Monday, April 9, 2012

Zulu as Kono

In the summer of 1997, my independent rock band Secret Girlfriends hit the road for a month-long tour of the USA.  A very unwise move, as (a) we had no following - even locally (b) we had nothing released except for a couple of screen-printed t-shirts and some self-made cassettes.  However, like most moves that are considered "unwise", I wouldn't have traded that experience for the world. 
I don't know what it's like any more, but there used to be a time where you could scour the classifieds in the newspaper for a $1000 Ford Econoline, and take your band on tour.  It was hard to spend more than $3 on a full meal at Taco Bell, and gas used to be $1 an hour.  You'd play at a club, or at a house party if you were lucky.  You'd stay at a hotel, or on someone's floor if you were lucky. 
On this particular voyage, one band that really stood out for me was the one we played with in Austin, Texas.  They were called Zulu as Kono.  Our route up to that point took us from Richmond, VA up north, then to the Pacific Northwest, all the way down the coast, and through the desert.  My dad and his wife lived in Austin, so we had a place to stay.  Maybe that had something to do with it, but I felt very at home in Austin.  Lots of like-minded people.  I don't remember where the show was, but I do remember it was at a house party.  I also barely remember Zulu as Kono except for the fact that they either had 2 bassists or 2 drummers or 2 guitarists and played this crazy/controlled kind of mathy Fugazi/Shellac rock.  I talked to someone in the band afterward, and traded information with him and learned that their name (if memory serves) was taken from the credits of an old episode of Hawaii Five O. 
2 years later, Zulu as Kono toured the USA, probably the same way my band had 2 years previously.  I got to return the favor and got them a show at Hole in the Wall at Richmond.  As with our show in Austin, there were maybe 20 people there.  It's crazy to think of doing something like that now... mortgages, car payments, wives, kids, jobs.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, I got their album.
01 Bombastic Bimbo
02 Fig. 98 (Terror)
03 Young Geezer
04 Crackdown on the Cuteness
05 Roosevelt Square
06 Waltzons
07 Damaged Liver
08 Wiseblood
09 Emotional Emotions
10 Hogwobbler
11 La Leche del Diablo
12 Gotta Smoke? (Show the Beer)
13 45 Sec. Wreck
When I moved to Austin in 2001, I saw them I think one more time, then they  broke up.


  1. I, too, had the joy of witnessing Zulu As Kono. I played in a band in the late 90s/early 2000s in Bloomington, Ill. A few of the members of Zulu were, if I recall correctly, were originally from the area and thru a mutual acquaintance, we did some shows together. The first show they were a double trio: 2 bassists, 2 drummers, and 2 guitarists. The next time we played with them, they still had 2 drummers and bassists, but were down to a single guitarist. Zulu was fantastic.

  2. I've loved this band so much for years. Managed to get a copy of their CD when they played in Houston with Melt Banana, and I've worn it into the group d over the last 20 years. Is there any info on who these guys were and what they've been up to?

    1. The only member of the band that I'm in contact with is the drummer, Brandon. He is alive and well, living in Austin, and still playing in bands!

  3. I found this tape in my pocket after The Jesus Lizard played in Portland. Met Brandon 6 months later when he was playing in another band that played in Portland. Got to talking about bands from Austin and asked him about Zulu and Kono and couldn't believe we'd heard the tape. As far as we could figure it out, he'd stuck the tape in Duane Dennison's guitar case when they played Austin, Duane found it in Portland and threw it into the crowd and it landed in my pocket. Strange set of events, great tape!!