Through the early Eighties, the Greg Kihn Band racked up a series of hit singles, like “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ’Em),” “Lucky” and, his highest-charting track, 1983’s “Jeopardy,” all of which were issued on the independent power-pop label Beserkley Records.
Kihn released his last album in 1996, the same year that he launched his literary career with the novel Horror Show and became a radio fixture on KUFX FM in San Jose. After a string of ownership changes, KUFX became a superstation in San Francisco, and Kihn’s morning radio program was heard by millions each week.
But last September, following 17 years with the station, Kihn was dropped from the program, and his contract was allowed to lapse when it came up for renewal soon after.
Since then, the guitarist had a new burst of creative energy. He’s releasing digital remasters of classic albums from his group’s days. He’s also considering a summer tour with the Greg Kihn Band that will include his hits and possibly some new material. Plus, he’ll soon release a new Beatles-related fictional work titled Rubber Soul. Even without a radio show, Kihn has a big year ahead of him, as Guitar World learned in the following interview.
GUITAR WORLD: What led to your breakup with KUFX?
I’ve been doing radio for 17 years, 16 of them as the number-one morning show in San Francisco. The station I worked at was sold [to Entercom Communications in January 2011], and I was probably the highest paid guy there. I was a ratings winner. I guess they looked around for things to cut and I was the one who had a great big bull’s-eye on my back that said “Highly Compensated Employee”! [laughs]
The thing is, radio is now a very corporate thing. It never used to be this bad. There used to be a few mom-and-pop radio stations and a few small radio groups, but now it’s all big corporations who buy the stations and basically do whatever they want. I stayed on for a year and a half [following the Entercom purchase], and then they cut me loose. Since I was let go, I’ve really been on a creative burst. I’ve finished a novel and started writing songs again. I’ve also started rehearsing the band, and now we have a few offers for tours this summer.
What’s it like being back in the studio again?
I’d forgotten how much fun the whole process of creating is. Back when the band was in its prime, we would rehearse every day. Being in the studio and coming up with ideas was when it was the most fun. Before you know it, you’re writing songs.