Kevin Lee & The Kings
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
My first exposure to rock bands was watching them on TV when I was very young. I thought it was the the coolest thing to sing, play and write songs. Once I got the itch to play, I've been pursuing it ever since.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
There's been a number of crazy moments that come to mind but one that sticks out is a Thanksgiving eve show I played in Des Moines, Iowa. We got in town late and there was only one hotel room that was available. So the band and crew, 8 guys all crashed on the floor in the room. We stayed up most of the night after the show partying and messed the room up a little. In the morning the hotel owner knocked on the door and made us all file out of the room. He was mad there were so many people in the room and ran to call the cops. We took off and a few cops caught us at the edge of town. They took us back to the hotel and gave us the option to pay for damages or spend Thanksgiving weekend in jail so we paid for the damages.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Getting signed to major label MCA and touring to support the album. We were pushing hard to get signed, sending demos and networking like crazy to get heard. An A&R guy and one of their higher ups flew in and saw the band live at Tuts here in Chicago. They came back stage after the show and said welcome to MCA to me. I started laughing, I thought they were kidding but it was real. We then toured for a few years opening for big acts playing 3000 - 25,000 seat venues, most sold out.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I work on songs everyday which keeps me in that head space of always thinking of an angle for a lyric etc. I generally come up with a cool guitar riff or chord progression which dictates the mood/vibe of the song. Some come down the wire and are finished fast, some I have to work at to finish. I always record full blown home demos of every song which also helps get the arrangement straight and then I give the finished demos to the band to learn.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
With and estimated 40,000 new releases everyday getting heard, reviewed, everything is the biggest challenge. Cutting through the thousands of artists out there is very difficult. If I had to ask the music industry to change anything it would be to come up with a media form that works across the board. CD's only work on a small level, the streaming platforms take most of the money so no one can really make much writing songs, vinyl is extremely expensive to reproduce. Some kind of fair balance for everyone would be great.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Cheap Trick, I've opened for them a couple of times. I'd love to do a whole tour with them. I love the band and my songs are right in the same vein, we' be the perfect opener.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
If we're working up new songs I give the band demos of the songs in advance and we go in and start working them out. For live shows I walk in with the set and we run it.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
There's been a few but the first one that comes to mind is The Best Is Yet To Come from our new EP "Lightning Strikes". I had everything sounding great through the end of the bridge but couldn't find a strong ending for the song. Going back to the chorus in the original key didn't really send the song off with a bang. Then I realized it needed to modulate up a step which worked perfectly.
What's coming up in the future?
I have a number of new songs finished so we'll be heading back in the studio in the fall to record a couple new singles to release next year with videos as well.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
About Kevin Lee & The Kings
Kevin Lee: Lead Vocals, Guitar Kevin Lee, and the Lonesome City Kings were signed to MCA. The band's first single, "Standing in the Line of Fire," was chosen for an NBA All-Stars Video and used in the movie "A Dangerous Woman." Lee released his first solo album, "Walk A Mile In My Shoes," in 1998 on Bubblehaus Records. In 2002 Kevin released the critically acclaimed CD "Loaded" on Chicago-based Big Blast Records. In 2006 Lee released "Flip the Switch" on Sigus Records to rave reviews worldwide. In 2010 Lee released "Dusk Till Dawn" on Sigus Records featuring his trademark songwriting with big hooks, chunky guitars, and melodies that listeners can't forget. The song "Time Won't Stand Still" hit #1 at WMWX in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2013 the album Breakout was released, and Lee was voted one of the best Chicago artists by the Illinois Entertainer. In 2018 Kevin Lee & the Kings released the hook-filled "Sticks & Stones" to excellent reviews. Lee was voted best new artist by Fireworks Magazine UK in 2007 and toured as an opening act playing multiple 20,000-plus seat arenas for REO, Cheap Trick, Pearl Jam, Lou Gramm, and Matthew Sweet. Kevin's song "Tonight" was featured in the 2016 major film release "Spaceman" and had pieces placed on several MTV reality shows. Kevin Lee & the Kings were named one of the best local bands for 2013 & 2018 by the Illinois Entertainer
Visit their website for more information: www.kevinleeonline.com