Interview With 'Kurt Riley'
Firstly, introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?
My name is Kurt Riley; I am a Metapop songwriter, musician, and performer. For over fifteen years, I’ve been preparing for this very moment. During that time, I composed several dozen songs, recorded an album with Beyoncé’s producer, wrote a science fiction Rock opera, and taught myself how to sing and play several instruments.
The longest-serving member of my band, Mr. Rick Kline, joined in the summer of 2016. The scope and breadth of his skills as a bassist are only equalled by the warmth of his personality and his magnanimity; Rick is the bedrock foundation of my entire group, and we love the man dearly.
In the summer of 2017, Mr. Charlie Jones joined us; a magnificent synthesizer and keyboard player, Charlie provides colours and flourishes to our work which have earned the praise of audiences and recording engineers far and wide. Charlie’s also a huge fan of Star Wars and David Cronenberg, affinities I share deeply.
Most recently, in the summer of 2018, Mr. Sesu Coleman completed the group; a stellar drummer and percussionist, Sesu is a living legend from the NYC music scene. A founding member of Glam/Proto-Punk troupe The Magic Tramps, he performed at the legendary Max’s Kansas City, and has performed with The New York Dolls, Alan Vega, and Billy Idol.
What were you all up to prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?
As a teenage boy, I longed to be a comic book artist for quite some time. Used to spend many idle afternoons lost at my artist’s desk, drawing pages of incredible adventures as I listened to music on my stereo. Things changed when I found myself more interested in singing along to the records than finishing my pieces. (And learning how to sing was much more remunerative in my relation to the fairer sex than the former pursuit.)
Rick has performed professionally for several decades, and currently plays with another group in addition to ours. (He was also employed for years in the same space science building at Cornell where Carl Sagan worked.) Rick also earned an Associate’s Degree in electronics, and his knowledge of musical theory trumps mine every time!
Charlie studied music professionally at university, and is an avid aficionado of retro gaming consoles. Additionally, Charlie runs his own podcast, throws the most beautifully-decorated holiday parties, and is the most knowledgeable beer connoisseur I know.
Sesu has been performing since the 1960s, and like the rest of us, this has always been his chosen path. In addition to our work together, Sesu continues to preserve the legacy and the music of The Magic Tramps, and continues to be a vital part of the New York City music scene. (One of the Tramps’ songs was re-recorded by NYC guitar hero Jesse Malin for the Jagger/Scorcese HBO series Vinyl, which revisited the very era Sesu helped to define.)
Tell us about your latest release and why our readers should check it out.
Our latest single, 'Failure Of Imagination', is a witty riposte to one’s detractors. Anyone who has ever had a dream knows intimately that one of the most difficult things about that life is keeping it alive. It’s akin to keeping a match lit in a hurricane – forces around you are quite keen to snuff it out. Keeping that fire burning is a miracle in of itself – and this song is a bit of stiff upper lip in the face of that environment. (Plus, it has a T.Rex chorus, a Hip-Hop beat, Dub Bass, and futuristic synth – what more can a boy ask?)
Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?
Meeting Blondie was a surreal experience. Sesu has been friends with Deborah Harry and Chris Stein since the 1970s, and recently I had the honor of joining Sesu backstage at Blondie’s performance at the 2018 Great New York State Fair. Deborah Harry is still effortlessly cool, and held court in the backstage rooms like a Punk Rock Grace Kelly. Clem Burke is an incredible drummer – his life-long adoration for Keith Moon has not dimmed one iota, and the relentless energy found in his performances is a nightly tribute to his hero.
If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?
The best Rock 'n' Roll show going. We deliver a performance unlike anything out there today. Ebullient guitar boogie, apocalyptic Post-Punk, zeitgeist Dance music, and New Wave Glam. Frequent comparisons are drawn to heroes of yore, but with a modern twist. Someone told me yesterday that if Freddie Mercury and David Bowie had sired an offspring, I’d be their love child. (Ha ha.)
If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?
Bryan Ferry, if for no other reason that I would be able to hear “Take A Chance With Me” and “Johnny & Mary” every night from the wings.
You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?
Buddy Holly. How did you stay so pure? What did you want to do next? And what would you be doing today? Buddy in the age of The British Invasion, or in the age of skinny-tie MTV – imagine what he would have written. Christ. Thank god we have “True Love Ways.”
And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
If you want to be my friend, it is. Yippie-kai-yay, motherfucker.
Website - www.kurtriley.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kurtrileymusic/