Interview: Fred Kiko of KXLU’s Demolisten

Demolisten does a rare remote broadcast from Sancho Gallery 6-8pm today. It’s part of L.A.’s Got Talent: Craft Night.

I got a rare opportunity to interview Fred Kiko, a legend in the L.A. indie rock community.  Fred hosts KXLU’s Demolisten, the premiere radio show for local and independent music in Los Angeles and has heard more bands than all of us put together.  Still after all these years, he still has a passion for checking out, and getting needed expsoure for new bands every week.

“Oh boy I hate these…” says Fred as he opens the interview questions.

Fred, L..A is the capital of rock n roll and you are one of the icons of L.A.’s local music scene.  For people unaware of who you are and your role as the driving force behind KXLU’s Demolisten, can you talk about some of the bands that you helped bring attention to?
I will assume you mean bands that became “popular”…. Beck, Dengue Fever, Dios, Whiskey Biscuit, Future Pigeon, Silversun Pickups….  I have a horrible memory and look towards the future….

After all this time, what still excites you about new music?
Same as it ever was: fuzzy sounds to make my ass shake.

How has L.A.’s music scene changed over the years?
Less heroin.

What are some of your favorite older venues or nights that are no longer around?
I miss the Alligator Lounge.  Westside, 18+, beer and wine, open-minded bookers…. what else do I want in a club?  I miss the Onyx.  I miss Troy Cafe… Jabberjaw was fun, I REALLY miss Club Sucker with The Vaginal Creme Davis.  Those shows will always be seared in my memory.  There is not enough punk rock shows hosted by trannies….

Demolisten has always had a populist feel to it, can you talk about Demolisten’s policies about demo submissions, new music?
THANKS!  Well until I get a new computer, I really need CDs.  My computer cannot handle streaming very well and its just a pain in the ass to skip around.  Plus I LOVE the satisfaction of throwing a CD away! Once a band becomes a “Demolisten” band I allow them to send me files. Submissions have definitely evolved. When I took over in ’93, it was all cassettes.  That was definition of a demo. Then cassettes stopped and it became CD-Rs.  Then it became cheap for anyone to manufacture CDs, so we would say no bar-codes!  I loved that! Now it’s just a feeling really.  I know if its a demo, I just know…. if it’s a one-man run label, that’s cool….  I hate rulez, I just follow my gut.

I feel that Demolisten’s open-mindedness and friendly attitude pervades a lot of L.A.’s DIY and experimental scene, why is it so important to kind?
Ha! Some would argue that I am an ass! I think there is a lot of competition in rock and roll, so DIY/experimental scene maybe tries to be opposite of that? I think that DIY/experimental musicians aren’t really trying to become successful, just trying to have fun.

KXLU is a college radio station, can you talk for a second about your relationship with Loyola Marymount?
I attended LMU from ’89-’93 graduating with a film production degree.  I didn’t know about KXLU.  I became friends with a guy across the hall in the  dorm, Peter Taylor (AKA Rexx Carz) , who went to LMU because of KXLU. He was a TV major. We became vast friends, and I started hanging out at KXLU a lot. They asked me to do a show since I was alweays there anywayz….  I never wanted to do radio, just seemed like a fun thing to do. And thats’ really all it is for me. FUN.

LMU pretty much leaves us alone. It’s quite amazing actually. College stations across the nation are being sold to NPR and APM. But somehow we have remained.  We had a couple scares in last few years of APM trying to buy KXLU from LMU, but they didn’t sell. KXLU is at the moment under a huge remodel. So I can’t see at least in near future, that they would sell something they are putting a bunch of money into, so for now at least we seem safe. KXLU is an FCC mutation.

Here we are in the 2nd biggest radio market in the country, the entertainent capital of the world, and here we are getting away with murder every day. I wake up each morning and turn on the radio just to make sure it’s still there.  One day it won’t be…..

You have a long and stories history of great live performances in studio, any stick out?
Future Pigeon on Good Friday, Vulture on Halloween, Nora Keyes on Halloween.  Distorted Pony re-union.

You have other interests, for instance, you’ve put on movie short night, you’ve directed videos, what else interests you beside music?
My passion is film.  I love projecting films, making films, doing video collage, film collage. I am a projectionist at UCLA film school for a job, and I love it. I love working with students, and professors. I also really like camping and hiking and travelling. I am also really into my two dogs, Jake and Roscoe. Jake was a rockstar at Pehrspace for awhile until he met Roscoe, and now he is interested in nothing else.

What current trends are you really appreciating and where would you like music to go in the future?
Metal. It’s finally coming back. I want more music that blends traditional music (blues, bluegrass, country, roots) with metal.  See Los Duggans.

Come on down.

FRI 8/5 5pm FREE:

Image: Sam Lubicz + Liam Morrison

No, we won’t be making dreamcatchers. But dreams do come true on craft night.

• 5pm: Screenprint demo with Vlad the Retailer & artist Christopher Payne. Sponsored by Vlad.

**Print your own “L.A.’s Got Talent” clothing item, just bring a blank shirt.**

JUST ADDED –>• 5:15pm: Make your own contact mic with Rob from Laco$te. Bring $2 to cover costs.

• 5:30pm: Friendship bracelet workshop with Mikhai Tran. Learn how these special bands are made.

• 6-8pm: Demolisten broadcast from Sancho Gallery, thanks to KXLU. With hosts Fred Kiko and Sean Carnage. “Playing only the best new unsigned music.”

Feat. live musical guests
6:30pm Whitman
7:30pm Geoff Geis

• 8pm-close: New recorded music curated by Folktale Records

• 9pm: Dirtbike Puppet Theatre

• 10pm: Shadow puppets by Three Chairs Theater Company

Starts 5pm / free / all-ages
Sancho—1549 W. Sunset Blvd., in Downtown Echo Park

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