King Leg Ignites A New American Sound With Debut Album
Words by Corinne Casella
Photo Credit: Emily Joyce
LA-based King Leg brings an authentic modern take on the music that ignited the rock and roll movement of the 1950s. Chairman of Sire Records, Seymour Stein, has compared the songwriter’s voice to the storied ballader Roy Orbison, stating that the sound ‘blew him away.’ No surprise then that the artist’s debut album, Meet King Leg, released on October 20th, was produced by country music pioneer Dwight Yoakam and celebrated engineer Chris Lord-Alge. King Leg’s timeless sound and lyrical immediacy captures its audience from the first listen and refuses to let go. We had a chance to talk to him about the album, and the future of the band.
Tell us what is was like for you to work with a legend like Dwight Yoakam? How did that collaboration, coupled with working with Chris Lord-Alge affect your album?
KL: Working with Dwight was an eye opening experience. He sets no boundaries in the studio and really helped us reach for the stars sonically and stylistically, all the while focused on delivering a record that was as close to perfection without losing that musical touch. CLA brought his fine-tuned ear and wizardly skills on the mixing board. He mixed this record while we were recording. This lit a certain creative fire under us in the studio that kept us going hard the whole time. In other words, the spank he put on the tunes in the control room creeped into the tracking room which truly gave this record a lift.
How did you meet Dwight, and what prompted the collaboration?
KL: Oddly, I met Dwight years ago at a restaurant in Nashville. I never brought up my songs to him. Years later he was playing at the Ryman and I was waiting in the alley to say hi. A lady, who was also a friend of his, I did not know approached my friends and me and invited us to her office the next night for a get-together. She was starting a publishing company and was interested in hearing new songwriters. Dwight was playing a show in Birmingham the night of the party and ended up swinging by the party afterwards. When he walked in I was in the middle of a song. He was intrigued by my voice and liked the song, which I’m happy to say made it on the album – “Wanted.”
What inspired you to cultivate such a unique take on retro rock and R&B? What bands did you look up to and learn the most from?
KL: I felt like I was a 60s’ kid who grew up in the 90’s … is that weird? I loved learning about the American past and it made me feel connected to my parents’ and grandparents’ generations, learning about the music they enjoyed. Elvis and Michael Jackson inspired me as a child, then 60’s rock like the Turtles, Beatles, and Roy Orbison. More progressive acts like the Moody Blues, Radiohead, Pulp, and The Smiths influenced me greatly as well as Classic Rock and New Wave. I guess like any music fanatic I soaked up whatever I could. What I’m doing is a modern millennial’s take on rock informed by the greats I listed and others not mentioned. In fact, I heard someone coin the term ‘Millennial Mod Rock’ for what I’m doing – please feel free to incorporate that into your everyday vernacular and spread the word!
What song is your favorite of the the debut album and why? What song almost didn’t make it and why?
KL: They’re all my favorite but I will say “Wanted” is special to me because it is the song Dwight heard me performing at that party and in a way was the spark that began this wild ride. Every time I hear or play it I feel deeply thankful for this opportunity. “Your Picture” funny enough was not on the table anywhere until I jammed on it for a bit at rehearsal and Kelly, our drummer, insisted we show it to Dwight. Thanks Kelly!
What’s next for King Leg?
Gonna keep marching forward, shuffling and kicking along the way. I need to do daily stretches, which I keep putting off! More shows are in the works and very excited to play the Ryman next January opening for Dwight. Hoping, thereafter, to hit the road harder and play this record more for folks keeping the LA area as the Millennial Mod epicenter. Meanwhile, always playing guitar and allowing it to be my song antenna is a priority-excited to record another batch of tunes someday.
TheWaster.com | Meet King Leg