Hauraki Hoedown – Kirk Rundstrom Tribute

Written by on March 15, 2007

One of my all time favourite live Alt-country bands was Split Lip Rayfied. They were one of the most original, hard working, nose-to-the-ground musical units you’d ever hope to see and their live shows were always sweaty, high-octane, beer feuled affairs that often left me contemplating buying a crappy old van and following these guys across the beaten musical pathways of the USA. I was shocked when last year I heard that Kirk Rundstrom, the tattood guitar player and one of the main songwriters in the band had been diagnosed with Esopheagal cancer. Kirk looked kind of mean while on stage; his guitar playing was ferocious and I often wondered how the hell he kept it up for a whole show, but afterwards he was a humble and down-to-earth guy with a wife, a couple of kids and a strong passion for the type of music SLR were creating. On February 22nd, 2007 Kirk lost his battle with cancer. He had quit the chemo ’cause he was sick of laying around in bed and he got the band back together and they did what they did best – went on tour. Kirk’s last show was December 8th, 2006 at the Cotillion in Wichita, Kansas. This show has fortunately been captured for airing on TV and you can watch it in 6 parts on YouTube.

I still can’t believe that I will never see another Split Lip Rayfield show again … that sucks! I’d always hoped that maybe one day we’d get them down to NZ and I think they would have liked it. I would have sold my house to see a SLR show in NZ; to have stood in front of Eaton’s weedwhacker strung gastank bass, 2-fingered salute ready to go and a gut full of beer … i’d have bought that van!

R.I.P. Kirk (but keep playing guitar!)

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