I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with founding member and phenomenal lead guitarist Kevin Wood from the group Malfunkshun. The group is one of the bands that helped originate what would later become known as the “Seattle sound”, or grunge. The group is currently getting ready for their annual hometown anniversary show this Friday, April 10th at The Point Casino in Kingston, WA (tickets were still available the last time I checked but sold out last year) www.pointcasino.com/events
For those of you not familiar with Malfunkshun, the group formed Easter weekend of 1980 when founding members and brothers Kevin and Andrew Wood from Bainbridge Island decided to form a band with their good friend Regan Hagar. They performed with Andrew on vocals and bass ( he was famously known to have performed during this time as his alter ego Landrew: The Love Child), Kevin screaming as lead guitarist, and Regan pounding it out on the drums. They would perform for eight years with this lineup honing their skills and their own original sound known as love rock. Then in 1988 the band took a hiatus and Andrew joined Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam, Green River), Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam, Green River), Bruce Fairweather (Love Battery, Green River), and Greg Gilmore (Skin Yard, 10 Minute Warning). Together they formed the group Mother Love Bone. Although Andrew talked about working with his brother and Regan again, tragically this was not to be. Andrew passed away from an overdose in March 1990 just weeks before the release of Mother Love Bone‘s debut album Apple.
Kevin did keep the band together for awhile without Andrew but eventually he went on to join other bands like Hippie Blitz and Fire Ants before deciding to come full circle and revive Malfunkshun about 6 or 7 years ago. Since then they have toured with some lineup changes over the years. The newest of which was the recent addition of Jeff Stark on lead vocals.
I asked him about how he met Jeff and how he came to join the band. Kevin told me they had toured together with Jeff and his other band Catatone a few years back. They became friends and when the opportunity came along, he thought of Jeff, gave him a call, and the rest is history.
My next question was what Kevin thinks Jeff adds or brings to Malfunkshun. “His range is amazing and he is on key. A really amazing voice, a great guy, and we are really looking forward to working together.”
When I asked if they would have enough practice time with Jeff as this is his first performance with the band on Friday, Kevin assured me no doubt they will be ready. When asked about what we can expect at the show as far as the song choices he said he has really been digging some of the classic stuff from Malfunkshun as well as some Mother Love Bone songs so we can expect that but Kevin also told me he has been working on some new approaches to some of the songs for the show so there are still plenty of surprises too.
Kevin mentioned the anniversary show is his favorite and being home is great. “All the old memories, the people and old stomping grounds, it still feels like coming home to me.” Asked about what’s coming up in the future for Malfunkshun, Kevin says they are working on some upcoming shows for the summer including dates in the Seattle area as well as Vegas and Chicago, as well as doing some recording soon as well. You can follow the band on their Facebook page or their website Malfunkshun.org.
Finally, I wanted to know how Kevin would describe Malfunkshun. He said, “We are a loud rock band about ‘love rock’. Love rock embraces everything, power or love. We have a metal background with its own feel in its own category. It is something that you need to experience to feel it and cultivate it.”
I had a great time talking with Kevin and I will be out there for the show on Friday to let you know how it goes for those who can’t make it out. For everybody else tickets are on sale at www.pointcasino.com