Marcus King Keeps a Level Head to Success

In the liner notes of Marcus King’s debut record, “Soul Insight,” the 19-year-old included a line from Steely Dan: “I’m never going back to my old school.”

King, who leads the Marcus King Band on Friday at Huntington’s V Club, said he doesn’t mean any offense.

“I hope I’m not digging myself into a hole here,” he said.

The bluesy, soulful guitarist said high school was a rough time for him, particularly the latter years, when he was playing out in clubs.

“I’d get home at 4 a.m., and then get up at 6 a.m. to be at the school by 7:30 or so,” he said. “It was a 10-minute drive there, and then another 40 minutes over to the next town to the Fine Arts Center to do the jazz studies course.”

The teachers at Wren High School, in Piedmont, South Carolina, maybe didn’t know he played music, he thought.

“I think they saw me as this irresponsible kid,” King said. “I was like, ‘I’m sorry I’m falling asleep in your class. I’m just tired.’

“They did the best they could.”

King started playing when he was kid. By the time he was 11, he was playing coffee houses with his father, in his band Marlon King and The Blues Revival.

“I was 12 or 13 when I started my own band,” he said.

He played a lot around the Greenville area, eventually branching much farther out, and then into North Carolina.

“The older musicians really took me under their wing,” he said. “They kept instilling in me the same things my father and grandfather had been saying for years.”

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