If there is
such a thing as reincarnation, then Kirk Lang, who doesn’t live too far from the
hustle and bustle of New York City, must have grown up in the south in a past
Kirk Lang and B. B. King in 2011
He loves sweet
tea far more than soda or the latest sports drink, and he grew up loving the
blues despite the fact his peers were all into the latest stars of the moment on
MTV. Pearl Jam, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Kurt Cobain didn’t do it for Lang. Rather, he
sought out the albums of Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King and Buddy
Guy, among others. Soon after reaching puberty, he began taking notice of curvy
bodies, and not just Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Tilly. The bodies he fell in
love with hung on the walls of guitar shops. Partial to Fender Stratocasters,
Lang purchased a Fender-type guitar from a friend with money earned from selling
most of the comic books he had collected as a child. It marked a move from
fantasy to frets, from super-heroes to strings, from powers to picks.
begin taking guitar lessons in 1991, the same year he first saw B.B. King and
rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry in concert. He was too young yet to work or
drive, but his parents made seeing two of his all-time guitar heroes a reality.
His stepfather took him to B.B. King and his mom was with him for Chuck Berry.
Fast forward a few years and Lang would be lucky enough to strum one of John Lee
Hooker’s guitars at the Hard Rock Café in Washington, D.C. and witness up close
and personal the skill and showmanship of another of his guitar heroes, Buddy
Guy, at a small venue in New Haven, CT.
distractions - studies, ladies, etc. - would work to keep Lang away from the
guitar for some time, he never lost his love of the blues. In fact, he hosted a
blues music show - “Late Night with BlackShoes” - for a New Haven-based radio
station (WOWL 530 AM) while in college. It was also around this time, while
working a part-time job at a gas station, that Lang nearly came to blows with
someone in defense of the blues. The station’s CD player was supposed to be
shared equally but Lang’s hard rock-loving co-worker refused to let Lang play
any blues. So what did Lang do? He wrote a blues song about the guy and recorded
the tune with his adopted godfather, Jimmy “The Cobra” Morrison.
The years have
passed since that recording, and much dust collected on the guitar case of
Lang’s second guitar (acquired as a result of some kitchen table gambling with
his late father) but the dust was wiped off in the summer of 2010. Two things
combined to bring Lang back to his instrument - seeing Buddy Guy again last May,
and the birth of his daughter a month later. Lang wants to teach Alyssa more
than her 1,2,3's and A,B,C’s. He wants to share with her the gift of music.
contributor to EarlyBlues.com, Lang has written for, among others, The Sound
magazine, the Connecticut Post, Boxing Digest magazine and
The USA Boxing News.