Combining his sometimes brittle, sometimes frightening visions with the awesome rock 'n' roll of the Secret Kidds, Kweder single-handedly created Philadelphia's original rock music scene. By convincing club owners that people would pay to see local, unsigned talent, Kweder paved the way for the emergence of any number of Philly-based acts who have achieved a national profile.
Throughout the late 70's, Kweder was courted by major record labels. But fame and fortune weren't worth the sacrifices in style and temperament that the people from the record companies demanded he make. Thus, while other Philly acts were signed by major labels, Kenn continued plying his singular musical trade in relative obscurity.
Nonetheless, he kept writing and performing with a succession of back-up bands, thrilling his loyal following with an array of songs that ran the gamut from the icy paranoia of "Imagination" to the whimsy of the independently produced 45, "The Ballad of Manute Bol," an ode to the 7 foot, 7 inch basketball player.
By the 1980's, other acts had surpassed Kenn as local attractions, and he decided to return to Europe where, years earlier, he had sung in the streets. It was a trip, he says, that had a profound effect on his life.
"Europe helped recharge me," he says. "it just helped me feel more balanced about everything." It also gave him the "discipline" he says he needed to return to Philadelphia to resume his career in earnest.
Upon his return, Kweder hooked up with the person whom he says he owes his biggest debt, singer-songwriter Ben Vaughn. With Vaughn serving as a combination producer-cheerleader-coach, Kweder released Pandemonium Years, a compilation of material recorded live and in the studio between 1976 and 1986, and then in 1989 Man Overboard, which consisted of old and new songs, all recorded under the watchful ear and eye of Vaughn.
1991's Flesh, Blood & Blue introduced a new Kenn Kweder--Kweder the producer. Believing that no one better understands his music, the resulting album was an even more concise and personal statement than his previous recordings.
Today, Kenn Kweder is still known for his live performances that have been described variously as "a circus," "a riot," and even "a religious experience." And, once again, he has transformed that energy, intelligence, and passion onto a record that reaffirms his unique position in contemporary music.
Copyright 2007 Kenn Kweder All rights reserved.
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