The Fuckin' Kennies sometimes has more than one member, sometimes not. What that means for singer, songwriter and harmonica player Kenny Alden is that he has to be ready to fill in any spot--bassist, drummer, guitarist or keyboardist--at any time. Like Bob Dylan on Prozac, Alden's folksy lyrics tell cryptic stories with a twist of humor. The tunes are upbeat and catchy--and then there's his amusing attire and stage props. Here's what Alden had to say to the Tucson Weekly during a somewhat disjointed interview.
Recently, you've been performing solo. What happened to the other band members?
I, uh, we left my drummer in California, and we lost our bass player in the great bass player fire of '95.
Can you explain that?
At your shows, you're accompanied by a cutout of Owen Wilson's head on a stick. Why?
It all started when uh, my friend, he was working at the airport, and he saw this giant poster that, um, it was a poster for that movie You, Me and Dupree. Well, he cut out the head, because he thought it was hilarious because it was this really big poster, and then he gave it to me. And I gave it to Esther (his friend), and she laminated it, and ... taped it to a stick and, uh, that's the story behind the Owen Wilson head.
Your signature performance attire is a T-shirt and underwear. Why no pants?
Because it gets really hot.
Where do you get the inspiration for the funny stories in your lyrics?
Uh, um, I don't know.
How many and which instruments do you play?
Uh, let's see: I play everything. Like, even if I'm not good at it, I'll give it a shot. I'm really into drums right now, though.
Where'd you get the name for your band?
My friend Malachi, he started calling me Fucking Kenny a long, long time ago, and then I started playing--and then, like, that was kind of my name for a while, like I referred to myself like that when I'd introduce myself and whatnot. And then, I started playing open mics at Epic Café, and so I was just like, you know how most people, if they don't have a name for their little act, they just say what their name is? And I was like, "Well, I'm Fuckin' Kenny," and then eventually it became a band, and so I thought it would sound better if it was pluralized.
And your band members don't object?
Nah, I mean, I've had so many people in my band, like, if they object, they just leave the band. I think I've had, like, 15 people in my band or something like that.
But, I mean, I write all the songs, and I tell everybody what to do. I don't think I'm totally like iron-fisted; it's just, you know, it's just the way things go.
OK, well I'm out of questions. Most people's answers are much more long-winded.
I'm gonna be in the paper?
Maybe I should make some kind of plug. People should buy Adidas sneakers. Um, let's see, and--oh, you should put my Myspace or whatever so people could go and listen to my stupid songs.
Your stupid songs?
I don't know. A lot of people take their stuff, like, really seriously. Like, I pretend I don't take myself seriously. At least that's my official stance.
How did you become interested in playing and writing music?
I played in a bunch of bands when I was, like, 16, and I didn't play anything. I was just a singer, and then I got sent away to Utah, and when I was there, I learned how ... wait, what? Why? (Talking to someone in the background. ) No, I shouldn't say why I got sent away to Utah. Um, so I got sent away to Utah--oh, well, let's just say I moved to Utah. OK, OK, I got sent away to Utah. All right, my parents sent me away to Utah, because they thought I was a bad kid because I smoked pot, but I wasn't even that big of a pot-smoker; they sent me away anyway, and I went to one of those camps and stuff. And anyway, when I was there, I learned how to play guitar--well, sort of. Somebody showed me a little bit, and then I just started playing, then I moved out here because of Revenge of the Nerds, and then I, um, I fell through my building while I was climbing up and, uh, decided I was invincible after that and started playing music. If that makes sense at all.