Welcome to The Kurt Vonnegut Band Page!


I have tried to present an informative and organized look at how Kurt Vonnegut's writings have influenced musicians, mainstream and otherwise, of all ages and genres. From the "horribly local" Echo 7 to the cultural phenomenon of The Grateful Dead, all of the artists listed below appear to have been influenced by Kurt Vonnegut in some fashion.

I have recently updated this site, adding sound and movie clips when available, and hopefully making some desperately needed improvements.

Here are some new features of the site:

Click on this icon to learn more about the artist in question from Ultimate Band List.
Click on this icon to learn more about an artist at amazon.com or to purchase the relevant CD.


The third and fourth columns provide the band's name and a brief explanation of the Vonnegut reference, while the fifth and final column is used to acknowledge a site submission. Thank you again to everyone who has helped with this site! Do you have a submission?

NOTE: If you have trouble listening to a real audio sound clip, try this: When you click on the name of the song as in "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" in the entry below (for Ambrosia) - if a window pops up saying 'We're sorry. The track you requested isn't available.' simply move your cursor to the URL (where it says 'Netsite' if you are using Netscape 4.5) and click on the URL and hit the enter key.

Ambrosia

The group Ambrosia released their first (self-titled) album in 1975, and it contains a song called "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" that is credited as being co-written by Vonnegut and the band. Basically, they took one of the Bokonon "calypsos" from Cat's Cradle, added a verse or two, and wrote music for it, resulting in a very cool song. Click here for a picture!

David Ash

Billy Pilgrim

Atlanta's Billy Pilgrim have several albums and another in the works. Kristian Bush had this to say about his band's upcoming album: "As of today the recordings are being assembled with the idea of "Time" playing through them. Billy Pilgrim the character, one minute being in a world and space in which you are familiar, and the next, being somewhere entirely different. Floating through space, into the ocean, being in love, being lost, on and on. We've never tried something like this before, something so large with such a tight focus." - info from the Billy Pilgrim: Rampant Featuritis webpage.  
   

Breakfast With Amy

The Christian alternative band, Breakfast With Amy has an album called Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt.

shannonmark@juno.com

Cap'n Jazz

cap'n jazz was a Chicago punk band that broke up in 1995. They had a song on a split 7" compilation (How The Midwest Was Won) called "No need for a piano player when you have a player piano."  Obviously, this doesn't necessarily refer to the novel by KV, but when you take into account the liner notes wherein they call Kurt Vonnegut the greatest writer of all time, a case can be made for their inclusion in the Vonnegut Band Page.

getinked@theramp.net

Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello's song, Man Out Of Time[click for sound clip] is based on the character, Billy Pilgrim. Check out the Elvis Costello FAQ and the lyrics to Man Out Of Time for more information.

mopheads@bellatlantic.net

Dave Matthews Band

The song, Tripping Billies on Dave Matthews Band's 'Crash' repeats the words, 'eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die' several times. This appears in Cat's Cradle (but also in numerous other locations going back as far as the Roman empire, so this is not a confirmed Vonnegut reference).

Traci Strickland

   

Dresden

The members of this band all read Slaughterhouse Five in high school and when the guitarist suggested they call themselves Dresden, they did. Check out their website: http://www.dresdenband.com

kpilshaw@cahners.com

Deadeye Dick

Deadeye Dick. The band named themselves after the novel of the same name.
 

Discount

Discount is a pop/punk band from Gainesville, Florida. They have a song on their album, Ataxia's Alright Tonight called K.V. T-Shirt. Check them out if you like punk indie rock with female vocals. Word has it that Alison, the singer is a big KV fan.

TheBird666@aol.com

   

Echo 7

Oliver Boch wrote in to say that he is in a "Bloomington, Indiana band called Echo 7. We have a song called Nothing like You that is based on the Epicac story in Welcome to The Monkey House. But this is only a side note as we are horribly local."

boch@seql.com

   

Firehouse Harris

This jazz duo takes their name from The Foster Portfolio (see below).

www.jimbevan.com

   

Firehouse Harrison

There is a band in Tennessee that goes by the name Firehouse Harrison. Firehouse Harris was the stagename of Herbert Foster in Welcome To The Monkey House's The Foster Portfolio.

Justin Mann

   

The Foma

The Foma is a band originally from Mexico City (I think they were on Planet 9 before that) that's now based in Boston. They had an independent release slated for 1997 but seem to have disappeared.  

Fury In The Slaughterhouse

Does this band have Vonnegut influences? This German band released a single in 1996 titled, "Hello and Goodbye." I don't know if it is related, but it certainly should bring to mind the Tralfamadorian view of time. Click here for their official webpage.  
   

Gilgongo

This Danish band named themselves after a word used by Kilgore Trout in one of his stories in Breakfast of Champions. As their website points out: 'Trout once wrote a story about a planet which was unpleasant because there was too much creation going on...
The story began with a big party in honor of a man who had wiped out an
entire species of darling little panda bears. He had devoted his life to this.
Special plates were made for the party, and the guests got to take them home
as souvenirs. There was a picture of a little bear on each one, and the date of
the party. Underneath the picture was the word:

GILGONGO!

In the language in the planet, that meant "Extinct!"'

bamber@mail.tele.dk

   

Golgo

This ska band thanks Kurt Vonnegut in the liner notes and has a song called Epicac.

buchholz@dickinson.edu

   

The Grand Ah-Whoom

This band only performed once. They consisted of members of Brisbane, Australia bands Chalk (on the independent Citadel label) and Mark Harvey and The Don't Care's. They played a half-hour set, finishing with R.E.M.'s "It's the end of the world..." The reference is to Cat's Cradle. The grand ah-whoom refers to a sound 'like that of the gentle closing of a portal as big as the sky, the great door of heaven being closed softly.' It is the sound that happens just as ice-nine hits the ground.

simonmc@hotmail.com

Granfaloon Bus

There is a band in San Francisco that goes by the name Granfaloon Bus.

Essanda@aol.com

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead used to own the movie rights for "Sirens of Titan" before Vonnegut recently bought them back. Also, Robert Hunter, who wrote a lot of Grateful Dead songs, publishes their music under his own company, "Ice Nine Music." Here are some other GD pages: www.themarshotel.com, www.gratefuldead.com.

Steven Hirsch

Heckle

This New Jersey 'california-hardcore/punk' band has an album titled The Complicated Futility Of Ignorance. You may recall this from Hocus Pocus.

ralphvirus@hotmail.com

Hovercraft

Hovercraft is an ambient/experimental band that may or may not have Vonnegut influences. Two of the band members are Sadie7 and Campbell2000. Rumor has it that Sadie7's husband Paul7 (actually Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam) is an avid KV fan.

bvp@dana.ucc.nau.edu

 

Ice Nine

There are actually two bands with this Cat's Cradle moniker. First, there is the Hard-Core band that calls themselves Ice Nine on What Else Records. Second, is a band hailing from Israel that sings in Hebrew. They are descibed as sounding similar to the britpop bands blur and pulp. I have a couple of mp3s if you want to hear them (just email me).

dana@smashing-pumpkins.com

   

Ilium

This Chicago based band plays instumental/electronic music and is named after the fictional town by the same name in several Vonnegut novels. Go to hefty records for more info.

Jon Whiten

Incubus

In an interview, a member of this band admits to reading Vonnegut. "I'm into Kurt Vonnegut, he's very cynical. Just his smart-ass way of looking at things. It's cool and refreshing."

artgecko@comcen.com.au

   

The Karabekians

This band is from the Netherlands, but I haven't been able to find much info on them. Do you have any?  

Kilgore

Kilgore is a hard rock/metal Rhode Island-based outfit that got its name from the Vonnegut character. Jay Berndt's (vocalist/lyricist) songs reflect Vonnegut's ideals.

hinkley@home.com

 

Kilgore Trout

There may be as many as three bands that fall under this category. The first Kilgore Trout is one of the vanguard bands in Seattle's genre-blending electric jazz movement. The second is a Canadian folk outfit, and the third may be a band out of Dublin. I'm looking into them.

rlacey@tinet.ie

   

Kilgore Trout Combustion

This Brisbane, Australia 'industial doom' band broke up in 1994.

simonmc@hotmail.com

Kula Shaker

Kula Shaker thanks Kurt Vonnegut in the CD liner notes for their album K. Vonnegut often signs things using this letter, as pointed out in Fates Worse Than Death  

Lifter

California band, Lifter has a CD on Interscope titled Melinda: Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. This is a Slaughterhouse Five reference.

harris1@earthlink.net

LoveNancySugar

Portland band, LoveNancySugar (Rainforest Records) has a song titled 'There's a Reason.' At the end of each chorus and twice at the end of the song, Gina NoŽll uses the phrase 'so it goes.' This phrase needs no introduction, but why does LoveNancySugar use it? Surely, there's a reason.  
 

Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann has an album out on Capitol Records featuring the song Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) [click here to hear the song in real audio or click here to view the video using real player]. The song includes the text from the Chicago Tribune column [click here for text of speech] written by Mary Schmich that was widely rumored to have been a commencement address given by Kurt Vonnegut at MIT. Check out Wired for more information on this 'commencement address'. More information is available on the sunscreen-hoax at The Vonnegut Web.
Capitol has a Baz Luhrmann contest to promote this song, which has recently been released as a commercial single.
 

Machines Of Loving Grace

Machines Of Loving Grace recently became part of the Disney family when Disney bought Mammoth Records. On their album gilt there is a song titled Suicide King which contains the lyric, 'watch it dissolve into slaughterhouse - five.' I'm not sure of the significance, but it certainly is a Vonnegut reference.

TaintedBlu@aol.com

The Matthew Good Band

The Matthew Good Band is a Canadian band that has been influenced by Kurt Vonnegut. Matt Good (vocalist/lyricist) writes monthly "Manifestos" and if you go to their official website at www.matthewgoodband.com/manifesto/7.html you will see part way down that his favourite writer is KV. Furthermore, in the music video for the song "Indestructible", Matt's epitaph reads: Welcome to the Monkey House.  Lastly, in their "Everything is Automatic" video, a billboard reads: "Everyone is a robot except you".

knoll@sympatico.ca

Mystery Machine

Mystery Machine. Their video for 'Brand New Song' shows someone reading a paperback of Player Piano.  

The Nixons

The Nixons have an album titled 'Foma.' You will remember foma from Cat's Cradle.  
 

Nothinghead

Nothinghead is a band from St. Louis who takes its name from the short story, "Welcome To The Monkey House." - here's what one member had to say: "Nothinghead is currently taking on several exciting new projects, and we draw a lot of insights and ideas from the writings of Mr. Vonnegut. Our lyrics reflect his influence, as do our political and intellectual minds."  

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder has said in many interviews that he is inspired by Vonnegut and also the copyright name for his music is Innocent Bystander, a reference to Breakfast of Champions. Here are a couple of references:
http://www.cmjmusic.com/NewMM/QandA/veddergarofalo.html
http://www.sonymusic.com/artists/PearlJam/echoes/echoes4.html

Loracgrrl@aol.com

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani has a song called "Ice Nine." On his album "Dreaming #11." You will remember ice nine from Cat's Cradle.  

Silverchair

The Australian band, Silverchair may have a lyric that can also be found in Slapstick; the line is 'babies got rabies' and I'm still trying to confirm this.

billdcat@ix.netcom.com

Slapstick

Slapstick were a great ska/punk band out of Chicago. Is the name a Vonnegut reference?

Vipin Gandra

   

Slaughterhouse Five

There is a band named Slaughterhouse Five (obvious, right?) and their album is called "Wide Open" (Think: Breakfast of Champions).

Kerit9@aol.com

Smashing Pumpkins

It also seems that the Smashing Pumpkins are influenced by K.V. as well. Check out their recent double disc offering, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. There's a song called Galapagos. There is also a similarity between the song 'Bodies' and the short story from Welcome To The Monkey House, 'Unready To Wear.' Read it and see if you agree! KV is even thanked in the liner notes.

beoz@up.bresnan.net

Snapcase

Snapcase is a straight edge band from Buffalo NY. Their CD, 'Progression Through Unlearning' features the song 'Harrison Bergeron.'

dereks@bellatlantic.net

 

Sorry About Dresden

Sorry About Dresden is a band from Chapel Hill, NC. It may not be a direct Vonnegut reference, but at least it's a Vonnegut reference once-removed.  

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr's 1973 album, Ringo was dedicated to Kilgore Trout and all the beavers.

eah2b@frank.mtsu.edu

Al Stewart

Al Stewart, whom some of you may remember for the two late 70's hits, "Year of the Cat" and "Time Passages" has a song called "Sirens of Titan" which appeared on his 1975 disc "Modern Times." The song is based on Vonnegut's novel of the same name. Al Stewart mentions KV in the liner notes of 1992's reissue, and points out that the line in bold (see below) is taken straight from the novel.

Sirens of Titan
I was drawn by the Sirens of Titan
Carried along by their call
Seeking for a way to enlighten
Searching for the sense of it all
Like a kiss on the wind I was thrown to the stars
Captured and ordered in the army of Mars
Marching to the sound of the drum in my head
I followed the call

Only to be Malachi Constant
I thought I came to this earth
Living in the heart of the moment
With the riches I gained at my birth
But here in the yellow and blue of my days
I wander the endless Mercurian caves
Watching for the signs the harmoniums make
The words on the walls

I was drawn by the sirens of Titan
And so I came in the end
Under the shadow of Saturn
With statues and birds from my friends
Finding a home in the end of my days
Looking around I've only to say
I was a victim of a series of accidents
As are we all

petesharon@earthlink.net

   

Time Garage Gurus

The band Time Garage Gurus is heavily influenced by Kurt Vonnegut. Their perception of time, even the way they record music, are all ultimately influenced by KV. One member wrote: "Without the influence of Kurt Vonnegut we would still be chopping trees and slinging chairs without any insight into sanity." Check 'em out.  

Travis

I was pleased to add Travis to the KVBP, since they have a link to us. One of this british rock band's members (Andy) cites Vonnegut as his 'favourite author and ... one of the truly great authors of the 20th century. Click here, and then on the red book to read more.

reaccp71@snyoneva.cc.oneonta.edu

The Verve

The Verve has a song called 'So It Goes' off of their very good second album, 'Northern Soul.' I'm not sure of the relevance.  
   

Wanderjar

Wanderjar is a Michigan band that has an instrumental song called 'Rabo' which is named after, yep, you guessed it, Rabo Karabekian from Bluebeard.

wanderjar@beer.com

Roger Waters

Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd released a solo album in 1992 called 'Amused To Death'

"It is a concept album; a nicely done dark-humor look at the end of the world and the alien anthropologists who will discover our ruins in a few billion years. Anyway, besides a serious similarity to Cat's Cradle in style and mood, there are some lyrical similarities to other Vonnegut works, especially Galapagos.

Some lyrics from the song "Watching TV:" "She is different from the dodo and from the Kankabono."

The title track features lyrics about questions asked by "the bartender" and "the captain." I haven't read Galapagos in a while, but, if I remember right, the bartender and the ships captain were brothers and principle characters in that book.

In the song "3 Wishes," Waters sings "I wish someone would help me write this song." If that isn't a Vonnegut-esque lyric, I don't know what is."

The album begins and ends with sections of a recorded interview with a World War I veteran, Al Frazzel who reccounts his attempted, but failed, rescue of a fellow soldier, Bill Hubbard. The album features a song called "What God Wants" in three parts. The lyrics to that song are very, very Vonnegut-esque. He lists off things on the planet like war, poverty, TV, politics, insurance, giraffes, etc. It just sounds like a Bokononist calypso.

Alex Kauffman adds: "The remainder of the album detailed the power of technology over individuals, and gives an accurate description of the Persian Gulf War as being a video game. Very Vonnegut indeed."

In addition, Alex writes: "Also with Waters, his first solo album, "The Pros and Cons of Hitchiking" always reminded me a little of BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. The album is a dream in which the narrator, Waters, hitchhikes across a nightmarish landscape, seing the destruction of the land and of the peoples' souls, and possibly his own.."

FIXEDmyCAT@aol.com

alk87476@marauder.millersv.edu

   

Yuckmouth

Yuckmouth is an Austin, TX band that has written a song called Kurt which is an adaptation of a song in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater sung by the town drunk, Delbert Peach.

ymouth@webtv.net

     

Comments? Suggestions? Additions? Please email me!

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Brian Rodriguez | brianrodr@ipass.net |
last update: May 10, 2000
(c) 1995-2000, brianrodr@ipass.net

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