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Sunday, August 14, 2022
King Tuff Band Photo
King Tuff Band Photo

You may or may not have heard about King Tuff, but you knew someone like him once. He was the guy perpetually in and out of rock bands in high school, the guy in the faded Black Sabbath T-shirt reading a Richard Brautigan novel and the white guy who worshipped Jimi Hendrix. He was the guy you suspected might actually make it.

King Tuff — also known as Kyle Thomas — will appear with Ex Hex at High Dive on Monday. Thomas answered the Avenue’s questions through email this week about his upcoming Gainesville show, advice for aspiring rockers and Don DeLillo. 

How would you describe a black moon spell?

A glorious s**t heap of rock. 

What made you want to write a love letter to vinyl? It’s a pretty overplayed theme, but you managed to do it a bit differently — “Black Holes in Stereo” isn’t wishy-washy or anything; it’s witty and fun.

Ha, I don’t know. I didn’t really think about the other songs people have written about vinyl until people started bringing it up. I came up with the title, and I liked it so I just wrote a song to the title. 

How do you think rock ‘n’ roll has persisted in a music scene flooded with digital pop?

There will always be an audience for rock music, just like there will always be an audience for jazz, classical, blues, etc. Rock had its heyday, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still play with the form and discover new things.

You’ve said in interviews that college wasn’t for you, because you weren’t sure what you wanted to study. If you were to hypothetically go to college now, what would you study? Would you even want to?

I would actually love to take some classes, but nothing overly analytical. I’d like to learn some trades or even go for painting just to force me to produce more of it. I mostly just don’t learn well in a classroom atmosphere. I need to be working on something hands-on.

What would your advice be to kids like you, whether they’re in high school or finishing a college degree, who aren’t really feeling school and would rather start a band?

I think people, young adults especially, should be free to do whatever they want and not feel pressure to decide on a career before they’ve experienced life outside their parents’ house. The normal age for college freshmen should be 30. By that time you should have a better idea of what you want to do. So many kids end up wasting thousands of dollars on an education they’re not even interested in. 

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How does it feel to perform these anti-school anthems to college-town audiences? Is it strange or entertaining?

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m anti-school at all. I think school is great for a lot of people. But it can f**k people up, especially musicians or artists, because you are taught the “right” way to do things, and there is no right way to be creative. Usually the most inspiring things are the “mistakes.”

What are you reading lately?

I recently read “White Noise” by Don DeLillo. It was awesome. He has a great way with language; all of his sentences are sparkling. I’m reading some essays about creative writing by Ray Bradbury now.  

What are you listening to lately?

Lots of country-ish type stuff, folk songs (and) songs that tell stories. 

What’s your dream musical collaboration, living or dead?

Captain Beefheart and Paul McCartney. 

Have you ever played in Gainesville before? If so, what was your impression of it?

I have played there when I was in Hunx. I remember it being a fun show but not much else. It all blurs together in my mind. But I like Florida because it’s like a different country. And it’s weird as f**k. 

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. The show starts at 10 p.m. and doors open at 9. Tickets are available from the High Dive box office and Hear Again Music and Movies for an additional $1 convenience fee. 

[A version of this story ran on page 10 on 1/15/2015 under the headline “Glorious heap of rock: Q&A with Kyle Thomas, aka King Tuff"]

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