Born Arish A. Khan, on a cold winters January day in Montreal, Canada in 1977. He began calling himself “Blacksnake”- a name he found in a Mohawk indian joke book- when he joined legendary Canadian punk deliquents “The Spaceshits”. They pillaged and plundered for five years together, releasing two albums and dozens of singles on the “Sympathy for the Record Industry” record label. After their first european tour, the young “Blacksnake” decided to change his stage name to “King Khan” and stay in Germany. He founded “King Khan and his Sensational Shrines” a 9-headed psychedelic R&B band with members from all over Germany and France, the line up also included Ron Streeter, who once was a touring musician with the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder. The music was as inspired by the surrealistic cinema of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Melvin Van Peebles as it was by rare garage punk, free jazz, R&B and rock n ‘roll that Khan had developed a voracious appetite for. King Khan & The Shrines have released 4 full length lps on Vice Records, Voodoo Rhythm, and most recently on Merge.
In 2002, Khan reunited with Spaceshits singer, Mark Sultan, and together they created “The King Khan and BBQ Show” a two headed monster fuelled by pure punk, classic doo wop and oddball rock n roll. They released several albums on In the Red records and several singles on Norton Records, Crypt, Fat Possum, and many more.
In 2005 Khan scored his first feature length film, “Schwarze Schafe” a dark comedy by swiss film maker Oliver Rihs.
In 2006-2010 Khan produced many groups (The Black Lips, Deerhunter, Demon Claws, Royal Pendeltons, Mary Ocher, Kitty Durham and Holiday Sidewinder, the Frowning Clouds, M Lamar, Ryan Sambol, Saba Lou, Lias Saoudi from the Fat White Family, Bella Khan and many others…) at his Moon Studios, Berlin. He also started many side projects like the Black Jaspers, The Tandoori Knights, the Bollywood Argyles, the King Khan Experience, the Almighty Defenders (with the Black Lips and Mark Sultan), Kuschelsnuff (with Rummelsnuff and Bela B) and various solo projects.
Khan also performed live at the NXNE festival in Toronto and Fun Fun Fun festival in Austin, Texas with GZA of the Wu Tang Clan and was given his wu-name “Lord Khan”.
In 2010 King Khan and Mark Sultan were invited to play the Vivid Festival, curated by Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, at the Sydney Opera House. It was there that Khan met Hal Willner, Lou and Laurie’s producer, who later invited Khan to co-produce an unfinished William S. Burroughs album that had been started twenty years ago with the help of Bill Frissell, Eyvind Kang and other musicians from the Torture Garden/ Naked City scene. Khan not only co-produced “Let Me Hang You- The Unspeakable Parts of Naked Lunch” but he released it on his own imprint called “Khannibalism” to much critical acclaim.
In 2014-2016 Khan did the music supervision and original score for a documentary about The Invaders (written and directed by Prichard Thomas Smith), a militant black power group from Memphis that worked hand in with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a part of his Poor Peoples Campaign. Being immersed in Black Power for nearly two years he created “The Black Power Tarot” a deck of tarot cards celebrating the illuminated path using important African American figures in Black History. The cards were then illustrated by Michael Eaton (a visual artist from Belfast, Ireland who worked on “Game of Thrones”). Khan then sent each card to Alejandro Jodorowsky to get approved giving him and Michael Eaton the honour of being Jodorowsky’s “spiritual warriors”. The Black Power Tarot Art Exhibition will be premiered in Oakland as an official part of the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party’s 50th Anniversary celebration in October, 2016.
Khan’s imprint “Khannibalism” has released 3 singles as a part of the Invaders Soundtrack, and a fourth single on Merge Records. The artwork for the “America Goddamn” single was made by Shepard Fairley (Obey Giant).
Khan recently began the Invaders International, under the guidance of John B. Smith, founding member of the Invaders, Malik Rahim of the Louisiana/Angola Chapter of the Black Panthers and legendary “Godfather of Black Cinema” Melvin Van Peebles. The Invaders International is an art collective made to preach non-violent protest and promote the struggle of the under-privileged through art, music and film. The first Invaders International event will be premiering the Black Power Tarot in Bern, Switzerland in Aug. 2016 and in Oakland in Oct. 2016.
King Khan resides in Berlin with his wife and two teenage daughters.
Murder Burgers Bio:
King Khan, master of psychedelic R&B, used all of his magic to reunite one of his all time favourite bands “The Gris Gris” from Oakland, California to back him up on this long player. Produced by Greg Ashley at his Creamery Studio which has since disappeared because of the unfortunate gentrification of Oakland. This album shows a more singer/songwriter side to King Khan, while mixing in his classic garage punk swagger and many more subtle influences here and there. You can taste alot of Stooges, screaming saxes in full Steve Mackay style, pounding pianos, some Bakersfield California Country swing, some haunting desert sunset vibes and most of all the classic rock n’ soul that has become King Khan’s genuine signature sound. The resulting gumbo is as tasty as ever and even has the Oakland Taco King, Oscar “El Tacoban” Michel on Bass and legendary Oakland drummer for hire Garrett “with an A in the O” Goddard bashing the skins.
“We made this album in about one week, I got the Gris Gris to back me up and do a few shows in all the murder capitals of America. In Chicago we even had Andre Williams come and join us on stage for a song… it was quite a trip, and then we holed up at the Creamery and put it all on to analog tape with Greg Ashley twiddlin his knob like there was no tomorrow. It was a bitch slappin’ good time and a tribute to how much love i have for Oakland and especially to all the good times we had at the Ghost town gallery and eating Big Poppa’s burgers. Oakland may never be the same, but it will always be in my heart!” – King Khan
“Too Hard and Too Fast” and “It’s Just Begun” were co-written by King Khan’s little brother Dr. Faiz A. Khan, who is usually helping Inuits in the frozen north with health problems or doing research on people suffering from AIDS and Tuberculosis. His research has helped change the way hundreds of thousands of people get treated mostly in the third world and perhaps that is why he isn’t allowed to share the spotlight.
“I’d like to give my little brother more props, since what he does to save lives is never given any importance, but now maybe cuz he exercised his songwriting here he can finally get celebrated for being the amazing human being that he is.”