Aug. 15, 2012 - Issue #878: Snap Turns 30
Kelly And The Kellygirls
Fri, Aug 17 (9 pm)
With Tallest to Shortest, Scrapbooker
Brixx Bar & Grill
R Kelly Clipperton has tried his hand at many artistic ventures over the years, but has finally found creative freedom with Kelly and the Kellygirls.
Clipperton, whose credits include playwright, fashion designer, hairstylist, photographer and clothing stylist—the latter two which he still continues—formed the Kellygirls in 2004. The band has allowed Cipperton to flex his musical creativity in multiple genres such as swing, ska, big band, mariachi, flamenco, hip-hop and progressive rock without being pigeon-holed.
So far, the eclectic approach has worked. Since 2004, the Kellygirls have released five studio albums, including its latest mini-album, a sultry, jazzed-up number titled Club des Femmes and toured across the country six times.
"They put me in the trunk and they gag me and then everybody's fine," Clipperton jokes of how the sextet co-exists on the road, adding its a tough balance as he gets older to continuously live out of a van in dodgy motels eating fast food. The key to surviving it all has been effective planning, open communication and just trying to make everything flow.
Despite the fast food and crap motels, it can't be denied that the Kellgirls have compiled some entertaining tales along the way. Clipperton has had numerous undergarments in various states of cleanliness thrown at his face onstage, and recalls a more recent incident where body modification was taking place as the band was performing. As part of the accompanying event, a person was being suspended horizontally from the ceiling with hooks through their flesh.
"I thought I was going to fucking throw up," says Clipperton, adding it takes a lot to turn his stomach. "I turned to my sax player at the time and I was like, 'To impress these people I'm going to have to shit onstage. I don't know what we could do to top this person with meat hooks in them swinging in front of us.'"
While not quite as macabre, Clipperton does have a flare for the dramatic and theatrics when it comes to his own live shows, an element he hope to expand in the future. Each show has a theme as far as attire goes, with the start of the summer being an all-white ensemble for the group.
"I wanted to look like a Calvin Klein ad on crack," Clipperton laughs.
Now, he's shifted gears to a brighter palette, particularly neon yellow. He says the outfits resemble scuba suits in a sense with the added flare of some crotch sparks. Aside from the crotch sparks, in which details are going to left a surprise, the scuba-inspired gear lends itself well to the tone of Club des Femmes, which was inspired by water. Clipperton says he's always had a fascination with water and has made it the centrepiece of a concept album due out next year.
"I'm always kind of talking about how I feel like a fish out of water and that's where my lyrical inspiration comes from," he explains. "How do I fit in? How do I make sense of not only myself, but everyone else around me?"
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