Jim Hare-Bass and Backing Vocals Chris Couch-Guitar Dale Hargis-Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals Jim Brown-Lead Vocals King's Row is a hard rock band from Fulton, Missouri. The band started in 1996 as a songwriting/jamming partnership between guitarist Chris Couch and multi-instrumentalist Dale Hargis. In 1998, they recruited friend and bassist Jim Hare to join them and not long after changed the band's name to King's Row. In 2001, they released 'Closed', their first official CD. Showing an ecclectic range of influences, the CD is all hard rock but the music itself takes a trip down almost every avenue within. At one moment, the band will seem pure heavy metal, then switch to southern rock, switch gears to moody acoustic rock, then turn around and give you some rock with a little funk influence. Once again, they have changed direction, adding singer Jim Brown to the mix and also a new style of songwriting that blends the best of their hard rock influences along with melodies and harmonies influenced by the likes of King's X, Porcupine Tree, and Spock's Beard. Their latest CD, 'Transition' is just that, a musical blend between what King's Row has been and what they are yet to become while offering almost any listener at least one song you will not be able to get out of your head. Transition Song by Song Second Class This song has all the major elements we were looking for in our new sound: dynamics, melody, and a good balance between heavy and melodic. This is one of the songs that really helped us etch out or new direction of adding slightly progressive elements to straightforward rock songs. Gay marriage has been a highly debated issue even within the confines of the band. Each verse is from a different perspective: the religious right, a gay person, and someone who is in the middle. I think I represented all sides as fairly as possible, but there's a definite slant to my own view on things. In the end though, I think these are some of the most well-crafted lyrics I've ever written. End of the Day This started off as "The Cult Song", thinking it reminded us of a combination of "She Sells Sanctuary" and "Firewoman" by the Cult. Eventually, the song evolved from a jam session into a more solid, straight ahead rock song. All of us agree that this is a "crank up and drive" song. Lyrically, I've tried to branch out from the less personal into more of a storyteller. This song tells the story of people who simply waste time in their lives about what's not important: the woman who can't get ahead because all she does is complain, never looking for solutions, the man who works hard to provide for his family but forgets to provide them with himself. Life goes by quickly enough without us having to rush around and make it go faster. This is a "stop and smell the roses" song. Cracked Window Originally dubbed by Chris as "The King's X Song", this also is a great example of our songwriting evolution. Chris had a distinct vision for the backing vocals that led to the thick, rich vocal sound. The break right before the solo is hands down our favorite moment on the CD and this song contains Chris' best melodic solo on the whole thing. The lyrics for this song have been around for awhile. When it comes time for me to write lyrics, often I only have a few of them done already and the rest of the songs just have a melody line in place. Before I start writing from scratch, I often look back through lyrics that have been sitting around unused and this was one of them. While I can no longer tap into the feelings or emotions that led me to write the lyrics in the first place, the song now sends me a clear message that sometimes we can trap and suffocate ourselves in our own lives and people will pass you by without even cracking a window to bring you some minor relief. Rather depressing, but I like the metaphor it represents for life. Balance Another extreme departure for us, this song definitely shows how we've worked at interweaving very different musical sections. Before, many of our songs sounded like different sections super-glued together, but this brings together the middle-eastern intro, the heavy verses, the big pop chorus, and the jazzy solo section to make a moving composition. None of us ever thought we could have written a song quite like this, but in the end, we're very proud for having pulled it off. In 2004, I had a brief battle with testicular cancer. It started making me think about karma and how bad things happen as payment for what you've done to other people. I guess I simply explored the idea of whether cancer was something I deserved and if I did, were my scales now in balance. I also like the extended metaphor of the cancer being a person who has entered my body secretly and without warning like a terrorist. Reanimate Chris is a great lead guitarist with a very unique style and we really wanted a place for him to show how his leads are often more like vocal melodies. We had the music for this for awhile (including the bridge, which is the first riff Jim has written for the band on guitar) and even toyed with putting lyrics to it, but we're glad we didn't. Between the dynamics of the song building all the way through and Chris' Alex Lifeson-esque mixture of lead and chord work, this stands out as a proud moment for all of us. Everything Most of our older songs were written while jamming out our ideas and this was one of the few songs on this CD that started as a jam. Originally, it was meant to be a very simple, straightforward song with minimal production. We were even just going to record it live as a band to make sure it stayed simple and jammed out. However, we slowly started adding different guitar and synth parts and lots of backing vocals until it became more a big classic rock type song. This is another great moment for us because it shows quite clearly that we have many different sides to us as a band and it is definitely a spot for Jim Brown to shine through with his amazing vocals (especially on the bridge!). These lyrics were also dusted off the proverbial shelf and put to good use here. They were written around 1998 for another project that fell through, but the simple message about figuring out when you've met the person that is everything for you and how great a feeling that is. Home This is a song that Dale had brought to the band mostly written and the rest of the guys were excited enough about doing it that it made the CD. It seems an unlikely style for us, but again, we have very wide-ranging tastes in the music we like. It also allows us to hopefully have enough of a mixture on the CD that everyone can find something to like. It was fun for Chris and Dale to trade off leads and play with different sounds while Jim Brown is definitely in his element with this style of song. Another set of lyrics that were pulled off the shelf, "Home" sort of continues the theme of "Everything" and is more about when that new love has settled in and there is more of a comfort knowing that every time you're with the person you love it's like coming home. Unconfined This song went through a number of changes making the end product very different from how it started. This is very much in the style of our older songs with an up-tempo rock feel but with our new direction in production adding some nice background vocals and keyboards. It was also a nice place to throw in the 12-string bass and get chunky in the verses. Originally, these lyrics were put to the music for "End of the Day", but it never did seem quite right. Instead, they fit much better here with the more positive, up-tempo sound. When I was 15, I sat up one night and watched the Berlin Wall come down. Having grown up in the time of the cold war and watching the Russians and Communism played out as our enemies in every movie plot, it was a sign of real change when the wall came down. These lyrics put together my memories with how I imagine someone might feel who had been living in east Germany at the time. Tapestry This song has existed since 1998 and has gone through many changes over the years. The middle break is all that's left of the original (which actually used to be the verse and chorus of the whole song) to which we added the big background vocals and a fun trade off solo between Chris and Dale. This is one where our new experiment with background vocals breathed new life into a song. Have you ever pulled on a loose string and watch it slowly start to unravel your shirt, sweater, or pants? Have you then tried to put things back like they were before you pulled that string? It is a very difficult, if not impossible task. I took that idea and compared it to relationships. Sometimes, we start off pulling those strings just to see what will happen and then we keep on pulling even though we know we shouldn't. In the end, it is nearly impossible to put those threads back where they were when you found them. The best you can do is patchwork. Wish Once called "Quicksand" with lyrics written by Jim, this was one of the first songs that was written for the CD. While the music itself didn't change much (except for the added guitar synthesizer parts), the lyrics and melody underwent quite an overhaul. When Jim Brown did the vocals, he slightly changed the melody during the chorus. This change gave Chris and Dale the room and idea to add some counterpart backing vocals. This was the first song we tried that on and became the catalyst for all similar backing vocal parts in "Unconfined" and "Tapestry". Before the backing vocals, this was a ho-hum song we were unsure about. Afterwards, it quickly became one of our favorites. "Wish" is about a very difficult subject. When I was young, I lost my parents and it changed virtually everything in my life from that point on. Since then, I've often wondered how my life would have turned out if they hadn't died and I've even speculated on whether I would have turned out to be a less successful or worse person. This song explores the idea that if I had one wish, would I wish to go back and have my parents live even if I ran the risk of my life turning out worse. It's one of those things that people think, feel guilty for even thinking it, but think it all the same. Forcing the Issue "Forcing" was written and demoed back in 1998 and while it's basically the same arrangement, the production quality made this a much tighter, heavier song. The opening riff was once inspired by the incessant barking of a dog belonging to Chris' neighbor. The lyrics are obviously inspired by our collective disappointment in Bill Clinton. Jim had always hoped to add some soundbites and Dale finally went out and found them on the 'net and put them into the song properly. Sometimes words come to me while writing a song that seem very uncharacteristic for me. I am an English teacher but as much as I joke around and act silly, I think I surprise people (even myself) with things that I've written. I don't believe I have ever before or since used the word "adorning", but it worked in this song. I guess I was imagining Bill Clinton almost as a king that had gained way too much power and popularity and that when all the cards came tumbling down, the people who "had his back" cut their losses and got out. Even the people were embarrassed to have been so enamored by him. This was my take on things and once again used an extended metaphor to bring together the elected role of a President and the unbridled power of a king.
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