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All Hail the Cheese

Iwas supposed to meet Kennedy somewhere colorful to talk about his latest release, Kennedy for President (Atlantic), someplace befitting his glittery persona. I wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty. Was he really kicked out of the Silversun Pickups for lighting the lead singer’s sweater on fire? Did he really snort PCP off a hipster’s trucker hat onstage, then go shoot up cars in the parking lot? Or was this all part of his pimped-out image? But quite suddenly and without warning, he up and left for London last weekend, canceling a handful of L.A. shows he had lined up. To my disappointment, we had to do a phoner.

So as he speaks to me on an unusually sunny London day from his Notting Hill digs, I have to imagine Kennedy looking like he usually does — like the kind of guy Cobrasnake creams his pants over: ironic hair, ironic glasses, pimped-out jewelry (mirrored rings to do lines of coke, gold chains). Alas, under advice from his lawyer, he wouldn’t comment on getting the boot from the Silversun Pickups, or the alleged PCP incident, but (of course) he was more than happy to chat about his latest release, which he claims outlines the platform on which he plans to run for president of the world. Should we take his candidacy as a statement on Bush and his ilk? “I won’t comment on the current administration,” he says, “because I don’t want to get shot in the face by Dick Cheney.”

Kennedy’s agenda includes courageous stances for MILF love and white trash, with a strong opposition to reality television. He’s campaigning via his own YouTube channel, where you can hear his Internet hit single, “Your Mama,” a soulful groove that sounds like Weird Al doing Luther Vandross. The lyrics — “Nobody loves you/like your mama loves you/but who’s lovin’ your mama?/I am. I am” — are delivered tongue firmly in cheek. You can also watch the viral video for the song. “Mama Made Me a Pimp”?’s thumping rap and rhyme recalls shades of Yankovic’s “Amish Paradise.” Yeah, the songs on Kennedy for President are Velveeta smooth and just as cheesy, but hooky and fun enough for cruising and, after a few drinks, maybe even for dancing. I can see cutting a rug to the funky “Hillbilly Witchcraft,” even chanting along to “There ain’t no money in the bank/There ain’t no booze left to drink.”

“These are deep songs,” says Kennedy, brimming with self-efficacy. “They have so much meaning. It’s pretty much the record the whole world has been waiting for. I know that’s a little like Babe Ruth pointing to his home run, but I predicted in two places on the album that it would reach No. 1. It is the most important record since Pet Sounds.” As for London, Kennedy says he had to go suddenly when his U.K. label asked him to do some promotion work for Kennedy for President. The same CD will be released stateside by Cordless Recordings on September 25. Silver Lake’s prodigal son will be back in the fall with a new set of dates. “I hope we get to meet in person then,” Kennedy says as we sign off. “Bring your mom.”


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