Instrumental Love: Kidnap Kids!

"Jerks! Kidnap Kids!"

Kidnap Kids!, photo by Shaun Stander
Kidnap Kids!, photo by Shaun Stander

I was invited into the Kidnap Kids! jam space, which is really just the garage behind Celina Kurz’s parents’ house in North Vancouver. I was expecting to go in there and look at all the instruments and talk about their amps and keyboard, but it became apparent right away that they’re not concerned so much with their instruments as they are with joking around and telling stories.

Unlike some bands who pride themselves on their equipment, the Kidnap Kids! are more stoked on having fun and making music they like rather than the instruments they use to do it. Bass player Enzio Verster, who owns most of the equipment they use live, turned up late. In his absence, the band discussed how Verster knows more about the instruments than the rest of them. When asked about the drums, amps and steel guitar in the garage, Kurz said, “Everything in here is my dad’s. We just come in here and use it. When we have actual shows we use Enzio’s stuff.” As they joked about being lazy and using whatever instruments required the least amount of work to acquire, drummer Fred Hawley joked, “We show up late, unpracticed. We expect to go first and be able to use everyone’s equipment,” to which Kurz added, “Jerks! Jerknap Kids!”

Hawley’s drums came from a metal drummer who sold her mismatch set to him cheap. As far as what kind of drums he was playing, Hawley’s reaction was: “Oh man, I should have found out what kind they are … They’re black.” Except for his new high-hats, the drums are falling apart and the symbols are breaking. Hawley’s drums, Kurz said, make them “look tough.” At shows, though, Hawley will usually play Verster’s Pearl Exports.

Hawley could claim to have acquired his musical talent from his dad, who tried to teach him piano as a kid. “My dad tried to teach me how to play piano when I was little, but failed,” he said. I countered, “I’m sure you got something out of it, though,” to which he replied, “I did: chocolate chips.”

“If I got a chocolate chip for everything I learned,” Kurz joked, “I don’t know if I would learn anything … I would learn ways to steal chocolate chips.”

Alie Lynch, guitar player for the band, plays a used, tan-coloured Harmony Hollow Body. It’s an old guitar that used to belong to her dad. Aside from joking about not knowing how to adjust the settings and wanting a baby blue Flying-V, Lynch seemed impressed with her hand-me-down. “Everyone loves it,” she said.

Fans approach her to comment on how nice the guitar and the whammy bar is. Apparently “the whammy bar is worth even more than the guitar.”

Kurz told me that “we have our own stuff, but [Verster’s] is better.” Without Verster, the Kidnap Kids could manage, but it seems like he’s a key component of the band in a few important ways. Aside from providing equipment and moral support, he seems to know the most about the technical side of music and consequently adjusts the settings on Lynch’s guitar and amp. He plays a white Epiphone EB-0 bass guitar, which he also uses for his three-piece project Half Chinese.

If you’ve seen Kidnap Kids!, you’ll notice right away the mesh of fun, playful sounds and instruments. These are all harmonized by front woman Kurz. She plays a whole array of instruments including her glockenspiel, shaker and melodian. Her glock is an old wooden Yamaha that she found in a closet at home. Her dad had rescued it from being thrown out by an elementary school that was getting rid of them. Kurz also plays keyboard, but she’s not very attached to it. When they jam, she plays her dad’s, when they play shows, if she doesn’t borrow one from another band, she plays Verster’s Yamaha PS-20. Thankfully, the Kidnap Kids! came across their nearly abandoned instruments when they did. The four of them have so much energy and talent that they seem like they could make music out of anything.