King King Interview
King King are touring again! I missed them last time I sure as hell weren’t going to miss them this time especially as their recent release Reaching for the Light touched the iciest of souls in yours truly. So when offered an interview with the smooth meister Alan Nimmo himself, I jumped at the chance, squealed like a real fan girl and pondered. I mean what’s a girl to ask? Shall we find out?
Alan answers immediately with a warming brogue and polite manner that purveys throughout the interview and really captures the essence of King King
Firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to Manchester Rocks, it’s appreciated.
No, thank you, it’s nice to talk to you.
It’s been an astonishing 5 year rise from near unknown to where you are, how does it feel to be here?
It's funny when you put it that way, I mean its been a long time coming, it started from the Nimmo Brothers (Alan is currently on tour with his older brother Jimmy and the band)but it’s fantastic, King King have been going for 5 years- we decided to start a band, Lindsay (the bass player) had worked with Nimmo brothers before and we were drinking buddies so we thought go for it, at first it was gigging for drinks but it was so natural and easy, we played at a blues festival one day and thought lets do it.
You’ve had 5 victories at the British Blues Awards- best band for the 3rd consequtive year, best album for Shadows, nominated for Classic Rocks best new band, and have won male vocal and drummer of the year-that’s quite a lot of accolades- is the award cabinet getting full?
*laughing* yeah my Mum needs to get it reinforced- she shows them off to anyone who comes round, perhaps I’ll get them back one day!
It’s great though, not at all what we do it for (but a nice benefit?-oh yes), it’s nice to have them to know we are appreciated and happy for them to keep on coming.
Your'e supporting Thunder in Glasgow next year- your home town, what do you think about that?
Well it’s amazing, I’ve been a massive fan for years; I loved watching them, we are touring for 5 weeks and actually Glasgow is one of the smaller ones but I am very excited and happy about it, its good to have a home show, all the family and friends will be there, the school buddies who saw me doing this at school like there goes Alan with his guitar again, it was worth something.
You recently released Reaching for the Light on vinyl - why?
Demand- everyone was asking for it, we asked what fans wanted and they kept asking for it so why not. I love vinyl, I have a collection over at mums house and I was looking for some stuff the other day and I couldn’t find it so I said to Jimmy (Alan’s older brother) where’s it gone, then I thought mums probably sold it! *laughing* I have allsorts including Whitesnake.
And dear readers I got lost talking about Vinyl so do please forgive me as I meander slightly by asking what Alan’s favourite vinyl is as he tells me a lovely story about a local retro music shop
“Its next door to where there used to be an old blues record shop, its shut down now, I was just having a look around and I found this amazing double album by Free”
What is it about vinyl for you?
It's that hiss when you put down the needle, the hiss, the crackle, that warm tone, there is really nothing like it (A cd can’t replicate that!- No not at all), and vinyl is becoming a big thing again, I think it’s great (as I nod like an overactive Churchill dog in the back of a Micra, I profess my love for the circle of wonder, the ceremony of taking it out of the sleeve, the inner sleeve then setting it up to sit back and listen in awe as a track instantly fills a room with emotion, sound and devilment in one smooth manoeuvre. We talk the classics, from Sabbath to Floyd and anything in between that firmly remain on the “go to” list of artists to talk about )
You always seem to sing and play with heart felt emotion about personal things, I believe that without passion and feeling behind the music you could be anyone singing about anything (Yes, I totally agree with that) do you think it makes a difference?
Yes, people, the fans, believe in it, if there is nothing there people see through it, this is genuine music, something that stands the test of time, music from the 70’s is still good to listen to and why we were just talking about it, it stands the test of time. When you are on stage, you are lost in the moment, totally natural its immense.
You were featured on a Blues Magazine CD alongside Joe Bonnamassa (JBM), did you ever see that coming?
Of course I did! Responds Alan full of mirth and laughing heartily. Seriously though JBM “is the benchmark for every blues band, what he has done over the last 10 to fifteen years is phenomenal,, good player, good vocals and an excellent business man- people miss that. He get’s better and better over the years as he matures as his playing matures and the more I listen.
You just mentioned JBM there, I was listening to Dave Gilmour’s new one Rattling That Lock the other day and heard a King King vibe, who are your influences?
Biggest have to be Free, Paul Rogers, Peter Green, Eric Clapton even early Whitesnake and Thunder, always.
I remember listening to Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb” I heard it then ran up to my room and played the solo for about a year, picked up the guitar and played along and although that’s pretty much where my love for them started and ended it had a massive impact on me. The way that solo makes you feel, the way the chords are, just gave me goose bumps. Then there are the obvious blues ones Muddy Waters BB King.
I play for the love, I love the style of music, my parents and big brother listening to it made me fall in love with it so I picked up a guitar one day, just that, no aspirations to be a superstar or anything like that just to do it and I am
I reviewed Reaching for the Light, you posted it on your FB page- thank you, but you also quoted the passage about dynamic musicianship, are you still hands on with the promo stuff?
It was a good review, thank you.
And yes- very hands on Lindsay and I are very involved, we do have help but everything goes through us, I like to stay in touch with what’s going on, be available for people, I remember watching Dave Grohl, such a cool guy, talk about bands nowadays and saying that promo, elbow grease and putting the hard work in is the important thing, you don’t need to have a massive label to make it work and I agree with that.
As I glance at the clock, I realise that we are nearly at 30 minutes in and I am far than ready to end the interview, Alan is so down to earth and relaxed that we could have known each other for years, the genuine warmth, the passion for the music and the affability he has just shines through.
Do you place a lot of worth in what people especially critics have to say?
Laughing heartily he responds in what has become a typical earthy response; you have to take these things with a pinch of salt, not to say they are ignored but you have to grow a thick skin, it’s a mark of success when you get haters and everyone is entitled to their opinion but if you don’t like it then don’t listen, there is stuff out there I don’t like but can appreciate the effort that went into it.
What’s your favourite song on the new album?
Ohh that’s a hard one, I really love them all but it would be You stopped him- the lyrics in that mean more than the others.
And after promising to wrap things up for the second time, where I am assured there is no rush, I ask the final question, the one everyone has been waiting for, with the political integrity that Jeremy Paxman is so envious of;
And what is your favourite whisky?
Cue much hilarity as he explains he is not much of a whisky drinker “growing up in Glasgow, I have seen what too much of the drink can do” he ponders however he has been tempted by a bottle of “Glen…urm, a friend gave it to me” Glenfiddich? “Yeah that’s it, and I also like Laphroaig or however you say it” Cue much ribbing from yours truly and a brief discussion about the next one to try.
Bidding farewell, Alan puts me on the spot, “So Kat, when are you coming to see us?” Well, all going according to plan, I will be at the Morecambe leg of the tour “Excellent, we look forward to seeing you and I mean that, make sure you come and see us before or after we go on” I graciously accept the invitation with a cheeky joke about teaching him the joys of real ale that creates more belly laughs before ending the call and realising that far from being awkward, which these things sometimes can be, it was possible the easiest conversation ever.
King King are playing in Sale on Friday 13th November the full tour list is here, I urge you to check them out and head on over to one of them before it gets to the point where they are impossible to get tickets too.
Still unsure? Hear their emotion and embrace their passion below.
Words: Kat Hilton