a great way to start her career.

For more on Savanna visit her website: Savanna’s Music

The single will be released worldwide on April 6th and will be available to download on iTunes and Apple Music and will also be on Spotify plus may other online outlets.

The Single

Up up and away,
THE 2c2c TEAM
Categories
News

Album Re-release

Album Re-release

album Re-release

 

Product Description

This 2 CD collection features Kid Creole And The Coconuts‘ two albums recorded and released by Columbia Records in 1990 and 1991 respectively.

CD 1 – features the 13 original album tracks of “Private Waters In The Great Divide” plus six related bonus tracks sourced from 7″ and 12″ singles derived from the 1990 release.

CD 2  – features the ten tracks from the 1991 album “You Shoulda Told Me You Were…”. Featured remixes include contributions from; ‘The Sex Of It‘ – House Version was remixed by Justin StraussThe Sex Of It‘ – Extended Remix Version and ‘I Love Girls‘ – Femme Fatale Mix were both remixed by Richie Jones.

This 2 CD collection has been re-mastered using the original master tapes .The 20 page full colour booklet features a split image of the two front covers and an expanded design of the original artwork for each album. There are fascinating extensive personal sleeve notes written by August Darnell aka Kid Creole and a UK discography featuring some of the Coconuts unique front cover images.

This fantastic and nostalgic double album will be available on CD at all major online and retail stores.

To pre-order your copy now on Amazon click here:

AMAZON

The double album will be released on April 20th!

Two Classic Albums – one sexy package!

album cover

 

Categories
Shows

New gig announcement

New Gig Announcement for 2018!

 

New gig announcement……We are excited to announce that Kid Creole and the Coconuts will be donning their stylish Zoot suit and leopard print outfits and appearing at HAPPY DAYS festival 2018. 

happy days

Happy to be back playing in the U.K. again, the festival takes place over the weekend of May 26th and 27th at Imber Court in Esher, Surrey, with the performance being on the Saturday May 26th.

The band last played this festival in 2016 and loved every minute and therefore very ‘happy’ to be back to perform, one mo’time!
You will hear all the favorites including Stool Pigeon, I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby, Caroline Was A Dropout, No Fish Today and of course Annie I’m Not Your Daddy! So dust off your dancing shoes and we look forward to seeing your faces in the crowd!

Tickets are now available for purchase so snap up yours today so you don’t miss out on this awesome festival.

BUY TICKETS

Along with KCC, the line up on the Saturday includes the fabulous GLORIA GAYNOR, AL McKAY’S EARTH WIND AND FIRE plus other soon-to-be-announced acts.

 

The Festival will take you back in time to celebrate those Happy Days!

With a combination of legendary artists from the 70s, 80s and 90s, that will recreate the feel good factor. Come and reminisce the party vibe at our amazing venue, a 40 acre site in the heart of Surrey, ‘Imber Court’, East Molesey, Surrey KT10 8EG.

The Festival will blend 3 decades of amazing music with other entertainments including a themed retro bar, pyrotechnics, games area, family fun activities.

Festival goers will also be able to try our delicious Gastro Grub, which will include a selection of World Fusion food and Vegetarian options.

For more information about this festival click HERE

 

happy days

Categories
News

Teaser Contest

Teaser Contest

Teaser contest – The first one to answer all questions correctly wins a signed photo, a FREE KCC LIVE at the B-SPOT CD album, plus a surprise KCC album to be released in March 2018, plus free entry to any KCC show in 2018

 Here’s the link to the Kid Creole YouTube channel where you can find all the video teaser clips. Good luck!
Kid Creole YouTube channel

teaser

 

TEASER 1 –
a.  Who is the sax player?
b.  After the Kid says ‘dropout’, how many bars of music occur before the SAX solo begins?

TEASER 2 –
a.  Name the 3 Coconuts
b.  Finish this line: “Ooo show me what you got…..”

TEASER 3 –
a.  Who is the keyboard player?
b.  This song is featured on what Kid Creole album?
c.  What is the full name of the song?

TEASER 4 –
a.  “Shut the window and close the door, somebody give me a 2 and 4” – What does this mean “2 and 4” ?
b.  When Kid says “Sometimes I like to take it on the lam”, What does this mean?
c.  Who is the bass player?
d.  Finish the line: “Somebody’s feeding me blah blah blah, somebody’s looking for ……..”

TEASER 5 –
a.  Name the countries the Coconuts are from
b.  Which Coconut is the longest standing Coconut in the history of the band?

TEASER 6 –
a.  This song fits into what genre of music: calypso, country western, blues or jazz?
b.  Who is the girl in the back singing vocals?

TEASER 7 –
a.  Who is the trombone player?
b.  How many people are on stage including the Kid?
c. “And a spankin’ new identity” : what lyric comes after this?  hint: the Coconuts sing it

TEASER 8 –
a.  This song is featured on what album?
b. The style of clothes Kid is wearing a) Moot suit b) Zoot suit c) Jazzite rags d) Pinstripe Threads
c.  What is the name of this song?

Send your answers to us at:  kidcreoleandthecoconuts@gmail.com

The contest will run until January 10th so hurry and get your answers in!

GOOD LUCK!!!

Categories
Press releases

ABC tour

ABC tour

The ABC tour……….

Whoever came up with the idea of putting ABC and KID CREOLE on the same stage is a genius.

abc tour

The ABC tour was a great success.

Returning to Manchester was a blast, since I used to live there 1000 years ago. And the same for Sheffield. I used to live there, too. And London … hey I used to live there, as well. Yes, I’m a New Yorker who has spent a lot of time in England. Hey, in the United Kingdom, to be sure.

The tour: Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Bristol, York, Sheffield, Gateshead and Nottingham; All cities that Kid Creole has, at one time or another in a long and varied career,  performed in before. But so very nice to revisit.

I’ve known Martin Fry since the glorious 80’s. A true gentleman and a true survivor, much like myself. And he still sounds as wonderful as he did in the beginning. ABC still rocks.

My longevity? Much of it is due to the guys and dolls who surround me on that stage.

This time around, for the ABC tour, we had Barnaby Dickinson on Trombone  (he’s been with me for over 16 years), George Hogg on Trumpet (off and on for 5 years), Dave Imby on Drums (a 9 year veteran), Oroh Angiama on Bass (over 8 years), Lorne Ashley on Guitar (my son, who has just joined the band this year), Mike Gorman on Keys ( over 8 years), and …. the fabulous COCONUTS, of course.

abc tour

The COCONUTS = Sarah McGrath (who we met in Bosnia in 1998), Roos Van Awesome (over 3 years) and Charlotte De Graaf (the newcomer, who joined the band last year).  Charlotte replaced the longest standing Coconut in the history of the band, Eva Tudor-Jones (who took a leave of absence to have a Coconut baby). We all miss Eva’s presence on stage.  But she is still very involved in the business end of things.

Trivia: Charlotte celebrated her 27th birthday while on the road, in York. Who said “youth is wasted on the young”? I disagree, vehemently.

I mention these names because the KCC SHOW would not be as magnificent as it is without these talented musicians and singers and dancers. Every true bandleader knows that the secret to greatness depends on the simple act of assembling the correct players. I have been constantly blessed with the correct players.

abc tour
stone images rocks

One should also note, that besides the players on stage there are a whole lot of other people involved in a tour. My sincere gratitude goes out to the ABC staff, who made the whole thing enjoyable from start to finish. Their monitor man made each show a breeze for me. I could hear every instrument and every voice, including my own. That’s no joke. Every lead singer will tell you that the greatest danger on tour is the possibility of straining your voice. But from the first show I knew I was in good hands. You see, I am still old-school. I use stage monitors, not the in-ear gadgets that shut out the universe. And that means I need a sound man who knows what he is doing at the helm. I got that.

My 2 KCC guys who travelled with us were perfect also: Andy and Eric. Andy, our backline tech guy, made sure the stage was always ready for the groove. And Eric, our house engineer, made sure that what the audience heard was what I wanted them to hear – the goodness!

Our set was only 45 minutes in length but those 45 minutes were filled with magical grooves and banter and joyful appreciation from fans, old and new. We played CAROLINE WAS A DROP-OUT, DON’T TAKE MY COCONUTS, STOOL PIGEON, NO FISH TODAY and ANNIE, I’M NOT YOUR DADDY which, on some nights, got audience members up and dancing the conga. I consider this a major feat, because the venues were all sit-down affairs.

All in all, we had a funky good time.

Another great memory is born in the eternal legend of Kid Creole and the Coconuts.

 

August Darnell

 

Here’s a link to a wonderful write up from Graham Clark for the Yorkshire Times

http://yorkshiretimes.co.uk/article/Abc-And-Kid-Creole-And-The-Coconuts-York-Barbican

 

 

 

 

Categories
News

O’Brien’s words of wisdom

O’Brien’s words of wisdom

Here is a lovely piece of writing from the recent late Glenn O’Brien about Kid Creole and the Coconuts – enjoy!

October 1980
a pan-equatorial rhythm safari
AUGUST DARNELL by Glenn O’Brien

fly guy
fly guy

The Savannah Band released two great LPs on RCA Records: DOCTOR BUZZARD’S ORIGINAL “SAVANNAH” BAND and DOCTOR BUZZARD’S ORIGINAL SAVANNAH BAND MEETS KING PENNET; and recently, after a long vacation the band released DOCTOR BUZZARD’S ORIGINAL SAVANNAH BAND GOES TO WASHINGTON (on Elektra Records). During the Savannah Band’s vacation, August created his own band: KID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS, and they have managed to do what the Savannah Band didn’t. They play a lot. Featuring August as The Kid Creole, The Coconuts debut album is out now on ANTILLES RECORDS.

August has also been a hit as a songwriter and a producer. He produced MACHINE’S debut album of the same name and wrote several of the songs including their hit single, THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I (Hologram Records). He contributed several great songs to THE AURAL EXCITER’S album, SPOOKS IN SPACE (Ze Records). Also for Ze he produced and wrote for the CRISTINA album—which contains his great song JUNGLE LOVE. August produced the debut album of former Savannah Band singer GICHY DAN, (on RCA Records). Another great collaboration was his snazzy remix of JAMES WHITE’s neo-classic CONTORT YOURSELF—one of the greatest moments in disco.

August may be a genius lyricist, disco’s COLE PORTER, and a great producer, but wait till you see him transform before your very eyes, stepping on the stage and becoming the Kid Creole. He has moves and uses them like a conductor, leading a panequatorial rhythm safari revue from city to jungle and back.

GLENN O’BRIEN: What’s your first musical memory?
AUGUST DARNELL: My first musical memory dates back to about 1957. It was a record my father was playing, Day-O, by Harry Belafonte. I was 7-years-old then and prior to that time I was very much into the written word. Hearing this record was really my first musical experience because there was something about it that transported me out of where I was to another place and time. It was in the Bronx that I heard this, by the way, so that’s why being transported to another time and place was very romantic. I fell in love with the idea that music could do that to someone.

GLENN: When did you start playing?
AUGUST: I became active only after my brother Stoney actually sat me down and taught me how to play bass. He was playing guitar and he wanted somebody to accompany him, so the practical thing to do was to teach his little brother—which is what he did. I was 11 or 12-years-old.

GLENN: What kind of records were you listening to then?
AUGUST: My early childhood was spent listening to a lot of Harry Belafonte. I started getting into the Island sound. Later, like every child of the time, I was heavily influenced by The Beatles, and the British invasion. Oddly enough, what The Beatles did to me was to stimulate my interest in Elvis Presley. To this day, Jailhouse Rock is one of my favorite songs of all time. The British invasion, because it was so wonderfully glorious, started my juices flowing, and once the juices started flowing, my curiosity started flowing, my curiosity led me to appreciate Elvis Presley, Motown, etc., etc… There was a lot of glory and romantic heroism involved with The Beatles. They came over here and to a young kid they seemed like crusaders. They brought a new sound. Sometimes you’re too close to the forest to see the trees, to appreciate the things in your own home town.

GLENN: What was your first band?
AUGUST: The first band was an outfit that Stoney organized way back. It was called The Strangers. Four cats, we used to dress in dark shades and we played clubs in the Bronx. After that I became involved in a band called The Air Bubbles. I broke away from Stoney because he was getting into some intricate stuff and he said he needed more experienced musicians. He didn’t throw me out. We understood. The Air Bubbles were just a local rock band. We played The World’s Fair in Flushing, one of the high points in my life.

GLENN: What kind of material did these bands do?
AUGUST: The Strangers were heavily influenced by The Beatles. Stoney always had a mind for re-arranging things. So he would take Beatle tunes and re-arrange them with jazz chords. It was a weird effect. He could never do a song the way it was—he loved to dib and dabble with the arrangements, especially distorting the harmonies. The Air Bubbles were just straight ahead Top 40, nothing original. And after The Air Bubbles there was a group called Unum Mundo—One World. That was another one of Stoney’s concoctions. And after Unum Mundo I went off to college. I wasn’t involved in any musical groups there. And I received the historic phone call from Stoney that he was putting together something he was going to call The Savannah Band and did I want to be aboard? And I asked him what “being aboard” meant. And he said it meant a lot of commitment, a lot of rehearsals, etc., etc. and he said he wanted me to do the lyrics for the songs. And I said, “Sure, why not?” But as time went on I got more and more involved in education.

GLENN: Where did you go to college?
AUGUST: Hofstra University. I was majoring in English and this was the time of the draft, and the draft was taking people left and right so I had to get real serious. I had to switch my major. I originally majored in drama, but I switched to English so the draft board would leave me alone. Because in those days there was a shortage of English teachers. So I became an English teacher. And that really turned Stoney off because it was a full-time job, limiting rehearsals and all. So I did about three and a half years of teaching until Stoney said that it could be only one way or the other: either you stay a teacher or you come aboard this full time. So I quit teaching and the rest is anti-history.

GLENN: Were you a popular teacher?
AUGUST: I was extremely popular. The kids loved me. I had the drama club after school that was my pride and joy. I was really existing for that drama club. We put on plays that I had written and they were a gas. In fact, I had many sessions in the principal’s office— me, the teacher—being chastised for representing a bad code of conduct and demonstrating bad ethics in the plays that I put on. He just couldn’t understand where they were coming from. But the kids loved it and in the end they ruled. They over-ruled his decision. They decided they must have Mister Browder’s plays—it was Mr.Browder in those days. And they rallied to his cause, and won over even though the teachers couldn’t understand what I was doing.

GLENN: What were the names of your plays?
AUGUST: One was called Escapism. It was about a black kid who was put on trial because he had no pride in his heritage. There were some strange things examined in that. There was another one called Neo-Cowboys in the Land of Jizz which was about two kids who staged a coup d’etat at their high school because they felt they could do a better job than the teachers. And you know the administration didn’t want to see that. They thought it was planting some bad attitudes in the kids’ brains. There’s another one called, Good Morning Mister Sunshine, which is a bit autobiographical. Interestingly enough, that was something that I further developed into a two act play that won me a CAPS grant in 1976. But that was the most interesting part of my teaching experience, meeting those kids. I believe to this day that they taught me more than I taught them. They had such a zeal for living.

GLENN: Have you written any plays since then?
AUGUST: Yeah, I’ve been working for two years on one that is a revision of ’NeoCowboys.’ I had a reading of it two years ago at Frank O’Hara’s so-called “Third World Workshop” up in Harlem that was very successful. And I’ve been working on a musical called Soraya—it’s an idea from the King Penett album that’s been in the hands of Joseph Papp for the last two years. He’s sold on the idea but he’s not happy with any of the revisions. It’s a bizarre play—a myth set in the Forties that deals with miscegenation on a remote island. Papp loves it but he hasn’t endorsed it yet because he can’t find a script that works. As a matter of fact, I collaborated with Ed Bullins on that play. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t endorsed it. But one day I’ll sit down and get the right edition. It’s a matter of time. The music is very tropical—island, reggae, calypso.

GLENN: When did you get into your present style of dress?
AUGUST: I’ve always worn three piece suits with large lapels. Primarily because I was such a student of the cinema. I was reared on the old movies and my idols were John Garfield, Bogart, Cagney and George Raft, and the females that accompanied them, Joan Crawford, Hedy Lamarr, Bette Davis and Ann Sheridan. The wonderful ladies. There was something about the people of that era that made me aspire toward their dress, and I could never quite get it. During my high school and college days I’d get the Pierre Cardin suits because they had nice lapels, but something was always wrong. And I couldn’t afford to have them tailor-made. I liked the suits but I’d look at the TV and I’d think, “Something is missing, what is it?” In 1974, I was visiting Stoney one day and he said, “I want to show you something” and he pulled out a pair of pants and said, “Try these on.” They were baggy, pleated gabardine pants. And I tried them on and the minute I put them on I said, “This is it!” The jackets had been okay. But there was always something wrong with the crotch of those designer pants. They were Europeanbased and Italian men like to display their genital forms. So Stoney had found the missing link. It was the crotch dropping almost to the knee. The looseness of the pants truly transformed me. I said, “This is John Garfield. This is it!” So he said, “This is it. This is the new code. This is what we are going to be about.” We started buying up all the suits we could. Now I couldn’t care what happens to fashion. I’m comfortable with what I’m wearing. I know it sounds odd to put this much weight on attire, but since the transformation’s occurred I’ve been so comfortable. It really helps your life to be comfortable in your clothes and to pass by a mirror and see your reflection and to enjoy it.

GLENN: Was the first Savannah Band the same as it is today?
AUGUST: The very first Savannah Band, back in my college days, had Gichy Dan singing lead, Corey Daye singing background, and Shep Coppersmith, who was a dark fellow, singing lead. There wasn’t Mickey and there wasn’t Andy. Then Gichy Dan drifted away and became a Jehovah’s Witness. Then Stoney got this whole theory of being proud of the mulatto heritage. That theory came about in late 1974, and as a result, he started firing the dark people in the band. He lost the drummer and the singer, because he started spouting all these philosophies about how half breeds are better than white and better than black, because it’s a combination of both worlds. Then he got a mulatto drummer, Mickey, and he got rid of Shep and made Corey the lead singer. And he was searching for a piano player and we found Sugar Coated Andy—who was born in Tahiti of all places. That excited Stoney—a Tahitian Puerto Rican was definitely the last component of the Savannah Band. But Gichy Dan was originally in there singing lead till he went off on this religious crusade. I just produced him about a year ago. He’s got a hot tune, Laissez Faire.

GLENN: Did the Savannah Band ever play live?
AUGUST: The Savannah Band played live one week in Florida in 1978. We played the Limelight in Miami and we did a concert with the Village People at the J’ai Lai, and the University of Miami. Five gigs. Other than that we never played live after signing with RCA. We played live all the time before that, before Stoney embellished the sound with 16 horns and 30 strings. Which he doesn’t want to compromise with. If he goes on the road he feels he should have his horn section—at least.

GLENN: What are your favorite swing bands?
AUGUST: I don’t have many. I’m a student of Cab Calloway and his bands. And they really don’t get the credit they deserve. They never really surfaced as a band. I’m a student of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller, the obvious ones. And obscure stuff where the material is more important to me than the bands. Things like one of my favorite tunes of all time, I Can’t Get Started With You, by Bunny Berrigan. Lena Horne is one of my favorite singers of that era.
GLENN: Savannah Band is one of the few modern bands to use a clarinet—why do you think clarinets aren’t used anymore? AUGUST: I would imagine the clarinet has disappeared in these terrible times because the clarinet is what one might call a timid instrument. For today’s dynamics, it is difficult for a clarinet to rise above the cacophony of guitars and such that have become the norm for today’s music. The clarinet is a wonderful instrument, in that it exudes and evokes such imagery. You can’t find a single other instrument that will do what the clarinet will do for the mind, in my opinion. In orchestration such as the Savannah Band uses, playing upon lush chords and vibes, it sums up the good and evil in the world— it’s like a combination of heaven and hell, the clarinet. Vibes, too, are “timid instruments,” so to speak, that have not been too dominant in today’s music. They can’t climb above the sound. In Stoney’s arrangements the clarinet is featured because it belongs there. The music is not abrasive, not cacophonous; it’s lush.

GLENN: Corey has a lush voice, too.
AUGUST: Yeah. As the critics say, “insouciant cooing.”

GLENN: So where does Kid Creole come in?
AUGUST: The Kid can be traced back as far as 1977. The Savannah Band went out to California in late ’77, to do the King Penett album and it was out there that we had our “internal problems.” As a result of the fact that Stoney was running the group much in the military fashion, he had put everyone into their own niches. I was to be the lieutenant, the right hand man, and I was to be the lyricist and the bass player. And only that. Obviously, I was growing as an artist, evolving into other things. I wanted to expand. I wanted to do music as well. I wanted to do more singing. But Stoney in his typical fashion said, “You are lyricist, you are bassplayer, that’s your niche. Corey, you are the singer.” Etc., etc… So it became a bit uncomfortable out in California. Though we had great times out there, it was a frustrating experience for me artistically. So that’s when I concocted this Kid Creole scheme, to be the other part of me: If there was to be August Darnell, and he was to be lyricist and bassplayer, background singer of the Savannah Band, then there was so much of me that needed further expression that there had to become another person. Gichy Dan came along, and I let some of my other talents escape into that. That was my first real production, outside the Savannah Band. It was a vehicle for getting out some of my tunes, some of my musical expression. But not yet the other side of me, the performer, the singer. So I had to devise a way to release that, and my mind flew back to King Creole, that wonderful film of Elvis Presley’s, and that was it. The term Creole came to mind because at that time, I was dating a Haitian girl who spoke Creole, a patois of French, and there was something about the language that was fascinating to me. It’s street French. A lot like street English. It’s what the Haitians speak when they’re not in school. Today, in fact, they’re teaching it in schools which is interesting. Much like they’re trying to teach slang today. They tell me they’ve added slang to the English curriculum. But I liked the language and I liked the flow of the word Creole. There’s something euphonious about it. So my mind went back to King Creole. Then on my lovely wife’s birthday, at Eddie Condon’s, my wife took a napkin and wrote on it, “Kid Creole” and that was the beginning.

MRS. DARNELL: And then came the Coconuts.
AUGUST: There was going to be an embellishment of sorts whereupon I wanted to display two Fay Wrays. The idea of Fay Wray, that poor innocent blonde child in the jungle has always been a fascinating idea. The original was so good in King Kong that I said, “I must put on pedestals two Fay Wray’s.” Thus, Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Now that I look back at it I can understand Stoney’s position, seeing that the Savannah Band was his brainchild. His mind is very militaristic. He likes to keep things in their place. As I say, I don’t begrudge Stoney his authoritarian quality. In the Kid Creole project I find that too much liberty is like too much love, it’s worse than none at all. When you allow people to give of themselves too much, they have a tendency to go overboard. We still manage to work together today very well. We have our arguments, of course, every other month, but there’s nothing wrong with that. We see eye to eye when we’re in the studio, and I still love the songs we come up with.

GLENN: Do you like producing?
AUGUST: Not really. I don’t see myself producing anyone else much anymore. I see myself producing Kid Creole or any of my other projects. It’s not one of my ambitions. I did it because there was something unique that needed to be expressed and that was a way of doing it. Things that really move me—like James White—I would always produce. Sugar Coated is putting out his own album, Coated Mundi.

GLENN: Are you producing?
AUGUST: Co-producing. We’re working hand in hand. He’s quite capable of producing himself.

GLENN: He did a good job with Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhythm Band.
AUGUST: Andy is a great arranger and a wonderful musician.

GLENN: What are your ambitions?
AUGUST: I want to perform. But more than that I want to get these screenplays and plays of mine into the files; I want to stage them. I want to finally take them out of swaddling clothes and put them in the limelight.

GLENN: Are you a believer in UFOs?
AUGUST: To me the existence of other bodies and other worlds is as real as the existence of myself.

GLENN: Are you psychic?
AUGUST: I don’t believe I am. I am, however, a believer in fate. Fate above and beyond free will. I don’t think we are masters of our fate. I think that we are controlled by a force greater than us. There’s a large book somewhere and it has all our lives mapped out. What we’re going to do, when we’re going to die, and when we’re going to be born again. It may not be written in English, but it’s written.

GLENN: What are your favorite chords?
AUGUST: Without a doubt the D flat seventh flat minor. I’ve used it in almost every song I’ve ever written. My second favorite chord is C eleventh. The D flat seventh flat minor is a dark chord. It makes you think of all the melancholy nocturnal interludes.

GLENN: Do you have a vivid dream life?
AUGUST: Yes, my dream life is so vivid that I feel twice as old as I am. I have lived two days per dream since I was 9-years-old. Usually, they’re in black and white, but they’re very, very intense situations, very dramatic. I used to think that the events were merely echoes of things that happened in my life, or perhaps they were indications of things to come, but they never came. But I’ve been having an affair with the Netherlands in my dreams.

 

https://glennobrien.com

 

 

Categories
Song of the Month

Monkey

Monkey

Month of September 2017:

Monkey

  • Band: August Darnell
  • Writers: August Darnell
  • Publisher: La Bande Son

I wrote Monkey for a film called LE GRANDE VOYAGE, circa 1994. The song was originally called JUNKIE. Completely different lyric, obviously. The director of the film, Fred Hedangue, suggested a song about monkies, since we had encountered so many of them in our journey. I reluctantly returned to my hut in the Australian outback and changed the words. I am glad I did because Monkey is a far better song than JUNKIE.

Notwithstanding all of the above, the song was not included in the film. Such is life in the fast lane. But at least I got to hang out with some Aborigines.

August Darnell

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KID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS – born out of the red hot embers of DR BUZZARD’S ORIGINAL Savannah Band. In the 1970’s the Savannah Band had successfully merged the big band sound of the 1940’s (Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Louis Prima etc) with the dance floor beat of the disco era. The Kid fused the big band sound with every strain under the sun – calypso, soca, salsa, rhythm and blues, soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, etc……with a strong accent on Caribbeanism. Kid Creole and the Coconuts thus became pioneers of what became known as mongrel music (also known as Mulatto music or Rainbow music). In other words – a delicious but strange potpourri of goodness.

Categories
Press releases

NME Interview by Ian Penman (1980)

NME turns 60 this year and a new book documents its history. In our latest trip to Rock’s Backpages – the world’s leading archive of vintage music journalism – we visit the magazine circa 1980, a time when Ian Penman saw nothing wrong with kicking off a Kid Creole feature with a spot of French philosophy.

Source: The Guardian, March 6th 2002

“To try to write love is to confront the muck of language: that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little, excessive (by the limitless expansion of the ego, by emotive submersion) and impoverished (by the codes of which love diminishes and levels it).” – Roland Barthes.

A man stands alone in a baggy white suit, a black masquerade visor over his eyes. He is concealing a broken heart and a loudhailer …

Just imagine: you have the opportunity to write one of those all-time sexiest and most heartbroken of songs. First step: you get involved with someone who drives you crazy with desire – ensnares you, mesmerises you, has you at arm’s length and in the palm of their hand. Then something happens: that inevitable separation. You’re classically awry – but where’s the gain (or the end) in being uselessly melancholy?

Write that song about it, summing up both your despair and the wonder of the love and sex that caused it in the first place.

You have to choose your words carefully, carnally; you have to find a crucial metaphor. It has to be just so – to sound like you’re completely drunk on love and near suicidal through the absence of your loved one. You recline on a couch and clutch your heart. The evening seems impossible: so many hours to go and no chance of the loved one appearing …

The song has to read like a love letter, from miles away. You map it out, the scenario is precarious. You get dressed up to kill, take enough numbing drugs and stand alone at the peak of your metaphorical island. You whisper – the loudhailer turns it to a plea for all the world to hear …

“Off the coast of me lies you;
In a waterfall of solitude.
I must find a one-way passage through.
To the very heart and private part of you.”

NME – Just imagine: the song of my dreams.

The August Darnell world – as manifested in a lot of Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band and all of Kid Creole and the Coconuts – is a looking glass world, a somewhere far away peopled by metaphors. But you don’t need a map to find this island, because its mythology is built around that very real, most easily found (and lost) of places – love. Sexual love, romantic love, high life love, hedonistic love, hardship love whatever, wherever or whoever …

There’s a whole new lyrical country here just waiting to be discovered. It is cavalier, cinemascope and carnal. It’s a subliminal carnival, a bit of a circus, a sip of a cocktail: amorous, clandestine, physical, light-headed and heavy-lidded. The dance of love – do you know the opening steps? You awful flirt!

“High heels / Straplessly red / Seedless grapes / Cozied in the bed/ Peg leg pants / Tossed aside / Scarlet smears across the bathroom tile / No, you needn’t explain: / First comes the thunder, then the rain.”

Just look: there’s the author. An infinitely cool and not unshifty looking character. A character somewhere between Alice’s mysterious little late White Rabbit and a black market spiv, between Cab Calloway and Graham Greene, between Glenn Miller and the De Niro of New York, New York. Observe the cool. Study the deportment: the stall, the sly romantic glance up from his drink. Takes out a pocket watch from his waistcoat, on a too-long golden chain. His second hand’s playing for time …

NME – An age when songwriting was a craft

For a contemporary popular music scene – “rock’s rich tapestry,” call it what you will – all too often devoid of true troubadours and the conveyed bliss of sexual love, Mr August Darnell is a person we scarcely seem to deserve, an unusually conscientious and industrious writer, composer, arranger, producer, player, singer, stage manager, character, bon vivant. As his sartorial projection might lead you to believe, he belongs to a different age. An age when songwriting was a craft – your profession, your pride, and often a crafty progression from the very heart and poison pen parts of your day-to-day life.

NME – August Darnell makes use of words

August Darnell makes use of words. He savours them, seduces their meanings, makes them his own. The pimp! (Just my little metaphorical joke.) In the course of both Dr Buzzards Original Savannah Band and Kid Creole, Darnell has slyly, slowly been redesigning the content and tenor of the subject matter (the one that matters) of which so many songs are fashioned. Saying it, crooning, orienting it, jiving it, driving it, steering it like a captain in his ship.

He has been most recently renowned for a widespread association with a number of acts resident in the New York Ze/Antilles label: James White and the Blacks, Cristina, The Aural Exciters, Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band and of course Kid Creole and the Coconuts. If you’re a keen modern soul fan you may also have happened upon his involvement with an outfit named Machine (more on them later) and maybe even a project known as Gichy Dan’s Beechwood No. 9 (too obscure even for me).

NME – Maestro’s Story

But our maestro’s story goes back a few years to the group (or legend) known as Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, which he co-ran and all too seldom co-runs with a man named Stony Browder Jr, an even more elusive gentleman than August. The Savannah Band are best known or remembered for a mini hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1976 – Cherchez La Femme, taken off the group’s first RCA album (same name as the name). Two more albums have since appeared – 1978’s D.B.O.S.B. Meets King Penett (RCA) and the recent James Monroe H.S. Presents D.B.O.S.B. Goes To Washington (Elektra) – the latter being their classiest and craziest yet.

It would always have been easy to peg the Savannah Band as mere ritzy revivalists – a frivolous private joke, albeit a painstakingly self-referential one – a la Pointer Sisters or Manhattan Transfer. The beat goes a lot further and deeper. Just listen: the lush text of their performance is deceptively, danceably lighter on the ear. If you dip and dig around you’ll find a clearer complexity – those scores sound very learned!

NME – Very Insistant, Very Dreamy…

The hook to each song is usually deep in a choppy rhythmic current – a shuffling samba. Very insistent, very dreamy. Less speed and more taste than that more popping popular amyl (night rate) disco beat. Lined and fleeced with a multiplicity of signs from a predominantly 40s Swing Era code book: seedy jazz, seething calypso, reedy rhumba, rude rhythm’n’blues. The horn section and vocal harmony arrangements are many sided and exquisitely twisted, counter-counter-pointed. What poise! What a slinky noise.

Dr Buzzard’s Savannah Band always have been about arrangement (so difficult to get hold of good arrangers these days, my dear) but it still all sounds informally natural.

Music and lyrics travel all over the place. Benny Goodman horns highlight a Scott Fitzgerald scenario of tiffs, Tia Maria and tension … Brass band surrounds a fairground tryst … Itchy crickets chorus of percussion brings a come-down hell to life.

“You did the mambo, the cha-cha, bolero, the rhumba …/ You did the tango, the conga, the disco, the samba…”

The music is full of jokes, references, interruptions, homage: recreation recycled into contemporaneity. It isn’t just waxwork. Stony Browder is usually credited for musical arrangements, Darnell for lyrics, but like everything else in Savannah land the accepted borderlines are smudged. While we’re here, the rest of the Band besides Browder (guitar, piano) and Darnell (bass) are Ms. Cory Daye (main vocalist), Micky Sevilla (drums/ percussion) and “Sugar Coated” Andy Hernandez (vibes, marimba) – also a mainstay of the Coconut enterprise.

NME – Dr Buzzard’s Savannah Band

Dr Buzzard’s Savannah Band is a perfect marriage of music and words – it wouldn’t be the same if either partner wasn’t just so compatible, as sophisticated as the other. Both Browder and Darnell translate into various languages, idioms, styles. They really are good – I think Darnell is perhaps without par amongst contemporary lyricists. Early Ferry gets somewhere near to the territory (but he lost his sense of humour).

Darnell knows it’s not simply a question of saying what was or wasn’t done to one party or the other (at one party or another) in the name of love – and how it was done; but of constructing, in and around the particular sexual mise en scene, all the bitty thoughts that recapitulated it, the obsessions that accompanied it, the decorations that surrounded it, the images, desires, modulations, and quality of the pleasure that animated it.

NME – Darnell’s Lyrics

His lyrics really begin to get sharp on the second Savannah Band album. Going beyond the fixed range of expressions we expect from our songs and singers, Darnell’s lovers and losers go off into dreams, into rages, into hospital, into too many clubs and even off their heads. The stories echo Damon Runyon one moment, the Brothers Grimm the next …

“Of all the dames I fancied / She’s the only one I loved. / And when she left the pavement turned to mud. / I sought refuge in a dim saloon, / But I would have drowned in booze, / If it weren’t for the troubadour.”

Chorus: “Restless lovers everywhere / Dry your eyes, pull up a chair / Spill the cup and cup the ear / For the organ grinder’s tale…”

The pictures switch from an exaggerated ball – “When Crosby starts to croon / The jitterbuggies cruise the room / Their fingers poke the air / Man-o-man-o-man-o-man, they look just like that Fred Astaire! / “Swing it with me, my Mattie Mario” / No, no, no, no, no, no, I’m saving this fling for Mister Love.” – to obscure outbreaks of gang hatred – “Soraya, bring big gun / And let’s have some bloody fun / Nignats do the Rats in – / Kunta and grimel don’t mix / Like creme et cocoa.”

NME – Various Characters

Various characters and symbols – some figurative, some actual – make a recurrent entrance into the play of Savannah Band language, as the mad covers to all their albums testify. Wouldn’t you just love to visit The New Syringe Club? Mambo Eddie’s Beatnix School? And finish off at The New York At Dawn Show? During the course of the evening you might learn that both Stony Browder and August Darnell attended the James Monroe High School, that the Tommy Mottola of Cherchez La Femme really was their manager, and couldn’t fail to be convinced that the Savannah Band really are Champions of the Romantic.

Darnell is also a champion of the untold story, the surreptitious and strictly confidential. But unlike so many “songwriters” who are respected for their “honesty” about “relationships” – who write songs which convey nothing but venom and connivance – Darnell never loses his humour or humanity. He can fall from ecstasy to squalor in one coded coda. No one is producing better mnemonics for nightlife – even Chic got left behind a while back.

“Tired smiles / Censored romance / Premature sighs – / Now it all makes sense. / Trolley car /Take me along / To some distant shore far from Babylon. / For their air here reeks of lies; / And even the robins sound warlike. / Nocturnal interludes / Like so many tsetse flies / Nocturnal interludes / Damaging merchandise / Make-me-believe-it solitude.”

NME – ZE Records

ZE Records’ New York Office is housed on one floor of a big building which also contains the Carnegie Hall Recital rooms. You can get stuck in the same lift as Harvey Keitel did in a movie called Fingers. Except that now they’ve got a lift-man.

I sat down opposite August Darnell in the traditional false comfort of a record company “hospitality” room. I should have specified a bar in advance.

Also in the room are a couple of Coconuts (Andy Hernandez – who asks me more questions than I ask anyone – and “Mister Piano” Peter Scott, the youngest member of the ensemble, who says virtually nothing throughout) and a varying number of people from both the band entourage and ZE.

Darnell is wearing a moderately baggy, immaculately tailored creamy white suit, and everything else seems to match, natch. He twirls a tiny pink parasol (decoration pinched off a birthday cake) between thumb and forefinger, and answers all queries in a very businesslike but charming manner.

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Categories
Song of the Month

Our Love Will Always Stand

Our Love Will Always Stand is the first Song that Kid Creole himself is handpicking for you. Every month, Kid Creole is offering songs for you to listen to from his collection, stay updated for more songs during monthly updates.

Crazy Days in New York City

I love this song. It brings back memories of my crazy days in New York City. I was living in Manhattan.  My brother, Stony Browder Jr., wrote the music. He presented me with a cassette one day and said “Give me something romantic for this one!” And so I did. It was easy. The music on the cassette was just Stony and his guitar. Unplugged before unplugged became a manufactured gimmick. Such sweet chord changes led me to that place where the heart defies the brain: LOVE-VILLE, USA.

Sitting in Central Park

And so I penned OUR LOVE WILL ALWAYS STAND in an afternoon, whilst sitting in Central Park, circa 1975. I was disappointed when Stony decided not to use it for the first Savannah Band album in the Bicentennial. In fact, he never used it at all for any of the Savannah Band albums. But I always kept it in mind.

Cherchez La Femme

Almost a decade later I produced an album called ELBOW BONES AND THE RACKETEERS and I finally got to record OUR LOVE WILL ALWAYS STAND. On this album, a singer named Frank Passalacqua delivered the vocal. Frank’s vocal style immensely influenced my alter ego, Mr. Kid Creole.

Fast forward to 2016 and the very same song is now in my stage musical, aptly called CHERCHEZ LA FEMME.

Still loverly after all these years.

Month of July 2017:

Our Love Will Always Stand

  • Band: Elbow Bones and the Racketeers
  • Writers: Browder and Darnell
  • Publisher: EMI Music Publishing LTD

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Please contact info@kidcreoleandthecoconuts.com to get a copy of the file

KID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS – born out of the red hot embers of DR BUZZARD’S ORIGINAL Savannah Band. In the 1970’s the Savannah Band had successfully merged the big band sound of the 1940’s (Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Louis Prima etc) with the dance floor beat of the disco era. The Kid fused the big band sound with every strain under the sun – calypso, soca, salsa, rhythm and blues, soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, etc……with a strong accent on Caribbeanism. Kid Creole and the Coconuts thus became pioneers of what became known as mongrel music (also known as Mulatto music or Rainbow music). In other words – a delicious but strange potpourri of goodness.

Kid Creole and The Coconuts had the good fortune of working with movie directors such as Francis Ford Copolla and Taylor Hackford. They have also done collaborations with the likes of Prince, U2 and Barry Manilow. They have done command performances for Princess Diana and President Clinton and they have worked with true giants in the MUSIC BIZ UNIVERSE: Tommy Mottola (who brought Mariah Carey to fame), Seymour Stein (who brought Madonna to the attention of the world) and Chris Blackwell (who brought reggae to the rest of the world).

Purchase Kid Creole Albums on Rainman Records Online Store