Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Campbell Hall, UCSB, 4/16/12. (L. Paul Mann photos, copyrighted and all rights reserved)
Seun Kuti has inherited much from his father, the Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti: musical talent, charisma, a commanding stage presence, a burning desire for a better life for his Nigerian countrymen, and even his band Egypt 80. Along with the music of his brother Femi, which Seun heartily recommends, Seun (pronounced Shay-oon) is keeping Afrobeat – a rhythm-heavy, hypnotic mix of James Brown-style funk, jazz, Cuban and traditional West African music, featuring call-and-response vocals which are often about political topics – relevant in the 21st century. Seun’s second album, From Africa With Fury: Rise, was released last year, and he is currently touring the U.S., including an appearance at Coachella.
This interview, which was the basis of a preview article for his concert at UC Santa Barbara, was done by phone on 4/2/12. (photo credit: Kelechi Amadiobi)
Review of perfomance of Fela! broadcast at Hahn Hall, Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, 1/13/11.
Cris Kirkwood is the bassist for the Meat Puppets, which released the indie rock classic albums Meat Puppets II in 1984 and Up on the Sun in 1985. They hit their commercial peak with 1994’s album Too High to Die, which featured the minor hit “Backwater.” Their visibility was helped immensely around this time by Kurt Cobain proclaiming the Meat Puppets to be one of his biggest influences, and by brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood joining Nirvana onstage at their MTV Unplugged performance of three songs from Meat Puppets II. But things crumbled shortly thereafter, in large part because of Cris’ escalating substance abuse problems.
This interview was conducted over the phone on 1/8/09, and formed the basis of a preview article for the Meat Puppets concert at SOhO. Be sure to read Cris’ hilarious answers to “The MOJO Questions” at the end.