What are your favorite bands to go out and see? We all have our favorite big bands, our must-see tours, and our favorite venues. To do my part, and try to make the music business a fair playing field, I don’t always go to the large arena shows or the great amphitheaters. I want to see the sketchy house PA shaking from the ceiling. I want the bands playing on the floor rather than a stage, and the pure and raw tail-between-the-legs nervousness of a band so fresh on the scene that even through their emotion, they rock your socks off.
Regularly, Shockwave Magazine is hitting the road to seek out local bands that are giving it their all and making a splash in their respective local scenes. I am overseeing the Connecticut scene right now, and I could not be happier with the first two Artist Spotlight choices. My first month with this new venture was April, I had Soldiers of Solace, a band from the Greater Waterbury area.
This time around, I chose Kings and Liars, out of New Haven, CT. I had heard their music all over Facebook and finally had the chance to see them in person. The venue was Johnny B’s Bar & Grill, a hole in the wall, plaza bar, with dim lights, a few local bar flies, and cheap beer. This is my absolute favorite style of venue to see a new band make their break. Why? It is simple. There is no great lighting to make the band look good, there is no high paid sound guy building up effects, and there is a small fanbase that is there to see just them, not waiting for the main act up against a rail. It is pure love for these bands.
Kings and Liars started as a personal outlet for Guitarist Charlie Bellmore while he wasn’t touring with Jasta and/or Kingdom of Sorrow. A handful of shows later and the band has begun to pull a solid following in the local area, drawing 100-200 attendees at small local venues. Charlie and the team holed up in the studio over the winter where they recorded a yet to be released 12-song album. Mid-April saw the quiet release of a 4-song teaser EP with received a positive response. Kings and Liars looks forward to a busy second half in 2017.
It was Cinco De Mayo, the cocktails were flowing, and the energy was fantastic. Kings and Liars took to the area near the front door, maybe a 15’ x 10’ area, with their own personal gear, flat on the floor with the fans, and gave everyone a full 40 minutes of blood, sweat, and tears. Wearing their hearts on their sleeves, frontman Paul Chasse absolutely stunned the fans with his incredible range. A serious reminder of Myles Kennedy, with the funk of rockers Crobot. It’s almost the ultimate power band combination for me. Indestructible lyrics, stage presence like a mullet (business in the front, party in the back), and an amazing aura felt throughout the tight packed bar.
More than just music is another reason I chose this band as my featured band. The four guys in Kings and Liars all have side projects, or main projects for that matter, and after their set I had a chance to speak with the guys about just that.
Scott for Shockwave Magazine: How does Kings and Liars find time with all the other projects formed around them to keep everything separate, yet unique enough in each player’s style?
Charlie Bellmore: We all have other projects (Nick, Chris and myself play in Jasta. Nick and I are touring members of Toxic Holocaust, Chris, Paul and myself all play in local bands; but, this band is the only band that the four of us speak in this voice. A lot of our other projects are filtered through other people but this one is just us with no rules.
When can the public expect a full-length record?
I would say sometime this fall, we’ve already recorded it, and it sounds AMAZING.
Was it recorded at Dexter’s Lab?
It absolutely was recorded there and produced by Nick.
When you added Paul to the band, with his vocal skill, what styles and energy did he bring to the band?
Quite frankly, Paul made me realize the band could be more. I wrote a demo for “Burn to the Ground” that just had fake drums on it and sent it to everyone. It was the second song as that lineup we were batting back and forth, so I was just trying to feel everyone out. When the demo came back, Paul was scatting over the top of it as an example of his melody, and I’m not kidding when I say the melody for the chorus was already there. I literally said, “I’d happily release this with you scatting because it’s already amazing!” After that, I wrote like a madman and Nick and Paul would work in the studio and decipher what I had sent to rearrange and make stuff their own. It was a truly new way to work for me.
When you guys are prepping to write, what styles and other artists really influence and effect what you’ve wanted to become?
My influences are all over the place, but in the most simplistic form it’s a combo of James Hetfield, Jerry Cantrell, Josh Homme and probably Kirk Windstein, from Crowbar; who I really learned a ton from when we toured for a whole summer in Kingdom of Sorrow together. Aside from that, my goal was always to combine my influences of the blues; which, was the first form of music I fell in love with, “grunge” and metal. I can play the blues, but I could never sing it, so I just always played a slightly bluesy vibe with my riffs; but, when Paul came in his bluesy, soulful, elements made us create something that was finally a dream I’ve had for about 20 plus years.
Who is Kings and Liars?
Charlie Bellmore – GUITAR/Vocals
Chris Beaudette – BASS/Vocals
Nick Bellmore – Drums
Paul Chasse – Lead Vocals