Brian Forsythe recalls KIX’s early beginnings including singer Steve Whiteman drumming for a few songs
KIX and Rhino Bucket guitarist Brian Forsythe was recently interviewed by Andrew DiCecco for Vinyl Writer Music.
Forsythe was essentially asked about how KIX‘s classic line-up of himself, singer Steve Whiteman, guitarist Ronnie “10/10” Younkins, bassist Donnie Purnell and drummer Jimmy Chalfant came to be. In terms of how he ended up joining Younkins and Purnell in the pre-KIX band Shooze, Forsythe indicated (with slight edits):
“Well, Ronnie and I, we’re both from Frederick, and we played in different bands around the area. So, we were both aware of each other; I would go see his band play – I saw a few different incarnations of his band throughout the years. At one point, he was leaving the band that he was in, and they were just a cover band around the area, but they had gigs. So, his spot became open, and they were holding auditions, so I decided to try out for his spot in his band; I was between bands at this point, and I was running lights for the band that Jimmy [Chalfant] was in. So, one night I got done with Jimmy’s band at the Mountain View in Hagerstown, and I drove back to Frederick. I stopped at a 7-Eleven for a late-night burrito, I’m by the microwave heating my burrito, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Ronnie approaching me. Ronnie walks up and goes, “Hey, I hear you’re trying out for Mama Kin,” which was his old band. I said, “Yeah.”
He goes, “You don’t wanna play with those guys. They’ve been playing the same songs for years, and they never wanna rehearse, and they never wanna learn anything new.” He goes,“Donnie Purnell is putting this band together, and we’re looking for another guitar player. Would you be interested in doing that instead? We’re gonna do all originals; we’re gonna get a record deal.” It was so funny because when he first asked me, I thought, “Wow, do I wanna just start over from scratch with a band that’s not established yet, or do I wanna jump into a band that’s already got gigs?” So, I told him, “Well, let me think about it.” I wasn’t really excited about it, to be honest.
Then, the next day, the original drummer that we had called me and talked my ear off; he talked to me for about an hour. He finally convinced me to at least get together with them for a rehearsal and see what I thought. I was still living at my parents’ house at that point, so they came over to my parent’s house, and we went down to the basement. The first song that Donnie showed me was “Atomic Bombs.” I just remember thinking, “Wow, this is really cool for an original.” Back in the cover band days, you’d go see a band, they’d be playing covers, and then they’d go, “Okay, this is one of our originals,” and it would always be the worst song of the night. To play a cool original song, I was like, “Man, this is great.” I was pretty much hooked from that point on. That was it; I became part of the band. Plus, they needed a place to rehearse, so my parent’s basement became the rehearsal space. [Laughs]”
With respect to how Whiteman and Chalfant ended up joining the band, Forsythe recalled: “Well, we played for a couple of years with other singers. Steve was our fourth singer. We had one guy that never made it out of the basement; we never did a gig with him. Then we replaced him and got the first real singer. We had another drummer, but we went to check Steve out. He was a drummer for a band near Cumberland, Maryland. He was the drummer, but he would sing from behind the drums. So, we went and checked out his band, and he was back there playing and singing Led Zeppelin. It was like, “Wow.” So, on his break, we took [Steve] out to the car and played him a demo of some of our original songs and talked him into leaving his band and moving to Hagerstown. So, that’s how we got him.
At first, it was our original drummer, with Steve out front. But our original drummer was also a decent frontman, so he and Steve used to swap; Steve would go back and play drums and our other drummer would come out front for a couple songs. So, it was kind of a weird setup at that point. And then our original drummer had a little bit of an alcohol problem and started becoming unreliable, so Jimmy entered the picture at that point and Steve became the permanent frontman.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Brian Forsythe at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.