On 31st October this year, now retired Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award winning tunesmith Kunt and The Gang released some of his most entertaining and potentially offensive songs translated into French in an album Bite ô Ma Bite: Les Plus Grandes Teubs de Kunt and The Gang.
We agreed to have a blog chat about this.
That was over a month ago.
We eventually met up this week.
It is now late November and we had both forgotten why we were meeting up.
JOHN: Why are we meeting up? I have totally forgotten.
KUNT: I dunno. On the train in from Essex I was thinking: Why am I meeting John? I couldn’t remember.
JOHN: What are those tattoos on your fists? LOVE and HATE?
KUNT: No. SOUP DU JOUR. I wanted something that wouldn’t date.
JOHN: When did you get them done?
KUNT: The week after I’d finished doing Kunt and The Gang.
JOHN: Remind me when you retired from the show business?
KUNT: I packed it in in November 2016. I started in 2003, then gave my job up with the Council in 2008, then did it full-time till 2016. So I packed it in three years ago, but you can’t make a comeback within five, because…
JOHN: That means you’ll be back in two years time?
KUNT: No, though maybe in two years time my dwindling pot of cash will have fully dwindled.
JOHN: Why did you retire?
KUNT: Seemed like the right thing to do. I’d done everything I wanted to do. You keep painting the same picture over and over again; eventually, it drives you mental.
I did ten years or so of touring and, in that time, I was still playing some of the same venues, but for bigger crowds. It could only go so far, but that’s not why I packed it up. I was under no illusions – it was called Kunt and The Gang – it was never going to get on TV or radio; it was never going to get in the papers.
JOHN: It was a niche market.
KUNT: Yes, but what surprised me in my time doing it was the crossover appeal it had. Not like Shaggy or The Spice Girls, but a fairly diverse group of people came to see my shows. People in Heavy Metal T-shirts that you wouldn’t see at any other gig than a Metal gig. There would be metalheads, punks, old people, teenagers. You couldn’t second guess who was going to like it – in Edinburgh especially. The old couple in the front row you think Oh God! They’re gonna hate it! end up laughing like drains and the young couple next to them end up having an argument with one of them storming out.
JOHN: Well, if you give ‘em quality, it will cross all divides. And your stuff IS quality. You know what my view is: if you wrote mainstream, clean lyrics, you’d make a fortune. The tunes are wonderful and you are a very good lyricist.
KUNT: I never have any mainstream clean ideas, though. And, if you try and force it, it just doesn’t work. If you start to water it down, it just doesn’t work.
JOHN: I still think you could be big mainstream success…
KUNT: But you have to know people to get the ins and that’s always been my problem. I remember my Wikipedia entry saying: This is an orphaned article… which meant it had no links to anything else. Everyone networks on social media. But I was a social network orphan, really, because I didn’t collaborate or reach out to other people. I just did me own thing. That’s the way I like doing it, but also I stopped sending out promo copies of the CDs and didn’t send out press releases or promote things. It just went along by word-of-mouth.
JOHN: Are you still getting the same number of online hits as before?
KUNT: It’s ticking over. I truly never really look at the stats. It’s more interesting doing stuff than looking at stats, but I notice the Jimmy Savile and The Sexy Kids video has gone over half a million, which surprised me. The trouble with doing topical things is they normally tend to have a very short shelf-life… but not Jimmy Savile.
JOHN: So what are you doing at the moment for work?
KUNT: Painting and decorating and tiling.
JOHN: Is that satisfying?
KUNT: D’you know what? It is. But it’s not that financially rewarding and it makes you realise that mincing around on stage singing electro-cock songs is probably the best career option even if the songs you’ve sung 2,000 times become a bit soul-destroying. It seems like not a bad idea when you’re up at 7 o’clock in the morning on the North Circular road.
JOHN: Did you say Electro-Cock?
JOHN: Just checking… So are you frustrated? Though painting and decorating is creative. You create something.
KUNT: Well, it’s the most creative mundane thing you can do. Before I was Kunt, I had a job at Calor Gas. You did a different job every quarter of the day. You’d be loading bottles on and off, then you’d be on the production line. The most tedious job was sitting there watching the bottles go underwater to see if any bubbles came out.
You’d been out at a gig the night before, you’d had three hours sleep and you were watching these bottles go round and round. The most interesting thing that could happen was if a spider was on one of the bottles and it would go under the water, then pop up to the top, scrabbling for life.
Them mundane times are the times you have more ideas, because your brain goes into like a state of trance. I always got lots of ideas when I was doing really mundane things. I used to drive a mini-bus for the County Council and I remember pulling over in a lay-by and writing Wanking Over a Pornographic Polaroid of an Ex-Girlfriend Who Died from start to finish.
JOHN: What happens when you’re painting and decorating? Do you still get ideas for songs while doing that?
KUNT: Recently… Greta Thunberg’s Fanny…
JOHN: Don’t you miss performing? I’m not a performer, but you must have got a kick out of performing.
KUNT: Yeah. But it wasn’t my favourite thing. My favourite thing is the creative process: sitting there at a computer writing a song. I would do that every day if I could and some days I do.
JOHN: You must have a backlog of new songs on your computer.
JOHN: The tunes are great. If you removed the lyrics, you could sell the tunes mainstream.
KUNT: Yeah, I’ve got 125 catchy, early-80s-sounding instrumentals from songs I’ve done but, if you get commissioned to do the theme tune for a kids’ TV show, sooner-or-later someone finds out it was previously a song about raping a paper boy!
JOHN: Is it enough just to create new songs or do they need to be let loose into the world for total satisfaction?
KUNT: You have to let them loose into the world because otherwise you just keep fiddling with them. They’re like your children. You let them out into the world cos otherwise you would just keep fiddling with them at home.
JOHN: Was that prepared?
JOHN: I’m impressed. Excellent structure.
KUNT: I do a lot of off-the-cuff stuff.
JOHN: You are a tragic loss to showbiz. How much stuff have you produced since you ‘retired’ in 2016? You wrote a children’s book, of all things… Bumface Poohands.
KUNT: And I wrote that book about my time…
JOHN: i, Kunt.
JOHN: You should have tried to get sponsorship from Apple.
KUNT: I don’t think they’re that keen on people appropriating their brand, not generally. I had an album in 2014 called Jap’s iTunes (ie Jap’s Eye Tunes) and I had to change the name of it on iTunes – I mean, putting it up on iTunes then taking it down then changing the title and putting it back up would just not have been worth all the aggro.
JOHN: Any new albums on the horizon?
KUNT: I’ve just released a French album.
KUNT: Bite ô Ma Bite: Les Plus Grandes Teubs de Kunt and The Gang.
JOHN: Which means?
KUNT: Cock. Oh My Cock: The Great Big Cocks of Kunt and The Gang.
JOHN: So it’s a Best of… album?
KUNT: Yeah. I had a very keen fan who translated a load of my songs into French for me.
JOHN: A genuine translation?
KUNT: Yeah, down to the reference points and everything. I looked all his references up on Wikipedia. In one of the songs, I mention the English murderer Ian Huntley and he translated that into the name of a real French caretaker wrong un.
JOHN: When was the album released?
KUNT: Last month.
JOHN: We should have arranged to meet up to talk about that.
KUNT: Yeah. Pity we didn’t.