Video: Bald Cow Reunion Concert, Berwyn, Illinois, Memorial Day 2004


At long last, as promised.

There were any number of open questions going into this show. One was: Will our one-time mentor, mascot, biggest fan and harshest critic, N. K. “Kip” Kamada, be there? No one had heard from him, but on the day, he was there. Kip is a dwarf, scarcely four feet tall. I think it is ten years since I saw him last. He still had his nasty moustache, much like a Japanese Vince Guaraldi. He had on a yellow tie with pictures of Gumby on it (pretty much like this one, but yellow, with smaller Gumbies). I was cheered by his presence. As irritating as he can be (admit it, Kip!) he is the Cow’s human good luck charm, our ambulatory rabbit’s foot with the body mass of, say, a mature mastiff. As always, Kip did his unique Hawaiian surfer dance right down front during the show, and brought us lots of good juju.

He sent me this email after the show:

I was about ready to spit when I saw that flyer about a Bald Cow reunion show after 14 years. (But thanks for quoting me.) Too damn late to change the name, comrade. You never would listen. The lows were really low, remember? Maybe funny-ha-ha, but low. Why go back? But on more pondering, the highs were � what exactly? Better not to say. Just leave it that you guys at least WANTED to scale Olympus, to batter down the gates of Valhalla. At least you knew there was such a place, a land of heroes, with its ghosts of great shows past and present and to come, and the worlds best jukebox with big-hole ’45s in it next to the bar, and the blare of the electric guitars, and the smell of stale, spilled beer, and a howling crowd packed into the space in front of the stage, with throats hoarse from shouting along, and hair and shirts all wet from sweat � . Better to die on the slopes than never to set out, etc. I knew right away when I saw that look about you guys when I came down the basement stairs that you had SOME of that juice left, that desire. And you before the show, on your fourth beer, back-slapping, with your same old spiel which I first heard in maybe 1988 about how you think any Bald Cow gig is really on the Ready Steady Go! Show or at the Marquee Club or the Rat and it is 1965 or 1977 or 1981 all over again, and you are young and skinny all over again, if only you squint hard enough, or click your ruby slippers, or wish upon a star � . Well, no. Sorry, dude. It is what it is. And age has not made you hit the notes any better, either, not hardly. But yet you still aspire to the GRANDEUR OF ROCK?, A five person band playing in some guy’s basement in front of maybe 12 people almost as washed-up as you are (myself included)? OK, then here’s your performance review, we’ll do it pass/fail: Yes, it was worth the road trip in these sorry times. And even though you will never be more than a wart on the ass of the vast, dumb Brontosaurus which is Rock-N-Roll, even that small achievement means that you have managed for now and for all the ages to come to be PART OF THE LEGEND. So thanks, cowboys (and cowgirl!), for returning for this unexpected encore, and kicking out the jams con brio (but not error-free �), and leaving my aging ears nicely ringing at work the next day for one more time. I wouldn’t have missed it even for three hundred bucks. And I hope we really will do it all again next year.

Thanks, Kip. You have always been a hard guy to please. I know we never lived up to your dreams for us. I stipulate that we can never make it really be 1965 or 1977 or even 1981 again. But I take this all to mean you liked the show kinda/sorta. Anyway, please, don’t ever change.

And to the rest of you: Again I say: Moo!

UPDATE, February 8, 2012. Kip has apparently been in poor health, based on unverifiable rumors. I tried to reach him but he is not responding to emails and he was never willing to give out a phone number. I have often wondered if he was pulling my leg when he said the “N” in N.K. stood for Nambu-Pistol. If any of you hear anything, send me an email or leave a comment.