When you get to be one of the biggest rock bands in Minneapolis-St. Paul, what do you do? After winning Picked to Click and headlined the Star Tribune stage at the Basilica Block Party in 2019, vocal powerhouse Meghan Kreidler and Kiss the Tiger continued their musical win streak with last year’s Vicious Kid, a heralded album that included the song “Hold On To Love” which was inducted into 89.3 The Current’s Chart Show Hall of Fame.
Ok, great. But then what? True to Kreidler’s theatrical roots (she’s also a notable hometown stage actor), the band will take over Icehouse for the month of March to perform Stone Baby, a mix of live music and theater, spoken word and rock, “a mythological origin story that explores unbridled liberation through one’s journey into rock and roll”. We quick chatted with Kreidler about the exciting run of shows.
Secrets of the City: Stone Baby blurs the intersection of theater and live music—how can your already animated and performative live shows get even more theatrical!?
Meghan Kreidler: The biggest difference is that we are actually telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end. There is as much spoken material as there is musical material. In some ways the piece feels like a one-woman show since I’m doing about 99% of the spoken material. But the band plays such an integral role in underscoring those moments, as well as creating the sonic world of the piece. We’re also stepping outside of ourselves and into the roles of these characters. As the main storytelling vehicle, people are going to witness more emotional ups-and-downs as the psychology of my character unravels. The piece features one new song as well as songs across our entire discography. People will recognize some tunes or might be prompted to revisit our very first self-titled album from 2016. Other songs have been repurposed as underscoring. Every song helps to propel the story forward.
Kiss the Tiger is one of the biggest bands in Minneapolis-St. Paul, maybe even the biggest hometown rock band right now, does that require you to go in new directions like doing this theatrical performance? Or does that give you the leeway to do it?
It’s a little of both I think. In the last year we’ve played so much in the Twin Cities so I’m really excited to surprise our fans and to show them another side of us. We also have been able to garner more attention and praise over the last year which will hopefully get more people out regardless of what they know about the piece. I also come from a theater background and have built my career primarily in this town as an actor. It’s only until this past year that I’ve really decided to step away from that and focus on music, so it’s exciting for me to share this piece with my peers in the theatre community as well. That’s why partnering with Trademark Theater made a lot of sense. We can draw on our audiences in the music and theatre communities and hopefully challenge both of them with this genre-blurring work.
We can’t wait to see the spoken word elements of Stone Baby, especially as a part of Kiss the Tiger’s energetic, fast, loud live shows. Is this something that you’ve always wanted to do or is adding in a spoken word element a new element of the music making?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I think for our group it makes sense. We have some songs, like “Bully” and “You Are The One”, that are a little more talk-singing. My schooling in theater was heavily focused on the classics, specifically Shakespeare. He wrote primarily in iambic pentameter which is a rhythmic, metered structure. There is a musicality to his language and a way in which the verse matches the heartbeat of the character. When he disrupts the structure he’s trying to indicate an emotional shift in the character. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say this piece is Shakespearean, I will say that the words and music are inextricably intertwined. The music propels the spoken word and the spoken word propels the music. It has a distinct heartbeat and pulse. For this piece, that heartbeat tends to live in that very energetic, fast place that people have come to associate with our band. But there are quieter moments too because we understood in the crafting of this that we needed to give the audience time to process and sit with what is happening. It’s very dynamic!
The list of openers for the run of shows at Icehouse features some heavy hitters. Did you select Tina Schlieske, The Controversial New Skinny Pill, Diane, and Mary Cutrufello because their music matches, they’ll wind up the crowd, or you wanted to hang with them before/after the show?
They’re all artists that I greatly admire and that I just wanted to have on the bill with us. Every act is so different from one another too which I’m hoping will draw different crowds each night. Because Stone Baby is so different from what people normally expect when seeing live music, it didn’t matter to us that the openers matched us musically. We want our audiences to have a great experience and to be able to see two different things side-by-side that they won’t be able to experience anywhere else.
We’re huge fans of some of your stage outfits (the giant sequin eye? c’mon!), how strong will the fashion game be for you and the band for Stone Baby?
Aw, shucks! We are going with a more neutral approach with the wardrobe for this piece! (Hopefully that isn’t disappointing! HaHa) Instead of our outfits creating a super specific story for the audience, we really want to appear as more of a blank slate and for the story to unfold itself from that place of aesthetic neutrality. The men won’t look too different from how they normally dress, but I won’t be sporting as flamboyant a look as I normally do! I will say that we are bringing in a lighting designer and adding some additional lighting elements to the Icehouse stage—so there’s going to be a theatrical and heightened flair that comes from that. Thanks for the thoughtful questions and if you’ve made it this far, COME SEE STONE BABY AT ICEHOUSE EVERY WEDNESDAY THIS MONTH!!! It’s going to be wild and I know people will be titillated by what we’ve cooked up.
Kiss the Tiger’s Stone Baby runs March at Icehouse on WEDS. Tickets available.