You always remember the first time you hear something that sounds unlike anything you have ever heard before. I still remember as a 7-year old in 1982, listening in amazement at the Little League field as a couple of guys played Grandmaster Flash on their boombox. I had never heard anything like it, and it kicked off a love of hip-hop that persists to this day.
Fast forward about 25 or so years, when tuned in WXPN one day and heard a song unlike anything I had ever heard before. It was Heroin, a song that broke the longstanding rule in our society that art about dark topics needs to carry with it an appropriate gravitas. This song broke that rule, being an upbeat and peppy song about a relationship made stronger through heroin. It was ironic, weird, and really catchy. By the end of the song, I found myself singing along enthusiastically. I heard the DJ say that it was Kenn Kweder. When I got home, I rushed to the computer to see what the deal was with this guy, and ran into not only a great artist, but an amazing story. (I also contacted Chip, who said incredulously: “You’ve never heard of Kweder? Duuuuuuude!) I had stumbled onto a local icon, a Philly guy who had travelled the world playing rock music, who had had a chance to make it big but refused to sell out, and who was still rock ‘n’ rolling into his 60s, somehow maintaining rock n roll not as a hobby but as a profession. Who does that? (If you haven’t already, PLEASE read this interview with Kweder that I did a couple of years ago. Really fascinating.)
Kweder became the subject of a documentary that was recently released to rave reviews at a Tampa Film Festival and will be released in Philly at some point this year (see trailer above), so I thought it would be a really cool time to get Kweder on board for Quizzo Bowl. He’ll be bringing a full band along, and is prepared to rock the house down. Our last few music acts have been truly incredible, and this promises to be no different. And I’m expecting you guys, the nerd elite who will be attending, to get into the spirit too. A lot of Kweders stuff is sing-songy, back and forth with the crowd, so be ready to get involved. He and his group (the Hipster Mind Tricks) will also be playing a lot of sweet jams from the mid 70s, as our theme is “The Spirit of ’76” (more on that later.) We have the last of the true rock stars performing at Quizzo Bowl XII, so get excited. The Bowl takes place on February 6th at World Cafe Live. Tickets can be purchased now online. I’ll have some on me at quizzo starting next week. Let’s get it!