RC 246: Songs That Kiki & Herb Taught Us

Kiki DuRane (Justin Vivian Bond) and Herb (Kenny Mellman) aka Kiki & Herb were a San Francisco 90’s drag/cabaret act who in their lifetime produced some great and funny covers of a wide variety of music especially in medleys and with monologues. Kiki was a drunken and rather tired old cabaret singer and Herb was her gay accompanist. The wikipedia page describes the backstory better than I can:

This involved the characters meeting as children in a mental institution before becoming a jazz act in the fifties, beginning a long and chequered career mixing periods of success and misfortune. The shows were supposedly part of their comeback trail, and they would perform songs supposedly from throughout their career (which were actually anachronistic covers). Between songs Kiki would tell anecdotes from her life, including her friendships with Billie Holiday and Grace Kelly, and the details of her various relationships, whilst drinking heavily and often having on-stage rages and breakdowns.

The covers mentioned there were great, a mix of hiphop, indie rock, punk, folk, old songs, current pop usually around themes to with the backstory and introduced me to the likes of Decemberists, Geraldine Fibbers, Momus, Suicidal Tendencies, Method Man, Singing Nun, Mountain Goats, Melanie and Ryan Adams and sold me on songs by the diverse likes of Stevie Nicks and Sleater Kinney. So I decided to do a podcast on the music that Kiki & Herb covered and quite often introduced to me. It’s a long one, and covers quite dark themes (check their backstory for why!) but some very good music indeed. And I wish I’d seen them rather than on video & record, but they didn’t tour outside of the US that often.

Kiki & Herb Will Never Die (2:00, 114Mb)

  • Kiki & Herb – Running Up That Hill
  • Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized
  • Ryan Adams – Note To Self: Don’t Die
  • Sleater Kinney – I’m Not Waiting
  • The Knife – Heartbeats
  • Momus – I Was A Maoist Intellectual
  • Wu Tang Clan – Reunited
  • Method Man – Release Yo’ Delf
  • Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  • Depeche Mode – Blasphemous Rumours
  • The Singing Nun – Dominique
  • Hole – Miss World
  • Mountain Goats – No Children
  • Melanie – Close To It All
  • Kate Bush – Moments of Pleasure
  • Dusty Springfield – Windmills of my Mind (Mono version)
  • The Geraldine Fibbers – Lilybelle
  • Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
  • Suede – The Big Time
  • Decemberists – I Was Meant For The Stage
  • Stevie Nicks – Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You (Demo Mix 16)
  • Pink Floyd – The Thin Ice
  • Radiohead – Exit Music (For a Film)
  • Fifth Dimension – Those Were The Days
  • Kiki & Herb – Medley: Love Is a Battlefield / Total Eclipse of the Heart / Turn, Turn, Turn / You Turn Me On (I’m a Radio) / The Second Coming (live)

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