Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
Kitten on the Keys's musician dad was born with crossed-eyes.
In this podcast, Kitten, a musician in her own right, traces her story back to her parents. Both were born and raised in southeastern Missouri. Her dad made his way out as a traveling musician when he was 14. Her mom took a job after college in Washington, DC.
Eventually, the two made their ways back to their shared hometown: East Prairie, MO. They got married and came to the Bay Area because her dad wanted to become a music teacher. Then they moved to Lafayette, where Kitten (née Suzanne) was born. She says her dad worked hard during the week and then gigged hard on the weekends. "He was always gone."
Thanks mostly to her mom, Kitten grew up singing in the Lutheran church. In her teen years, she went with the church on several trips to Mexico. She shares a pretty out-there story from those journeys south.
She was in a Christian dance troupe called "The Earthen Angels." But the group eventually got shut down because, with the A/C in the church cranked, their leotards were allegedly too revealing.
Kitten and her siblings all took music lessons, but she says she was never good at any instruments when she was young. In fact, she says, she's shocked that she's a musician today. Once she able to start choosing her own music (you gotta hear a great story about a switcheroo involving "Bohemian Rhapsody"), she enjoyed playing.
We end Part 1 with Kitten sharing stories of her earliest and fondest memories of visiting San Francisco, including taking classes at ACT and meeting all sort of punk kids and seeing some legendary bands.
Don't miss Part 2, which drops this Thursday wherever you get your podcasts.
We recorded this podcast at Royal Cuckoo Market in the Mission District in December 2021.