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"Kite at Mootsy's"

Most of Kite's progressive rock-flavored songs feature lyrics written by drummer Michael Koep and music composed by guitarist/vocalist Monte Thompson. The soft-spoken, eloquent Koep took an ambitious approach to the lyrics on their latest CD "Lost All Age" and wrote all the songs in formal 14-line sonnet form. This created challenges for the earthy and urbane Thompson, but the end results are songs with complex and satisfying arrangements that serve as perfect vehicles for Koep's intriguing poetry.

Thompson describes their music as being, "about trying to create something with artistic merit... something that will hold up in 50 years and still seem worth listening to."

Koep echoes these sentiments. For him, Kite is about artistic expression-not just showing off behind his drum kit. What drives him to create is the desire to compose something emotionally powerful and meaningful.

Kite succeeds in this mission. Most musicians either excel at musical performance, but have a hard time writing songs, or they can write memorable lyrics but they lack technical proficiency. It is a special thing to discover a band that is strong in both areas. Kite transcends the boundaries of conventional rock to create something that, as Koep likes to say, can truly be considered art.

Thompson runs his acoustic guitar through a Roland guitar synthesizer that allows him to use electric guitar sounds in addition to simulating the sounds of other instruments and human voices. His lush ambient textures and brash, distorted rhythm guitar parts blend well with Koep's creative, quirky drumming. Thompson and Koep are joined by left-handed electric guitar wizard Scott Clarkson and bassist Darren Eldrige. Clarkson plays in a more straightforward blues-based rock style that adds dashes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd to the eclectic mix. Instead of playing a strictly supportive role, Eldridge adds propulsive melodic fills that create tension in the music that contrasts nicely with the tonal colors created by his band mates.

Some of their music almost sounds like jazz fusion while other songs could be classified as heavy metal. The range and scope of the band's music fits together beautifully behind Thompson's smooth and soulful tenor. They also do a great version of the Beatles' "Paperback Writer." Kite is quite possibly my new favorite band.

--Brian Tripplete
- Eastern Washington Review


“North Idaho’s finest original rock band,” Patrick Jacobs, Orange Television / Spokesman Review. - Patrick Jacobs, Spokesman Review


"...fearless about pushing the
boundries of art and expression..." - Cynthia Taggart, Spokesman Review, Spokane WA


". . .Positively Riveting." - John Collinge, Progression Magazine

"KITE: the polish and gravitas of the best national stuff in the rock genre."

Kite shows mainstream potential on ‘Sleeping in Thunder’

Staff writer

When approaching albums by local artists, you always try to keep expectations in check. Without backing from major record labels or the expertise of industry producers, nobody should expect a highly refined package. Not to say local albums can’t be good. In many cases, independently produced albums have a more authentic sound to them. In a world where you need not be talented to have a hit record (Hello Britney Spears!), raw songs from uncorrupted artists can be a breath of fresh air.

Now that I’m finished explaining myself, the latest offering from local rockers Kite destroys all reasonable expectations of a local album. “Sleeping in Thunder” has the polish and gravitas of the best national stuff in the rock genre, without the artistic sacrifices often found on mainstream releases.

Comprised of Monte Thompson on lead vocals and guitars, Michael Koep on drums and percussion, Scott Clarkson on lead guitars, and Mark Rakes on bass, Kite is an in-between rock band. Mixing acoustic sounds with hard rock guitar riffs, the songs on “Sleeping in Thunder” are all distinct from each other. Some are edgier, while others rely on softer melodies.

The album is uniformly well-produced, but the surprise here is the overall tightness on display. The members of Kite all highlight their abilities with various solos, but the songs themselves succeed because the individual pieces mold into a distinct sound.

The versatility of Thompson’s voice grabs the most singular attention here. He’s got the aggressive pipes of a hard rocker, but he pulls off tender melodies with equal skill. It allows Kite to shift tempos and moods, sometimes within a single song.
All of the songs feature intricate arrangements. Many songs open with patient instrumentals, allowing the music to breathe and develop. Some songs cruise over the five-minute mark, but there’s no fat here.

Koep’s lyrics aren’t literal or direct, but the poetic language intrigues more than frustrates. Songs like “If You Were Dead,” “The Right Regret” and the title track focus more intently on the two sides of a personality. In “If You Were Dead,” there’s disdain for the other side, with lyrics like, “That ugly voice inside of me/ you’d be silent/ if you were dead.” On “The Right Regret,” the relationship is more complicated. On it, Thompson sings, “I want to be the thing that screams are made of-the place where the thrill began.”
“Everything Magic” stands out because the “sappy love song” contains some fun little verses. Lyrics like “You are my do-re-mi,” “You are my potpourri,” and “You are my make believe” are the quirky, likable kind of sappy.

“Sleeping in Thunder” solidifies Kite’s reputation as one of the best local bands around. Ignoring them while they’re our little secret would be criminal.

Tyler Wilson
Coeur d'Alene Press
Staff Writer
(208) 664-8176 Ext. 2004

- Coeur d'Alene Press

"Message to the Big Stages"


We went to see Kite play last night. Technical issues with the house sound system, and a late start contributed to what became the shortest set I have ever seen them play, but it was SO nice to see the guys again.

Sometimes when I go to see live music, I can't help but feel like a snobby A&R guy who can see what a band would need to change to sound better.

Every time I see Kite, I continue to find it hard to believe that they are a local band. They put on a show that is worthy of the big stages. The big stages just don't know that yet.

I hope that changes soon.

Of all of the drummers that have ever existed, I think that Michael Koep has become my favorite. I'm not saying that he's the BEST drummer of all time, but he IS incredible. He's fun to watch, and it doesn't hurt that he is genuinely a great guy. I can't think of many other bands where the drummer stands out as much as the rest of the band, if not MORE at times.

Monte Thompson always astounds me with his pitch perfect performances. He hits these impossible notes, and he makes it look effortless. The man has an amazing set of vocal chords, and he is also a genuinely great guy. On top of that, some of his RHYTHM guitar parts are more complex than the most difficult solos I know how to play.

Scott Clarkson is probably the most mellow guy in the group. How often does THAT happen with lead guitarists? Scott is the band's secret weapon. He doesn't play to impress you, he adds sounds that make the song sound better, and it's refreshing. He is also a genuinely great guy.

Mark Rakes is the newest addition to the band. Kite has had a few bass players in it's lifespan, and I am convinced that Mark is the best fit of all of them. He can rip it up, but like Scott, he shows restraint and adds the correct sound to fit the song. It should be no surprise that Mark is yet another genuinely great guy.

So to summazrize: We have amazing musicianship, heartfelt compositions, and genuinely great guys. People just need to HEAR them! They might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I am confident in saying that they would have an audience that would adore them.

Sometimes there are really great bands, and people don't get the chance to enjoy them until they're no longer touring, or making music. It would be tragic to have that happen with these guys, so consider this as a message to the big stages: There is a band based out of Coeur D' Alene that was practically MADE for you.

The sooner you realize this, the better.

Go to Kite's Myspace page, and listen to "Fire Escape"


Glenn Case - Glenn Case


Kite- Gravity, 1997
Kite- In Memory of the Sketch (Live), 2002
Kite- Lost All Age-Drafts, 2004
Kite- Live at the Playground (DVD) 2005
Kite- Sleeping In Thunder 2006

Dec, 31 The Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl New Year’s Main Stage- Phoenix, NV
Feb 2nd, Mootsy’s, Spokane, WA
Feb 9th, Capone’s, Coeur d’Alene, ID
Feb 21st, Evergreen State College Auditorium, Olympia, WA
Mar 22nd, Cotton Club, Hayden, ID
Mar 28th, Bayou Brewing Co., Spokane, WA
Mar 29th, Capone’s, Coeur d’Alene, ID
Apr 12th, Mootsy’s, Spokane, WA
May 10th, Moontime Pub, Coeur d’Alene, ID
May 23rd, The Shop, Spokane, WA
May 30th, The Firehouse, Seattle, WA
June 5th, Mt Tabor Theater, Portland, OR
June 6th, River City Saloon, Hood River, OR
June 11th, Blakes, Berkley, CA
June 21, The Filling Station, Bozeman, MT
June 27, J.T. Toad’s, Boise, ID
July 2nd, Novo’s, Tacoma, WA
July 4th, Summer Concert Festival, Downtown Coeur d’Alene, ID
July 13th, Blind Melon’s, Pacific Beach, CA
July, 15 The Big Easy Concert House- Spokane, WA
July 24th, Mootsy’s, Spokane, WA
Aug 3rd, Eichardt’s, Sandpoint, ID
Aug 17th, Marin Music Festival, Marin, CA
Aug 21st, The Tiki, San Diego, CA
Aug 22nd, Blind Melon’s, Pacific Beach, CA
Aug 28th, The Gig, Hollywood, CA
Aug 30th, The Arnada, Vancouver, WA
Aug 31st, Lakey’s, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Sept 7th, Mangy Moose, Jackson Hole, WY
Sept 20th, Novo’s, Tacoma, WA
Oct 23rd, The B-Side, Spokane, WA
Nov 1st, Mootsy’s, Spokane, WA
Nov 3rd, Ichabod’s North, Spokane, WA
Nov 10th, Eichardt’s, Sandpoint, ID
Dec 8th, Mootsy’s, Spokane, WA
Dec 12th, The Met Theater, Spokane, WA
Dec 23rd, Ichabod’s North, Spokane, WA
May 24th, Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, WA
July 24th, Mootsy’s, Spokane, WA
Aug 28th, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA
Sept 24th, The Big Dipper, Spokane, WA
Sept 24th, The Cat Club (on campus) Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA
Sept 30th, The Gig, Hollywood, CA
Aug, Seattle Hemp Fest, Seattle, WA



KITE’s humble beginnings as a studio band in 1994 evolved into an ambitious touring act in the year 2000 and has since been offering up an intense, passionate and full bodied rock experience that critics have called “Awe inspiring!” Brian Tripplett, Eastern Washington University Review; “Powerfully expressive. Positively riveting.” John Collinge, Progression Magazine; and “North Idaho’s finest original rock band,” Patrick Jacobs, Orange Television / Spokesman Review. KITE has played major headlining stages with Smashmouth and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, main stage festivals from Seattle to San Diego as well as small clubs and theaters.

When Monte Thompson (vocals and acoustic guitar), Michael Koep (drums), Mark Rakes (bass guitar) and Scott Clarkson (guitar) released their first album (Gravity, 1997), it sparked a ten-plus year history of writing, performing and enduring craftsmanship. KITE has built a reputation for the care they put into their records and the concentrated force of their performances. KITE songs are in every way unique, urgent, important and substance driven. Like their fans, KITE endeavors for themes and melodies that inspire and move. And for their fans, they deliver.

The band released its latest offering Sleeping In Thunder in November of 2006. --Biography by Robert Ferris, 2006.