STEPS TWO: MONARCHY IN THE UK

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11 Cartoon Mick 10 Cartoon Jim 14 Cartoon Stonki 15 Cartoon Tony

A change of name for the group was the first priority.

No more hiding behind 'Screens' this band needed to declare their ambition to stand shoulder to shoulder with the greats.

A marriage of rock and funk was the groupís goal and a fate of birth supplied them with a perfect name that placed them in the royal musical family of Queen and Prince.

Exalted company without doubt - but hey - if your aim is to be amazing then there's no point in being shy about drawing comparisons.

 

King as a band name worked on so many levels that everyone agreed it was perfect. Did the other group members have concerns?

 

"Paul's a great performer he's got an uncanny insight into the way people react to things and because he's got such a clear view of what he wants, it's easy for him to make other people enthusiastic about it. He's like the foreman on a building site but each member of the band is as important as the others." Mick Roberts - Sounds

 

09 83 GROUP
01 Windsor Safari Park

Indeed Paul was the motivator and focus but everyone understood they were part of a genuine team. In the beginning the distinction between King the band and Paul King as its lead singer was clear to all involved and it was only later, with some success, that it would become a problem.

 

With managment officially on board things switched up a gear. Perry got them booked onto Peter Powell's national Radio 1 show in a new band slot that was to also be filmed by the BBC's Oxford Road Show. King performed the song 'Cherry' on stage at the General Wolfe to a group of friends and BBC cameras. The show transmitted across the nation on January 21st 1983 and King moved off home turf to begin their quest in earnest for recognition and a record contract.

 

There was some record label interest but no one was kicking down any doors. EMI offered demo time but passed, Island and Polygram records came to see shows but wanted to wait and see how the group developed.

 

Early 1983 saw support slots with Wah!, Everything But The Girl, Jo Boxers and Culture Club plus bookings at Flicks in Dartford for Pete Tongs funk nights and the Windsor Safari Club.

However initial media response was at best cautious.

03 Flicks - Dartford

The music press in recent years had had their noses severely put out of joint by the emergence of taste making publications such as i-D and The Face. Consequently they didn't look favorably on what they pre-conceived as yet another London fashion band. The few reviews King's early gigs did generate seemed more concerned with bitching at Perry Haines than any serious analysis of the bands musical abilities.

 

If King were to side step any press negativity and convince the record companies of their musical worth then the option was clear. The group needed a genuine fan base and the best way to win an audience was to hit the road.

 

With some more dates under their belts Paul was reaching the uncomfortable conclusion his rock dance vision wasn't rocking enough. A change of drummer seemed necessary and Team 23 were to supply yet another former band member as John 'Stonki' Hewitt took over the drum stool from the more ska and reggae oriented Colin Heanes.

 

06 BB STONKI
07 BB STONKI 08 BB STONKI

By the summer of 1983 the glam rock boot boys had covered most of the UK notching up rave gigs in Nottingham, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Hastings, Birmingham and a regular slot at the new Camden Palace in London. More nation wide shows were to follow and influenced by their live experience the groups sound was becoming defined

 

First and foremost with their lank locks coiled masterfully over funky shoulders King was a great live dance band.

Some sniffed they were 'just a bubble-gum act' as if that were a negative tag. But from their earliest forays around the clubs and student bars King had learnt to side step the elitists, even embracing the negativity as Paul offered assistance to audiences on how best explain the King experience to their friends..

 

"If they ask were King a rock band you say no.. If they ask were King a funk band you say no.... if you have to describe the King sound then you tell them it's like spunk flavored bubble-gum"

 

05 83 GROUP
02 Leadmill Poster
04 Cartoon King orange
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