With a tenure of over 12 years in the game; blood, sweat and tears has continued to pay off for the Midwest juggernauts from Quad Cities hardcore heavyweight hardcore band KING OF CLUBZ . In 2002, the band was born out of the ashes and dismemberment of several Midwest hardcore bands and today it stands tall with the original line up comprised of John Music (xTYRANTx), Thomas Behne, Ryan Levsen and Bobby VaLeu (WALLS OF JERICHO, CLOSE YOUR EYES). Fast forward to present day, and swinging harder than ever before, the band is poised to release what will surely be their most intense and powerful tracks to date. KING OF CLUBZ members now reside over the U.S., but still call the Quad Cities home-base. And with a new record label, new merchandise, new tour schedule and a new album almost complete, KOC again has the attention of the hardcore world. The band will release their new record ‘Vile Times’ via French label Knives Out Records later in 2017 and we’re thrilled to give you this exclusive insight into their plans. Scroll down to read the full interview now!
In 2002 five friends came together one afternoon in an upstairs, rental bedroom with one goal: to write heavy, pissed off music. KING OF CLUBZ immediately garnered huge attraction and attention not only in their home scene of the Quad Cities, but very quickly throughout the Midwest; from Chicago, to Minneapolis, to Denver, Colorado – KOC was carving out a loyal fan base.
In 2003, KING OF CLUBZ released “The Day You Die”, a demo recorded by Mike Hasty of WALLS OF JERICHO, Detroit. Well received, this album was re-mastered and re-released that same year by Filled With Hate Records out of Germany.
2006 to 2012 were six difficult yet incredible years for KOC. Three additional full lengths, a 7” split with Providence and a Goodlife Records compilation went hand in hand with several European & US tours and what seemed like a rotating door of temporary members.
After almost 18 months on hiatus and basically viewed as “dead in the water”, in April of 2013, KING OF CLUBZ was invited to play a QCHC tribute festival. All original members reunited and spent months reworking old tracks and writing new ones in preparation. After the fest ended and the lights went down, a fire had been reignited: KING OF CLUBZ was reborn.
Hey hey! Sooo, you’ve just announced you anticipated new record. How are you? How’s 2017 been treating you so far and how does it feel to finally unveil more details on “Vile Times”?
So far things have been going well, other than political garbage we are extremely excited for this record to see the light of day, we had a few obstacles – frontman James Thornz who was with the band from the beginning decided he no longer wanted to continue with the band, we had just finished recording the music so we had to scramble to figure out the future and if this record would be finished- we decided I would go in and record the vocals so the hard work that was put into writing and recording would not bewasted, I’ve sang in a few hardcore bands (xTYRANTx being the most current) so im no stranger to fronting a band, so again we are excited to get it out and for people to listen to it.
How did you team up with Knives Out Records for this release
Well the band has a history with Tonr his band PROVIDENCE and Knives Out Records, we saw the releases he puts out and the amount of effort he puts into his artwork/releases and wanted to work with him.
Can you take us back to late 2011 and recall the reasons behind the hiatus?
I’m part of the original lineup but was not currently in the band at the time but from the talk of the band it was lineup issues, some members just couldn’t put in the time and it was making it increasingly tougher for the band to stay together.
Ok, so what prompted you to regroup and return with the original line-up?
A good friends wife had a stroke and a benefit was being put together to help with medical costs, KOC was asked to regroup the original line up playing the songs off the first release “the day you die” and it just started from there.
How are the reincarnated spirits? What’s changed?
Things are good I think everyone in the band was excited to start writing and working together and just see where it goes with no pressure, the band always had a certain bond and it just felt fun.
How much did getting back on the road inspire your writing on the new effort? Sonic wise, how would you compare this new album to the band’s previous works?
To be honest most of the writing just came from inspiration from current and past experiences, struggles and overcoming obstacles. We feel this new record is just eclectic, we all had our parts in writing as a group and it just came together well, this record is more straight forward in your face hardcore.
How about the lyrics? Has the whirlwind of recent political and social happenings and more and more dynamic changes in the world today inspired the content of “Vile Times”?
There is a definite impact current events have on the new release, the album title just sets a tone for the world as we see it today, nobody caring about anything and we are all just destroying each other and this world, everything from political, personal relationships and environmental.
Speaking of changes and not diving too deep into gloomy political stuff, how do you feel your local hardcore scene evolved since you started KING OF CLUBZ in 2002? Also, what other cities have you explored since your early days and what other spots could you name ‘home’?
Well the term hardcore is being watered down and thrown around too much now a days, hardcore is much more than just playing heavy music there is a lifestyle associated with it. I was born and raised in Michigan and returned back in 2003 so midwest hardcore will always be my home, our drummer lived in Colorado for a long time and our bass player Bobby was living in California as well, but Iowa will always be the home of KOC.
How much is touring on your radar at this point? Also, given your coopration with Knives Out, can we expect a European run in 2017?
It is unclear what we will be doing as far as touring, there is talk of going to Europe, but I think we are just going to see how this new record is taken, its going to be a bit different not having James on this record so we will see how it is accepted.
Photo by Michael Watson
Great! Final question: what are you listening to these days? Would you like to recommend some good records or perhaps reads to feed our hungry souls?
Thanks! Cheers for your time. Feel free to add your final words and take care!
Check us out on our social media for release news and songs being posted.
KING OF CLUBZ Facebook
KING OF CLUBZ Instagram
KING OF CLUBZ YouTube
KING OF CLUBZ Twitter
2003: KING OF CLUBZ “The Day You Die Demo” – CD | Self released (30 made)
2003: KING OF CLUBZ “The Day You Die” – CD | FWH Records (Ge)
2006: KING OF CLUBZ / WHATEVER IT TAKES “The Heart of Champions” – CD | FWH Records (Ge)
2007: KING OF CLUBZ “The End” – CD | FWH Records (Ge)
2008: KING OF CLUBZ “Outlast” – CD | WarCity Records (Ge)
2011: KING OF CLUBZ / PROVIDENCE “Time For Grievance” – 7″ | On The Attack Records (US)
2011: KING OF CLUBZ / PROVIDENCE “Time Of Grievance” – MCD | Ratel Records (Pl)
2012: v/a Beatdown Basterds Comp – CD | Goodlife Recordings (Be)
2017: KING OF CLUBZ “Vile Times” – CD, Vinyl, Cassette Tape | Knives Out Records (FR)