Film Feature

Today’s Featured Artist – INTERVIEW – Little King

Tell us about:

Your latest single you have released:

Good morning from hot and humid New Orleans! We just releaseed “Keyboard Soldier” on July 6, and we plane to release “Bombs Away” on August 6. Album is called Amuse De Q and it hits the universe on September 3.  Publicity has just started, and radio gets the album on July 20.”Keyboard Solider” is a reflection on the social unrest and political situation that burned hot during the pandemic and election in 2020 and continues to be at the forefront of our cultural wars. It’s also commentary on the “tough guy behind a keyboard” mentality rampant on social media.

I am not a fan of 45, to be sure, but I think the message is pretty relevant and universal in 2021 and beyond. It’s easy to point to one person as the catalyst for the bullshit going on in this country, but one man can’t do it by himself…he has to have a willing horde of mindless zombies to manipulate. Kind of like Germany in 1933. Here we are.

Your first single and how you felt when it was released:

Pffft…I don’t think that actually happened? In 1997, we put out a “demo” album called Transmountain which had 11 songs. It clearly wasn’t good enough to be on the radio (there was dial-up at the time, but no file-sharing or digital music format to speak of at the time.)

The first time we actually designated a song to push was on the next album, Time Extension, which came out in late 1998. We debated with our label and internally about which of 2 songs to choose. I liked “Smoke Spin Free” but the label wanted to promote “Name Your Price.” I won. “Smoke” was just heavier and more like the rest of the album, whereas “Name” is a cool little tune (still) but was sort of a joke.

So, the band traveled from Seattle (where I was based at the time) to San Francisco to shoot a video with Christian Strickland, and it was a hilarious 2 days of playing fake rock star.  Christian had a permit to block off a street in the Financial District, and we shot half a day there. The next afternoon, we went to the Triton Hotel to finish up, but our model didn’t show up. We didn’t panic…instead, Christian and I hit the streets while the camera crew set up. We found a very cute girl working at a hair salon, and he offered her $200 on the spot to come to the hotel to shoot. Like THAT didn’t sound like porn or anything!

We were finishing the shoot in the room and we heard a ruckus outside. Anger and yelling. Turns out, her boyfriend showed up and he was NOT PLEASED. And he was LARGE. So we had to finish up without her. Sad thing is…I have NO IDEA where that video went. Sucks. It was a fun time!

Your favourite song that you have created that is an album track:

The title song from the upcoming album “Amuse De Q” is my favorite. It just flows and moves and the performances are great. Christina and David play on that track, and the end has a plaintive violin accompanying the vocal arrangement. It makes me really sad. I just love that song…it’s one of those times where I step outside of myself and can’t believe that’s me singing and playing guitar. Fuck, I guess even a stopped clock is right twice a day!  Can’t wait for you all to hear it.

Your favourite song to play live:

It’s been a minute. We haven’t really toured since the middle of the last decade…life intrudes. I have terrible stage fright, too. Okay…that’s a lie.  But back in the day, we played back-to-back the song “Virus Divine” from the album of the same name and then “Pet Black Goose” which is an instrumental from Time Extension…this was the MoFo of all MoFo’s to close our set. If we didn’t pay attention to those 2, the train would go off the rails immediately. It was challenging and hard and wild…but man, the feeling of nailing it in front of people who had no idea who we were in a city we’d never been to was and is UNMATCHED.

The best lyric you have ever written:

I have a degree in Creative Writing and I was a high school English teacher for a spell. I take lyrics VERY seriously – as that is my legacy. I bust my ass writing, editing, re-editing.  Every word should have purpose, and it’s really like poetry.  Alliteration, double-entendres, grand themes tied together by common through-lines…these things are no joke. Drives me crazy when I hear a great melody and the words are so banal as to push me away from the song. I don’t wanna be that guy.

Of all the songs, the chorus of “Collateral Damage” from the album Legacy of Fools in 2008 still works really well. Basically, I was teaching high school at that time, and some of my students were headed directly to Iraq after graduation. That broke my heart. I tried to write about how that made me feel, and with empathy for the poor people we invaded:

“You’ve got a weapon, so don’t be afraid
The truth makes a point like a sword when you wield it
Ashes to ashes for those they betrayed

Teacher and student were silenced forever
Track coach and 9-year old murdered together
Will you fight back when you get to the end of your tether?”

When the music’s over, the words remain. I would encourage everyone to check out the lyric page on our web site: https://littlekingtunes.com/lyrics/

Describe the feeling you get when you walk on stage to do a show:

Again, it’s been too long…I am going from memory. I love team sports and I actually also own a team building company in Silicon Valley. Team everything is fun and important to me.  That feeling of having the ball in my hands as the point guard and wanting to get my teammate the last shot to win the game is as close as it gets. I want my team/band to be successful! I want to make sure I don’t let them down. I revel in OUR success.  That’s what I feel…the comradery of “us against the world” and we ain’t about to lose.

Little King has always been a collective of muscian friends playing and writing together. It was never meant to be a solo project, although sometimes it’s worked out that way. I just made a decision in 1996 that I’d had enough of flakes in the biz. If I was gonna accomplish something in music, I would have to drive. 7 albums later, still going strong. But I really just want a band, man.

Essential items you always take on tour with you?

Strings, picks, melatonin, phone chargers, and so many extra pedals and cables and guitars. I am a gear whore for sure. Just gotta make sure my roadie is, too.

Describe your fans in three words:

Friends And Family (this is funny, right?)

A song by another artist or band you wish you had written:

I heard two today, randomly. “Hit ‘Em Up” by Tupac and then “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. Yeah, I know…

Anger and revenge just soaks through Pac. He MEANT it. That’s just so cool to hear, that raw emotion that you can tell is not a fugazi. He really truly wants to fuck people up. Poor guy…he had so much left in him. That world was crazy in the 90’s, though.

Rog and Dave don’t like each other much, but sometimes the synergy was otherworldly. The Wall is kinda where it started to feel like a Roger solo album, but goddamn those two guitar solos set the bar really high for the rest of us. I mean…find me two better guitar solos in the history of rock and roll.

Needless to say, the music in my house is as eclectic as my choice in women.

What we can look forward to from your band this year:

Album drops 9/3/21, and hopefully a tour follows that. We are everywhere on the socials, so please just visit www.littlekingtunes.com and find everything you need there. We are so proud of this new record…it is without question the best Little King album ever. Perhaps this is the one that makes our dreams a reality.

Wait. I’m already living the dream…

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