Steinman's megalomaniacal ballad--in addition to songs from Wu-Tang Clan, Suicidal Tendencies, Nirvana, Prince and Kate Bush--is tailor-made for the poignant style of Kiki and her co-dependent accompanist, Herb. Created by Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman, the world-wise Kiki & Herb can even find pathos and passion within bubblegum lyrics penned for teenagers Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Ultimately, the magic that is Kiki & Herb lies within their interpretation of the material rather than the song itself.
"I could explain the theory behind Kiki & Herb. I'd tell you the history of cabaret and how pop culture has made it nearly impossible for the art form to continue, but that ends up sounding so pretentious," says Bond via cell phone while having a day of beauty at Mud Honey. "It's where all the 'rock stars' get their hair done," adds Bond, quickly changing the subject.
When the topic of conversation is Kiki & Herb, writers have found creative ways to describe the unique duo. Harper's Bazaar declared them "cabaret's answer to The Blair Witch Project: no budget, lots of underground buzz and so frightening to watch." Vanity Fair likened Kiki to "Connie Stevens after 17 martinis." Andy Warhol's Interview saw her as "Ethel Kennedy at a party, doing Ethel Merman, channeling gritty performer Ethyl Eichelberger." Genre christened Herb "Liberace in a K-hole." Others have discovered bits of The Captain & Tennille, Steve & Eydie, Sid & Nancy, and even Donny & Marie lurking within the artistry of Bond and Mellman. "One of my favorite reviews called Kiki 'a combination of Bobby Darin, Eydie Gorme, and Judy Garland--three days before she died!'" laughs Bond as a hairdresser adds highlights to his auburn mane.