The King Blues By Joe Speak

The King Blues By Joe Speak

Despite a hectic day involving an official Meet & Greet (which developed into the band talking to and taking photos with anyone who asked) and an exciting set, The King Blues front-man took time out of his day to chat to us. Itch spoke about the band, the new album and the show itself.

- How did you find the set today?

It was great fun. Liverpool’s always one of those towns, the kids just go off. It was fun, yeah, good times.

- Did the issues with the stage (the festival had to be stopped because of the wind, as the stage was re-secured) knock your confidence at all?

Nah, we’re used to it. At festivals, things happen and they can’t be helped. It was just one of those things that can’t be helped. I think everyone dealt with it nice. The kids were cool with, so I don’t think it bummed anyone out.

- The new album (Punk & Poetry) just came out. How has the reaction been?

It’s been better than we could ever have thought, really. We just get our heads down and make an album, and don’t really think about how it’s gonna do. Then when we saw it charting, and the seeing the reaction live to the new songs, it’s kinda humbling.

- Are you proud of it getting into the Top 40 then, or is it largely irrelevant because of the band itself?

I am proud of it, to be honest. We’re one of the few bands out there, in the mainstream, who can get on the radio and put those messages out there. That’s something that I’m proud of.

When we went to war with Iraq, we were the only band on the radio who were putting out anti-war messages, and people can say what they want about that.

At the end of the day...this music that we make, these messages that we put out, isn’t for a select group of people cool enough to know about what’s going on. It’s for everyone, you know, so that’s what’s important to us.

- How do you think it compares to your first two albums?

I think it’s a natural progression. With the first record, the thinking behind it was that if we, as a movement, can get enough people out onto the streets, we can stop a war. That was what we were trying to do with that record.

With the second record, it was a case of...we got half a million kids out there, and we weren’t listened to. We went back a bit more cynical with Save The World, Get The Girl.

I think with this record now, we’re really talking about taking the power back into your own hands, really trying to build your own future.

Those people at the top aren’t going to do it for you, they ain’t looking out for you, they don’t care about you. Us, as normal people, need to start building our own communities up again and that’s the thinking behind this record.

- The writing for it came at a difficult time for the band, with changes in line-up. Is there anything that can be said about that?

Not really. It’s like...we’ve always had a very fluid line-up. People have come, people have gone, and one person decides to make a big deal out of it, and that’s ok, whatever.

As a band, we carried on, we did what we do best. We just brushed off our shoulders and got on with, and I think, as a band, that’s all you can do.

- How did the new line-up come together? Did you know each other beforehand?

Yeah, everyone knew everyone from previous bands, so it was all thrown together very quickly, very naturally. It worked, you know?

- It’s clear from the new album that the accusations aren’t true, but some people have tried to say that you’ve sold out. How would you respond to that?

What does that mean? It means different things to different people, so whatever. At the end of the day, I can’t really care about what people think about me too much, and I’ve learnt not to care about it.

You get to a point where you’ve got to follow your heart. If you know in your heart what’s right, and you know in your heart what’s true, then you’re doing an okay thing. It really doesn’t matter what other people think.

- Absolutely. Also on the new album, perhaps more so than the first two, there’s a broader range of styles and influences. Where did you draw on for them?

We’ve always listened to more than just punk or just ska. Hip-hop has been a huge influence, drum and bass. When you’re growing up in London...there are parts of West London where you can’t even get Radio 1 because there’s so many pirate stations coming in, reggae, drum and bass, every turn of the dial. It’s impossible not to be influence by that, and that eventually becomes our music.

- In a recent podcast, you noted that some of the songs for the album had been kept from a previous session, and some had been completely re-worked or not used. What prompted that change?

Well, this government coming in, really. We were at a point when we were writing a deeper album, a more philosophical album. When this government came in we saw peoples’ futures been taken away from them.

We saw people losing their jobs, losing their houses. We saw an all-out attack on the working class, an attack on the poor. We were like...we can’t sit back and not take notice of this.

We’ve always felt that we’re a very small part of a much wider movement, and that we need to address these issues. At that point, we had that muse and then it was a very quick process to write the record.

- Some recent issues include AV (alternate vote) not being voted in. What did you think about that?

To be honest, I think it’s a case of looking at the bigger picture. At the end of the day, if you’re voting for one person who’s supposedly going to look out for what the majority of people in this country need, how many more years can we give this system a chance? We’re always told that this system is gonna get better and better.

Every year we see the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, and the gap widens. This system clearly doesn’t work for everyone. When it comes to AV, us as a band, our standpoint is that we don’t want anyone to lead us.

I don’t care how they’re voted for, I don’t want anyone to be my leader. Especially someone who, at the end of the day...it’s a minority vote. The majority of people just feel such little faith in politicians they ain’t even gonna make it to the voting stations.

It’s like...what’s the change? We go back from left to right to Labour to Tory to Labour to Tory...nothing ever really changes. Nothing ever changes between those leaders.

You have a choice of two different parties who really want the same thing. So, AV or not, it doesn’t make a difference to our lives.

- Moving onto the future of the band, what are your immediate plans now that the album’s out?

A lot of festivals this summer, we’re going to tour in November, and then we’re going to take it abroad this year.

- What kind of final message would you give to everyone reading this?

I dunno, man. At the end of the day, our message as a band is very simple, and that’s just to love. I really believe that it comes down to just as simple as that. Just believe in love, and that’s it.

Female First - Alistair McGeorge

Photo - Joe Speak

Despite a hectic day involving an official Meet & Greet (which developed into the band talking to and taking photos with anyone who asked) and an exciting set, The King Blues front-man took time out of his day to chat to us. Itch spoke about the band, the new album and the show itself.

- How did you find the set today?

It was great fun. Liverpool’s always one of those towns, the kids just go off. It was fun, yeah, good times.

- Did the issues with the stage (the festival had to be stopped because of the wind, as the stage was re-secured) knock your confidence at all?

Nah, we’re used to it. At festivals, things happen and they can’t be helped. It was just one of those things that can’t be helped. I think everyone dealt with it nice. The kids were cool with, so I don’t think it bummed anyone out.

- The new album (Punk & Poetry) just came out. How has the reaction been?

It’s been better than we could ever have thought, really. We just get our heads down and make an album, and don’t really think about how it’s gonna do. Then when we saw it charting, and the seeing the reaction live to the new songs, it’s kinda humbling.

- Are you proud of it getting into the Top 40 then, or is it largely irrelevant because of the band itself?

I am proud of it, to be honest. We’re one of the few bands out there, in the mainstream, who can get on the radio and put those messages out there. That’s something that I’m proud of.

When we went to war with Iraq, we were the only band on the radio who were putting out anti-war messages, and people can say what they want about that.

At the end of the day...this music that we make, these messages that we put out, isn’t for a select group of people cool enough to know about what’s going on. It’s for everyone, you know, so that’s what’s important to us.

- How do you think it compares to your first two albums?

I think it’s a natural progression. With the first record, the thinking behind it was that if we, as a movement, can get enough people out onto the streets, we can stop a war. That was what we were trying to do with that record.

With the second record, it was a case of...we got half a million kids out there, and we weren’t listened to. We went back a bit more cynical with Save The World, Get The Girl.

I think with this record now, we’re really talking about taking the power back into your own hands, really trying to build your own future.

Those people at the top aren’t going to do it for you, they ain’t looking out for you, they don’t care about you. Us, as normal people, need to start building our own communities up again and that’s the thinking behind this record.

- The writing for it came at a difficult time for the band, with changes in line-up. Is there anything that can be said about that?

Not really. It’s like...we’ve always had a very fluid line-up. People have come, people have gone, and one person decides to make a big deal out of it, and that’s ok, whatever.

As a band, we carried on, we did what we do best. We just brushed off our shoulders and got on with, and I think, as a band, that’s all you can do.

- How did the new line-up come together? Did you know each other beforehand?

Yeah, everyone knew everyone from previous bands, so it was all thrown together very quickly, very naturally. It worked, you know?

- It’s clear from the new album that the accusations aren’t true, but some people have tried to say that you’ve sold out. How would you respond to that?


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