Greg Kihn will be fondly remembered as an 80s music icon for his two catchy, chart-topping hits, “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) in 1981 and the 1983 smash single, “Jeopardy,” which charted #2 on the Billboard Top 100.
First signed in 1973 to the now legendary record label, Beserkley Records, Greg was the focal point of a roster at that time that included Jonathan Richman, Earthquake and The Rubinoos….artists who all performed and recorded melodic pop with a strong 60s pop sensibility.
Greg’s groundbreaking video for “Jeopardy” became one of the first concept videos and was played extensively on MTV during the early days of the then fledgling video channel. The Greg Kihn Band also spent much of the 80s touring with the likes of Journey, The Rolling Stones, and the Grateful Dead and appearing on popular TV shows including Solid Gold, American Bandstand, and Saturday Night Live.
He also carved out a very successful 16-year career as a top-rated DJ on KUFX in San Jose, California, rising from a late-night host to one of the top-rated morning jocks in his area in the nation’s fourth-largest market before leaving the station in 2012.
Greg is also an accomplished author, having written six well-received novels and numerous short stories, along with two screenplays. He and his band still tour extensively throughout North America.
Ignite Music Magazine had a chance to ask Greg a few questions about the band and the new album… “ReKihndled”
To Greg….First off, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! and second, I apologize for not getting you on the phone a few months back but we had a nasty hurricane called Irma I had to deal with here in Florida.
IMM: Ok, Let start out with what is new with Greg Kihn?…And tell us a little bit about the new ” Rekihndled ” album?
I have been busy lately working on my next novel, writing songs for the next CD, and playing live. The band just completed a summer tour which took us all over the US and I am planning an east coast solo tour (a Storyteller acoustic show) for January. It’s been a creative time for me and the ideas keep coming.
IMM: You seem to use your last name in all the albums you put out, Is there a back story about that?
Yes. The first album (they were vinyl records in those days) was called Greg Kihn, then the next one was called Greg Kihn Again. When the record company asked what to call the third album. I said “Next of Kihn.” thought I was being clever. I didn’t realize it back then, but I had already created a monster that lasts to this day! Kihntagious, Kihnspircy, Kihnsolidation, Citizen Kihn, RocKihnroll, god, I can’t remember them all. I think there were 18 in all. It turned out to be an early form of branding.
IMM: You got some real heavy hitters in your current lineup of The Greg Kihn Band, Ever your son is jammin’ with his pops!!
My son is a great guitarist! A chip off the old Joe Satriani block (his mentor). I love watching him play. Ry’s lead guitar is featured on ReKihndled. The band also includes Robert Berry (Google him, he’s amazing) on bass and producing, and Dave Lauser (from Sammy Hager’s band) on drums.
IMM: You have also had some really heavy hitters in the past in the band as well, maybe we go back down memory lane and
can you talk about some of those guys and how they have influenced you throughout your career and albums?
The GKB has a rich tradition of great guitarists. Dave Carpenter, Greg Douglass, Jimmy Lyon, and Joe Satriani have all been in the band. Each one had his own style and each one changed the band’s sound. I personally like the current lineup the best.
IMM: You have been doing this a long time and you have seen it all I’m sure, what are some of your fondest memories of being in a band and doing what you have been doing? And is there anything you would change?
You actually have a new video for ” The Life I Got ” that is on the new album that gives us a little hint about that.
You know, I have so many memories I can’t zero in an just one. “The Life I Got” on ReKihndled is the first single and video released and I really like the way the band sounds. This is an autobiographical song so it means a lot to me. After all, this is “the life I got.”
IMM: It has been awhile since you have been in the recording studio, How was it to get back on that horse and start writing and recording songs again?
Everything is different from the last time I recorded. There’s been a digital revolution and we don’t even use multi-track tape anymore, it’s all done on a computer using “Pro Tools.” I happen to like the digital world, it allows me lots of latitudes when I only have to press “record” to capture the moment. Most of the songs on the new CD were written and recorded in the studio. Couldn’t do that in the old days.
IMM: You got some great memorable video and some of them were groundbreaking at the time, Do create the concept for most or all of your video you do? ..And which one do you enjoy the best?
You’re talking to one of the pioneers of the “concept video” with “Jeopardy,” which was a huge hit on MTV back in the eighties because it was different than most of the others. We actually had a story, a plot, a sense of humor, and some really cheesy special effects. MTV loved it and helped “Jeopardy” become a major hit. It also caught the ear of Weird Al, and he did the brilliant parody of “I Lost on Jeopardy” later that year. I still get mailbox money from Weird Al! God bless that man.
IMM: Is the band touring?. How is that going? You have not toured and like 18 years, it has to be a lot different now that is was back them for you and the band?..and do you have a favorite place to play? or what is the most memorable concert you have ever played?
We had a ball touring last summer and we’re looking for to it next year. There’s a whole new generation of greg Kihn fans out there. Most memorable concert? A couple come to mind. Opening for the Stones, closing the night they tour down Winterland with Tom Petty, touring with Journey, playing with the Grateful Dead, and those early sweaty nights at our first gig, the Longbranch Saloon in Berkeley.
IMM: Last question, I hear you are in the works already on the new album, How is the process going and when can your fan expect to hear some new music?
Nope. I’m going to keep it under wraps until it’s finished. I have some radical ideas for the next one. Just stay tuned.
IMM: Ok, I lied, to wrap this up, What is there is anything you want to add that we haven’t asked that you would like to tell your fans out there?
Yes, it’s one-stop shopping at the GREGKIHN.COM website. Keep checking for new tour dates, new novels, new music, and new kicks!
IMM: Ok, I lied again, What Ignites you to do what you do? Cause we can tell the passion for music is still there.
Are you kidding me? I have TOO MANY ideas, I can’t do them all, but I’m trying. Life is good!
Greg, Thanks again for your time!!..And I hope we have covered everything you wanted to cover to promote the new album and get people to reconnect with Greg Kihn and The Greg Kihn Band.
A link to Greg’s Facebook page:
A link to the classic Jeopardy video:
And a link to a live video for The Breakup Song: