Welcome to CREEM’s cocktail column, commandeered by our resident bartender/musician/obscuro-power-pop DJ/man of many fancy shirts, Kirk Podell (Subversive Rite, Anti-Machine, Neo Cons), who will be handling all things related to alcohol, because Born to Booze is where we talk about alcohol-related things. We almost called this column Kunning Kaptain Kirk’s Kurious Kocktail Korner Karnival, butthe alliteration, while initially thrilling, quickly became exhausting, and something about all those Ks made usfeel gross inside. So we tried out more titles about consuming alcohol: Highballs to Hell; Drink, Baby, Drink; Dead Men Tell No Cocktails; (We Are) The Corkscrew; Living After Midnight; The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swizzle; Butt Chug 3000 (???); Plonk Rock; The Opposite of Straightedge, etc., and, as you can see, we eventually settled on Born to Booze. Who knows, maybe we’ll change it next issue. In the meantime, BTB’s inaugural column features Kool Keith, who wandered into CREEM's imaginary bar one night and told Kirk a curious story that could only come from Kool Keith.

Like so many of my comrades in the service industry, I’ve also been playing and touring in bands forever. In my travels, I’ve been given all kinds of weird shit—it’s almost like all logic goes out the window when it comes to your needs on the road. One time when I left my mother’s house, she tried to give me a first-aid kit big enough to service the shores of Omaha Beach. It was an overnight trip! Once in Shizuoka, Japan, a very fuckin’ eager and insane-looking punk flagged me down frantically as we were leaving, handing me a bag full of tins of “emergency fish.” You know, just in case we couldn’t find any regular fish in an industrialized nation.

This was the weirdest shit I’d ever seen

“People give me stones and little things to take back to the bus,” Kool Keith recently shared, giving the impression that Black Elvis may have received enough to build his own Camelot. “I think it was the Dr. Octagon tour—this guy comes on the bus with a giant glass barrel with pink lemonade and pickles in it.”

It’s important to point out that talking to Kool Keith sometimes feels like you’re going in circles. Minutes feel like hours, and yet his stories are mesmerizing—like his freestyle. Discussing the pink pickle drink, I would say we had reached “Half Keith,” wherein the story was bizarre, yet still coherent.

“I think the guy was trying to re-create a lyric of mine,” he says. “So he brought the drink on the bus. I didn’t drink it, but I thought it was cool. I didn’t know what the fuck it was. You know those big-ass office water jugs? Imagine that with those kosher pickles from the deli floating in fuchsia pink lemonade. I guess he just heard me say it and wanted to make it in real life.... This was the weirdest shit I’d ever seen. ” The Dr. Octagon lyric is, “There’s no one who can mess with me/Dr. Octagon now serving coleslaw and pink pickles,” and clearly this fan took some creative license from there. I really hope this dude is still out there delivering gigantic jugs of pickleinspired drinks.

Our conversation then proceeded to go to what I call “Full Keith.” I asked a question and got a confusing yet cautionary six-minute tale about touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. First it was about trying to DJ while a hurricane/sandstorm was happening and the record keeps skipping. Then he was afraid of a speaker falling on him like Curtis Mayfield.

We linked again later that night and talked for a bit while I whipped up a pink pickle drink. He still didn't drink it, but maybe he would have if I had put it in a big glass barrel. At least no one has made a drink for Moosebumps. Or Chimpanzee Acne.

Kool Keith's drink
Photo by Andrew Mailliard

2½ oz. gin or vodka
½ oz. pink pickle juice
¾ oz. dry vermouth

1. Stir over ice for the length of verse 4 of Dr. Octagon’s namesake tune.
2. Garnish with pickles.
3. Drink like you’re in a sandstorm with no end.

For the pink pickle juice: 150 ml. rice vinegar 75 g. castor sugar 2½ g. salt ½ red onion, sliced

Thanks for reading CREEM. This article originally appeared in our Fall 2022 issue. If you prefer to read in print, grab a copy here and subscribe to never miss another one.




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