King Khan: "Somehow I Guess Lou Reed Was My Evil Mother"
On top of losing a childhood friend, Khan says the death of friend and fellow musician Jay Reatard was difficult. Khan met Reatard touring with his previous band, The Spaceshits, and the pair were kindred spirits. The song "So Wild" is a requiem, in tribute to both.
"In general, the approach I've always taken to writing music is basically approach it like gospel music or any highly spiritual music. It can transform pain and suffering into a beautiful force, a human force. In that way, this album especially feels that way to me," Khan says. "There's tragedy and just human experience and emotion that went into making the songs."
After disbanding the Spaceshits, Khan formed The Shrines in 1999 (sometimes known as The Supreme Genius of King Khan and His Sensational Shrines) and later regrouped with former Spaceshits bandmate Mark Sultan, as The King Khan & BBQ Show.
It was that configuration that brought Khan the attention of Lou Reed, who curated the 2010 Vivid Live festival with his wife Laurie Anderson and invited the duo to perform at the Sydney Opera House.
"I was lucky enough to hang out with him a couple times and found out he was a fan of the stuff I was doing," Khan says. "We were flown out to Sydney and played two shows, and they were in the audience. We got to hang out with them. Lou and Laurie invited me to some private rehearsals. I was sitting next to Lou while he was singing 'Vanishing Act.' I couldn't believe I was there, and at the same time, I was going through this crazy manic episode. I'd been on tour and things were bubbling in my brain."
The Sydney trip also had its downside, with Sultan and Khan ending their band while at each other's throats.