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Black Kids putting fun back into pop
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Remember when pop music was fun, and not excessively loud or performed by ego-tripping artists with their own clothing lines? Remember when you could dance to it and not feel guilty if the lyrics were about someone plotting murder on their ex-lover? Do you recall the '80s, when the B-52s and Go-Gos made you wanna dance at a live show, instead of flicking a lighter on every other song? Meet the Black Kids. This Jacksonville, Florida quintet is on a mission to make cool, uncomplicated pop songs catered for a dance floor and for fans of all ages, orientations, and - thank goodness for me - shapes. Gay men have quickly become a staple at Black Kids concerts, maybe because the male band members are adorable and the female ones remind us of the girls who sat next to us during Home-Ec class. "I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance," the first Black Kids single, and a favorite on Gay-propelled Logo TV helped the five-piece earn an MTV VMA nomination for Best New Artist this year. The group performs October 10 at Neumos (www.neumos.com) - dance sneakers and headbands not provided, but encouraged. Ear-sample the act's music at www.myspace.com/blackkidsrock.

Exotic-looking lead singer Reggie Youngblood, who is equal parts Filipino and African-American, was hanging out in Manhattan's lower East side on a day off when our phone lines crisscrossed. Here's what he gabbed about inside "The Music Lounge."

Albert Rodriguez: You guys are playing at Neumos, right smack in the Gay district and a mix of Gays, alt rockers, and hipsters. Any chance you'll hightail it to a Gay bar after the show?

Reggie Youngblood: Which ones are the best?

Rodriguez: Purr is about a block away, and if you want stiff cocktails you can walk up to CC's or The Cuff - those drinks can start your car. Neighbours is our predominantly Gay dance club, and it's a block away. Are there Gay bars in Jacksonville?

Youngblood: Yeah, there are. The part of town we live in kind of sounds like what you described - at one point, it was the Gayest zip code in all of Florida.

Rodriguez: Do you notice Gay boys in the audience at your shows dancing and getting wild?

Youngblood: [Laughs.] It's funny; when you said that all I can think about is our Gay friends who come to our Baltimore and DC shows. They're impossible to ignore; they're awesome!

Rodriguez: What did you hear or think about Seattle growing up?

Youngblood: I thought Chris Cornell was God for years. I'd watch MTV and they're playing Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood" and the very next video was "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And Death Cab for Cutie is from there, right?

Rodriguez: They sure are. How many people tell you they love your hair?

Youngblood: I get a lot of people who don't really feel they need to ask, they just kind of touch me and pet me like a pet - just complete strangers.

Rodriguez: Are you easily recognized in Jacksonville when you go to Dairy Queen or Quiznos?

Youngblood: I'm not trying to sound conceited, but I was pretty recognizable before. It seems like everyone knew me, all the homeless people knew me.

Rodriguez: You grew up eating good, homemade Filipino food?

Youngblood: Oh yeah. But I didn't know it was good at the time. I always shunned it.

Rodriguez: My parents had close Filipino friends, and as a result I grew up eating a lot of their food because we'd often get together for meals.

Youngblood: So you know all about the pancit and lumpia then. I haven't had Filipino food in ages because I only eat my mother's.

Rodriguez: You don't search it out when you're on tour?

Youngblood: No, I don't. It might have something to do with the fact that I've become vegetarian.

Rodriguez: Besides sleeping, what goes on in the Black Kids tour bus?

Youngblood: Gosh, it's painfully boring. Everyone's obsessed with television shows on DVD - that's all they do is sit at their computers and watch series after series. We read, every once in a while.

Rodriguez: What shows are you guys watching on DVD?

Youngblood: I'm not watching any currently because I broke my Mac. I dropped it. Kevin, right now, is enamored with Mad Men. Dawn really likes to see Weeds. I've only seen seasons one and two of Weeds, and it's really great.

Rodriguez: Do you have a favorite city to play in, one that you can't wait to get to on tour?

Youngblood: DC, both times, has been really amazing. We were in Philly last night, and that was amazing. We haven't had a bad show in a long time. Our hometown show was fantastic; it was the first time we played this certain venue that I couldn't even get close to before and we sold it out.

Rodriguez: I think Black Kids would be a blast to party with. If I were to go to Florida, would we do some partying?

Youngblood: Definitely. We'd take you to two or three good places where you could actually party and listen to music.

Rodriguez: And get some home-cooked Filipino food?

Youngblood: That's guaranteed.

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