Kula Shaker

Liberty Lunch
Friday, February 7

"We know it's quite easy to ridicule us," begins Crispian Mills, fearless leader of Kula Shaker, an earnest bunch of spiritually outspoken British young ones whose debut K finished in UK's Top 20 of 1996. "Actually, though, we were really quite surprised by how fairly the press has treated us."

On the other hand, Melody Maker's Readers Poll -- if you heed such rubbish -- elected Mills third "Most Cretinous, Useless, Negligible Tosser of the Year" (first place went Liam Gallagher), though the band itself was voted Britain's "Brightest Hope." Are we to believe that they are, in fact, the psychedelic troubadours they are portrayed as, babbling incessantly about the interconnectedness of Krishna, King Arthur's search for the Grail, the Kennedy assassination, and loads of other things that start with the mystical letter "k"? Yes.

Thing is, we could kare less. We're far too koncerned with the interconnectedness of their fabulous shags, gear trousers, tablas, wah-wah's, buoyant bass lines, frolicking choruses, and determined harmonies. (We're only slightly interested in the lyrics, 'cause we're having such fun that we can't be bothered to listen too closely. May as well be Sanskrit for all we care.)

"Of course, any press likes eccentricity," notes Hayley Mills' son, making a clinking racket as he fixes himself a cup of tea. "Oasis aren't about the music. The Spice Girls aren't about the music. [The press] would rather go on about who's shagging or who's fighting one another." Instead of revealing why Kula Shaker are covering Deep Purple's "Hush" or why "spending Easter with your mother" is a "freaky rollercoaster ride," the British press is more apt to fixate on the group's wacky worldview.

"Yeah, you know, it's `Ohhhh, Kula Shaker, aren't they mad?! The whole thing about Kula Shaker is the music... the atmosphere... the whole thing together. We're just a trip." Having seen them in three countries, I quite agree. Though it is a "trip," it's a brilliantly navigated one with no wanky guitar solos ("Frankly, we're not good enough") or tedious free-form instrumental interludes ("Aw, I think we're more pop than that.")

So jeer all you like. We'll be up front where we can smell the incense, heads all empty, and we don't care. -- Mindy LaBernz

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