The Swarm

June 09, 2010

King Khan vs. Sydney's The Opera House, starring Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Rubber Snakes, Chinese Food, Tai Chi, and the demise of The King Khan and BBQ Show...

King Khan

A review of King Khan at the Opera House in Sydney, Australia…

by Arish A. Khan (a.k.a King “BlackSnake” Khan)

“Here’s a man who lives a life of danger…. everywhere he goes he stays – a stranger….”
– Laurie Anderson, “Big Science”

My name is King Khan and I am not a terrorist!!!

Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson picked BBQ and I to “put back the danger into the devil’s music” but what actually happened was I was labeled a security risk and publicly humiliated. I was one of 8 artists handpicked by the two biggest influences of my life. I saw “Home of the Brave” when I was 10 years old one day as I was flipping through the channels. Laurie’s binary code was one of my earliest childhood memories right next to Sesame Street. As for Lou, he affected more of the teenage juvenile delinquent Khan. In fact the first time I was arrested it was for shoplifting the best of the Velvet Underground CD when I was 18 years old. I had all the songs already on tape but greedily wanted it on the “new format” at the time. I was caught by the security guard and fingerprinted and detained. The only reason my mother found out was because I left the arrest papers in my pants and when i asked her to do my laundry she found them. In my defense I made her a tape of the best of and to this day it is the only tape she listens to in her car…. it has lasted nearly 15 years…. long live cassette tapes!!!

Back to the Opera House and how they shamed me…. bamboozled me, broke me down and tried to hurt me…. but I’m a do like Spike Lee and DO THE RIGHT THING….


To make our first concert extra special, we prepared a huge feast to be served to the audience in the wonderful Italian Futurismo style. Stone Crab on white rice, with a side of fried noodles with Peking duck and an assortment of veggies and fruits. Courtesy of BBQ KING. The plate was prepared with impeccable top chef detail.

We dressed up my manager/damager in true Warholian fashions with a tranny wig and sparkly gogo dress which my wife had made for me. During our ballad “Third Ave.” the audience was to be served and the plate taken up to the balcony for King Lou and Queen Laurie. It really gave a surreal medieval feel to the whole night…. and there we were the jesters entertaining the royalty. Some of the fans threw a little food around, but quite respectfully and no mess was made. NO ONE WAS HURT AND EVERYBODY DANCED.

I then began throwing a rubber snake into the audience and requested that the snake keep flying and the audience keep dancing. They did much to the amusement of Laurie who even told me personally the next day. “I loved the flying snake.” Not one person complained or was injured. NO ONE WAS HURT AND EVERYBODY DANCED.

The grande finale of the show was when we invited any Chinese people in the audience to come up on stage and dance with us for the song “I’ll Be Loving You.” Normally in the rest of the world we might be lucky to have one person or two. Chinese folks don’t know our music, but hopefully things will change.

Not one but four very cute Chinese girls jumped at the invitation and we were thrilled…. then more non-Chinese people jumped on stage and we had a little American Bandstand action which was absolutely wild and fun. NO ONE WAS HURT AND EVERYBODY DANCED.


I arrived very early in the morning to join the Master Ren’s Tai Chi session. Where Lou approached me and said, “great show last night.” I was on cloud nine, sitting next to Lou Reed, with the sounds of “Ocean” by VU running through my mind. Both of us in track pants watching forty strangers do Tai Chi in absolute slow motion. Then I was invited by Laurie to watch the rehearsals for the Slow Show. I literally almost lost it when I saw Lou and Laurie and Doveman play Vanishing Act. Laurie got Lou to sign a saxophone reed for me!!! I sat in the lotus position next to Lou, while the Tuvan throat singers sang in front of us!!!! I had finally made it to the circle of magicians…. I impressed the Blind Boys from Alabama so much by my knowledge of gospel music that their manager wanted to meet me the next day to discuss me recording and producing the next record!!!!! Things were looking up for King Khan… child of the mighty Hannibal. Soon showtime reared its ugly head.

We received a warning from the Opera House….

We were literally told to “tone it down a notch.” This message was conveyed to us in a threatening manner and they implied we’d be kicked out the festival. With very little hesitation, I heeded the warning… no snake….no food…. I merely spilled some wine on the floor several times, an ancient gang ritual to commemorate the dead. (Jay Reatard & BJ Womack R.I.P.) At the end of the show instead of the snake I launched my guitar into the audience. The audience caught it and threw it back…. this exchange happened several times and the show was over. Returning to the backstage I opened the door to a scowling BBQ…. A HUGE SCREAMING MATCH ensued and so went the demise of the King Khan & BBQ show…. we agreed that this would be the last show ever. Wow…. what a way to die!!!! After nearly 7 years…. oh well… Lets get fucked up!!!!

I proceeded to feel very emotional… one moment in tears, crying about how two of my best warriors brothers would never know that we made it to the opera house…. I cried because this was the end of a very destructive path i had followed… it made me the world greatest sinner. Thanks to Lou and Laurie… I was beginning to see the light.

DAY 3 – Light Turns to Eternal Darkness

I proceeded to the green room, where I was supposed to meet Chris, manager from the Blind Boys of Alabama to discuss the idea of them recording in Moon Studios Berlin, my home base. I was sooo excited because they loved the recordings i did of The Almighty Defenders. Here is when the shame started…..

The security confiscated my backstage pass away and told me that I was no longer allowed to see any more shows. They said due to my behavior last night i pose a threat to the Opera House. They said f i made any attempt to come back they would call the police and i would be charged with trespassing…. my jaws dropped…. this four-eyed fucker named Tristan is what is separating me from producing an album for the Blind Boys….. I used my Tai Chi and decided that brute force would be a waste and would land me in jail so i picked up what was left of my dignity and walked out. I was supposed to meet Laurie Anderson for chat at 6:30pm which was in four hours so I figured why not just chill out and watch “NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS” in the playhouse….

When I went to purchase a ticket there the man working was named Alessandro, a very kind Italian. He asked if I was in the band from last night. He said that security had called him and instructed him to not sell any tickets to me because of incidents that happened the night before. That I was a security threat…. wow a security threat in an ill fitting track suit! He said all I could do was wait in the public areas…. and that I should leave now. I started to lose it at his point and began to sob a bit. What the fuck had I done to my destiny! I asked Alessandro what exactly the security said. He giggled and said “well actually I found the story very amusing… they said it was because of some bad behavior last night by you and your audience.” He giggled and I sobbed….

It looks like Jay Reatard was wrong….. THEY CAN KICK JIMI HENDRIX OUT OF WOODSTOCK!!!! AND THEY DID…. So they thought….

At this point my anger turned into complete depression, followed by tears and sobbing. My only salvation was that Laurie Anderson would look for me, but chances were slim ‘cuz she is the busiest magician in the building. I collected the shards of whatever dignity I had left and went to hide in the public.

At 6pm my manager/damager Ben Turner showed up looking very stressed and upset. The security of the Opera House had called him about 50 times during the day reporting that i should leave the premises or I would be charged with trespassing. His was trying to spend some quality family time with his wife who is two months pregnant. When he came to me i was sobbing lightly and asked if he could wait with me for Laurie Anderson. At 6:20pm Laurie’s manager Fiao called and said that Laurie was on her way to meet me in the public area. We waited till 7:20pm and Laurie didn’t show up. Ben said that we should just leave because it is not Laurie’s fault and I shouldn’t disturb her time here. I walked away a defeated man. The sun went down and so did my pride… it sank right into the water.

Suddenly… a ray of pure white light…. felt like a 1000 speedballs….

Laurie’s manager found me and said, “Laurie is ready to see you but she has very little time” I said thank you and ran to her. I sat next to her on a couch and could not contain the water works. I felt like i was telling my mother that some teacher or Christian priest sexually abused me. I told her they wouldn’t believe me when I said I had to meet with the manager of the Blind Boys to produce their next record or even that I had made an appointment with her. I told her that all the stress broke me and BBQ up and we weren’t even on talking terms. Laurie held my hand and consoled me. She said “wherever you wanna go I will take you there…” I responded, “You don’t have time and your manager will be pissed.”

She said, “I have all the time you need” and smiled her magical smile. Laurie brought me everywhere I needed to go, I saw the Blind Boys sing with Lou. They sang for me… “Jesus” ... “Help me in my weakness ‘cuz i am falling out of grace….”

I followed Laurie around like a puppy. When she had to do her own thing I had to wait in the public area. The vivid people even canceled my hotel room for the last two days, saying that my job was done and i should just disappear…. but my vanishing act was not done.

The last two days of the festival we’re completely surreal. I learned Tai Chi from master Ren and Lou Reed. I watched Doveman, sitting in between Lou and Laurie. I was so tired from the whole day that I started nodding off, and when i opened my eyes Lou and Laurie were also nodding off…. HOLY SHIT!!! Every junkies wet dream is to nod off next to Lou Reed. I am sure old Bull Lee would be hella proud. They even let me bring my aboriginal brother Corey Roma to join me for a whole day.

There you have it Australia…. SHAME ON YOUR OPERA HOUSE…. and the white power it is built on. If I could take legal action against the Opera House for humiliating me and taunting me in what was meant to be the highest point in my career as a musician/magician I certainly would….

Ask any Thai Masseuse…. this was no happy ending…. Please help me light a candle under the powers that be…. BOYCOTT THE OPERA HOUSE…..

Live long and fight the good fight
Your brother from another mother
King “Black Snake” Khan
President and Founder of the Black Tigers Foundation for Self Defense, Self Preservation, Voodoo & Public Relations….
RISE ABOVE…. We’re gonna RISE ABOVE!!!!!

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