Kitchens of Distinction - Biography
By Marcus Kagler
When it comes to alternative rock music, the late 80’s was something of a primordial ooze birthing art core, Madchester, punk pop, industrial, shoegaze, and acid house at a rapid pace. A band from anyone of these genres would be the next big thing one week only to be replaced by another the next. It was a mercurial musical landscape to say the least. Space rockers Kitchens of Distinction made a decent splash in the alternative pool with their sophomore effort, Strange Free World (1991-One Little Indian) only to fall off the radar completely despite strong subsequent releases.
KOD formed in South London, England in 1986. Vocalist Patrick Fitzgerald was a medical doctor when he met guitarist Julian Swales and drummer Dan Goodwin. After writing and recording a song together in one day Fitzgerald sidelined his medical career and the trio took the name “Kitchens of Distinction” from a Hygena advertisement Swales saw on the side of a passing bus. KOD released their power pop friendly debut album, Love Is Hell (1989-One Little Indian) to rave reviews and the band quickly followed with the Elephantine EP (1989-On Little Indian). The song, “Margaret’s Injection” called for the execution of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and proved to have a negative effect on the band. John Peel refused to grant them a Peel Session and radio stations across the U.K. wouldn’t play any KOD songs. Around this time, Patrick Fitzgerald’s open homosexuality and gay friendly lyrical content was also given more media attention than the music Kitchens of Distinction were releasing. Nonetheless, the band released its most commercial friendly album, Strange Free World (1991-One Little Indian) which also became a critical darling. The album found KOD bridging the gap between catchy power pop and the shoegaze movement, spawning two moderately successful singles, “Drive That Fast”, and “Quick As Rainbows”.
Then in late 1991 the musical landscape made a drastic change with the advent of grunge. KOD released their third, and most cohesive album, The Death of Cool (1992-One Little Indian) the following year. The title paid homage to the late Miles Davis, an integral inspiration to the band. The Death of Cool expanded on KOD’s shoegazer/spacerock leanings with solid mini-epics “Gone World Gone” and “Mad As Snow”. The album produced no radio friendly singles however, and it quickly faded from the charts. The band returned one more time with their fourth album, Cowboys and Aliens (1994-One Little Indian) with a scaled down pop friendly sound but the album also failed to produce any hit singles. KOD released one last single, “Feel My Geenie” (Fierce Panda) in 1996 before playing their fair well show at London’s Kings Cross. Fiztgerald subsequently formed Fruit, The Lost Girls, and Stephen Hero while Swales moved into the world of film, theatre, and modern dance scores.