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July 2, 1998

‘Kudos to the Machine’ fuses hip-hop, heavy metal, politics

SALT LAKE CITY — From the Mormon wilds of Utah comes Kudos to the Machine, the band that may join hip-hop and heavy metal for good, and add politics in the process. Their eponymous debut album has taken the Billboard chart by storm, rising to number three in just four weeks.

"We think rock fans are ready for more than mushy love songs," said Kudos front man Brad Lichtman. "That’s why the first single, ‘Bulls on Parade,’ celebrates the failure of collectivism and the triumph of wealth created by stock speculation."kudos.jpg (14698 bytes)

Other tracks on the album include "Take the Power Back," a funky head-banger about states’ rights, and "Fistful of Dollars," where Kudos asks the European Union if their "silly little Euro dollar can come correct." In "Down Rodeo," a tribute to the high-class L.A. shopping district, Lichtman coos over a classic leather bomber jacket, of a style he hadn’t seen "since my grandparents bought one."

Perhaps the most powerful single is the vitriolic "Killing in the Name of — American Values!" In it, Lichtman delivers a heartfelt tribute to police nationwide.

All of those that work forces
Are honorable men!
All of those that work forces
Are true Americans!
Fuck yes, I’ll do what you tell me!

Kudos to the Machine got their start at Dartmouth College, where Lichtman, drummer Dave Storeman, bassist John Young and guitarist Steve Smith happened to be the only four members of the Dartmouth Mormon Alliance. In addition to their shared faith, the four shared a deep belief that, in Young’s words, "liberals and their welfare state had corrupted the values of our great nation." They decided to bring their musical talent together, debuting at a "Free Ollie North" rally that they organized on the Hanover town common.

"We launched into a song called ‘Evil Empire,’ about the former Soviet Union," recalled Storeman. "I had screened my drums with photos of the last five Soviet premiers, and at the end of the song, we just started destroying ‘em. Just as the cops were about to pull us offstage, Steve smashed his guitar through Yuri Andropov’s head on the bass drum. The crowd went nuts."

The four decided to pursue music professionally and, rebuffing job offers from prominent investment banks and right-wing think-tanks, moved to Salt Lake City to record their first album. "Utah doesn’t have all the drugs and gangs that the liberal eastern cities do," said Lichtman. "There aren’t all those minorities looking for goverment handouts. My wives and children feel much safer here."

After the stunning success of their album, the band is heading off this summer on a counter-counter-cultural package tour, featuring other right-wing acts like Morallica, the Republican Presidents of the United States of America and "Tory" Amos. The tour will also have booths for right-wing activist groups. Said Storeman: "We want to get organizations like the NRA and Operation Rescue to come out and turn kids on to what going on out there."

Kudos’ 1998 tour kicks off in Ketchum, Idaho on July 14th.

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