How's the tour been?
Mark Sultan: The turban is fine; the turban is just fine.
I'm obsessed with the origins of names. Where do "King Khan" and "BBQ" come from?
King Khan: My name came from an encyclopedia of names.
MS: When I was a kid my mom used to read me these fairy tales that would give me nightmares. Then, [to cure them] she made these stick figure children, little voodoo popsicle stick children, that she would throw in the BBQ, and burn them to a crisp.
Any other nicknames or aliases?
KK: We have tons. I used to call myself Blacksnake. People call me Parish, Eyeballs, Carrots, Shabazz.
MS: The Needle, Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Kib Husk, Rum Tum Tugger.
KK: I went under the name of Bruce Tan for a while. I had a production company under that name. I'd book shows for friends' bands. I'd pretend that I was...
MS: Do the voice.
KK: [In much deeper voice] Hi, this is Bruce Tan calling.
MS: One time I was in this band called Les Sexareenos and we were trying to get this show together. We needed money, so we got Khan to do Bruce Tan... there were four of us in the band, and he somehow got us 10 hotel rooms for four people. It was amazing.
KK: Then one of them OD'd the day before the show and nothing happened. All you kids out there, stay away from the needle.
MS: But not me, don't stay away from me.
I picture Bruce Tan having a briefcase.
KK: He does, and he smells like musk all the time, and only wears brown leather.
MS: When he's in Bruce Tan mode, he really does have a briefcase, but all that's in it is a few papers and a bottle of Robitussin.
KK: Or a rock.
How did you guys meet?
KK: At a sweat lodge. We were building a sweat lodge, and we met on the work site. Mark drilled a nail into my hand.
Is it true that you two are blood brothers?
KK: We're actually "tear brothers." I'll cry into his eyes every night, and he'll cry into mine.
MS: We once peed into each other's penises.
It's Halloween. Do you guys believe in magic? Black magic? Magick with a "k"?
MS: Yes, for sure.
KK: I do tarot cards professionally.
MS: Remember that kid in Charlie Brown, Pigpen? The one who had all that dust around him wherever he went? It's like that with us—only it's not dust, it's magick.
Which one of you writes the lyrics?
MS: Both of us.
KK: Certain songs will be collaborations, you know, sometimes we'll both bring meat to the table from our closets.
Meat from your closets?
MS: Picture a mound of gristle burning in a high-heel pump.
KK: Picture a George Foreman grill with two Eskimo Pies on it.
MS: Picture Cyril making hot noodles in a cup, and the hot water just comes from his hand! [Chants] Cy-ril, Cy-ril, Cy-ril.
KK: Cyril the Magician. YouTube it. He's our mentor, our spiritual leader, and kind of like the "Yoda" of the King Khan & BBQ Show.
MS: We're at once in awe, scared, and we just want to go on tour with him. Cyril, if you're reading this....
Are you both in living in Berlin now?
KK: Mark has dug a tunnel from Montreal to Berlin. And he rides four raccoons through the center of the earth.
KK: (Laughs) No, I’m in Berlin and Mark’s mostly Montreal. We’re always traveling though.
Which audiences have more fun at your shows? Berlin or stateside?
KK: To be honest, this kind of goes back to us and that Pigpen thing.... It seems like wherever we go, people have an affinity to do really retarded things... and have fun, take off their clothes and, you know, wiggle their parts. As long as people are all wiggling, we don't really have favorites. The wigglers in the USA tend to have more of a country wiggle, but if you go to Germany, they do more of a goose-step wiggle.
What's the best thing you've seen anyone do at a show, anywhere?
KK: A friend of ours gave her boyfriend a blowjob.
KK: One guy drove his car into the bar while we were playing in France.
MS: Another time, a guy drank waaaay too much root beer.
KK: One time, we had a space-ice-cream eating contest, and one guy ate too much and literally turned into powder.
Wait, wait. Back up. Too much root beer?
Okay, now I think you're pulling my leg.
The King Khan & BBQ Show play Thurs Nov 6, Chop Suey, 8 pm, $12, 21+. With the Dutchess and the Duke.