Saturday, October 18, 2008

Xiren undergoes strange journey in 08

Originally published in Colorado Music Buzz Magazine, October 2008

Considering the scams, bus crashes and wedding vows, 2008 has been a monster year for singer-songwriter Xiren, real name Daryl Xiren Kenny. And it’s not over yet; he believes his new album, Trip-R, could be the breakout recording he’s been seeking since his move from Detroit to Denver 12 years ago.

“When we look back at all the great records that were ever made, the people making them knew that they had something special at the time, and it’s a little bit of that feeling,” Xiren says. “We’ll see if there’s any legitimacy in that.”

His fifth original recording, Trip-R swings like a designated hitter, wielding supersonic sensibility and aggressive theatrics and a theme of “rock n’ roll revenge.” It’s a style similar to that of U2, a group Xiren “holds up on the pedestal.

Besides the music, there’s the Irish heritage he can identify with; Xiren’s father is an Irish migrant who gave him the Gaelic middle name he goes by now. Perhaps above all, however, Ciren admires the international supergroup’s humanitarian efforts. It’s why he works charity into each of his concerts: the Trip-R release party last month donated a portion of the tickets sold to The Chanda Plan Foundation, a group dedicated to making Eastern physical therapy available to those with physical disabilities.

“There’s so much self-promotion in music,” he says. “Your name and photos are on flyers and marquees, and my god; it has got to be about something else.”

Being kind to the world doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be nice in return. In May, Xiren journeyed into India to participate in an organized tour with ten other artists from around the world. What he’d find there, however, was “a relatively well-executed scam of some level.” It was discovered that the promoter running the show had created his own record label, taking on several identities with various cell phone numbers and email addresses, and had barely booked the artists; Xiren says his two shows were booked at a flea market and a tiny bar. He says the company that had set him up with the tour via contest, Sonicbids, had assured him that he’d was partaking in a legit operation.

“They obviously didn’t vet the client at all,” Xiren says. “There’s no selection process, no background check, no credibility check. Pretty much anybody can sign up. They start taking independent artists’ money and literally offer nothing. I think it’s possibly the biggest fraud perpetuated on the independent music community today.”

Things looked to be on the up upon his return with a nationwide tour with his backing band. Three weeks in, a devastating bus crash scrapped those hopes and left ruined equipment scattered across a Midwest highway.

It also shook up several band mates to the point of resignation, and Xiren is currently seeking replacements. He says those interested should check out his Jack-o-Launch show at Pumpkinfest in Aurora on October 12 and catch the band after the show.

Life’s been much better to the man lately; besides dropping Trip-R, he married his long-time girlfriend in August. But looking back on the year, he says the hardships had their place: “It’s like Jane’s Addiction said: ‘Sometimes to realize you are well, someone must come along and hurt you.’”

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