Kirby Krackle: The Best Comic Book Band Ever [Video]
Kirby Krackle rocks. The comic book-themed band — composed of Kyle Stevens (performer, songwriter) and Jim Demonakos (songwriter) — has spent the last year making their name on tour to comic conventions across the nation with their sweet pop hooks infused with catchy comics references. We first heard Kirby Krackle live at Emerald City Comic-Con (along with guest star Joe Quesada), and after listening to their two albums, “Kirby Krackle” and “E for Everyone,” we’re going to go ahead and just say they are the best comic book band we have ever heard.
We caught their panel at HeroesCon last weekend and video recorded a few live acoustic tracks, which we ended up singing for the rest of the convention (no joke), and have also posted for your viewing pleasure after the jump. We also had a chance to talk to Stevens about how Kirby Krackle first teamed up, and the impact they hope their music has on comics fandom, and beyond.ComicsAlliance: How did you Kirby Krackle begin? Did you set out to become a comic book-themed band?
Kyle Stevens: It was an idea that I’d talked about for year with Jim Demonakos, who runs Emerald City Comic-Con, and a comic book store chain in Seattle where I’ve been a customer of his for years. For years we talked off and on about create a band that sounded like a “mainstream rock band” with catchy pop hooks, but all the lyrics would be reference-heavy for comic book culture, which we love. The first song we ever wrote was “Back to the Beginning,” which is the “Mario Kart” song, and we were really excited; we showed it to a couple friends and they thought it was pretty good, so we decided to write eleven more songs and see how it went, and we put it out as a self-titled album in January 2009, and toured all throughout the country and Canada.
CA: You’ve gotten some great support from within the comic industry–
KS: Yeah, we lucked out. Joe Quesada [Editor-in-Chief] of Marvel Comics got a hold of it and tweeted about us, which was a nice boost for New York Comic-Con last year. People saw us at San Francisco Comic-Con and Emerald City… It was really fun doing something that hadn’t really been done before, so there were no rules. We always say we want to be a band for the people; we’re not a scenester band or a hipster band. If you like pop culture and you like to jump up and down to big guitar riffs and harmonies – we want people to feel involved, kinda like a big club.
CA: Do you think your music is exposing potential new readers to comics culture?
KS: I hope so. We purposely write the songs so that comics fans like us will be into it, but we talk about themes of power and responsibility, and anyone can get into it from that human element. Our song “One of the Guys” is about the Thing, but if you get to the heart of it, it’s about feeling like you don’t belong and then finding a place where you belong. Everyone can relate to that.
KS: Or “Vault 101” off the new album talks about a character in the game “Fallout 3,” and how he wanders this wasteland looking for hope. It’s a song about hope, if you break it down, but if you’re into “Fallout” that’s just the frosting that makes it even more fun. We said from the beginning that we couldn’t make this just referencing all these little secret storylines and not being able to connect with people. You have to get into the song first, and the melody – I’m big into melody that’s my number one thing. And not to pander, because I could tell if I were being pandered to. Our whole thing was, if we found us, would we think this was cool?
CA: How would you describe Kirby Krackle’s sound to someone that’s never heard you?
KS: I grew up on Pearl Jam, and Weezer, and Foo Fighters, and high energy melodic pop rock. I can’t say that’s not what I sound like, because I do. That was my applesauce and my peanut butter and jelly, the building blocks of me musically. We don’t try to copy that, but especially on this record I wanted to do something high energy, and something that would be so fun to play live. Especially since our live band really gelled this last year and our lead guitarist smokes. It had to be fun, something with hooks that people could sing along to.
CA: Do your songs ever shout out comics beyond the Marvel and DC stuff?
KS: Well, “Secret Identity” is just about a guy working at a bank and doing the white picket fence thing, but on the weekends his wife understands he just needs to be a vigilante. “Dusty Cartridges and Long Boxes” is about sitting around and playing video games and bagging comics. So those are neither Marvel or DC.
CA: While I’m sure you love them all like children, are there any songs you consider stand-outs, or your personal favorites?
KS: Right off the bat, “Roll Over” is a song where we feature a rapper for the first time, named GMK the Great, a guy I’ve known since I was twelve… A couple years ago, there was a period in rap music where everyone was using public domain nursery rhymes, like in Jay-Z’s “A Hard Knock Life.” And there’s that nursery rhyme, “There’s ten in the bed and the little one said, roll over, roll over,” and it counts down. And this is like, “There’s ten in the bed and the Thundercats said…” That’s one of my favorites. “Ring Capacity” is a song about Green Lantern and how he uses his ring in the comics and the power level counts down. Those are two that I’m really proud of.