Hailing from Greenville, SC, 19-year old Marcus King is one of the most talented up-and-coming musicians in any genre today. The re-release of his album Soul Insight on Warren Haynes' Evil Teen Records in 2015 has been met with high praise, as King and his band are so brilliantly able to craft elements of psychedelic music, southern rock, blues and jazz to create a robust sound that is so uniquely their own.
Recently, Live For Live Music's Shane McFarland got to catch up with King and covered topics ranging from his family roots in music, to his experiences with jazz theory and performance, his relationship with Warren Haynes and what it was like to play a couple of Duane Allman's guitars. Read the entire interview below:
L4LM: First thing first, how’s the New Year’s treating you? I know you finished last year off on a high note. I was lucky enough to come down to Asheville and see you play at Haynes' Christmas Jam.
Marcus King: Oh man…yeah... that was a blast. New Year is treatin’ us really good. All feelin’ good. Good spirits, good health. We’ll be having a good time cutting this new album.
L4LM: Before we get into the album a little more, I just wanted to get a little more background for our readers who may not be familiar with your work. A little basic, but when was it that you started playing guitar and your influences? I know you’ve said your father is still one of your biggest musical heroes.
MK: Yeah man, my dad, my grandfather have always been… My grandfather was like my guru and they started teaching me at a really early age and they never forced me into it, but they really motivated me towards it and always, shared an ample amount of support. I guess ever since around the time that I started walking I was bangin’ around on something and I got an appreciation for it between the ages of five and seven.
L4LM: What is it like for you to be able to share a connection like playing music with your Dad? That’s not something every father-son relationship has. I have to imagine that's pretty special.
MK: Yeah man, it’s a beautiful thing, especially as being two guitar players. You know musically, we’re sharing the same DNA, so, we’re sharing the same ideas and kinda taking it to the same places that we both feel is right in our hearts and in our minds so it’s like a telepathic thing, y’know? It’s a really cool thing to be able to make music with your family.
L4LM: So, you’re playing gigs with your Dad around Greenville as a kid, when did the light bulb go off for you when you said, “I want to make a go of it as a professional musician?” Or were those inklings already implanted in you?
MK: Oh, well I guess when I was eight years old or nine years old. I had always really known music is what I wanted to do. There’s no question about that. At that point it was just kinda figuring out the steps to get me to where I wanted to be. And I was playing with my dad’s band pretty heavily, and then out of that I started my own group, and we started playing at small cafes and stuff. At that time the band was called Simultaneous Groove, and went through a couple different names before we landed on the Marcus King Band. And all the time I was playing with my dad’s band, his band kinda dispersed up until recently, he’s doing his thing; anytime we get the opportunity, we try to get together and jam as much as we can.
L4LM: The guys in your band are guys you grew up with or guys you played with around the scene?
MK: Yeah, all the cats in the group are guys I met just jammin’ around the scene - the Greenville scene - and coming across ‘em and just being like: “Man, they’re good… If i were a player I’d really like to work with them.” So I was kinda able to assemble somewhat of a dream team through all that cats in the groups, just finding them. Not necessarily poaching them, but just saying “Hey, I think this could be a really cool thing if you come and play with us.” And it’s kind of built from there.
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