King Tuff's Kyle Thomas: I don't want any boundaries

Categories: Interview
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After gradually catching the music world's attention with underground groups like Feathers, Happy Birthday, and Witch (with Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis), Kyle Thomas has now chosen to focus his creative efforts on King Tuff. Thomas' second album under the King Tuff moniker has recently been released on Sub Pop, and the self-titled record is a catchy collection of engaging garage rock that is sure to see his profile raise even more.

Gimme Noise was able to catch up with Thomas on the road before he hits the Triple Rock tonight, and he shares with us what recording the new record was like, how cool it is being in a band with J Mascis, and the reggae band he was in with tUnE-yArDs' Merril Garbus back in the day.

Gimme Noise: I'm really enjoying your new King Tuff record. Being involved in so many other bands in the past, how do you determine what constitutes a King Tuff song or what you need to save for other projects?

Kyle Thomas: I'm just focusing on King Tuff now. Really anything could be a King Tuff song. I don't want any boundaries.

In the press releases and a few features about you that I've read, you seem to revel in enveloping yourself and your backstory in a humorous cloud of mystery and obscurity. Is that an intentional objective on your behalf or are you just having a bit of a laugh? Or is that your way of putting the focus more on your music than on you personally?

"I don't know what yr talking about."

What was the transition like for you going from Happy Birthday to King Tuff? How did you know that it was time to switch projects and start focusing on something new?

When the people in Happy Birthday didn't want go on tour. And I just want to ROCK.

How exactly did you end up recording the new record in an abandoned high school in Detroit, and how much fun was that for you? It sounds like a dream situation for every angst-ridden teenager, being able to rock out while you trash your homeroom.

It was fun skateboarding down the halls. I don't really know why or how it happened I just followed the opportunities laid in front of me.

What was the filming like for the "Bad Thing" video? It winded up looking like the coolest (but smallest) Halloween party ever.

It was a blast, made with my LA crew ZEN MAFIA.


What has the transition been like moving from Vermont to Los Angeles? Suffering from any culture shock or has it been a smooth process for you?

I can't really tell any difference between the two.

Is playing and recording with J Mascis as cool as it sounds? How did your involvement with Witch come about initially, and are we ever going to get another record from you guys?

It basically consists of a lot of sitting on couches. Another record maybe.

You were in Happy Birthday with Ruth Garbus. Are you friends with his sister Merrill? And if so, did you all ever make any music together? And if not, you should definitely call her, because I'd love to hear what that collaboration would sound like.

I knew Merrill before I knew Ruth, we've been friends for like 12 years. We all had a reggae band together called BAKED EARTH. Merrill was the lead singer and she obviously ruled it.

What has the tour with Jaill been like so far? I grew up just outside of Milwaukee, and I always like to champion hometown bands. I love their sound.

We're meeting up with them tonight for our first show together. I love those guys, they're so cuddly. And Milwaukee is one of my favorite places to play!

Is this your first time playing Minneapolis? I think you'll like the local band Voytek who are also on your bill here at the Triple Rock. They definitely bring it.

I'm good friends with Taylor from Voytek, his wife Emily is one of my oldest bffs. We've played with them in Minneapolis before. And it ROCKED.

King Tuff play the Triple Rock Social Club tonight with Jaill and Voytek. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 6 p.m.


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