Kung Fu Vampire
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Kung Fu Vampire

Band Hip Hop Gothic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Vampin' It Up"

By Neal Timpe
With light, distant eyes - eyes made that way with the help of novelty contact lenses - Kung Fu Vampire plays to a packed house with his five piece goth/hip hop/jazz band. He rocks the house in pale white horror-movie makeup, fangs and sinister metallic finger extenders, while surrounded by enough strobe lights to land a jumbo jet. The audience stops jumping around long enough to catch KFV as he lunges into the crowd, surfing over raised hands.

The crowd was diverse at this masquerade - from the hyphy hip hop establishment in the Bay Area, to a fan in a robot costume made out of cardboard with a flashing red light on top. They sang along, "... almost daylight ... party all night ..." at the Blank Club in San Jose on Friday the 13th where KFV, who claims to be a real vampire, gave a high-energy performance with five other band members crammed onto a tiny stage.

Kung Fu Vampire, who is in his 30s, has been performing hip hop since 1990 in San Jose when he was known by the initials "LSP." He has marched to the beat of a different drummer since high school, where he said he was always the kid in music class who didn't do what they told him to do. His uniqueness is easy to see. His chin piercing, which reaches out about two inches from his face, colored contacts and custom satin Asian suits, making him stand out even now when hip hop has become a pervasive and influential musical genre in popular culture.

"We were doing a gothic gangster rap back in the 1990s," KFV says. "There were only two kinds of rap then and this wasn't either."

KFV's form of gothic rap is defined by the music's diminished and minor keys; it's what he says gives it a scary and sinister quality. The music sounds like it could be featured in the next "Freddy vs. Jason" movie. KFV says he doesn't rap about rims and bling-bling, but about "people turning into corporate zombies" and "partying all night long, but vampire style." Although there are other groups that perform goth hip hop, KFV says he's the only one with a live band. KFV doesn't tour often, but he always plays Friday the 13th.

On stage, the live band is a creative force with solo breaks that range from drum solos to jazz piano licks that mainstream hip hop often lacks in live shows. KFV's show has "evolved into a cult lifestyle theatrical show." You can find the evidence right on stage where KFV raps between a "Funeral/No Parking" sign and a bassist with a white mask covering his face. He's introduced by a sinister voice - produced by electronic effects - that would make Vincent Price envious. While the band dresses in black, KFV wears a custom designed Asian suit with a rose pinned to it. Later, he changes into a black vest and slacks, continuing the tradition of the classy vampire all the way from the days of Vlad the Impaler.

The band is diverse in its musical knowledge and its lifestyle choices, but by no means a bunch of amateurs. As a group, they're an unlikely concoction of professional musicians from across the musical spectrum whose lifestyles might not have brought them together if it weren't for KFV. Mr. West, the drummer, and Miss Fortune, the cellist, are into the gothic lifestyle, but the rest of the group have other interests. Sadelia, the keyboardist who also helps compose the music for the band, is a college-trained jazz musician and Mr. Pollett, the bassist, plays bass so much, he doesn't have time do anything else, KFV says.

The modern gothic subculture can generally be characterized by a style of music that gained popularity in the '80s with bands such as Bauhaus, Dead Can Dance and Sisters of Mercy, a style of dress that includes a heavy helping of black, or an interest in medieval accoutrements. Some people who consider themselves goths also believe that they are real vampires.

Sites such as Sanguinarius.org help real vampires communicate with each other and share tips about safe blood drinking. Some people who claim to be vampires like the old fashioned, if unhealthy, bite to the neck. Others use modern medical techniques to draw blood. Blood drinkers, or sanguinarians, also vary on the types of blood they drink. Some only drink human blood, while others avoid controversy about cannibalism and drink animal blood. KFV keeps his preferences mysterious.

"[I drink blood] on occasion, but a lot of the blood I get locally does not have the same punch as it used to back in the day," KFV says, mysteriously.

KFV describes his moniker as more than a band name. According to his Web site, he's a former gymnast, competing with the national gymnastics team, but he's not necessarily a martial arts master. He says Kung Fu is often misunderstood as a form of martial arts and really means energy directed at learning some new discipline.

"It definitely isn't just a band name," he says. "That's the last thing it is."

His name "represents the yin and yang of fang," KFV says. The name was given to him by band members in - Neal Timpe Alternate 101


Kung Fu Vampire with LSP

* Step into the Madness
* Only the First Trip
* The Antidote
* Spacebar

Kung Fu Vampire

* Womb Til' Tomb (compilation),2000
* Blood, Bath and Beyond, 2003
* Exclusive Single

We currently have two singles that are getting heavy radio play.



The group is a superb example of innovation in sound and style, and although they step into the realm of the Bay Area's hyphy movement, they are everything hyphy isn't. Kung Fu Vampire first gained recognition by being the biggest draw in the South Bay live music scene, and by performing at the Playboy Mansion as well as other high profile shows including the Saw III movie premiere.