Controlled Chaos

How a punk rock husband and wife are taking charge at home and on the stage

By day, Susan and Kevin Blue are a married couple who lead typical lives.

With a 14-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, the Blue family works diligently to make ends meet. Susan manages the paint department at a Lowe’s Home Improvement, while Kevin works the night shift at Ball State’s music library. They cook dinner, take the kids to school and exist in the life they’ve carved out for themselves.

But at night, all that changes.

Nametags and collared shirts are traded for tattoos and tank tops emblazoned with blood-soaked logos of death metal bands. Lunchboxes become amplifiers, tuned to 11. Two everyday individuals become leading members of the down and dirty punk rock band, Kris Karate.

“We were going to call ourselves Three Hot Chicks and Kevin,” founding guitarist Dawn “Key” Conn said. “Sue and Kevin and I reconnected after a few years of not seeing each other. I knew Susan played bass and I was trying to get something started. So I asked her if she wanted to play with us.”

The band’s name was decided after an opportune miscommunication. A friend enjoyed the music of a local death metal band name Discard the Body so much that his kindergarten-aged daughter was hooked on them. After the young girl – who has a speech impediment – began singing the lyrics to one song in class, a teacher asked a coworker: “Have you heard of this band called Kris Karate?”

Like any true punk act, the band plays an unfiltered mix of whatever comes to their mind.

“I guess as a youngster, I enjoyed types of music that were different from what everybody around me listened to,” Kevin said. “I was always searching for some new sound I hadn’t heard before.”

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