Interview: Marcus King Band to play at RIDE Festival in Telluride this July


The Marcus King Band will be treating fans to some amazing soul-filled Southern rock this July at the RIDE Festival in Telluride July 8 - 9, 2017. The extraordinary young singer, songwriter, and guitarist behind the band, Marcus King took time out of his creativity to chat musical influences and their second album The Marcus King Band. What King calls "soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock," fans call genius. Out of Greenville, South Carolina, this incredible talent feels that "music is the true healer.” This talented band is made up of King on Vocals and guitar, Jack Ryan on Drums, Stephen Campbell on Bass, Justin Johnson handles the trumpet and trombone, Matt Jennings plays the organ and keyboards, and Dean Mitchell is on the Saxophone.

AXS: Tell your fans why you call your style a "soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock."

Marcus King: It's always been an ambiguous style of music. We didn't want to conform to one particular genre; kind of felt pigeon-holed, you know? One of the deepest roots of my upbringing was bluegrass, soul music, and gospel. I guess lately we've been calling it heavy soul rock and roll; not just because it rhymes well. 

AXS: Who were you influenced by?

MK: My dad was one of my biggest influencers and still is. So is my grandfather, and for life advice, music advice, and you know all the people in the local music scene took me under their wing. They let me jam in these bars that I was too young to get into. We played old Curtis Mayfield kind of music. I'm so thankful for that. It broadened my horizons as far as what I could see, musically. 

AXS: The RIDE Music Festival is such an epic time. What are you most looking forward to during that weekend?

MK: Well I'm really looking forward to seeing Telluride. I've never been to that part of Colorado. I have a good friend that lives out there and she's been telling me that it's just gorgeous and like you said, inspirational. I'm looking forward to really seeing the agriculture there and spending some time in nature, while at the same time being able to play.

AXS: Was there a particular inspiration or idea behind your album "Ain't Nothing Wrong with That?"

MK: Yeah, we decided to self-title it because it was kind of a reintroduction to the band. My drummer and I did the first record together in San Diego, and then when we came home we didn't have a band anymore because our keyboard player and our base player both went back to school; which is great. So we kind of had to go out and find some cats, and the guys that are on that record, and the ones that you hear and see on the stage; those are the guys that we found. We felt that chemistry almost immediately from playing together for the first time, and I was alright; we gotta put this on wax. I just wanted to self-title it to let people know that this is a re-introduction to what we do and here we are.

AXS: What other musicians have influenced you?

MK: When I was young I was really getting into guitar greats like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hendrix, and Derek Trucks has always been a big one. I really wanted to broaden my horizons and listen to anything but guitar players for a while. I gained some inspiration so I wasn't just emulating players that I enjoyed. That'll happen as a guitar player if you only listen to other guitar players. It's not a bad thing; I wanted to discover my own sound. I felt like if I was able to take some other styles John Coltrane and Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, and apply it to guitar.  This was before I started singing I was listening to Etta James and Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding and James Brown, and try to take some of the vocal cadences that they have and apply it to the guitar. 

AXS: You said that "music is the true healer." I agree. How in your life is it a true healer? 

MK: I think a lot of things that I've dealt with when I was growing up, just like anybody else, you can find yourself almost preconditioned to pain to and hurt. I always think that it's a really important thing, whether it be music or any form of expression, is to get it out and not repress those emotions, ya know? Music was a positive outlet for me to get it all out. Whatever the emotion is at a certain point you push it down deep enough, it always comes out as anger or hate. So if you can get it out in a positive outlet soon enough, your body won't repress it.