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 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?
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