The Kings of Spain at the Crossroads

Santa Barbara-Based Band Talks About the Future

Asking whether a band will survive adversity or fold under the
pressure of internal politics and the loss of key members usually
only becomes noteworthy when the band has been together for years
and has produced at least one full-length, critically acclaimed
album. Santa Barbara’s funk-rock pioneers the Kings of
Spain
Elevator%20Photo.jpg have been together for only a very
short period of time, and have produced an excellent demo full of
grit and fire. So why is it so important to talk about their
future?

Following a slew of successful live shows and some success in a
couple of American Idol-style competitions — which serve to
introduce the band’s music to a wider audience than the Santa
Barbarba live scene ever could — the Kings of Spain seemed poised
to get back into their homemade though high-tech studio and record
some new songs, and possibly start working on a full-length debut.
Competition judges praise their gusto and bookers beg them to
return to just about every venue they play, and in an industry that
revolves around striking when the iron is hot, the Kings of Spain
are at a point where momentum could make all the difference in the
band’s longevity. That makes drummer Adam
Baltieri
’s decision to depart the band in favor of a
college education outside of Santa Barbara tragic. And when you
take a closer look at the relationship between Baltieri and
vocalist/lead guitarist Will Loomis, the decision
becomes heartbreaking.

Loomis and Baltieri met when they played together in a band that
performed mostly cover songs. “Adam encouraged me to work on my own
songs,” Loomis recalled, and the two eventually formed the Kings of
Spain. “We have a very strong musical connection; Adam is a very
creative drummer, not just a timekeeper, and he is a good friend,”
said Loomis. kings%20logo.bmp The duo performed and produced most of
the music that made it to the demo, proving their connection exists
both instrumentally as well as philosophically. “I write most of
the songs solo,” said Looomis, “but Adam’s creativity gives me a
vehicle to get them to another level.” Both cite similar
influences, too: Jimmy Page and Chuck Berry chief among them.

Loomis and Baltieri later found guitarist Thomas
Masker
and bassist Adam Reiber, who play
in the band’s live shows and add a different dimension to the
band’s sound. Just as the foursome had finally found its groove, a
key piece of the puzzle is falling out of the picture. “Adam
leaving is huge — it will change the band’s chemistry pretty
drastically,” Loomis said. “He and I played so long together that
there’s no way it could be otherwise.”

The Kings of Spain aren’t ready to give up just yet, though.
Baltieri’s still in town, and he will play shows with the band
through the end of the year. That includes the free Cold Spring
Tavern show this Friday, November 24, at 7 p.m.; and Friday,
December 8, at the Brewhouse (both all ages). And after that,
Loomis plans to keep plugging away in the studio. “It almost makes
sense that he got the ball rolling and now he’s moving on.” Loomis,
who has more than enough material already, will be hard at work on
a new demo in the New Year. The Kings of Spain will continue to
play contests, too, because it’s good PR. “One time we played a
live contest gig in L.A. and some A&R guy approached us after a
show and asked for a copy of [the single] ‘Amplifire,’” said
Loomis. And the band reaches new people every time.

What the Kings of Spain are finding out is that, especially in
these contests, which normally feature a bunch of bands playing
homogeneously harder music, their sound stands out. “We’re
hopelessly out of touch with punk and hardcore music, which is so
prevalent today. … We never related to that.” The Kings of Spain
recently participated in NBC’s web-based competition,
StarTomorrow, which pitted music performers against each
other, with the band getting the most votes for its prerecorded
track moving on to the next round. Just getting in to the contest
was a big deal, as thousands applied but only 100 bands from across
the nation got to participate, but the Kings of Spain additionally
got through a couple of rounds, before losing to the eventual
winner.

So the Kings of Spain will continue to reign. They will
majestically pursue an ever-expanding creativity and bend to their
music, never forcing their way into something different, but
finding their way there naturally. The band has already achieved
more than a lot bands ever do, and they’re looking for more. “A
record deal would be nice,” said Loomis. “I’d like to do this for a
while.”

Visit myspace.com/thekingsofspain, where you can find
free downloadable tunes and show updates.

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