Greg Kihn - vocals, guitar; Dave Carpender - guitar, vocals; Steve Wright - bass; Larry Lynch - drums
This rare and excellent recording of the earliest Greg Kihn Band line-up comes from a show the band performed at Winterland in San Francisco on New Year's Eve, 1976. Kihn, an aspiring singer-songwriter who had migrated from his native Baltimore, Maryland, to San Francisco in 1974, had spent time as a disc jockey while developing his own musical chops. Shortly after landing in the Bay Area, Kihn became one of the first artists signed to Matthew Kaufman's fledgling indie label, Beserkley Records. Beserkley had had some initial success with such artists as Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers and Earth Quake, but it would be Kihn, with his keen sense of radio-friendly melodies, who would go on to be Beserkley's best-selling artist. After a slot on a popular Beserkley compilation, Kihn formed the first version of the Greg Kihn Band with Ronnie Dunbar on guitar and backing vocals, Steve Wright on bass, and Larry Lynch on drums.
This show was taken from the band's early performing days. Being hometown heroes, it is clear that the audience was completely pumped to be there. Featuring mostly material from the debut Greg Kihn album, the group gives energetic performances of tracks like "Madison Avenue," "Love's Made a Fool of You," and a medley that combines "Any Other Woman" and "All The Right Reasons."
Kihn would stay with Beserkley for a decade, and the success of his later hit singles, "The Break Up Song," and "Jeopardy," would secure a major label distribution deal for the cutting edge record company from the late 1970s onward. By 1985, Kihn's popularity began to wane and he started working with smaller labels such as Clean Cuts, out of his native Baltimore. He returned to the Bay Area to work as a morning DJ, and kept touring sporadically through the 1990s. He launched a third career as a successful novelist and author in 1996. His first book, Horror Show, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award.