Kindred Spirit

“He was the exact type of person that grindcore is meant for — a true maniac.”
So says Agent of Satan’s Lord Balsakk of his longtime friend, bandmate, and Bay Area grind/powerviolence standard-bearer Kindred (aka Stinkweed), a main player in Plutocracy and Agents Of Satan who passed away recently under mysterious circumstances. (“He was afflicted by a major infection associated with a broken leg as well as other ailments that outsiders would not know about,” the Doomryderz web clearinghouse somewhat cryptically reports.) To acknowledge his life and commemorate the loss of an extreme music lifer, Decibel has interlaced lively, heartfelt eulogies from Balsakk and No Less/Agents of Satan artist Aaron Guadamuz below with a few of the select cuts that helped cement Kindred’s musical legacy. (Thanks to Greg Heiman for flyer scans and links.) R.I.P.

Lord Balsakk:

Kindred McCune aka Stinkweed Malone, has passed beyond our realm and will be deeply missed.

He could be very intimidating especially in his younger days. When I first met him, I thought, “This dude could snap any second and beat my ass.” None of the mohawks, crusties, or skinheads frightened me at Gilman St., but Kindred and the rest of the Dankdaddies had a menacing way about them that was unlike any established cartoon fad that plagued that scene of the early 90’s. These dudes had a look and vibe about them that had the Gilman scene shitting their pants. I frequented the club in hopes of discovering a band unlike any other before and when Plutocracy rolled in to play a bill with Rorschach, they blew the roof off the place and I had a new favorite band.

Kindred rolled with a wild mob of characters, all of them having aliases like Pelon, Snowman, Kalmex, Big Boy, Piggy, etc., and their mission was to introduce the new face of truly dangerous music. Kindred was always the key figurehead of it all, the “Toe-cutter” of the pack. He might not have been calling all the shots but when the Dankdaddies were present, he was their siren and bullhorn, no less. When Kindred strapped on a guitar and was mic’d up on stage, he would erupt like a top fuel muscle car and lay waste. All rules were off and he’d often piss his bandmates off with his ranting banter between songs and infamously smashed a guitar to pieces over his head once at the end of a set. At the end of the day, he actually was ‘El Presidente’ of the west Bay Koalition as he self proclaimed himself over a decade ago. While the rest of us moved on with jobs, marriage, kids and other avenues of adult life, he stayed true to the grind lifestyle, living closer to the core than anybody I’ve ever known.

He spent many stretches behind bars. He spent time in the psych ward. He wrote riffs that could start riots. He spit rhymes that could incite revolutions.

Fellow musicians in our age group will testify to the fact that there are a good number of true revolutionary minds making music under the banner of metal out there right now that will never truly be recognized and rewarded for their labors by the status quo and Kindred’s legacy is tantamount to this fact. Aside from Terrorizer acknowledging Plutocracy’s Dankstahz album as one of the Top 20 American Grind Albums, the media gave little attention to Plutocracy and No Less. Kindred came onto the scene full speed ahead, commanding with power and creativity that your average Guitar Center customer only wished they could charge on their Visa card. His influences ran the gamut of all genres before it was a popular selling point like it is today. Ask any of his high school friends and they will attest to Kindred blaring gangsta rap and classic rock out of the same box he cranked Megadeth, Vio-lence, Napalm and Cro-mags through. He knew all the best parts of every great song. He always carried a boombox and it was always at “11.” He would be driving and would spend more attention on rewinding the sick riff or rhyme or beat on the tape playing in the car stereo than keeping the wheels between the lines. He wore cassettes out faster than anybody, stretching the life and hidden magic out of them. He could be blazed, keyed, and totally sideways and be able to create a song complete with title, theme, and uniquely captivating riff in a matter of minutes.

My memories of Kin will forever be strong reminders of how powerful ideas and effective art are often overlooked due to peers misconceptions of the person behind such strong material. Kindred’s intensity and vision was second to none in the international grind scene. He saw through all the bullshit and needed no guide(s) to do so. I could listen to his stories and theories for hours, and though some of the facts might have been off, his message was always undeniable. He was a master craftsman when it came to writing a song, both musically and lyrically. When he had no opportunity to jam with a full band, he would work on his rap material. He wasn’t some bullshit rap-metal poser, he was the real deal and he knew that. He knew he could freestyle most MC’s into the dirt and had recorded a ton of rap material that is legendary in our crew and most of which were never formally released aside from The Shedwellaz 12″ on Satan’s Pimp and the Shadow People CD on Family of Resistance.

The old saying definitely applies to Kin and his legacy — “The brightest stars burn the hottest and are gone before you know it.” Some of Kindred’s highest regarded heroes were of the same spirit — Syd Barrett, Paul Baloff, Gar Samuelson, and Darby Crash were amongst those cherished and constantly honored vocally by Kin. These little insights to his soul are just scratching the surface as he had many layers and every so often, and especially recently, he began to show a gentler side of himself to those that were close to him. I know that I was very fortunate to have known somebody as intensely gifted and disaffected as Kindred and will probably never cross paths with someone of his magnitude again, may he rest in peace.

Some of Kindred’s musical contributions include the following bands/groups: Plutocracy, No Less, Agents of Satan, Shedwellaz, Shadow People, Go Like This, Torture Unit, Bullshit Excuse, Kalmex & The Riffmerchants, and the Meatshits. Unreleased recordings by Go Like This will finally be released and we hope to get at least two of them out by the end of the year. Keep checking in on Doomryderz.Blogspot.Com.

Aaron Guadamuz:

Kindred was a friend of mine for close to 20 years, but I knew who he was before I actually knew him. I think everyone in Redwood did. He was the kind of person who you couldn’t hang out with without coming away with some kind of story or anecdote and he was naturally hilarious. He lived pretty hard when we were younger and I witnessed him terrify, infuriate and shock many a club owner, soundman, security guard, friend and female. All this being said, he was a great a guy with a huge heart and I was downright crushed when I found out about his passing. Kindred will be remembered for a lot of things, but I will remember him the most for being a great fucking guitar player.