KUNG PAO KITCHEN is the latest release from Portland Oregon’s NU SHOOZ. The band that first won the hearts and minds of the world with ‘I Can’t Wait’ is back with a collection of songs from the tape vaults. Bandleader John Smith explains; “These were songs that were rejected by the record label. Funny thing was, 20 years later they were still playing in our heads. So we went into the studio and put up the tapes to see what they sounded like…and wow, they were amazing. It was like opening up King Tut’s tomb and, instead of finding a dried up mummy you find the whole royal family in there partying!”
The album represents a return to the slamming bass lines and punchy hooks of that album and its predecessor ‘Poolside.’ It captures the group at the height of their groove. KUNG PAO KITCHEN is a time capsule from the days when the Shooz ruled dance floors from Cleveland to Cape Town.
KUNG PAO KITCHEN is the full-meal deal!!!
1) ANYTIME- The first song on KPK was actually one of the last ones written for the album. From the opening stutter-cut till the final fade, ANYTIME is the SHOOZ in full funk/rock mode, loaded for bear, taking no prisoners.
2) WOULD IF I COULD- The hook for this song was inspired by an old Bing Crosby record from the 1920’s called ‘I Would If I Could But I Can’t” See, it pays to have a diverse record collection.
3) DIDN’T WANNA TELLYA- The president of the label liked this one because he thought it sounded like Paula Abdul. Concealed within this simple tale of teenage love are Jungian archetypes, and Freudian battles between the id and the superego. (Just kidding.)
4) YOU PUT A SPELL ON ME- One sure-fire songwriting technique is the answer song. Motown did it all the time. “My girl,” by the Temptations was the answer to “My Guy,” by Mary Wells. (Or maybe it was the other way around.) So, when Screamin’ Jay Hawkins sang “I Put A Spell On You,” it seemed to require an answer.
5) HOW DID WE FALL IN LOVE- This track is an homage to producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, especially their early work before Janet Jackson, with groups like CHANGE, and R&B singer CHERELLE.
6) I JUST WANNA TALK ABOUT YOU- ‘Talk About You” is another producer homage, this time to Rick James, who was a major influence on the NU SHOOZ sound. When funk rock began, around 82 or 83, the three kings of the style were Prince, Michael Jackson, and Rick James. Out of the three, I liked Rick James the best.
7) DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE- Believe it or not, the inspiration for this song was a comedy record, “Basketball Jones,” by Bill Cosby.
8) STOP PRETENDING- More DNA lifted from Jam and Lewis, this time from the S.O.S Band.
9) WHEN I THINK OF YOU- It took months to fit together all the chords in this song. The lyrics were written in a few minutes. That pretty much sums up the NU SHOOZ songwriting style back in the day. The version heard here is the original home-studio demo with nothing added.
THE LINER NOTES:
PRODUCED BY ALPHA LANG FOR EVOLUTIONLAB
Arranged by John Smith, Jeff Lorber, Margaret Linn
Recorded 1988 to 1992 at JHL STUDIOS, Pacific Palisades, California. Spectrum Studios, Portland Oregon, and BEDROK I & II, Portland Oregon, Paisley Park, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Uberdubs at Titanic Studio B, Portland Oregon, July 2011-March 2012
Remixed by Gregg Williams at The Trench, April 2012
Cover Art and Design, Ginnie MacPherson, Matt Smith
Cover Photography, Jeanna Edelman
Phil Baker- Bass
Damone Brown- Vocals
Valerie Day- Lead and Background Vocals, Congas, Percussion
Shannon Day- Vocals
Pete Epstein-Alto Saxophone
Tracey Harris- Vocals
Zack Harris- Vocals
Linda Hornbuckle- Vocals
Calvert Johnny- ‘Toaster’
Margaret Linn- Vocals
Jeff Lorber- Keys, Percussion
Alec Milstein- Bass Guitar
Maceo Parker- Alto Saxophone
Ron Regan-Tenor Saxophone
Ross Seligman- Vocals
John Smith- Guitars, Piano, B-3, Alto & Bari Saxophone
“The past is prologue.”
“I just try to play the pretty notes.”
“Sometimes I feel like I’m a curator for a fine sonic time”
ANYTIME- © 1991, 2012, John R. Smith
WOULD IF I COULD, ©1991, 2012 John R Smith
DIDN’T WANNA TELLYA, ©1991, 2012 John R Smith, Valerie Day
YOU PUT A SPELL ON ME, ©1992, 2012 John R Smith, Margaret Linn
HOW DID WE FALL IN LOVE, ©1992, 2012 John R Smith, Valerie Day
I JUST WANNA TALK ABOUT YOU, ©1992, 2012 John R Smith
DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE, ©1991, 2012 John R Smith, Valerie Day
STOP PRETENDING, ©1992, 2012 John R Smith
WHEN I THINK OF YOU ©1988, 2012 John R Smith, Valerie Day
ALL SONGS PUBLISHED BY NU SHOOZ ORCHESTRA LLC, BMI
Thanks to: The Three Dorothys, The First Cosmic Band of Divine Economy, Captain Whizeagles, Rick McMillan at SUPER DIGITAL (Bake the tapes at 130 degrees for 24 hours, then only play them once,) Cliff and Lofty at AUDIX USA, The LUCKY STRIKE, Portland Oregon, for the KUNG PAO BEEF, Alan Elliot, Kevin and Becky at FUJIN, Justin Huggins for keeping it all running, Mark Fried, Priyan, and everybody at SPIRIT MUSIC, Mom and Bill, Momo and Neener, John Chamberlin, Pete, Pearce, and Dave at The Twelfth Fret, Phil X, Larry, Chris, Danny, Scott, Dave, Bobby, Marc, Tim Tubb, and the whole Felicidades Crew. You know what your contribution was. Mario [roll the ‘r’] Gonzales, Jenny Rafter, Don Hurley, Lowell McGregor, Loressa Williams, Jack Canata, Cathy Cassidy, Cyberguide Casey Murphy, Mario Cosentino, Marcello, Uhane Pedras, COMIC EMPIRE, EVOLUTIONLab…
and ALL SHOOZ PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE.