Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bands from my formative years: KILL CREEK

I was really really high when I first heard Kill Creek, rolling around Miami with Peter Sargalski in my 'vintage' Mercedes 190E (not as cool as it sounds, or as classy- but it did have that little hood ornament). He had a Mammoth sampler that featured Kill Creek's "Fruit Pie". I thought the song was amazing, and as soon as I sobered up I ran out and picked up St. Valentine's Garage. At the time I was listening to any band that local radio station WVUM would play, like Superchunk and Archers of Loaf, and I was already a huge Pixies fan as well. But St. Valentine's Garage was new to my ears...I now believe they were my first emo band. They were my gateway into the world of sweet late-90s Midwestern emo such as Braid, the Promise Ring, and the Get-up Kids (is Kansas considered Midwest? I'm not cool enough for that kind of knowledge, I'm from a big metropolitan place with ZERO cows).

When Kill Creek released their second full-length, Proving Winter Cruel in `96, I searched in vain for a copy, however none of my local record stores carried the record. Not even the famous Y&T in South Miami, the greatest record store in the world. So, and keep in mind, this was in the very early days of the internet, I emailed the band about mail order. I got into a weird email exchange with Scott Born, the lead singer and guitar player- basically the brain behind the band. I can't remember the details of the exchange, but it was some kind of running joke about body hair. Anyways, he sent me a promo copy of Proving Winter Cruel and a promo postcard with a note on the back saying "Dolphins Blow, Johnson Sucks, Think Chiefs in the AFC".

Then they kind of fell off the map. And this was before DSL and a million music blogs and shit, so there really was no way to find out what the hell the band was up to. They never updated their website with anything relevant, and Mammoth had since disappeared into obscurity.

(The Kill Creek site makes an interesting read however. It almost seems like they were so busy cataloging and keeping records of the band that they forgot to BE a band. I always imagined Scott Born and crew to be a bunch of hermits living in a cave updating their website with inside jokes and minutiae that only they find entertaining.)

After a few years I still listened and turned as many people on to the Creek as I could, but kind of forgot about them. Rumors of a reunion show abounded. Then one day in 2002, they released a new record (Colors of Home) with little to no fanfare. Immediately after that they put out a fan-club only "greatest hits" of sorts, and in 2004 released the double-disc The Will to Strike, a collection of just about every song the band ever recorded.

A few years ago I worked as a merch lackey on tour with Seville, a band from South Florida, featuring members of another band from my formative years (the Agency). We did two weeks touring with Rocky Votolato, who is signed to Kill Creek's new label Second Nature Recordings. Second Nature's label head, Dan, joined the tour as a fellow merch lackey for Rocky. One night in Arizona, I was heavily intoxicated and finally asked the very reserved Dan about Kill Creek.

"Kill Creek..." he said, "those guys are a bunch of hermits."

Made sense.

Kill Creek - Unsteady
Kill Creek - Fruit Pie


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