Bluesman Solomon King Channels David Carradine at the Kill Bill Church
It’s amazing what a spontaneous motorcycle ride into the desert can bring you.
Solomon King has a long history with the Carradines, a family that is Hollywood royalty much like the Huston, Douglas and Fonda families. Having recorded and performed with Calista (David Carradine’s daughter), King has also played with Bobby, David’s youngest brother. Grammy-nominated King even recorded the Hollywood Royals EP with Calista, which was a paean to her famous father whose many credits included the Oscar-winning Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory, and the seminal 70s TV series, King Fu. David and Bobby’s father was the legendary John Carradine who was a member of Cecil B. DeMille’s stock company and later John Ford’s company, and he had over 350 official film and television credits.
But a chance meeting with a fellow motorcycle enthusiast (the badass Karen J) led to a recent bike ride out to Lancaster. King, who last year released his №5 LP and who’s soon going to be recording his sixth LP at the world-famous Cherokee Studios in Hollywood, didn’t know what he was in for. But a couple of hours later, the two of them found themselves in a semi-desert area near Lancaster, California with barbed wire fence surrounding a standalone, very unique looking church. It took him a few moments until he realized he was standing outside the “Kill Bill” Church, the very one used in director Quentin Tarantino’s two Kill Bill movies. Bill, the character, was played by David Carradine
And, so things came full circle for King, who later got to pose with the “Hattori Hanzō” sword that was used to “kill” Bill in the movie.
The working church is officially called The Sanctuary Adventist Church, presided over by Pastor Oscar. It’s a replica of the real mission churches, designed in the Spanish-style of the time, and it has also appeared in other movies, including True Confessions starring Robert De Niro, and Inferno starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. In the Kill Bill movies, it’s portrayed in the wedding chapel scene where the Deadly Viper Assassination Team, run by Bill, attempts to kill “the Bride” played by Uma Thurman.
King recalls the Carradines’ presence in his life: “I recently played guitar with Calista. Then after that I’m watching Keith Carradine, who plays the Governor in the Oscar-nominated movie, The Power of the Dog. The next day, I’m riding out to Lancaster to get a tour of the Kill Bill Church and I get to hold the ‘Hattori Hanzō’ sword used in the movie. You can’t make this stuff up.”
King, who has upcoming solo gigs in the San Francisco and Bay area, followed by more shows in the South Bay area, continues his tale: “This old guy saunters up, asking if we were interested in seeing the church. He said he was Pastor Oscar and he generously gave us a tour. Film and video crews come from round the world to film there and he charges them, but he liked us and gave us more insight. How this groovy dude bought the building with no money or no credit. He was so accommodating, this totally cool dude, a gentle soul dedicated to Jesus. I’m not into religion but I couldn’t help but think of that great gospel song, Jesus is Just Alright…Pastor Oscar also told us how the Kill Bill crew built a porch and façade, along with some beautiful windows, just for the movie shoot, and then they left those additions.”
Solomon King’s partner for the day had a tripod in her saddle bags, and they used it to take the great photos that accompany this tale that took place out in the desert in the middle of nowhere, near Lancaster.
With the shadow of David Carradine, one of the major Hollywood stars of the 1970s, watching over them.
Check out Solomon King’s Music website for new music and upcoming gigs. Drop in on his pages at Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. And, sample his music on streaming sites, Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud. King’s new video for Sunset & Mars will drop soon. Additionally, all photos by Karen J.