Earlier this year we watched one band accomplish what most bands can dream of. Kiss the Tiger, while opening for Low Cut Connie, walked into a venue full of sleepy attendees and lit a fire under their butt before even getting to the chorus of the first song. We said it back then: this band could hold their own as the headliner. Well, their little ears must have been burning because they’re coming back through the Bottleneck, this time heading up their own tour on Tuesday, September 20 (bonus, this is now a FREE show). We sat down with the enigmatic and full-of-life vocalist, Meghan Kreidler, to discuss the band’s latest retro-inspired release, Vicious Kid, and what it’s like to hit the stage with that much spirit.
IHLM:Vicious Kid sounds like a rock album plucked straight out of the 70’s (nice!). What prompted you to channel this sound? What other musical acts played a part in developing your sound?
MK:We really love the music from the 70’s so without any real prompting we’ve naturally gravitated toward writing and creating music that is heavily influenced by that era. Artists like The Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Patti Smith have all been very influential to us. Some other top-tier artists for us include Lucinda Williams and Alabama Shakes.
IHLM:When we last saw you, Kiss the Tiger jolted a sleepy audience into action with your stage presence. What’s the secret to that crazy energy of yours? Please tell us! We’re so tired!!
MK:I’m tired too! That’s what I love about being a rock band though. It’s our space to come to life. We have this great opportunity to move people and accelerate the collective heart beat of a room. I think the secret is that our music demands an energetic attack. If we don’t bring 110% to the live interpretation of these songs, we wouldn’t be serving the music with the intention and intensity it deserves.
IHLM:What are some changes you’ve noticed when touring before and after the pandemic?
MK:It feels like there’s a little less freedom in how we all conduct ourselves in public space. We want to be respectful and careful and sometimes that is the antithesis of what we’re trying to do as a band. Okay – not the respect part. We definitely always value respect, but it’s harder to conjure up a spirit of messiness and abandon when people are still fearful. And I totally understand that. It’s our new reality. I don’t resent it. It just means, for now, that the experience people have at shows may be more internal than external. It really differs from venue to venue, city to city, person to person. I’m just grateful we get to be out there playing music for anyone who is willing to show up.
IHLM:What are your fans in the Midwest like compared to the rest of the nation?
MK:Truly, we are still working to build our fan base outside of the Midwest! Even within the Midwest we’re still gaining new fans and reaching new listeners. We have some very devoted fans here in Minneapolis and the support of our city has really emboldened us to take the next big step and try to break out on the national scene. I will say, big crowd or small crowd, we tend to win people over!! Playing outside of your home city can be tough because you crave that big crowd, but it’s almost like you’re starting over. I try to remind myself that having even one person in the audience is enough for an experience to be shared. And hopefully, over time, that experience will cause a ripple effect.
IHLM:Who are your favorite bands to tour with? Why?
MK:We haven’t done too much touring with other bands, but very recently we did a handful of dates with fellow Minneapolis band Bad Bad Hats. They’re so great to play with because they’re respectful, considerate people. They’re also very hard-working and you learn a lot about what it takes to be a full-time musician by witnessing the work ethic that artists have both on and off stage. Low Cut Connie, who we were last seen with at the Bottleneck, are also a dream to tour with. I think our live show energy is well-matched and it’s a great challenge to warm up for a group that you know is going to bring the fire. It makes you want to bring the fire too!
IHLM:What’s something KTT wants to accomplish in the following year?
MK:We’d like to do more work on the road. I’d love to support a more established group on a more lengthy tour so we can get a feel for what that’s like. We hope to hunker down over the winter and focus on songwriting and start dreaming up the next album. We’d also love to start infiltrating the festival circuit a bit more as well.
IHLM:What would you like to see more of in the live music landscape?
MK:I would love to see more women and women of color playing rock music. I’m already seeing more of it which is exciting. But I’d love to see more women and women of color running sound and doing stagehand stuff as well. From my experience I’ve seen less of that representation backstage.
IHLM:What would you like to see less of?
MK:Luckily I haven’t experienced too much of this first hand, but the general toxic culture that surrounds the music scene, especially when it comes to inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct. I believe in transformative and restorative justice and mostly want to see individuals and institutions held accountable and then owning up to their wrongdoings, or shortcomings in order to forge a more transparent path forward. I think cancel culture can be dangerous and doesn’t open up a lot of pathways for healing. I’d love to prioritize wellness in the music scene and see less protecting and enabling of abusers.
IHLM:Why do you feel it’s important to keep doing what you’re doing?
MK:I think art is really important. Live music can be such a healing, communal experience for people. It’s a place where people can feel big feelings, let go, rage, reminisce, dream. It’s important for me to keep doing what I’m doing because I want to be an example of fearlessness, messiness, and abandon. In the purest form I think art gives us a window into humanity and if I’m able to allow people to embrace their own complex humanity through my art then what I’m doing serves a meaningful purpose.
Kiss the Tiger plays a FREE show at The Bottleneck on Tuesday, September 20.