The Kingsnakes – Live At The Old Waldorf June 5, 1981
Live album from the heyday of Daniel Jeanrenaud’s Kingsnakes – whose baffling trajectory saw him first make his name touring with Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins – before more recently becoming a somewhat mythical figure, serenading London kebab shops and tube stops.
Frontman Daniel Jeanrenaud did not expect The Kingsnakes to last more than 6 months when they got together in San Francisco in the late 1970s. He was mistaken – fronting the purveyors of punk, new wave and hard rock has created a legacy that has lasted him decades.
While it is their hometown of San Francisco that sets the scene for this live recording – and suits their tendency for showtime debauchery – Daniel Jeanrenaud has a story and reputation in the contrasting Camden Town, London. He became something of a local legend – the ‘Camden Cat’ for holding a 12-year residency in a speakeasy found behind Camden’s Marathon Kebab Shop, and he can still be spotted busking in London Underground stations today.
Reviving the spirit of the old-school juke joints where rock n roll was born, but across the pond, Daniel Jeanrenaud is a rare breed in London – while keeping the legacy of the Kingsnakes alive for himself, rather than pursuit of fame or riches, he has enjoyed a rockstars’ company even in the confines of the Marathon Kebab Shop. He recounts to VICE how when ‘word got around’, Noel Gallagher, Jack White, Robert Plant and local protégée Amy Winehouse (pre- and post-fame) came down for a donner wrap, but mainly to watch or duet with him.
Back in the Kingsnakes’ heyday, unable to make much money, the band focused on having fun – usually a mixture that combined to create backstage damage they couldn’t pay for. Jeanrenaud recalls drummer Danny Mihm comparing himself to an army general to keep his bandmates in check, and how Mihm stabbed at them with drum sticks during their tradition of jumping on his drum kit in the final song of a show – while maintaining a solid beat, no less.
This album is a rare live recording from that era. This performance at The Old Waldorf was recorded by Terry Hammer, the house soundman, just a few months before the group supported Chuck Berry in the same venue – a night held dear to him, after Berry borrowed his guitar to perform ‘Nadine’, christening the guitar as so afterwards.
With two bonus studio tracks included, this set captures Daniel Jeanrenaud playing rock and roll at his peak – in the electric atmosphere of the West Coast punk scene – albeit lacking the glamour of the Camden fast food scene.
- Rock N Roll House
- You Can’t Bring Me Down
- My Babe
- No Particular Place To Go
- You Can Never Tell
- Good Rockin’ City
- Walkin’ By Myself
- Not Nice
- Get Up!
- Look Out Mabel