Before King The Kid's show on Hollywood Ending's "Freaks and Geeks Tour" stop in Phoenix, Arizona, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with David, Ricky, and Jose of the independent rock trio. The three talked about music, touring, tattoos, and their fans, all in the exclusive interview below:
How did you come up with the name "King The Kid?"
Jose: It started as a "oh, we can all get along with this one," because names are so hard to agree on, and we were able to make King The Kid work because it also went along with this do-it-yourself mentality, so "king" is a verb, a lot of people don't catch that, so they're like "Oh, king of the kid"and we're like "No, king the kid."
Ricky: It was about embracing independence, because we're an independent band. And we're all kids at heart.
Do you think you've grown individually as musicians as the band has progressed?
Ricky: Oh, definitely. Like, for me, I've always just been a drummer, but it wasn't until King The Kid that, David, especially, made me start singing the harmonies live, and if you would have asked me two years ago, I would have been like, "Oh hell no."
Jose: Same for me, like when you grow up with bands, you're not good yet, and before this band, I was just doing things by myself. And putting us all three in a house with the one goal of wanting to make music really teaches you the discipline and everything about being responsible. And it's great to be creative with other people, because we all have different musical tastes, so getting to put all that into each song has been a really cool thing.
David: Being able to work every day, with all of our mixes and all of our songs, our songwriting, our recording; it's something that we've all been focusing on for a long time, and it's really something that takes tens of hours of work, and we're really putting our work in.
Individually, who are your biggest inspirations musically?
Ricky: I guess it always changes, but I would say my biggest influence musically was definitely the 80s in general, as funny as that sounds, like Poison and Def Leppard and Journey. So just the whole 80s heavy rock scene has probably inspired me to play.
Jose: Thrice, John Mayer, and City and Colour.
David: Tom York, and currently Josh Ramsey.
What's been your favorite cover that you've done?
Jose: To me, I think "Somewhere in Neverland," because it was live. We just went to the studio during our first tour, and it was just a really cool experience to be able to put out a video that was so real and it was just like watching what we were doing.
David: "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark" was crazy because we filmed it in the snow, although we filmed We Are The Ones in snow too.
Ricky: I'm gonna go with "Story Of My Life." That one was really fun.
Jose: Tuning those wine glasses was really hard.
David: It took hours and hours of getting the water levels right.
What song do you want to cover, but haven't yet?
David: I talk about Bohemian Rhapsody a lot. I think we should do something really cocky [laughs].
Jose: What's that song...that Journey song?
David: Don't Stop Believing?
Ricky: I think he's thinking of Separate Ways. But I've always been a huge advocate for Don't Stop Believing, but there's just such a stigma with that one, with it being too cheesy. Or an NSYNC or Backstreet Boys cover.
If you could do a collaboration with any artist, who would you pick?
Ricky: I'm gonna say Bruno Mars.
Jose: Hayley Williams.
David: I'm gonna go with Hayley too.
Ricky: If we had to go male and female, yeah, Bruno Mars and Hayley Williams.
Do you have a favorite city or state to perform in on tour?
Jose: NYC is always a fun place, I just love the city in general.
David: I like going to new places. International stuff is cool too.
Ricky: It doesn't really matter to me, but just going show to show is fun, just experiencing new places.
Do you prefer playing acoustic or live (electric) shows better?
Ricky: It's fun to go back and forth, like our first tour was all acoustic, and we did the King The Kid HQ, which was obviously all day, so we did an acoustic set and an electric set, and tonight, unfortunately, it's a shorter set, but when we have more time, even with our live shows, we always try to incorporate the acoustic thing, even if it's just for one song. We like them both, so we try to mix them up as best as we can.
What's the best and worst thing about tour?
Jose: I feel like we really nail the routine.
David: Yeah, we're like the most efficient band ever. We have an RV, we sleep in the RV, so there's no hotel costs, we cook brown rice and whatever else on the road as we go, so our food costs are pretty cheap.
Ricky: We go to Costco a lot, because there's six of us all together on the road, so we buy in bulk and eat really healthy.
David: Every day we get up, we work out, we shower, eat super healthy, play the show, and then sleep for free.
Jose: Yeah, but I guess one of the bad things is not having my own bed. I share the back room with our live bass player.
David: I also struggle with health, just in general.
Ricky: Yeah, that's the worst thing. If someone gets sick, everyone gets sick.
What's the craziest thing that's happened to you while on tour?
Ricky: Well, we blew out a tire like two days ago, and then yesterday we got two flats.
David: Craziest thing?
Jose: Yeah, I think it's always the vehicle thing, because it's always so crazy.
David: We always have such a planned touring life, so we don't really do much besides what we really have to do.
Ricky: Everyone always has a lot of fun, which is awesome, and everyone that we're on tour with right now has tour managers, and those bands aren't really independent like we are, so I'd like to say we're the most responsible group of people that I've ever experienced on the road, because we really don't have much time to go crazy or anything. Being onstage and being with our fans is the craziest part.
What made you pick "Last Train" as your new single?
Jose: This tour. We have a bunch of songs that are finished, but knowing who was on this tour, we made the decision to pick a song that fit the bill, because the songs we've been recording a range of pop to rock songs.
David: Yeah, it's very full spectrum, the music we're working on. "Last Train" was the perfect fit for Hollywood Ending.
Ricky and Jose, you two have tattoos, do you have a personal favorite?
Ricky: I would say my favorite is the one on my chest that says "May you always seek The Lord," and the story behind that is for my tenth birthday, my mom got me a Bible, and I always travel with it. She wrote on the inside front cover, and it's on my chest, and it's a nice reminder to stay grounded.
Jose: Mine all mean a lot to me, I don't get them just to get them. What I've been doing with the ones on my arm is adding little things, like little messages, but I just love them all.
For a lot of people, seeing you live is their first concert. What was the first concert you went to?
Jose: Avril Lavigne. I think it was Avril Lavigne in Mexico. And the guitar player mooned the crowd.
David: Mine was...the opener was Jimmy Eat World, and they weren't very well known yet, and then New Found Glory played and they were really really drunk, and then Blink-182 played, and they were also really really drunk.
Ricky: My first concert was Journey and Def Leppard. And the drummer for Def Leppard has one arm, and I figured, "You know what? I have a pretty big advantage at this point, I should go for it."
What's your favorite thing about your fans?
Ricky: Their dedication.
Jose: Their support.
David: We've had a lot of crazy opportunities this past year from fan support, and it was able to open a lot of doors for us. Winning the Hot Topic Battle of the Bands to a successful Kickstarter, all the tours we've been on, so definitely their support.
During King The Kid's set, they were joined by David Whitmore (bass) and Adam Sliger (keys), who both own and operate Sunray Recording Studio in Orlando, Florida (home to where King The Kid has been recording their new music). The band had a set that lasted about 20 minutes, but did not disappoint their fans who showed up to support them at their show; performing fan favorites "Name In Lights" and "We Are The Ones," along with their newest single, "Last Train." Pictures from the show can be viewed in the slideshow above.
For updates from the remainder of the tour and new music, follow King The Kid on Twitter and like their page on Facebook. Support the band by downloading their newest single "Last Train" on iTunes here.