Who are The King Cheetah?
The King Cheetah are a Militant Rock ‘N’Roll, Raw-Power-Trio, based in Los Angeles, CA. They play beautiful, angry, life-affirming, positive music. They are at the top of their game musically and spiritually. SEE THEM, HEAR THEM, BEAR WITNESS – if you love music, you deserve it.
“The King Cheetah don’t sound like anybody else, yet many have tried to sound like them … although no artist has yet managed to credibly emulate what they found inspiring about TKC, several have achieved great commercial success in trying”
- Clearcut Records
Formed by Robert Paul Mune and Simon Hancock in London in 1996. They generated the anti-Britpop backlash by creating the mixed-gay Kitsch Bitch club night which deliberately championed music that transgressed Britpop’s narrow and bigoted perspective.
Approached by Maxim of Prodigy to collaborate on a rewrite of his tune ‘Schemin’ which via extensive radio play brought them to the attention of Madonna whose Maverick label were looking into signing Maxim. Despite interest from XL Records who had played King Cheetah’s recordings to their newly signed White Stripes … a new game was afoot … America beckoned.
Morrissey chanced upon the band playing a show at a small venue in Hollywood. He approached the band after the show whispering: ”I love all of your songs, they’re fantastic!”. A few months later the band joined him as support for his entire US tour; which saw them spending nights sleeping out in the desert, in the woods, and on haystacks. Shortly after the tour finished King Cheetah lost bassplayer Gavin Jay who returned to London and subsequently joined up with the Jim Jones Revue.
“The King Cheetah have the tunes to make us listen, never pandering, never carpet-bombing when squint-eyed sniping will suffice. Out of step with fashion’s hypnotized parade, the King Cheetah remind us that real men play whatever the fuck they want.”
Signed to LA’s Queercore label Spitshine in 2005, TKC released the ‘Six Inch Killaz’ EP. A tribute to notorious ‘drag wall-of noise‘ band The Six Inch Killaz who were firm friends from London days. TKC played many shows at The Motherlode in West Hollywood (‘Boys Town’) and also at the Homo-a-Gogo Festival in Olympia, Washington; where the band played with The Gossip and made friends with one of their heroes: John Cameron Mitchell (‘Hedwig‘ of ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’).
TKC – being seasoned studio designers/builders – built their own temporary recording facility in an abandoned warehouse in the Los Angeles industrial suburb of Vernon (population 21, including Banksy). There they self-recorded and produced their debut album ‘The King Cheetah LP‘. During this period The King Cheetah also became one of the keystones of the nascent ‘Kiss or Kill’ scene. This scene has now been documented in the indie movie ‘In Heaven there is No Beer‘, which features performance, soundtrack and interviews with The King Cheetah.
“It’s a gritty, dirty Brit sound; imagine standing on stage in a pile of broken beer bottles two feet thick, trying to sing as a leather sofa burns in front of the stage. That is the sound of The King Cheetah.”
Throughout 2010 The King Cheetah played as a duo, before being recently joined by Ray Piller on bass. The King Cheetah always inspire awe and respect from audiences and fellow musicians, for their unique song-writing and the sonic construction of their live sound. With Ray creating melodic feedback on the bass whilst Rob chugs bass-lines on the guitar, they have surpassed themselves, swapping the traditional roles of their instruments and exploring new concepts in audio dynamics. By day they construct recording studios, by night they construct the soundtrack to an unwritten future…
This is just the beginning , many more sonic, social and spiritual adventures await The King Cheetah.
To be an alternative.
We hunger to be amazed.
WHY DON’T YOU?
What’s music FOR?
It is to dethrone the mind and crown the heart.
There’s only LOVE or FEAR.
Modern culture is diluted and mediocre.
Modern life is creeping boredom.
Grey, soggy and reheated.
It’s promises are never delivered.
The music is shit.
The food is shit.
Sometimes the sun rises into a blue sky…
but they’re working to fix that too.
Robert Paul Mune interviewed by Aron F. Gibson in March 2010.
AFG: What is King Cheetah?
RPM: Kingcheetah is a gang of two which came from England to America ten years ago. Kingcheetah always tells the truth, nothing is more beautiful than truth. Kingcheetah plows its own furrow in its own time. Kingcheetah is royalty, but then aren’t we all? Kingcheetah is DIY, and non aligned, wherever resides the power of control lies our enemy. Kingcheetah thinks Love is always number one.
AFG: You guys were pretty quiet in 2009. How does it feel to be playing live again after almost an entire year? What can we expect from Kingcheetah in 2010?
RPM: Actually we were very busy in 2009, but in the studio. We started work on a hugely ambitious recording that collapsed under its own weight. Our second bass player (Robin Holden) crawled out from under the wreckage. We’re back to the core of Robert Paul Mune and Simon Hancock and really enjoying it. We did a lot of work to make the new lineup a step forward. We’re open to being joined by other musicians in the future, either on a temporary basis or more permanently, but we wanted to prove to ourselves that could carry the weight as a two piece, and we can. Right now we’re planning shows both in Europe and the States, and continuing recording several days each week. We are also developing our label (Royal Artillery) and entirely reconstructing our website. The old music industry is dead, and we face the future with great excitement. These are strange and dangerous times which we think will suit real artists very well while permanently sidelining the phonies.
AFG: In the years you’ve been in the band what was your favorite moment where you thought, wow, is this really happening to me?
RPM: The Kingcheetah’s history sometimes feels to me like the greatest story never told…it’s always beautiful to meet musicians you admire and then to discover they love your band, that’s happened for us with some pretty famous people: Morrissey, Shane MacGowan, Graham Coxon, Ray Davies, but probably best of all for me would be John Cameron Mitchell who made and stars in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ – we both love that film – it’s about freedom, courage, and love, but really the best thing is just to look out at an audience and see them empowered by the human energy we’re bouncing backwards and forwards, that feeling is like no other, it’s more than precious.
AFG: What bands have influenced you the most and why?
RPM: I’m unsure if these answers will be blindingly obvious or a shock because I don’t really know what we sound like to other people, but if I were to limit it to 2 I’d probably answer: the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Killing Joke. It might be more useful to list the stuff I loathe; I’ve never ‘got’ music that requires hair past your shoulders or a stetson, but I’ve got plenty of time for modern jazz (Miles, Coltrane, Parker), early 20th century orchestral (Stravinsky, Britten, Honegger) John Barry and Serge Gainsbourg. I also really love disco, dub and early house stuff. I’m pretty attracted to the harmonically bizarre. Naturally Simon would come up with his own list, but there’s nothing we strongly disagree on as far as music goes.
AFG: If you could sentence any band to twenty-five years of hard labor in a Russian gulag, which band would that be?
RPM: I’m pretty down on Emo and all that spoiled-rich-monster-truck-driving OC whiteboy KROQ crap, round them all up, no one would miss those feckless whiners, don’t waste money on a ticket to Siberia though, just send them to downtown Detroit.
AFG: Is it true that during the Morrissey tour your drummer Simon got completely wasted and danced through a hotel lobby in Portland singing “Hang The DJ?” at the top of his lungs while wearing little more than an ascot tied around his head?
RPM: We only stayed in one hotel during the entire tour: Morrissey’s hotel on the penultimate night where we all ended up sleeping on the floor of Morrissey guitarist Boz Boorer’s room For the rest of the tour we mainly slept out of doors: in the desert, on a haystack, in fields, next to the railway tracks. All true, and very enjoyable. We enjoy an adventure, and a night under desert stars following an amazing rock’n’roll show is a pretty heavenly way to live. Give me another 30 years of that and you can bury me smiling!
The King Cheetah in Los Angeles by Enrico Luce (writer and friend)
I met The King Cheetah in Los Angeles shortly after they completed their successful 2002 US Tour with that other English exile about town: Morrissey. It was a strange combination perhaps, but Morrissey wanted them and it was a chance for The King Cheetah to leave their adopted city for a month of adventures elsewhere.
Who are The King Cheetah?
Just three more English musicians who had wound up in Los Angeles and decided to stay?
Well in a way, yes: they found it cheap and welcoming, this bohemian boomtown of wild energy and manic desperation, and London was not home anymore, just a place they had left behind. LA was the necessary antidote to London’s repressive damp gloom, but it was more than that. LA in the early 21st century appears to them as Berlin of the 1920s or Paris of the 30’s: the world’s elected art colony – a magnet for experiment and insanity. LA is a city where all languages are spoken and all possibilities are open, too fragmented for fashion, all pasts exists simultaneously with all futures. That’s perfect for The King Cheetah. It’s the summing up – no it’s the sweeping up on the morning after the orgiastic riot of the 20th Century, yet Los Angeles is also the future, and a promise of trouble to come.
You need a label for their sound? It’s Militant Rock’N’Roll.
I frequently hear them described as the best band in Los Angeles, to which these eternally modest Englishmen smile, and murmer their reply: ‘Really?….so what!’
The King Cheetah want more, The King Cheetah aspire to be the Caesers of furiously raging apocalyptic musical prophecy. The western world is going down in flames and they will serenade its fall like three English Neros.
Don’t think for a second that you’ve met something like this before. This is new, this is brilliant.
And this is trouble in depth.
E. LUCE – writing in winter 2005