Kingdom Flying Club:
Under the Radar
story by tim mcmahan
Lazy-i: March 17, 2004
Kingdom Flying Club
w/Civella, A Cult For Riley
1322 S Saddle Creek Rd.
Jarrett Crader, bass/guitar/vocalist of Columbia, Missouri's
The Kingdom Flying Club, takes comparisons of his band to '90s indie icons Weezer
"A lot of bands get compared to Weezer," he
said, moments after band practice at his Columbia home. "But it's always
to their 'Blue Album' (the debut). I don't mind getting compared to Pinkerton-era
Weezer. It's one of my favorite albums."
But whether it's blue, green
or pink, it's not Weezer's sound that KFC emulates as much as their slackified
swagger, as evidenced by the last time they came through town -- a bitter cold
January gig at O'Leaver's. Throughout the set, KFC seemed to emote a just-rolled-out-of-bed
slumped-shouldered indie pop style that's pure I Don't Give A Shit. Crader's thin,
pasty partner in crime, keyboardist/vocalist Matt O'Neill, looked like he was
about to pass out at any moment, while Crader looked like he stepped right off
the quad at Everyplace University.
The set was sloppy at times, not exactly tight,
but their approach almost seemed intentional. Musically, they came off as a modern-day
cross between Weezer and Ned's Atomic Dustbin or any other band you can remember
that played that sort of pop-fueled, guitar-crunch alt style circa 1993. Despite
their liaise faire attitude, they won over the crowd, closing with a cover of
AC/DC's "T-N-T" that was respectfully messy and fist-in-the-air fun.
If there's one thing obvious about KFC, it's their lack of pretension.
"If someone sees us becoming pretentious I want them to smack us in the mouth,"
Crader said. "We don't go up there and strut our stuff. Sure, we do timed
jumps, but it looks dumb, not cool."
The band, whose unfortunate acronym
more often gets them confused with fellow Columbia band Kung Fu Cowboys than fast
food favorite Kentucky Fried Chicken, traces its origins back to Westminster College
in Fulton, Missouri, where Crader first met O'Neill.
"We were two
of maybe 15 incoming freshmen who decided not to do the fraternity thing,"
Crader said. "Instead, we started smoking a lot of weed and drinking vodka."
quickly put together a band called The Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome, named after the rare
genetic disorder whose victims have been known to eat themselves. But that band
didn't last long and after the breakup, Crader and O'Neill quickly fell out of
touch -- for five years -- until they serendipitously bumped into each other again
at a Stephen Malkmus concert in Columbia.
Soon after they put together
an early version of The Kingdom Flying Club before settling on the current line-up
last March that includes drummer Steve Davis and lead guitarist Nate Kesterson.
With a studio in Crader and O'Neill's house, and all the time in the world, the
band recorded the 13-song opus Non-Fiction, a true-to-life telling of their
personal relationships gone array.
someone sees us becoming pretentious I want them to smack us in the mouth."
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band does its own recording and manufacturing of discs. There are no contracts."
With song titles like "Artists Are
Boring," "Now We Watch the Luge (and Drink)" and "We're Nothing
New," the band created a nerdy, indie-pop masterpiece that's self-deprecating,
honest and at times, sort of touching when it isn't rocking.
The CD has
enjoyed heavy rotation on their hometown station, KCOU, while breaking into the
CMJ top-100. Not bad for a record released on what's essentially a multi-band
"Emergency Umbrella Records is a co-op," Crader said
of the label whose roster includes The Doxies, Billy Schuh and the Foundry, and
Trebuchet. "Each band does its own recording and manufacturing of discs.
There are no contracts. We've got a website (www.emergencyumbrella.com)
and pull our money for advertising in Pitchfork and Magnet. It's
mostly a support system."
It's also about sharing information about
an indie rock world that didn't come with a set of directions. "There's no
one guiding force in terms of doing indie," Crader said. "The Indie
Bible is $50 and the Musicians Atlas is $25. In another year or so I'm gonna make
my own frickin' web site for free that'll tell you simple things, like the difference
between CDs and CDRs and how some radio stations won't play the latter."
the guide will have to wait until KFC hops into their Ford Aviator this summer
for a first-ever national tour. In preparation, they're recording a new EP to
be produced by Barry Hibdon, formerly of Grass Records band Ditch Witch.
finally reached a point in our lives where we have the ability to do this,"
Crader said. "We don't have to dream of being signed because we did it on
in The Omaha Reader March 17, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.