BY CAIRRIL MILLS
“Everything else has been taken from me—what do I really want to do?” The question faced Johnny Profane, nearing 60 and homeless, after he had left a “Hindu meditation cult” and then spent 17 years as a therapist working with cult survivors.
The answer to his quandary came via Facebook where he linked up with Kimmie F’n Green Eyez, 59. Also homeless after she lost her nursing job “due to a marijuana bust,” Kimmie (real last name Deckard) invited Johnny (real last name Knapp) to Bloomington where they began playing music together.
A year ago they were living and performing on the streets. Today they are handing out samples at Sam’s Club, living in a rented house, and hosting a monthly cabaret show at Bear’s Place.
They bill themselves as a guitar-playing “cowpunk” duo. And, oh yes, they’re married now. The ceremony took place on open-mic night at Shorty’s Bar & Grill in Bedford.
Cowpunk is a musical genre that had its heyday in the late 1970s. “It’s basically country with a hell of a lot of attitude,” explains Johnny. “We flirted with the idea of calling it ‘trailer trash’ because, to me, trailer trash means something. It’s the music you find in pawn stores, it’s the music you find at the local garage sale, it’s the music you hear on your radio as you’re going to your job at Walmart. You meld all those things together and you vomit out something new.”
Kimmie, a Bloomington native, spent more than 25 years in a “cruel” arranged marriage. The daughter of an armed robber, her experiences have led her to take on edgy topics in her music. The duo, she says, write and play songs about “religion, women’s roles, taboos, politics, insanity, homelessness, pain, bliss, balance, life.”
As Johnny likes to say, “We live our lives out loud. I’m not here to entertain you. I’m here to piss you off. And get you off your ass.”
The pair plays occasional open mics and at gigs around town, but their one regular show is at Bear’s Place on the fourth Friday or Saturday of the month, where they host Cabaret Inside Edge. They play short sets interspersed with sets by regional bands.
Kimmie & Johnny is the #1 alternative band in Bloomington on reverbnation.com. They plan to record more of their music and build their Facebook following. Says Johnny, “I’m having a hell of a life.”