Kiss The Frog: Charles (guitar), Barry (bass), Peter (drums)

Kiss the Frog is one of the more adventurous and apparently confusing bands on the circuit today. Since formation in 1998, Kiss The Frog’s improvisational prowess ranges from swamp funk to the avant garde plus   heaping helpings of thrash bop and the kosmische atmospherics.  Are they jazz?  Are they rock?  Are they insane? Are they really going to spontaneously improvise a multi-sectional 30 minute symphony on stage? Every Kiss The Frog performance is completely different and their recordings are an experience unlike anything else you’ve heard.

Live at TR!P Santa Monica 1/17/2019. Photo by Brandon Tyler Williams

Kiss The Frog is made up of guitarist/vocalist/composer Charles Morogiello, bassist Barry Newton and drummer Peter Hillman.

This is what Starvox UK had to say about the final show of KTF’s 2002 European tour stop at The Dublin Castle in London UK:

“The music is mostly instrumental – long, looping workouts that unfurl and curl back on themselves. The bass is nimble, dancing all over the drums, which themselves jump around all over the place but still somehow keep the beat rock-solid and pushing forward. Over all this, great shuddering slabs of distort-o-guitar arrive like gatecrashers at a party. The band use about a squillion effects pedals, and sometimes they just seem to play the effects: the sounds are in the effects loops, going round and round, then out to the Theremin, and back again. Ah, yes, the Theremin. This is Kiss The Frog’s secret weapon: played as a lead instrument, via all those effects pedals, it whoops and buzzes and shrieks like a whole army of fuzzed-out guitarists.

“The band seem to have attracted some fans from somewhere – they all look like Zonker in the Doonesbury cartoon strip – but mostly they’re playing to a mix of goths and indie kids, all of whom, I’d guess, are utterly unfamiliar with the music. And yet, the room is captivated, and when the final song fades out in a fuzzstorm of effects, the applause is tremendous. I’m left feeling that maybe I should’ve got into the Grateful Dead after all. Dammit, this stuff is good.”

Starvox UK
Live at TR!P Santa Monica 1/17/2019. Photo by Brandon Tyler Williams

Charles has performed or recorded with Don Preston (Frank Zappa), Mark Karan (The Dead, The Other Ones, Rat Dog), Stew & The Negro Problem, Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood). He studied composition with electronic music pioneers Mel Powell, Morton Subotnik and Terry Riley and participated in lessons and masterclasses with Wadada Leo Smith, Earle Brown, Lou Harrison, James Tenney, Harold Budd, Carl Stone, Stephen ‘Lucky’ Mosko, John Bergamo and Swapan Chaudhuri amongst others. Charles plays Fender guitars and amplifiers, Big Briar (Moog) theremin, and too many effects pedals… including ones made by Meris, Montreal Assembly, JRockett, Ibanez, Boss, Catalinbread, Earthquaker Devices, Moog, Geoffrey Teese and TC Electronic.

Live at TR!P Santa Monica 1/17/2019. Photo by Brandon Tyler Williams

Barry has performed with a wide ranging who’s who of music legends including Yes, Guns N Roses, The Scorpions and Sirs Elton John and Paul McCartney as an in-demand session and live bassist. In addition to live performance, Barry teaches music theory, music history and bass performance at Pepperdine University and Ventura College. Barry plays Fender electric basses, a Marshall super lead amplifier (heavily modified by Pete) and Eden cabinets.

Live at TR!P Santa Monica 1/17/2019. Photo by Brandon Tyler Williams

Peter has performed with some of the greatest jazz musicians on the planet including Eddie Harris, Leroy Vinnegar, Charlie Haden, Blue Mitchell, John Patitucci and Kai Akagi. Peter studied rock and jazz drumming with Ginger Baker and Elvin Jones. In addition to being KTF’s beating heart, Pete is also its technological guru… bending circuits, performing emergency amplifier repairs and wrangling a mountain vintage of studio equipment. Don’t let the photo above confuse you… Peter plays Gretsch drums (almost) exclusively.

Pucker up.