The Mix: Catching up with King Khan, performing tonight at Gabe’s

King Khan and the Shrines
King Khan and the Shrines play Gabe’s at 9 p.m. ($15, +19). — photo by Tiger Lilly.

The psychedelic soul revue, King Khan and the Shrines will be making a stop at Gabe’s this evening. I caught up with Khan on the phone while he and the Shrines were in North Carolina and talked to him about his musical influences such as Sun Ra, whose free-jazz style King Khan and the Shrines have integrated into their own sound. Khan shared that he had once visited the grave of Sun Ra in Birmingham, Ala. and was quite surprised and saddened by its state: “It is sad to see a talented artist like Sun Ra nearly forgotten after his death … I wish I could have a pyramid built in his honor.”

Music is a big part of Khan’s life, “I am immersed in an ocean of music … it is my religion … my ultimate serenity.” Other artists that have had an impact on King Khan are Alice Coltrane, Little Richard and The Mighty Hannibal.

“He was kindly enough to adopt me and became one of my mentors,” Khan said of the late Mighty Hannibal, who is known for his anti-Vietnam song, “Hymn No. 5.” “He was a message singer, and that is similar to what we do with King Khan and the Shrines.”

King Khan and the Shrines have put together a road trip playlist that can be accessed on their Facebook page. The list includes acts like Shannon and the Clams, Red Mass, Link Wary and of course The Mighty Hannibal.

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