By Carl Begai
Saigon Kick vocalist Matt Kramer doesn’t merely step outside the box, he lives outside of it. This was readily apparent when he and his bandmates – Jason Bieler (guitars), Phil Varone (drums) and Tom Defile (bass) – stomped onto the scene in 1991, releasing a self-titled debut that dared to be obnoxiously different. Adrenalized punk-flavoured tunes, Beatles-styled vocal harmonies splashed over walls of guitars, a kazoo solo, acoustic and straight-up metal influences served with groove and attitude, Saigon Kick were the owners of a playground that was both intimidating and welcoming. Kramer’s departure from the band and the war of words in the years that followed don’t need to be rehashed here, suffice to say he went and did his own thing. The 2002 release of his retro-flavoured solo album War & Peas caught the fans off guard, and the 2007 appearance of his first of several proposed poetry books, An American Profit, left his diehard followers with their jaws on the floor.
As in, Is he out of his mind?!
Kramer has never apologized for the path(s) he’s taken and never will. And while An American Profit didn’t catapult him to the literary bank, it gave him enough ammo to justify a second book of poetry.
“An American Profit did well in my eyes because it got some good feedback,” he says. “When you’re putting out a bunch of personal lyrics that don’t come with noodling guitars and bashing drums, you’re kind of out there on your own. And I’m not even there to sing the stuff. It was a challenge for me because it was a different side of me – a lot of different sides, actually – that I don’t show as a frontman. But you know, we’re all in our undies drinking coffee at 6:00am and not big rock stars (laughs).” Continue reading MATT KRAMER – Keeping Life Small