Now based in London and with a new album coming out on Warner Music France, Kennedy, as Ooh La La predicted, is ready for international superstardom. Don't miss two ultra rare appearances in Los Angeles: Monday, May 5th, at the Viper Room and Wednesday, May 7th, at the Silverlake Lounge. Here's the fall 2003 interview from Ooh La La no. 1.
It was infatuation at first sight when, a little over a year ago, I happened to catch Kennedy slaying the guitar with LA indie rock outfit Silversun Pickups. As bassist and frontman of his own self-referential band, Kennedy mines everything from British Invasion to arena rock to psychedelic pop to create irresistibly absurd anthems about necrophilia and TV dinners. The skinny, bespectacled, mop-headed boy from the Valley may not be the likeliest of heartthrobs, but, like one-named counterparts Cher, Madonna, and Charo, someday Kennedy just might take over the world.
Ooh La La: What’s a rock star like you doing in Burbank?
Kennedy: Hanging out in Silverlake and Echo Park, you constantly get hassled by fans. I wanted to seek the quietness of Burbank. It’s also cheaper, and I can make a little bit of noise with music and stuff and not get bothered too much. It would be nice to live closer to, like, a cool bar. There's not much to do around here. There’s a Pavilions that’s pretty nice and there’s a Starbucks, and that’s about it.
So you end up drunk driving a lot.
Yeah, basically. There’s one bar I can walk to called the Blue Room. It’s actually the bar from Memento –- this one scene where they’re in the bar and like the guy spits in his drink, and he like forgets that he spits in the drink anyway. It’s that bar. And then there’s a gay bar next to it called Raspberries. If you ask the bartender to show you her boobs she pulls her dress up and shows you her boobs.
Where’d did the hickey come from?
I don’t remember who gave me the hickey.
Didn’t this just happen last night?
No ... Oh yeah, it did happen last night. But last night was a really long evening and it involved some roofies. I woke up with a spork in my ass. Wait, that’s off the record.
OK, I won’t print that. Tell me about the first hickey you ever got.
I think the first hickey I ever got was when I was in like 5th grade. I used to go up to Santa Cruz to visit this friend of mine. We met some of his friends who were girls and we like made out and, like, gave each other hickeys but it was really scientific. It was like, “OK, give me a hickey.” And then like, “No wait, that’s not dark enough!”
Do you remember who it was?
I don’t remember the girl’s name but I think she was like a little chubby 12-year-old. Oh, you know what? I think her name was Ruby, because we kept calling her “Booby.”
So did you give her a hickey too?
Yeah. And I think her parents got really upset. I was on vacation -- I think I had left and come back home to LA, then my friend who lived up there, his dad got a phone call from the mom that was like, “What did you do?”
How did you learn about hickeys?
I think from watching Grease. I think there’s a part where he has like a hickey. But I’m not that into hickeys. They’re kind of childish, I got over that like 10 years ago.
I guess I do like hickeys, they're kinda funny. Like walking into work -- I have a total corporate job -- it's like, it says something. It says: “I got some action last night and none of you suckers did.”
Were you popular in high school?
No. When I go back to my hometown I’ll see people that were in my high school and I’ll be like, “Hey! We went to high school together!” And they’ll be like, “I don’t remember you.” People don’t really remember me from school, I was just kinda like ... I had friends and stuff but all of us were kinda like, I don’t know, not like outcasts, like people didn’t like hate us or make fun of us but we were just kinda not really there, you know? Except for once -– I had a band in high school, and we all took pictures in our underwear, and then I left the picture in the copy machine in the library and it got found by like this skinhead guy who, like, hated fags, like, “I hate faggots.” And he found it, of all the people who’d find it he found it, and he comes up to me and he holds up the picture and he’s like, “Is that you?” I was like, “Yeah, can I have that back?” He said no.
Did the band score you some chicks?
Not really. Maybe like one in the whole two years of being in it. Not that I ever had a problem scoring babes on my own, but it was never the result of my being in a band. I mean, now that’s all changed.
If you could go back, would you do anything differently? Like ask a girl to the prom that you didn’t ask before?
I didn’t get to go to prom, unfortunately. This sounds like the stupidest thing ever but it was sold out. When it was time for me to get tickets, they were like, “Sorry, there’s no more tickets available.” So I didn’t get to go. Then a couple years later, when I was like a couple years out of high school, there was a girl in high school who I was friends with, and apparently she invited me to go to prom with her. I was like, great, that’ll be my chance to go to prom. And then I went on tour and totally forgot about it. And I got all these phone messages on my answering machine when I got home. It was like, “You are the biggest asshole I’ve ever met, you promised me you’d go to prom with me, you didn’t even show up, I had to go with my brother.”
Did you ever hear from her again?
Ooh La La Zine on myspace
e-mail Ooh La La