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James Anthony Kitts (born Leaves Cuomo; August 31, 1971) is son of Frank Cuomo and Beverly Shoenberger as well as the younger brother of Rivers Cuomo. As an adult, Cuomo has taught courses on "New Religious Movements" at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is currently a professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst .
Cuomo received his name because his mother was anticipating him to be born in October when the leaves would be changing. Said Cuomo, "Maybe they were planning on naming me after the leaves that would be changing in September/October? But I was [born] premature." He lived at the Zen Center in upstate New York until his father left his mother in 1975. Afterwards, Cuomo traveled with his family to Yogaville where he spent the remainder of his early childhood. Life on an ashram farm had an impact on him.
In the 1980s when Yogaville moved, the Kitts family chose to remain in CT and relocate to Storrs Mansfield. There, the family lived at an apartment in Warrenville and eventually a home on South Eagleville Rd. Once out of the commune, the two Cuomo children began to prepare for public schools. According to Rivers, they taught each other to swear to fit in. Rivers also said that they were beaten up frequently. Upon entering public school, both Rivers and Leaves began to go by the last name of Kitts (their stepfather's surname) rather than Cuomo. According to Justin Fisher (a longtime friend of the boys), Rivers and Leaves' parents permitted them to go by new first names to help them fit in better. Leaves chose to go by the name Jimmy Kitts.
- Main article: Fury
As Leaves and Rivers both grew an interest in music, Leaves was cast as the rhythm guitarist of Fury, the Kiss cover band. Rehearsals for Fury began on July 23, 1984. By September, the band had played their first show, which consisted of three Kiss covers.
Growing up with Rivers
Leaves was raised on the Ashram farm with Rivers Cuomo. When the two transferred to public schools, Leaves took the name Jimmy; Rivers took the name Peter. When Peter and Jimmy first made friends with Justin Fisher, they were all drawn to the enigma and energy of Kiss. The three would often run around the basement playing KISS records and immitating the instruments.
When Leaves was eleven, he, along with Peter and Justin, formed their first band, Fury - a KISS cover band. A clip of the three discussing their band can be found on Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. Leaves is also featured with Rivers on the cover of the Australian Buddy Holly single.
Appearances in songs
My Name Is Jonas
Leaves is mentioned first in the song My Name Is Jonas.
Guess what I received In the mail today Words of deep concern From my little brother
-My Name Is Jonas
The song briefly documents Leaves' difficult encounters with insurance policies following a car crash he was involved in at Oberlin College.
Say It Ain't So
Leaves is mentioned by name in Say It Ain't So. In the song, Rivers sings about finding a bottle of Steven Kitts' alcohol in his fridge. He then goes onto say that he tries to avoid it by watching Television and playing with Jimmy (Leaves).
Flip on the tele' '"Wrestle with Jimmy
-Say It Ain't So
I Wish You Had an Axe Guitar
I Was Scared
Released on Alone II the song chronicles an event that happened in 1987 when Rivers and Leaves were in high school. It involved Leaves being fronted by a "gang" in school and taken out back for a fight between him and the toughest kid in school. Leaves was supposed to show up alone so Rivers stayed inside, all the while knowing that it wouldn't be a fair one-on-one as promised and his younger brother was going to get beat up. The song was written years later after Rivers recalled the event during meditation.