The Kills Cover Saul Williams' "List of Demands"
The Kills have re-wired the circuits of Saul Williams' "List of Demands (Reparations)" to create a wounded, volcanic, and urgent anthem. An opaque but powerful litany that could incite the most apathetic to action, the song comes backed with a dazzling cover of Peter Tosh's "Steppin' Razor". Artwork for the single was created especially for the release by Shepard Fairey.
"It's a song of strength and empowerment, rooted in the idea of rising above," Mosshart says. "It was one of those songs you're almost scared to cover, because it carries so much respect. It wasn't a straight up love song or a drug song. It was defined, serious, and perfect already. With certain songs, you feel like an intruder trying to sing them, but this one felt like my own."
Decamping to the legendary Sunset Sound in Hollywood with producer Chris Coady, The Kills recorded both songs in three days. Until they entered the studio, they'd never sat down and played either. It took myriad approaches at varying tempos-searching for the right groove they found it. Only when they slowed it down to double time did the new haunting melody emerge.
"'List of Demands' was so impactful to us-it was the kind of song that would come on backstage and everyone would stop what they were doing and stand up," Hince says. "The more I found myself listening to the lyrics, the more I heard in them, and found myself singing along with goose bumps. The brilliant thing about it is that it speaks to so many different ideas-a true underground thing like the best Iggy Pop songs."
Saul Williams returned the compliment, waxing rhapsodically about The Kills' tribute. "I always felt envious of the way the 60's generation shared songs and ideologies. Jimi singing Dylan. Rotary Connection singing Otis Redding. The Stones singing the blues," Williams said. "This is all part of the beauty and power of music and it reverberates deeply in me. All this to say, I'm honored. I liked The Kills before they chose to cover 'LOD.' If they can feel themselves in that song, it's because they are as much a part of it as I am."
Artist Shepard Fairey, whose striking image was created for the single's sleeve art, says, "I've been a fan of The Kills for years, and I initially loved them because I can't say no to great garage rock with attitude, grit, and a vocalist in Alison Mosshart with a ridiculous amount of heart and soul. In recent years though, they've turned into even more than that. They're now great songwriters who have stayed true to their roots but also expanded their musical palette. When Alison and Jamie approached me about doing the art for the song "List of Demands" and shared their version of the song, I was excited both because I love their version of the song, and I think it's a song that makes sense for the state of things in the world right now. We need music that speaks to the struggles of the average person in the face of oppressive powers. The art I created was meant to reflect the sentiment of the song and the idea that people have power in numbers and are looking back at those in power with their hands up, making their demands. The do-it-yourself spirit of punk rock and activist propaganda influenced the art and design."
The Kills have announced upcoming US shows, with all going on sale tomorrow. Saul Williams will join The Kills for the LA show in August, and as their very special guest will play a full set prior to The Kills taking the stage.
See below for worldwide dates, with US shows in bold. Get your tickets from: http://thekills.tv
Monday May 14 || Lincoln Theater || Washington DC *
Tuesday May 15 || Union Transfer || Philadelphia, PA *
Monday June 4 || Kosmonavt || St Petersberg, Russia
Wednesday June 6 || Glavclub || Moscow, Russia
Saturday June 9 || Best Kept Secret || Hilvaranbeek, Netherlands
Sunday June 10 || Trabrennbahn Bahrenfeld || Hamberg, Germany **
Wednesday June 13 || Stadt de Suisse || Berne, Switzerland **
Thursday June 14 || Firenze Rocks || Florence, Italy **
Sunday June 17 || Maifeld Derby Festival || Mannheim, Germany
Saturday June 23 || Olympic Stadium || London, UK **
Monday June 25 || In Music Festival || Zagreb, Croatia
Friday June 29 || Volt Festival || Budapest, Hungary
Saturday June 30 || Aerodrome Festival || Prague, Czech Republic
Monday August 13 || Regent Theatre || Los Angeles, CA ***
Tuesday August 14 || Glasshouse || Pomona CA
Wednesday August 16 || Belly Up Club || Aspen, CO
* with Dream Wife
** with Foo Fighters
*** with Saul Williams