From the Vault...


Sam Kinison
"Leader Of The Banned"

© Warner Bros. Records

Year of Release: 1990

track listing
  • Detox This/
    Shopping For Pets/
    Sex Videotape And
    Zoo Animals
    Jerry's Bastard Kid
    Lenny Bruce's Mom
  • Gonna Raise Hell
  • Mississippi Queen
  • Under My Thumb
  • Highway To Hell

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    The Who--Two's Missing
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    Sam Kinison
    "Leader Of The Banned"

    Comedian Sam Kinison was with us in popularity from 1978 to 1992. Sadly, he died in a car accident on April 10, 1992, at the young age of 38. An accomplished comedian, his loud, obnoxious humor made him a household name. His appearance as a ghost on the Christmas episode of the TV show Married With Children was a classic. It was entitled "It's A Bundyful Life," based on the classic movie "It's A Wonderful Life." It was in two parts, of which Kinison appeared in the second part as the "Clarence" type character, telling Al Bundy how it would be, if Al was never born. He released a total of four albums, and numerous club performances. HIs third album released in 1990, Leader Of The Banned features a half-hour sketch of numerous topics, and Sam's take on Rock & Roll songs.

    The half-hour sketch was from a standup comedy recorded at Bally's In Las Vegas. It features (1) Detox This, (2) Shopping For Pets, (3) Sex, Videotape And Zoo Animals, (4) Jerry's Bastard Kid (Jerry Lewis), (5) Lenny Bruce's Mom, (6) Casual Users Of Terrorism, (7) Old People Must Die, (8) Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and (9) Phone Call From Hell. During the sketch, Sam brings out Doug Bady, a member of the "Outlaws of Comedy" entourage, most notably on "Jerry's Bastard Kid," as they critize Lewis' annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethons, throughout the past 30 years. "Casual Users Of Terrorism" has tantalizing political remarks (of which any comedian would cover political events/issues). "Phone Call From Hell" places a real call from an audience member, and telling Sam how his now ex-girlfriend was unfaithful to him. (I remember this particular part of the sketch, as I remember watching him perform it on television. Simply hysterical.)

    Kinison had recorded his own version of The Troggs' "Wild Thing" from his previous album, Have You Seen Me Lately. TO close out the album, Kinison recorded his own takes on Rock & Roll songs: "Gonna Raise Hell," (Cheap Trick), "Mississippi Queen" (Mountain) [the lyrics were altered, making it more of a novelty song], making it more noticeable and in his loud and screaming style. "Under My Thumb" (Rolling Stones, and "Highway To Hell" (AC/DC). All these songs showcases Sam Kinison as the "rock & roll comic"; and giving these songs the 1980s Hair Band Rock style. Although the Mountain song was novelty, the other three were "serious" covers. Hard Rock in sound, Kinison does well on the Cheap Trick tune. Likewise on the Mountain track. (Possibly the best of the four.) "Under My Thumb" starts out different than the original by the Stones, then it kicks into what we are used to, and quite frankly, this song is as "serious" as it comes. Kinison does well on his version here. AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" should easily fit Sam's loudness style, and it does. Again, another "serious" side of his singing, and it is done quite well.

    Where most reviews of this album were negative, I disagree; his comedy sketch I remember watching, and his singing was done well, and these songs did fit his comedic side, as he was known as the "rock & roll comic." His humor was not everyone, of course, but there were those who did enjoy him. His "anger and loudness" of his style was from his childhood. His father was a preacher, and although his parents divorced, he, and along with his two older brothers, Richard and Bill, Bill went to live with his father, while Sam and the rest of the family moved elsewhere, against his wishes. His mother remarried another preacher, and when Sam was 17, he became a preacher himself, using his "fire and brimstone" style, which would make him famous in his career as a comedian. He was not very successful as a preacher, so after Sam's first marriage and divorce, he decided to become a comedian, making this as his goal and profession.

    Kinison had everything going for him. Success as a comedian, comedy shows, television and movie appearances. But on April 10, 1992, he, and with his third wife Malika, they were involved in a head-on car collision. The other vehicle was a pickup truck, driven by 17-year-old Troy Pierson. Pierson was driving uner the influence of alcohol. Pierson's truck crossed the center line, and crashed into Kinison's car, head-on. Kinison was still alive after the crash, but the story told was that Sam was talking to someone, saying he didn't want to die. After a pause, Sam replied, "But why?" and after another pause, he kept saying "Okay, okay, okay." As he said the last "Okay" he lost consciousness, and after efforts to revive him, Kinison died at the scene from internal injuries. The autopsy results concluded that he had suffered tramatic injuries, including a dislocated neck, a torn aorta, and torn blood vessels in his abdonimal cavity, which caused his death within minutes of the crash. His wife Malika, survived the crash, with a mild concussion. Pierson pled guilty, and was sentenced to one year of probation and 300 hours of community service. His driver's license was suspended for two years.

    Sam Kinison was taken away from us, way too soon. His career was in full swing. His death was the result of drunken driving, which could have been prevented. Kinison himself had his own demons, as he battled a cocaine habit during his life. His death was tragic. Yet he has left behind his unique comedic humor to enjoy, and would become an influence to future comedians. It's been 26 years since Sam has been gone now. He was known as the loudmouth comic, with his piercing screams, and if you really look back on it, it was different, unique, and funny. He had his own style, humor and wit. Long live Sam Kinison... It was great to know him when he was alive. His recordings, TV/movie and club appearances will always live on. Thanks Sam, for the memories, and making us laugh, the unique way you did for us.

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    Previous Review: #1617
    The Who--Two's Missing
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    Enigma--Le Roi Est Mort Vive Le Roi!