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Benton Harbor Studio Provides Lifeline For The Kills

Of the Oakland Press

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The Kills put Benton Harbor’s Key Club Recording on the map with their 2005 release “No Wow.” And they’ve kept it there with this year’s “Midnight Boom.”

But that wasn’t the British duo’s intention.

The group started “Midnight Boom” in Los Angeles and then did some work in Mexico. Neither of those sessions yielded the results they wanted, so the pair found itself back in Benton Harbor for a more successful run.

“It’s definitely got a place in my heart,” says guitarist Jamie “Hotel” Hince, who formed the Kills in 2000 with American expatriate Alison “VV” Mosshart. “It’s kind of, on one level, got a sort of tragic history. There’s a sense of despair about it.

“At the same time, we got something strong from that place. We’re indebted to it, in a way.”

Hince says the real lure of Benton Harbor is its mixing board, a Flickinger console that was reportedly made especially for Sly Stone and circuitously made its way into the hands of Key Club owners Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins. In fact, Hince says, it’s the room that’s more important than the surroundings to he and Mosshart.

“We locked ourselves in the studio and kind of created this bubble and didn’t let the outside world effect us so much,” he explains. “We spend a lot of time talking without any guitars or music going on. We sit around and hang out with each other and talk and fire each other up to that point where we feel inspired to pick up the guitar and the song will be written in 20 minutes.

“So that stuff you do before you (write) the song is as important as the writing, really.”

The Kills and Telepathe perform Wednesday (May 7) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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