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in Filmmaking
on Mar 25, 2006

The Gothamist does some investigation into an urban mystery: the preponderance of Val Kilmer grafitti-heads plastered on buildings and billboards around town. Gothamist links to Fox News, which goes so far as to inquire with Kilmer’s reps as to whether the heads are part of a publicity campaign for the actor: “‘Val is against the defacement of any public property,’ said his publicist Michael Yanni, adding that while Kilmer won’t comment directly on the peculiar postings, he is aware of them and ‘definitely intrigued. He is wondering about the why and who of it all.'”

The why and who of it all may be explained by a poster who responded to the Gothamist piece, who links to this 2004 entry from a Toronto blog that appears to supply the answer. It has something to do a band called, yes, The Val Kilmer Tagging Caper.

The Val Kilmer Tagging Caper used to be known simply as Val Kilmer. The graffiti all over Toronto was really advertising for their band. After a while, their fans started getting into the act, and were writing Val Kilmer wherever and whenever. This went on during the months when they recorded The Val Kilmer Tagging Caper. It’s rumoured that the name came about when a couple of police officers came to one of Val Kilmer’s shows, and demanded the graffiti cease. Since the band was no longer responsible for most of the tags, they denied having anything to do with it, other than sharing the same name. The police officers left in a huff, unsatisfied for not figuring out who did it. As they left, Val Kilmer’s bassist, Simon Templar, jokingly taunted the officers, “Good luck solving the Val Kilmer tagging caper!”

The phrase caught on, and it was to become the name of the album they were recording. At some point just before release, they changed the name of their band to this new moniker. Says lead guitar and vocalist, Tom Kazanski, “We actually started using the name as a joke after being introduced at our shows. The fans loved it, so we kept it!”

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