Kieran Kane Q&A
Do you come from a musical family?
On my mother’s side of the family I had uncles who were quite musical. I had one uncle who could pick up any instrument & literally within a few minutes, could play it. On my dad’s side of the family, however, not one iota of musicianship.
What you’d be doing if you weren’t making music?
I have no idea exactly; I’d like to imagine I’d be painting, but I don’t think I could make a living at it. I’ve never really had a job except for delivering newspapers as a kid. There is nothing else I could do – maybe I could be a hobo and live in a box.
Five CDs you’d want with you on a desert island?
Duke Ellington – Blues in Orbit
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Django Reinhardt – any of the Hot Club records
Best Of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Essential Collection: Muddy Waters
Musical hero you’d most like to meet?
I met him. Bo Diddley – I met him in Australia when Kane Welch Kaplin were playing the East Coast Blues Festival. I heard he was in a tent right down the way from us & I took my little frame drum with me & I stood outside his door hoping he would notice me. I sat outside his door and listened to him talking very intelligently to two people about why the US should have not been in the Iraq War. Finally he saw me & didn’t wave me in, but I inched in anyway—sort of like a little kid going to see Santa Claus for the first time—and asked “Mr. Diddley” if he would sign my drum. He was very arthritic & jammed the magic marker between his fingers & very deliberately signed his name “Bo Diddley” and underlined it. As soon as I got back to the tent, I sat down & just wept. He played that night, and I’d never seen him play, but I didn’t go. I had something in my head as a little kid, this image of him then and what he did, and keeping that in tact is very important it was to me. Seeing him so sick then (he died soon after), I didn’t want to see him like that on a stage.
What is your hidden talent?
Should I say this? Getting people to come along with my ideas but having it seem as though they thought it up. You just move around the conversation until they say what you want them to say & then pipe up with “Great Idea!”
What sound do you love?
My grandson, Eli, calling me “Grampie”.
What sound do you hate?
Dogs barking at night. I live in East Nashville...and it’s not the strays.
What fictional character do you most identify with?
Howard in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
What piece of music/art/writing do you wish you had created?
Never Come Morning by Nelson Algren
Otto Dix’s “The Dancer Anita Berber”
Last good book you read?
The Years With Laura Diaz by Carlos Fuente
Two people, living or dead, that you’d want sitting next to you at a dinner party
Preferably it would be strangers, because I seem to get along with them best.
Favorite comfort food?
Moules frites or mussels with fries. It’s good for the restaurant or the backyard.
Who or what is your role model?
I have two - Charlie Birkin and John Van Valkenburg. I met Charlie in New York in my family’s cabin when I about 5 and he became a surrogate dad. He and his wife owned the diner down the hill from the cabin and my brothers all worked there during the summers. He and his wife worked around the clock, literally, from Memorial Day to Labor Day so they could have the rest of the year to just live. John I met when I was 15 and he was 25 when I was playing bluegrass music. He would take me all over upstate NY to pick up this radio station out of West Virginia, WWVA, and he’d recite and sing Carter Family & Johnny Cash lyrics. He didn’t go to college (he drove a school bus for a living) but he somehow cobbled a life together that allowed him to go off and take photos of birds in the wilderness. He lives in a very small house that he rents, and he lives with this self-created family of injured crows. He sits around and plays his banjo to the crows—they roam free in the house. Through both of these guys what I learned is that you can do whatever you want to do, it doesn’t really matter. You just have to be willing to accept the shortcomings & perks, but you can do it. And it has served me well when I got started in music and people said “You don’t know what you are doing, you’re not very good...” It’s a business of rejection this music thing. You show someone the very best of what you have at the moment & often times have it dismissed like it’s nothing. Artists are the people who are least likely to have the capability to deal with rejection, but somehow get the most, and in the end it causes you to be the most resilient.
What trait do you most value in your friends?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting at the lake house in upstate NY with my family here.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I was told actually that I say “no brainer” often. And I do say “thanks kiddo” a lot according to Steph.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t really care much about possessions – but I’d have to say my cabin on the lake. It’s where I find the most peace. The only drawback is it’s so far away from my family, which is why I go back & forth so much.
Which talent would you most like to have?
What is your Motto?
Live free or die...haha, I don’t have a motto. But I guess it would have to be “do what makes you happy”.