Old-soul music

Budapest One is a brand-new band making some venerable -- and tremendous -- rock and roll

A new home, new band, new onslaught of songs, and new religious license. He's accomplished plenty in just over a year. Does he have any interest in a major-label deal?

"No, because they don't have any interest in me," he says. "I don't think I would have ever started a band if I hadn't lived an hour away from Minneapolis. When I was youthful, I would walk down the streets, I would go to the record store that Paul Westerberg gave Pete Jesperson his demo in, and go into the Garage Door and see Bob Mould's guitar from HYsker DY. And I'd think: 'You can do it without eye makeup. You can do it without teasing your hair. You can practice in this basement.' Suddenly it was tangible. Suddenly I realized there was a homeopathic medicine for music: shows, word of mouth, indie labels, DIY."

And while Killoren's earlier "narrator" songwriter theory doesn't necessarily break new rock ground, the second part of that theory is all Keith, all philosopher. He begins talking about one-hit wonders again, mentions the Turtles, begins singing some of their songs, talks about how much he actually likes "Elenore" and "Happy Together."

But "the rest of their music--horrible," he says. "Whoa. Terrible."
So what happened to them?
"The ghost of Buddy Holly," he insists in grave tones, picking up the thread he set down earlier. "He comes down, sits on your shoulder, and whispers you a little tune. The guy in the Turtles claims he wrote 'Elenore' in 20 minutes in a hotel room because his manager was saying, 'We need a hit!' [The band said,] 'All right, I'll give you a fucking hit.' Buddy Holly is Elijah. Elijah is our mediator between heaven and earth. He went up in a chariot of fire. He never died. And at every [Passover] seder, the Jewish family sets an extra plate for Elijah, and if there's a knock on your door, and it's a disheveled bum wearing tattered clothes, you treat him like Elijah. He feasts at your table.

"Well, Buddy Holly went up in a chariot of fire. Did they ever really find his body? It was all charred to bits. Maybe that chariot came by. So a songwriter setting himself down in a hotel room, or setting himself down in a panic-stricken moment, is setting the feast for Elijah--is setting a seat for Buddy Holly to come down and give him a song."

Killoren laughs. "He hasn't come to me yet."

Budapest One performs January 30 at Rick's Place in Denton.

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