In 1990, I was a student at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Though I did have a natural interest in all things aviation, my general artistic interests kept me away from most of the normal college life.... I lived off campus for my entire stay in Daytona, and, but for a select few, befriended mostly local musicians and surfers for my companions. Not only was this a period of social growth for me, as it is for most youth living away from their parents for the first time, but this was also an important beginning in what drives my artistic senses today.
Spending at least three nights a week at the Mtv famed 701 South, for their "Alternative and Industrial" nights, Sunday Bloody Sunday, which led to Sunday Bloody Tuesday then Thursday, I was first exposed to the heavy beats of Euro Industrial acts like Front 242, Nitzer Eb, Canada's Skinny Puppy, along with our own Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, and more. And it was this raw electronic beat influence that drove my own early recordings. My friend Ann, was very much into this musical 'sub-culture' and booked South Florida bands for a few local clubs in the area, including 701 South. I remember her giving me a handmade cassette tape to listen to of a band from Ft. Lauderdale called Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids.
A few weeks later this new act played 701 South on their local band night, to a small crowd of 20 or 30 locals. I was an instant fan, if for nothing more that their originality, but I did like the music too. I had been listening to the cassette, which featured a track, My Monkey...
I had a little monkey
I sent him to the country and I fed him on gingerbread
Along came a choo choo
Knocked my monkey koo koo
And now my monkey's dead
At least he looks that way
But then again don't we all
...which later appeared on Marilyn Manson's first CD, Portrait of an American Family (note 'The Spooky Kids' had been dropped from the band's name). I remember eating spaghetti with the band the next day at Ann's apartment, and continued to catch their shows whenever they came to town, usually to very small, 'in-the-know' crowds only. Good times!
Many years later, after a nice stint in aviation, and a shorter than expected time living in Los Angeles, I now find myself back in South Florida. While in LA, I occasionally kept in touch with a friend Russ, who's earlier band, The Bus (turn Dot Fash, turn Cleopatra Records' The Numb Ones) did a few shows with my Florida band in the late 90's. His current project Kill Miss Pretty, has for the past few years been making their way to, perhaps the status of the most popular band in South Florida, often featured in many local magazines and newspapers.
Fronted by singer, Alicia Olink, Kill Miss Pretty, with Russ Rogers on Guitar (also Synth and Programming) and Martin Davis on Bass, have become a highly sought after act, known, not only for their 'electro-pop' music, but also for their live shows, each featuring a different theme. I first experienced one of their shows earlier this year where the theme was The Wizard Of Oz. Knowing of my recent endeavors in film, Russ asked me if I would document the show, as it would be the first with a recent collaborator, Scott Putesky, aka Daisy Berkowitz, co-founder and original guitarist from Marilyn Manson (and now my college story above begins to tie in). Each dressed in some form of Oz character, with other live stage props, including The Tin Man and Dorthy, Kill Miss Pretty featured a new collaboration with Scott, called Judy Garland (available for free download at www.KillMissPretty.com). With the footage I recorded, I ended up making a live-ish music video for the highlighted song of the evening, which I will post right after this story.
Aside from The Summer Four EP, Kill Miss Pretty has released two full length albums, Bite Your Tounge and Permission For Strange, both of which are also available for free download at www.KillMissPretty.com. Each of these albums highlights the bands unique blend of electronica, grooving guitars and unavoidable hooks that stay in your head, long after the music is over. Most recently, Cleopatra Records released the Judy Garland (Electro Black Lash Mix) produced by Europe's Mozart & Friends (known for popular remixes of Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, and more). This dance track is available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
As Marilyn Manson went on to do what Marilyn Manson has done, left in it's wake was The Spooky Kids, along with it's unique worldwide fan base of music from that early era. Those fans will wish they could be in South Florida this coming Friday night, October 29th, where Churchill's Hideway in Miami kicks off Halloween weekend, hosting 'Let Your Ego Die: A Spooky Kids Tribute". Headlining the night will be Scott Putesky as Daisy Berkowitz with Kill Miss Pretty, performing early Spooky Kids material, some never before heard.
“I knew then he [Dangerfun Entertainment head Ian Michael, promoter of the event] had the right idea in creating a particular kind of event for a particular (and locally created) phenomenon“ said Putesky. “This is a great and very rare opportunity for younger and foreign fans to experience a revived form of Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids shows of the early 1990’s. Older and more familiar fans from the south Florida rock scene will be reminded of the unique nature of the band’s musical origins provided mostly by Spooky Kids authority, archivist and curator, Putesky as well as bassist Brad Stewart (aka Gidget Gein) and Stephen Bier (aka Madonna Wayne Gacy or Pogo). All the unreleased songs in the catalog will be represented in some form or another but most likely true to original form. Spooky Kids tribute groups exist all over the world and all commemorate the life of Spooky Kids bass player Brad Stewart aka Gidget Gein who died in 2008. [From Press Release provided by Scott Putesky]
Should you be in the South Florida area this weekend, as Scott stated, this is a rare opportunity to relive the birth of that early phenomenon, Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids, as I remember it from my days in Daytona Beach. Live acts will also include Jackie Ranson's Armada, F**k Yeah!, Rat Bastard, DJ KC Killjoy, DJ Elyse and more. The show will also feature the Dangerfun Sideshow and Buddha G's Monster Bash Haunted House, which is free with paid admission into Churchill's.
VIDEO of Judy Garland: