King Khan, the artist formerly known as Blacksnake, says religion is supposed to be a beautiful thing.

"It's suppose to be about beliefs and loving each other," Khan said during a call from New Orleans. "But with how it is today, it's nothing but a vehicle for hatred."

Khan, who formed his band the Shrines in 1999 during a European tour, also took a tour of Jerusalem a few years ago.

"It was a beautiful place," he said. "We visited Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, and the irony is the fact that no Jews can go there.

"That's not what religion is suppose to be like. It's about beliefs, not fighting over a piece of real estate."

That's why Khan loves what he does. His band the Shrines spread love and unity through his own style of rhythm and blues.

"We like to have a good time," he said. "We love to bring people together through music. We get crazy sometimes. We get wild, but we love having people coming together to see our show and get into the peace and harmony."

Khan was hooked on music when he saw Joey Ramone's film "Rock 'n' Roll High School."

"I thought Joey Ramone was it," he said. "And I loved the soundtrack."

At the same time, Khan was finding old-school R&B. He has always loved that style of music. And a little incident when he was a grocery-store bagger made him think about his future, which helped him decide to pursue his dream of playing music for a living.

While Khan was gathering the shopping carts in the parking lot, a friend offered him some potato chips.

"When I reached for them, a bird flew by and dropped something white in the bag. It missed my hand, and at that moment, I promised myself that I will never have a bird do that to me again."

And, so far, since he started playing music, a bird has never dropped anything on him, he said.

If you go ...

What: King Kahn & the Shrines

Where: Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East

When: Wednesday, 9 p.m.

How much: $10

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com


E-mail: scott@desnews.com