For Arish Ahmad Khan, there's no better feeling than getting on a stage with his psychedelic R&B band King Khan & the Shrines. In fact, that feeling has reached a spiritual level as of late. Around 2010, after years of touring and the deaths of several friends, he had a series of nervous breakdowns. Sensing the only solution was to escape the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, he moved to an all-female Buddhist temple.
Family and friends weren't about to give up on him, however, and convinced him to return home and get psychiatric treatment. Playing with the Shrines again also helped him heal, so much that the band recorded their first new album since 2008, Idle No More. Khan sings of his journey through darkness and the importance of moving on after a crisis. I asked him how the healing is going before his band's Oct. 22 show at the High Noon Saloon.
What were the easiest and most challenging parts of returning to music?
After all the mind-numbing pharmaceuticals, I really thought I had lost the ability to do anything. When this haze started clearing up, the song "Darkness" came into my mind, and suddenly I felt like things were gonna be all right.
Has being back on the road helped the healing process?
Being on the road makes me feel that people really need the Shrines. It's amazing to see how, even after 15 years, people think of us like a well-kept secret they cherish.... It feels divine.
What's an experience from the past month of touring that made a big impression on you?
I was recently asked to be a music supervisor for a film about a black-power group from Memphis from the late '60s called the Invaders. John B. Smith was their leader, and upon hearing the Shrines, he freaked out and wanted me to do the music for the film.... Knowing that someone so involved in the civil rights movement could be moved by my music makes me feel like I have been on the right path all along.