He stands at the end of a long road, littered with things we once held dear, but must leave behind: The myth. For every generation he wears a different face: James Dean, Marlon Brando, James Cagney and Johnny Cash have borne his smile, his patience, his wisdom. Through his songs, his images, his ceremonial rites, we see the permanent strength in ourselves, and something magic is born within. We know what we can bear: The broken heart, the loss, even the joy that vanishes as quickly as it appears. The myth defies time, its ravages and sorrows; and with his model before us, so can we.
Shaun Kama has walked his road. He’s gathered those things: The love letters tied with faded ribbons, the scratched record of a wedding waltz, the photographs of better times. With this new project, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Kama has occupied the place of myth. He’s commanded the ritual alter on which these memories of heartbreak are transformed into melody, song, and the will to carry forth. “I like hearing stories from other people,” Kama says. “Everything, every day, I use to help write. You just don’t know when one of these is going to touch you in a way. Not everything is a golden nugget, but sometimes you pinnacle. I can’t imagine writing some of the stuff I’m writing now even ten years ago, ‘cause I didn’t have the experience, or the emotions. I hadn’t lived through certain things. You’ve gotta live through adversity.”
Kama has this to say about his new music: “I could be 60 or 16, and it wouldn’t matter, as long as the songs are there. It’s about the songs. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for a long time, I’ve been in the industry, and people may or may not know who I am, whatever. This is a whole, big giant new deep ocean for me, with a lot of new experience. I would hate to obscure people’s vision of this new music by saying, this is Shaun Kama, he was in all those bands. I want people to walk into this with an open mind, and if they love the songs, they love it and if they don’t feel it, they don’t feel it.”
Shaun Kama’s Kings of the Wild Frontier summons the primal stuff of Western pop culture: The debut album ‘Dear Scarecrow’ is a Western-y, soundtrack-y, Spaghetti Western, David Lynch, Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, that kind of feel.. I sometimes describe the music as being a combination of Western surf, Folk and American rock. In the industry, they always want to put some kind of label on it. I had somebody say it’s kind of alternative country, and I suppose that’s true, because when you look at what country music is these days, basically it’s pop songs with mandolins and violins. That’s not roots-y enough for me. It’s not premeditated, but it’s inspired and it’s timely.
When I see a grandmother and grandfather, a 16-year-old kid with a Mohawk, a guy that has a family and works construction, a redneck guy that loves the most bluegrass shit in the world down in Tennessee, all the way to a guy that’s into Cannibal Corpse from San Antonio, Texas, and they all come to me and they say, ‘That song ‘Bastard Son’ touched me. I generally don’t like this kind of music, but there's something that make me want to buy your album.’ When I hear that from that diverse amount of people, it makes me realize that I’m on the right path, I’m doing the right thing, and I’m going to make some music that’s going to live long after I’m dead. I’m trying to set a legacy up.”
When we’re ready, Shaun Kama is waiting for us. His songs resonate with the experience of working people, people who have felt, lived and loved in ways you’ll never see on prime time TV. Songs with heart, made of the stuff of legend. Real Western music.
**Many great musicians who performed on the album include Sam “Sluggo” Phipps (Oingo Boingo) and Angelo Moore (Fishbone) on saxophone, Rob “Blasko” Nicholson (Rob Zombie, Ozzy, The Death Riders)on bass, Marc “Sparky” Demented (Demented Are Go) on vocals, Elvis (Three Bad Jacks)on guitar, Mal Wrekker (The Slanderin’) on upright bass, Marc “The Dark Mime” Diamond (The Dwarves, Mondo Generator)on guitar, and Greg Lesez (Bob Dylan, Van Morrison)on pedal steel.