King Super releases an album of original songs as crazy-fun as the band’s covers
By Steve Wildsmith (email@example.com)
King Super himself, singer Dave Bowers, has fielded concerns from fans ever since the band — known for its outrageous covers, colorful stage wear and high intensity live shows — announced it was making an album of original songs:
“‘How are you going to recreate, on a record, what you guys do on stage?’” Bowers told The Daily Times this week. “People are very apprehensive about listening to it. But then they do, and they hear that it’s not just 10 songs full of farts, and they say, ‘Oh! They actually tried! They did this!’”
Not that a King Super live show has ever been built around gas. But for a group of guys who started out as a rock ‘n’ roll band intent on rearranging, reassembling and reinterpreting unorthodox and obscure cover songs, treading into original song territory can be a tricky thing. The guys, however, have been sharing their own compositions with fans since the beginning.
“When we first got together, I think we started playing a few originals that we had come up with, but we were mainly a cover band,” drummer Steve “Scuba Steve” Corrigan told The Daily Times. “I’ve played in a lot of cover bands in the past, and I didn’t want us to get pigeonholed in that thing. I knew we had a bunch of talent.”
Corrigan and Bowers met through mutual friends; the former had played (and still does) in numerous bands around East Tennessee, including The Lonetones and Same As It Ever Was. When Corrigan heard Bowers sing at a mutual pal’s wedding, he asked the Vonore High School graduate to join in a new project he was putting together. Bowers agreed to do a show at Preservation Pub in downtown Knoxville before the group was fully formed, sending Corrigan scrambling to round out the lineup — which he did with Sam Quinn, a veteran of the everybodyfields and his own solo material who was looking for a project that would allow him to flex his rock ‘n’ roll muscles.
With Kenton Martin on guitar (who moved to California last year and has since been replaced by Casey Hauschildt), the guys quickly established themselves as a tour de force whenever they performed, appearing in everything from matching state trooper outfits to homemade Pac-Man suits to denim shorts with knee-high tube socks. Fans marveled at their abilities to form a holy-crap-that’s-crazy-but-it-works medley of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” with “Tequila” and Dire Straits’s “Sultans of Swing,” or to incorporate Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” into a medley with Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”
But when the guys decided to enter the “Sound Off” battle of the bands contests in Knoxville, one of the requirements was original material. That led to the creation of “MaMorLaSha,” a mumbled refrain that translates to “Matt Morelock’s Shop,” a song that details a disagreement between two icons of entertainment and creativity in downtown Knoxville that’s part of the local music scene’s weird and wonderful history.
“We had heard the story, and it’s hilarious in the fact that everybody got so pissed off about it on both sides — in fact, that made it even funnier,” Corrigan said. “It’s one of those things a lot of people would let roll off their backs, but because of the fact it was these two main icons in Knoxville who don’t let anything roll off their backs, and they kept stirring (stuff) up, we thought, ‘This is perfect. Let’s try to write a real pretty song right up front to set the mood, and then all the sudden, the mood changes, and it gets a little messy.
“We knew it had to have an intense jam right in the middle of it to make sure it was weird enough for King Super. There was a lot of laughing going on that night in our rehearsal room.”
In fact, given the sense of humor all of the guys possess and the ease with which their funny bones get tickled, it’s a wonder the new King Super album — titled “Hammertime County” — was even completed. (Although Corrigan cops to the band having blown three deadlines during the process.)
“We did all this stuff for our own amusement, pretty much,” Bowers said. “It’s the same way that we’ve tackled everything — ‘Well, we like it; this is fun for us, so hopefully it’ll be fun for you.’”
“The first few shows, people were like, ‘Have you seen the joke band King Super? You’ve got to see them because they’re so funny and such a big joke,’” Corrigan added. “But once you write your own record, is it still a joke? It is to us, but we don’t have to let the audience know that. We just keep doing what we’re doing, and hopefully everybody has as much fun as we do.”