Farewell, Pink Kodiak 

Savannah's loss is Des Moines' gain as our one-man band hits the road

As Maya Angelou said, so eloquently, about Michael Jackson: We had him. For nearly three years, Savannah had Pink Kodiak. Now he's easing on down the road.

Pink Kodiak is the nom de stage of Jeremy Hilbert, who writes sweet, simple, sometimes humorous songs, records basic tracks and then performs live - playing left-handed bass guitar - to the tracks.

It's a variation on the ol' one-man-band scenario, although Pink Kodiak sounds nothing like Bert the Chimney Sweep from Mary Poppins - he doesn't pound a bass drum, strum a ukulele and blow a trumpet all at the same time. Get that picture out of your mind. Now.

Hilbert calls his music "death pop," but it's not metal, it's not goth, and the Dark Lord Satan makes few, in any appearances in the lyrics.

"I didn't know what to call it; I didn't know what it really was," Hilbert says. "I thought I would stop everybody from trying and just make up my own label. Initially, I wanted the songs to be based on death, whether it was losing a life or like the death of something - I'd moved from Iowa to here, that was kind of the end of something."

Ah, yes. Iowa. Hilbert and his artist wife Christine are headed back to Des Moines, their hometown - Saturday's show at the Jinx will be Pink Kodiak's Savannian swan song.

"When we came down here, at the very end of 2006, we didn't know anyone and I didn't have a job," he explains. "She was just enrolled in school. I had enough songs of Pink Kodiak material recorded for a short set, but I'd never played a show as Pink Kodiak in Iowa. I was in a three-piece power pop group."

Hilbert became a one-man band almost by accident. It was, for all intents and purposes, an electronic experiment.

"I bought a digital 8-track, I had a Casio keyboard, a Korg drum machine, a bass and an acoustic guitar," he says. "I'm like, ‘Well, here's my tools. Let's go to work.' And I just used what I had.

"I don't have an electric guitar and I won't ever use one on Pink Kodiak. I want to use my bass to make as much electric guitar noise as I can, and hopefully fool some people into thinking ‘Wow, that's a really nice tone.' It's all bass."

After his first solo show, a SCAD Radio benefit, he decided against bringing in other musicians. "It's like well, why give up any creative energy when I know exactly how I want it, and I can add three or four more parts or go simple with it?

"It's a really good situation, and I've really kind of come into my own with it, and really like doing it like this."

Indeed, the Hostess City has embraced Pink Kodiak, and Hilbert's melancholic (and decidedly melodic) songs like "Don't Ask Elvis," "Alec Baldwin is So Heavy" and "Dead Doctors Don't Lie."

"If you'd told me when this started I'd be onstage telling jokes and singing songs by myself, I'd have told you you were crazy," he laughs. "I had no intentions of that at all."

He's recently added an oscillator - it's a synthesized effects machine - to his arsenal.

Christine Hilbert, a painter and jewelry maker, has finished her time at SCAD, and her husband has left his job teaching 7th-grade social studies. So one more show, and that's a wrap.

"It was a good experience, but it wasn't really what I was after, as far as teaching goes," Hilbert explains. "Also, I really feel like Pink Kodiak is reaching the ceiling, to an extent, in Savannah.

"I've gotten to do so many amazing things, and I couldn't have asked for a better response from a place. I was always amazed at how much people were into Pink Kodiak, and enjoyed it, and the notoriety that comes along with it has been really, really nice.

"But it's time to kind of grow, and I'm excited to take it home."

 Pink Kodiak

With Dare Dukes, Keith Kozel & the Champions

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

When: 10 p.m. Saturday

Cover: $7

Artist Web site: www.myspace.com/pinkkodiak




















About The Author

Bill DeYoung

Bill DeYoung

Bill DeYoung was Connect's Arts & Entertainment Editor from May 2009 to August 2014.

More by Bill DeYoung


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