The Marcus King – Band No Royal Scam

Pete had a chance to sound out the leader of this exciting and far-ranging outfit ahead of their spot at London BluesFest 2016. Here, Marcus fields all manner of music-related questions and displays great knowledge of many styles. Welcome to Just Listen To This, fella!

Jay Sansone

Some fine pieces of music have been used over the opening titles of films, Marcus – do you have a favourite?

Sons of the Pioneers ” Tumbling Tumbleweeds” from “The Big Lebowski”

Which of your own compositions &/or recordings come closest to (or indeed are) jazz?

We have a lot of jazz influence in our group. “Thespian Espionage” would be the closest thing to jazz, I guess

Please describe Greenville in four words:

Bring your love home

Could you nominate for us two recordings (artist/title/source album) that make sense as night time listening and two that make sense as daytime listening?

Night time: Bill Evans Trio “My Foolish Heart” and Hiatus Kaiyote “Fingerprints” DayTime: “21st Schizoid Man” by King Crimson” and The Mahavishnu Orchestra with “Birds Of Fire”

Could you tell us about the song “No Decency” please?

I wrote “No Decency” after a bad date. Six months after the date she called me to ask if I knew where to buy some herb….

It has been said that you shouldn’t write songs when you’re in love ..what are your thoughts on this notion?

I’ve found it’s easier to write while I’m hurt. Writing songs while you’re in love can lead to songs that only bring back bad memories .. “In order to create there must be a dynamic force. What force more potent than love?”- “Igor Stravinsky

When speaking to Warren Haynes, there isn’t much musically you can bring up that he doesn’t know about…is that your finding, too?

Every time I speak with Warren about anything, music included I feel as though I need a notepad and a pen and I do all I can to retain the information. He is indeed a wealth of knowledge.

Have you ever in your life/would you ever take part in a song or singing contest?

When I was around the age 12 to 14 I was involved in some battle of the bands. At 15 I submitted material to America’s Got Talent with no response. I really don’t believe in turning music into any form of competition. There’s a place for everyone

“Boone” the song of yours made me think of “Idlewild South”! – Back me up or put me down That will always be one of my favourite records, Pete – I can see how you may hear some inspiration from that

The radio is playing…what song would you cross the room to turn UP and what song would you cross the room to turn OFF?

There are many songs that come to mind for both UP and DOWN. For the sake of the question let’s say Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein” is getting cranked. I try to find inspiration in everything I hear, but “I Want You To Want Me” by Cheap Trick is getting turned off (Edgar told me the full story of that cut, Marcus! Just click here: http://bit.ly/1lD5nUm – PS)

The third track on an album is often a gem – can you think of any? (artist/title/source album) – as many as you like!!!

Michael Kiwanuka: “Falling” (Love & Hate) Alabama Shakes: “Dunes” (Sound and Color) Allman Brothers Band: Melissa (Eat A Peach)

Name a song or instrumental that fades too early, for you (artist/title):

Nicholas Payton: “Sonic Transe”

Suggest two or three great drum intro’s to songs or instrumentals (any genre) (tune /artist/ source album)

When The Levee Breaks: Led Zeppelin: IV Rain: The Beatles: Single/Revolver

(I couldn’t agree more! I also like the version by Randy California on the Kaptain Kopter album – PS)

Name a TV series where the theme music was better than the actual shows and do you know who created or recorded it?

Barney Miller: Not sure who recorded

A recording that makes you laugh ….intentionally or otherwise! (Artist/track / source album)

Bay City Rollers: “Saturday Night”

Name an album or a couple of albums where the cover or artwork could have been better, in your humble opinion….give any thoughts around this

Haha a records I’m naming is an album I love but the artwork could have been thought through more Herbie Hancock: “Sunlight”

Best 2nd or follow up album of all time and why ? ( I love The Doors ‘Strange Days’)

“Strange Days” is a very good pick. There’s a lot I could pick for this question but I have to go with: “Deja Vu” Crosby Stills Nash & Young. This album really shows you the band who you already knew to be great song writers as well as vocalists, it brings out a much more raw sound, With the song “Almost Cut My Hair” you can feel them growing as a band, it rocks harder while at the same time maintaining the soft subtle beautiful folk style harmonies.

Where are you planning to tour next?

Anywhere they’ll have us

Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed? here and when was this?

Rascal Flatts when I was about 8 or 9 really surprised me with their live show. Really rocking stuff

Where in the world in your opinion is live music best received? What venues appeal?

I haven’t been everywhere I’d like to see yet. So far Black Mountain NC has best received the love

Has a radio DJ anywhere (and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?

WolfMan Jack! He introduced my father’s band in 1971 opening for ZZ Top And seeing footage of that made an impression on me

Name a recording (an album maybe) that really ‘grew’ on you and has ended up as essential listening? What is it about this recording that you value?

“Secret Life Of Plants” by Stevie Wonder at first I didn’t understand what he way saying. After hearing Questlove mention the album I listened again and really experienced in a different light

Everytime I get a ‘Best Of…’ of anybody, there’s a song or two missing that I wish had been included….can you think of an instance of this? What are the missing items that you would like to have seen included?

On most any Ray Charles Best of you will not find any material from his record “True To Life” which is my favourite of his.

Two or three songs with great actual endings (not fades) by The Who or The Beatles? Or both acts!

“Nowhere Man” : The Beatles “Cousin Kevin” : The Who

Is there a book or novel that you would like to create songs or the score for? Why is this?

I think a psychedelic soundtrack for “To Kill A Mockingbird” would be interesting

Boz Scaggs and Stevie Nicks record a song together – suggest a song and who would be in the band

“No Quarter” : Jerry Garcia on pedal steel. Geezer butler on bass. John Bonham on drums. Keith Emerson on keyboards.

Did you enjoy school? Whether you did or not, which song reminds you of schooldays (artist/title/source album)?

I didn’t enjoy school. Lettuce’ cover of Move On Up is what I listened to every day on my out of the door

Pete Sargeant

(Many thanks to Marcus King and Joe Baxter at AirMTM)



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The Marcus King Band’s debut album ‘Soul Insight’ is out now on Evil Teen Records. The Marcus King Band will be touring the UK in October 2016 at the following venues: 

Wednesday 26th October 2016 – Shoreditch Blues Club, Shoreditch, London, United Kingdom

Thursday 27th October 2016 – The Deaf Institute, Manchester, United Kingdom

Friday 28th October 2016 – Crofters Rights, Bristol, United Kingdom

Satirday 29th October 2016 – Bluesfest London (with Little Steven and The Soul Disciples), Indigo at The O2, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom

Sunday 30th October 2016 – Bluesfest London (with Walter Trout and The Temperance Movement), Indigo at The O2, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom

For more information visit The Marcus King Band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2dHmsJT