We asked the always-engaging Aby Wolf to headline this go-around of our tribute night, and her choice of Kate Bush made so much sense to us. We can’t wait to hear her take on the weird, wonderful world of Kate. Here’s what Aby had to say about her discovery of Kate’s artistry and music:
“You MAHST listen to Kate Boosh.”
I’m a huge fan of Kate Bush’s music. She’s a beautiful, brave, zany badass super babe, and I’m incredibly inspired by her as an artist, a performer, and as a human. This is how I came across her complex and unconventional pop music:
The first time I traveled outside of the U.S, I took off 4 weeks of work from the Wedge Co-op deli and headed to Mexico with a boy I was dating. I was 23 years old, a baby toddler in the great big woods. Matt spoke pretty fluent Spanish; I could order enchiladas and find el baño. I showed up at the airport with the batiked cotton duffel bag my stepmom had bought for me in Bali, which dissolved into a pile of broken straps after an hour of trying to wear it like a backpack. Spent about a quarter of my meager budget for the trip within the first couple hours in Mexico City purchasing a sturdy Oakley backpack from a shop on the zócalo mall.
After a few days in Mexico City, a solid week in Guadalajara, and a brief stint in Oaxaca, we bused ourselves to the tiny oceanside village of San Agustinillo to find Steve, a friend of a friend who promised to put us up for a week or so at his beachy homestead. On our first day there, the dudes went out after lunch and I sat at Steve’s handmade wooden kitchen table all afternoon, making abstract paintings with the little kit of art supplies I’d brought along. I’d been feeling like a tag-along for the whole trip, and I was grateful for some personal time to reflect. Steve had a CD boom box and a stack of discs on his desk, many of which were titles I hadn’t heard of. I randomly picked up Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” and pushed play. As the music started I realized it had been a couple of weeks since I’d heard any music sung in English at all, let alone a record that made my heart explode with inspiration. I listened to the entire album about four times through as I painted and it made me excited to keep my ears perked for more.
Matt and I hung out at Steve’s in San Agustinillo for over a week. We explored the town, made new friends and then we broke up. One of the last outings we went on together was a sunrise boat tour. We woke early, walked down the beach to the neighboring ville of Mazunte, and joined a group of tourists gathered around a pile of cold, soggy life jackets in the dim morning light. There were about 14 of us, folks from all over the world. We set out onto the waves in two motorboats, killing the engines a couple of times so one of the muscular guides could dive off the boat and surface holding a massive sea turtle for us all to wow and photograph. After returning to shore a couple hours later, Matt headed back to Steve’s house for the day and I decided to check out the continental breakfast at the nearby beach cafe.
Breakfast was strong coffee and fresh bread with butter. A few folks from the boat ride also stopped to hang out and drink coffee as we chatted and I drew in my journal. We were waited on by a lovely young woman from the tour, who was dating the man who owned the boats and the cafe. She spoke good English in an accent I couldn’t place and was very friendly. We started talking about music and I mentioned having just heard Jeff Buckley for the first time. Her eyes went wide and she asked “have you ever heard Kate Boosh?!” I said I hadn’t. She raved and raved about how much she loved her music and her wild videos, and I made a note in my journal that said “KATE BUSH HOUNDS OF LOVE.”
When I finally got back to Minneapolis, I hit up the Lake Street Cheapo and sure enough, came across “Hounds of Love” in the used bins. Upon first listen, I thought it was some of the weirdest pop music I’d ever heard. It took a long time for me to digest the whole album, but the cover photograph struck me right away. The shot of Kate embracing two silky dogs amidst a backdrop of swirling purple fabric is sexy, strange and magical, but also funny in a trickster kind of way. Her expression is one of a supremely confident and powerful WOMAN in charge.
A couple years later after I bought my first laptop, I recall spending hours at the Nicollet Spyhouse falling down the Kate Bush YouTube rabbit hole, chugging coffee and watching video after insane video. When I first started performing my own singer/songwritery tunes around town, I worked a cover of “Running Up That Hill” into the set, and it was always the most fun of the night for me. I’m still discovering gems in her amazing repertoire, and I’ll leave you with one of my favorite deep cuts.