Much like the genesis of his band’s debut album, a conversation with Kids vocalist and bassist Joshua Diaz is a series of twists and turns, paths he’s been down before, and unfamiliar ones that come with the territory of publicizing a new venture.
There is a lot of ground to cover: Raised in Davie, where he was home-schooled, Diaz rode bucking broncs in the rodeo for a few years, before giving in to music. His artistic influences are more literary than musical, and his reading is mostly theological, beginning with “Dangerous Wonder” by Mike Yaconelli. He values his faith, but makes clear that Kids is not a Christian band.
What shines through along the way is a generous spirit, a relaxed confidence in knowing that after being in other bands, with more traditional commercial goals, Diaz is right where he’s supposed to be. And the Kids album, “Rich Coast,” is exactly the record the band set out to make.
He says the four members of Kids — Diaz, Matthew Barrios, Christian Gonzalez and Josiah Sampson — had been in other bands and realized that the search for record-label attention had led them “astray.”
“We lost why we wanted to become artists. We realized we weren’t liking what we were doing,” says Diaz. The four decided they would only continue their music careers by playing songs that felt organic and true.
“We agreed we would love what we do. We’d make music just for us, music that said, ‘This is who I am,’” Diaz says. “Josiah has this quote, from Picasso, that really resonates with me: ‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist when you grow up.’ We decided to make music that made us happy, and have a lot of fun.”
So they made a band, and called it Kids.
“People latch onto authenticity,” Diaz says. “When we had a ‘fake’ band, no one cared, even though it was more ‘produced.’ When we stopped caring about impressing people, that’s when they started caring.”
On Friday night, Kids will play an all-ages release party for “Rich Coast” at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale), joined by Hoyle and Josh Bramos. Tickets: $8. Info: CultureRoom.net.
The message of the album, illustrated in a just-released Peter Pan-themed video called “Second Star on the Right,” developed in the summer of 2013 when the band members took a walk on the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia and southern Tennessee.
Diaz says they needed the retreat, in a place far outside of their South Florida comfort zone, to move forward lyrically.
“A child’s greatest attribute is he doesn’t know anything, he gets to wonder about everything he sees. He asks millions of questions. The problem for [adults] is pride. It takes humility to feel like you’re allowed to ask questions, to think about possibilities,” Diaz says. “We wanted everything we wrote to be authentic, new. ... We needed to experience things, to feel things together.”
One of the songs on “Rich Coast” is named for the Stover Creek Shelter on the Appalachian Trail.
Diaz, Barrios and Sampson work together at C&I Studios, a video, photography, graphic design and audio production company in Fort Lauderdale’s Fat Village district. The roll-out campaign for “Rich Coast” comes with plenty of polish, including three video trailers that exude a rich artfulness that only enhances the band’s optimism.
Diaz calls “Second Star on the Right” emblematic of their message. The video shows Kids performing among a band of young, happy-go-lucky forest dwellers, as Diaz sings, regretfully: “Hey, Peter Pan, put your sword away, it’s time to be a man, turn and face the day. Here's to that man you've become. Here's to that boy you once was."
“It’s a good flagship first song. When we named the band, everyone kept saying, ‘What is Kids? I don’t get it,” Diaz says. “This album is the four of us finally committing to ourselves. Knowing what we value. Knowing who we are.”
More info: TheBandKids.com.
A BEER-DRINKING SOUL
Soulful country singer Lucinda Williams, performing at the Parker Playhouse on Saturday night, is a storyteller, a skill she learned as a young girl growing up in the South to a soundtrack provided by her father, poet and literature professor Miller Williams.
“He’d be in his office, on his typewriter, with the door closed, and that meant you don’t go in and disturb him,” Williams says of her father, who taught at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Loyola University in New Orleans and Millsaps Colllege in Jackson, Miss. “I loved the sound of his typewriter.”
One of the ironies of Miller Williams’ recent passing, his daughter says, is that he died on the same day that Hank Williams died, Jan. 1. And Hank was the subject of one of Miller Williams’ best stories.
“My dad used to tell the story at parties all the time. They met shortly before Hank Williams died (Jan. 1, 1953). He went to go see Hank play in a bar in Lake Charles (La.), and they hung out together. Hank was drinking a beer and asked Dad what he wanted to drink,” says Williams, pointing out that her father came from a hardscrabble background as the son of a Methodist preacher in rural Arkansas. “At the time he was trying to look like a college professor, you know, with suede patches on his elbows, and he was drinking bourbon, Jack Daniels or something. And Hank said, ‘Aw, Williams, you ought to be drinking beer, ‘cause you got a beer-drinking soul,’” she says. “He said, ‘You’re not fooling me. I know you’re from the same place I am. You’re just like me.”
Hit the link for ticket information and the rest of the Lucinda Williams interview.
RYAN ADAMS PLAYS ‘RYAN ADAMS’
Just a reminder that tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for category-defying Ryan Adams’ concert on May 7 at the Fillmore Miami Beach, a tour supporting his latest album, “Ryan Adams.” General admission tickets are $40.50 advance, $42 day of show. Get them at LiveNation.com, 800-745-3000 and at the Fillmore box office (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). More info: 305-673-7300, FillmoreMB.com; Facebook.com/RyanAdams.
Speaking of Hank and authenticity, on Saturday comes a performance by the mighty Wayne “The Train” Hancock at the fourth annual Revenge of the Tiki, a pilgrimage of tribes who subscribe to various forms of bad-assery, including fast cars, slow strip-tease artists, hard drinks, big tattoos and loud guitars. Austin-based Texas swing interpreter Hancock ("Thunderstorms & Neon Signs") operates out of a bunker somewhere between Hank Sr. and Hank III while also being the opposite of the oafish Hank Jr. Among two dozen bands and entertainers scheduled to perform at the street party, noon Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday at the Kreepy Tiki Lounge (2606 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale), you’ll find the Independents, Lara and the Ark-Tones, Charlie Pickett, Gold Dust Lounge, Riot Act, Los Bastardos Magnificos, Cuban Pete and the Hialeah Hooligans, and a burlesque show by Morgan LaRue’s Shimmie Shake ReVue. Food will be served by Rock n Roll Ribs, owned by Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain. Tickets: $25. Info: http://on.fb.me/183FzL2
YOUR NEXT BEER
The Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park just announced it will make its fanatically popular coconut-and-coffee porter called Last Snow available in bottles beginning Feb. 4. The beer will come in 22-ounce bottles in the tap room ($10) and at local retailers, including Total Wine & More, ABC FIne Wine & Spirits and Whole Foods. If Last Snow is not the Funky Buddha’s most popular beer, it certainly has generated the most passion. The sorcerers at the brewery describe it as a “rich, creamy porter layered with coconut and fresh roasted coffee,” and if you’ve had it you know it’s exactly that. Some people (a-hem) find it bit too psychedelic, but I’m clearly in the minority. Info: Facebook.com/FunkyBuddhaBrewery.
The merging-made-in-heaven tour of Afro-pop trailblazers Zap Mama (led by Congolese-Belgian singer Marie Daulne) and Brooklyn’s Latin funk experimentalists Antibalas creates a challenge for audiences in some performing-arts centers around the country: Will they let us dance in here? Not a problem when the tour hits West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center Friday night: It’s in the open-air Gosman Amphitheatre. See what living in South Florida gets you? General-admission tickets: $15. Picnic baskets, lawn chairs, blankets and non-alcoholic beverages are welcome. Info: 800-572-8471, Kravis.org.
FILM APPRECIATION 101
The remarkable mutability of actress Geraldine Chaplin will be on vivid display this weekend as she hosts two of her best-known films at Coral Gables Art Cinema. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Chaplin will take part in a Q&A at a screening of a her debut film, David Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago,” a five-time Oscar winner restored for its 50th anniversary. On Sunday, Chaplin will return for a 1 p.m. showing of Robert Altman’s still-influential 1975 social commentary “Nashville,” for which she was nominated for a supporting-actress Golden Globe award. Tickets to each film are $11.50, students/seniors $10. Info: 786-385-9689, GablesCinema.com.
As divisive as the issue of water is in Africa, equally powerful is the healing potential of music. This is the theme drifting not far below the surface of the Nile Project, a remarkable collective of musicians from 11 countries in the Nile River basin on tour in the U.S. and stopping on Saturday at the North Beach Bandshell (7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). The Nile Project, founded by Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero and Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis, in 2013 released the album “Aswan,” which was on National Public Radio’s list of Five Must-Hear International Albums. The tour takes its 18 musicians to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, from UC-Berkeley to Dartmouth and Princeton, as well as New York’s Lincoln Center. Saturday’s 8 p.m. concert, sponsored by Miami-Dade College, is reminder that South Florida, as a performing-arts market, is gaining respect. Tickets: $25. Info: 305-237-3010, MDCLiveArts.org.
GOT TO BE THERE
I was in the car the other day when “Got to Be There” came on the radio, and I said to my son, who's 13 and knows everything, “Know who’s singing this song?” "Some girl?" he responded. “Michael Jackson,” I said. After we figured out he misheard me (no, I didn’t mean the other MJ who played with four guys no one remembers), came the terse response: “No way.” Should I really blow his mind by taking him to the Cine Al Fresco series at O Cinema Wynwood on Saturday night for the free courtyard screening of “The Wiz”? Bring your own blankets and chairs. Dinner will be available for sale from Vibe 305. Info: OCinema.org.
DON’T TREAD ON MERLE
He’d probably punch you in the face if you called Merle Haggard “Americana,” and rightly so. There’s nothing “ah-na” about songs such as “Mama Tried,” “The Fightin’ Side of Me” and the class-conscious bluster of “Okie From Muskogee.” It’s the sound of ‘Merica. What Haggard lacks in physicality, he makes up for in attitude. See him Monday at Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse. Tickets: $50-$70. Info: ParkerPlayhouse.com.
W.K., EXTRA CHEESE
What goes better with free pizza than Andrew W.K.? The energetic entertainer and “Party Til You Puke” motivational speaker performs Jan. 31 at Grand Central (697 N. Miami Ave., Miami; tickets: $20; GrandCentralMiami.com), but earlier in the day, if he’s up yet, he’ll do a 1:30-2:30 p.m. meet-and-greet at Radio-Active Records (845 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale). With free pizza. You also can get tickets there to the Grand Central show. Info: Facebook.com/RadioActiveRecords.
Not that you need another reason to drop by the Blind Monk (410 Evernia St., West Palm Beach) for a drink on a Tuesday evening, but here’s one anyway: Young local musician Ella Herrera, performing on the bar’s Live Tunes Tuesday series, serves up pleasant pieces of introspection worthy of repeated listening. She seems to write in lyrics without even meaning to, as in this Facebook recommendation of Delray Beach’s Bull Bar: “It’s a really cool spot, maybe not for a first date but hey, I’ll be there and my music ain’t so square.” Info: TheBlindMonk.com, Facebook.com/ItsEllaHerrera.
For most people, Valentine’s Day is just trouble. Sure, you can throw money at it. But how many times have you thrown it in the wrong direction? Plus, it’s money. If you are looking for an idea with more unique, thoughtful, personal flair, you can lean on Indie Craft Bazaar. The festival of independent art, a celebration of the handmade and vintage, returns noon-5 p.m. Feb. 7 at Revolution Live. This time out, ICB will take over the whole complex with 65 local artists and vendors set up in Revolution, America’s Backyard and, for the first time, Stache, where the recent opening of Panther Coffee is a perfect complement. As always, the bar will be open, the $3 mimosas will flow and food trucks will serve. Admission: $5. Info: IndieCraftBazaar.com.