King Tuff (aka Kyle Thomas) has the soul of a bat and the heart of a bunny. He is one of the realest dealest rock 'n' roll pop beasts around, making wonderfully skuzzy classic-styled rock with giant guitar licks and the croon of a charming gummy bear. His newest (self-titled) album came out on Sub Pop this past October and is excellent and varied—enthusiastic and a little thoughtful, weird and a lot catchy. We had a phone interview set up, but a snafu caused us to e-mail it out instead. I left his answers as-is, because King Tuff needs no editing. He is coming to Seattle on the day that weed becomes legal.
Why didn't you answer my phone call this morning? Give me a really good excuse.
Ummmmmm u didn't call! I was sitting next to my phone staring at it waiting for yr call for like 30 mins. ps I'm going to kill u. [Ed. Note: I DID TOO CALL. Three times. I had a crazy recording device set up and EVERYTHING. In fact, I have a recording of him NOT ANSWERING. I mean, JK, KT, don't kill me.]
When is your birthday? Are you down with the zodiac? What about the Mayan calendar?
January 18. Capricorn. Pisces moon, Leo rising. Mayans rock duh.
What was the first show you remember going to?
I went to a live action performance of my fav show zoobilee zoo. I had a crush on the cat girl. [Ed. Note: I looked this up. Zoobilee Zoo is terrifying.]
Favorite music growing up?
You're playing with Dancer and Prancer in Seattle—got any favorite Christmas albums/songs?
I luv Xmas music. I pretty much love every song except Lil drummer boy. Fuck that barumpabumbum shit. I luv the Charlie brown Xmas album. Also john fahey has a Xmas record that rules. [Ed. Note: I fucking hate that song, too. I have yet to meet a musician who disagrees.]
Do you regularly have the same backing band, or is it just a mishmash of whoever can hit the road? I think at Block Party you had a pair of blond, gold-chain-wearing babes. Where did you find them?
It's been different every tour. Magic jake is always with me tho. sounds like you've got a Lil crush? ;) [Ed. Note: I'm not sure which one Magic Jake is, but if he's the one with the mustache, then the answer is "maybe."]
You're from Vermont. Do you ski? Do you like snow? How about maple syrup? Ben & Jerry's? That is all I know about Vermont.
I've never touched a ski. But I like sledding and ice skating. We've got a great thing there called sugar on snow, which involves pouring hot maple syrup on fresh white snow and eating it with a pickle and a plain doughnut. [Ed. Note: I thought the pickle and doughnut part were made up, but I looked it up and it's totally legit. As "legit" as a pickle within two feet of a dessert will ever be.]
You live in LA now? What's your favorite thing to eat around there? In-N-Out? In-N-Out grilled cheese is so fake and so delicious.
Taco zone. I like canters deli too. [Ed. Note: I SAID IN-N-OUT.]
How do you feel about Ke$ha?
Do you have any pets? Spirit animals?
My parents have a very cuddly dog named Gracie. I've always felt a connection to bunnies. and bats of course.
I always read about your gold teeth, what's the deal with those? How many do you have?
I needed some root canals and I wasn't about to let them put some boring old white porcelain teeth in there. I've got two. I feel comforted by gold. [Ed. Note: On first look, I read that last sentence as "I feel comfortably gold."]
Who recorded your last album? What's your favorite song off your new album?
Bobby Harlow from Detroit produced it. I like "Swamp of Love" a lot. And "Unusual World."
I really love "Alone & Stoned." I think I listen to it at least twice a day. The alone and STOOWWWNED slow-mo monster part is exactly the kind of weird thing you want to listen to when you are stoned. What's your favorite stoned activity?
I like recording. Also maybe being outside in some treehouses or something.
OH! And speaking of weed, did you know you're playing in Seattle on the day it becomes legal to carry around here? I suggest getting stoned all over town and doing the most touristy things ever.
I did know that! It's very exciting. I'm curious to see what the packaging is going to look like in the stores. I wanna go visit my old friend the doughnut robot. [Ed. Note: I know what you're thinking, but apparently a "doughnut robot" is that conveyer belt thing in Pike Place Market and not a giant robot that makes, is made out of, or gives away doughnuts.]
Who makes the art for your albums? I'm pretty into that King Tuff font.
Me and my brother Luke Thomas. Thanx!
How often do you tour? What is your tour vehicle?
Yeah lotsa touring. I would prefer to tour by zeppelin but we just use a stupid van.
Where's the best place you've ever played?
Hmmm there's lots of good places but I can't remember any of them. One time I ate some fast food on tour, that was pretty cool. [Ed. Note: I sense KT is running out of steam here. Which is fair.]
Worst place you've played?
There is no worst. But I do like wurst.