Here Comes The Marcus King Band

Genre crossing South Carolina Band Coming to Bemo's on June 15

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, National Music,   By: Matt deHeus

09th June, 2016     0

Y’all better listen up.  The Marcus King Band is coming to town.   The band is currently touring in support of its debut album, Soul Insight.  The disc, produced by King with the guidance of Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers, is gaining recognition from guitar aficionados and fans of “bands who jam,” defying genres as it draws from the full gamut of American music styles. 

At the ripe old age of 19, band leader and guitarist King is already a veteran performer, having earned his first paying gig at age 8, a year after taking up the instrument.  By age 11 he was performing with his father’s band, Marvin King & The Blues Revival.  His current barnstorming tour, which includes dozens of dates scheduled across the US, in many ways is simply a continuation of the family business.  And, when you listen to the album, you realize the younger King and his band mates have taken very quickly to their jobs.

I had the opportunity to talk to King as a preview to their June 15 show at Bemo’s Bar (701 S. Madison, Bay City).  Here’s what he had to say:

Review: When I look on your website and I see the sheer number of dates scheduled and the amount of territory you are covering, I get the impression that this is the beginning of a master plan of sorts - like the start of something big.

Marcus King:  Well, we’d like to think so.  We are just having fun doing what we do.  It beats the heck out of doing anything else.  We just like to put everything we have into it.  I guess there is a master plan to it all, but as long as we can continue to do what we love, we’ll be happy.

Review:  You are probably familiar with the “10,000 hour rule,” that says you need to invest 10,000 hours into an activity to actually “get good” at it. You have most likely already gone past that just practicing your guitar.  Now that you have the opportunity to gig like you are – you are playing to a variety of audiences and a variety of kinds of places – how do you see yourself changing as a guitarist or a musician or as a performer?  Mastering those last two are certainly a way different things than just playing guitar in your bedroom, aren’t they?

King:  Absolutely.  Especially, with the kind of music we play, it’s never the same show twice.  You’ll find, yourself as a musician, trying to outdo yourself from the night before at every show and every pass.  Everybody in the band, as a player, has to have that same mentality.  I think that was sets performing apart from just playing. 

Review:  Let me pick up on something you said there.  For the people who might be reading this that are unfamiliar with your work, how do you describe what it is you do?

King:   We get asked that kind of thing a lot when people are asking about the group – what kind of music we play – and they haven’t really heard of us before.  We try to explain it the best we can.  But, it is tough because we don’t really want to put our music in a box.  I think Miles Davis explained it best when he said he didn’t play jazz, because he didn’t want to put his music in a box.  It was just an expression of his emotion.  If I was going to have to put a title on it, it would be “Jazz Fusion Psychedelic Southern Rock,” so we can get everything in there in one pass.  You what I mean? 

Review:  Yes, now that I have had a chance to listen your new work, I can see it.  Let me ask another music question.  With this band you aren’t just the guitarist.  Now you are a songwriter, now you are a front man.  How is that different than establishing yourself as a guitar player.

King:  The songwriting thing … Unlike guitar, which was something from a very young age I knew I wanted to do and couldn’t really live without, I never thought I was going to be a singer or a writer in any capacity.  It just finally kind of hit me one day.  I think it was after I read about Duane Allman saying music was an expression of emotions, I kind of realized I could express so much more.  I realized I could not only speak my words to people, but literally scream them into a microphone.

Being a writer and a front man has not had any separate effect on me musically.  It is just what happened.  You can look at the way we do the stage set up.  There is no one up front.  It is just a wall of people; a band of band brothers.  My name might be on the kick drum, but it’s just a catchy name, you know. 

Review:  Certainly, there is a great tradition of guitar playing Kings, isn’t there?  Let me ask you one last question.  You are getting some exposure and you are starting to meet people.  Who is the coolest guy you have gotten to jam with?  Who have you stepped out on stage with and you think to yourself “Wow, I can’t believe I am up here right now.”

King:  Well, that happens a lot.  I’d have to say Warren Haynes.  He has really taken the band under his wing and has acted as a mentor, not just to me, but to everybody in the group.  Doing the record with him was a learning experience and we all feel much more knowledgeable about music after spending that time with him.

Being on stage with him… There’re certain cats you get on stage with and it’s kind of a telepathy style emotion.  You can almost feel where the other person is going to take it.  If you are both hip to the same piece of music, it’s going to come out a little bit different every time that you play it.  You kind of know what the other person is quasi-thinking and you try to follow them to the next spot in the tune. 

To answer your question, to be able to step on stage with one of my childhood heroes.  That was pretty cool.

You can learn more about the band and their tour at www.marcuskingband.com.  

The Bemo’s Show will cost $5 at the door.  The show has an advertised start time of 8:00 PM.  Seating capacity is limited.  For more information, contact them directly at 989 893 7071.

 

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