Joe Exotic, 'Here Kitty Kitty': Song You Need to Know - Rolling Stone
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Song You Need to Know: Joe Exotic, ‘Here Kitty Kitty’

In between running an exotic animal zoo and fighting his nemesis, ‘Tiger King’ protagonist Joe Exotic recorded one of the greatest country murder ballads of all time

If you haven’t spent a couple of your quarantined days marathoning Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, it’s high time you add the Netflix documentary to your list of things to do for another weekend of staying in and flattening the curve.

Tiger King dives deep into the world of independently owned exotic animal zoos across the country, focusing mostly on the larger-than-life character Joe Exotic, a big cat breeder based out of Oklahoma. Along the seven episodes, you meet the motley crew he’s assembled as his team; his polyamorous marriage to two straight men; his hero, Doc Antle (who owns an even more glamorous zoo in South Carolina); and, most importantly, his extremely litigious nemesis, Carole Baskin, who hounded Exotic with public complaints about the conditions of his zoo while running her own wildlife sanctuary in Florida.

If you have seen the show, every scene cut feels like whiplash, but nothing feels more shocking than when it’s revealed that Exotic had mild country star ambitions. There’s a song for every mood in the show, but the best one is a rollicking murder ballad called “Here Kitty Kitty.”

[Spoilers ahead for Episode Three of Tiger King]

One of the most shocking Tiger King episodes comes early on, when it’s revealed that Baskin was accused of murdering her husband in the late Nineties (an accusation she’s fully denied). The story is ripe for country storytelling, featuring a missing multi-millionaire and plenty of exotic animals.

The wackiest thing about this song, though, isn’t that controversial backstory — it’s that the song is actually very good. Exotic’s voice is whiskey-soaked and classic, and his songwriting isn’t bad, either; in the hands of any number of bigger-name country stars, it’s easy to imagine this becoming, at the very least, a novelty hit.

In January, Joe Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison, for trying to hire a hit man to murder Baskin and for wildlife violations. Maybe, in the meantime, “Here Kitty Kitty” will find the audience it deserves.

Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.


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