Winners of ‘Best Band’ & ‘Best Album’ –
The British Blues Awards 2012
Winners of ‘Best Band’ & ‘Best Album’ –
Blues Matters Writers Poll 2011
So now you’ve seen the review and hopefully heard the music, but what’s with the name King King? Who is Alan Nimmo? and why does he want to sing the Blues? 3Songsbonn asked the talented Scot to introduce himself to the German public during the bands first ever tour here. Read on…
First a simple question but one that has plagued me since I first heard your name mentioned in the UK magazine Blues Matters – How did you come upon the name ‘King King’?
King King was the name of a blues club in L.A. and it was the title of an album by one of my favourite bands “The Red Devils”. The name ‘King’ of course is prevalent throughout blues, so it’s also a tip of the hat to B.B. , Albert, and Freddie
How did the band come into being?
Lindsay Coulson (Bass Player) and I have been friends for a long time, from when he was the Bass player in “The Nimmo Brothers” and around 4 years ago we decided to put a little project together just for fun… and from there, King King was born. We started out as a straight ahead Blues band but then we started writing and it started to take it’s own direction from there. Audiences seemed to love it and things really started to take off for us! The first album got rave reviews and now here we are!
And your name came up regularly when the nominations went out for the British Blues Awards last year, finally winning in two top categories: Best Band and Best Album. What are your thoughts on such awards and how did it feel to get recognition from the fans themselves?
It’s flattering to get recognition from the fans and winning the awards shows us (the band) that our hard work and effort is paying off. Although, I never look upon what we do as any kind of competition… I think the “Blues community” should stick together and help one another move forward to keep the scene alive and thriving. We all work hard at this business and the best award for me is when my music or lyrics touch someone and can they identify with what I’m trying to get across.
I read somewhere your own early influences were the likes of Peter Green, Clapton and Free. Who will the initial influences be for future Blues players – the current musicians who will inspire the next generation to dig back to the musics roots?
I think future generations will still look at the greats like Peter Green, Clapton, Free, Hendrix, B.B. King, Muddy Waters…. I could go on all day. I don’t think those influences will ever disappear but there are plenty of players, bands and singers out there today that both future and the present generation can take influence from, I.E. Bonamassa, John Mayer, Bonnie Rait, Derek Trucks, Ian Siegal… who knows, even King King or the Nimmo Brothers. Ha ha!
You also have some fantastic guitar players in Germany, Henrik Freischlader for example or our good friend Lars Kutschke.
My impression here in Germany is that British Blues is exploding now in a way it hasn’t done since the days of Cream and Taste. There are a lot of youngsters coming over here to Europe right now. Why this relatively sudden upsurge of young Bluesers? And why so many from Britain?
I think there is a great pedigree of fantastic Blues Players in Britain and they’ve followed in the tradition and footsteps of the pioneers of the great 60’s blues boom.
I couldn’t speak for everyone but as for myself… I was born in to a blues loving house and family.
Some of my early memories are of listening to Peter Green and Eric Clapton so it was with me from the start. I think the reason that it stayed with me is because I am an emotional and passionate man and that’s what blues music oozes! For me it’s a music that’s all about “feeling”
Like most things in life I suppose… “If you don’t mean it… don’t do it”
The Blues used to be black musicians, then white musicians took it over and many black people don’t see Blues as black music anymore. There seem to me to be more and more white Europeans playing the music – is the Blues in the 21st Century going to be increasingly less American? What do you think?
You don’t need to be from America to have blues in your soul and the colour of your skin is just the colour of your skin! It has no bearing on whether or not you have the right to have blues inside you. Just like blues music isn’t all about 12 bars and and traditional chord structures. I suppose the early blues men and women were singing about things like, Love, Loss, Money, and Work… Is it any different now?
Still on that topic: You recorded your recent album with your brother Stevie ‘Brother to Brother’ in Austin, Texas. Do you need to go to The States to record Blues properly? It seems like most European Blues musicians now go over to Texas or to Memphis or LA. A lot of them even leave their normal touring bands behind to hook up with US studio guys for the recording. What benefits did you get from leaving the UK for the recent record?
I personally don’t think you need to go to the States to play blues properly, there is an abundance of outstanding players here in the U.K and Europe. I do however think that there is a definite difference in how European and American blues is performed and approached. There’s most definitely a British sound and an American sound. Our time in Austin was a great learning experience as well as privilege to play with some fantastic musicians and to also work with a great engineer/producer Pat Manske.
You’ve also done separate discs with your brother and with King King?
Yes, my brother and I are always in contact and along with continuing to write new music for Nimmo Brothers, we always bounce idea’s back and forward about King King and Stevie’s solo work. His opinion is very important to me as mine is to him when it comes to writing songs… we are very honest with one and other… if something sounds great we’ll tell each other and if something sounds really shit… then that’s what we’ll say.
My own favourite British Blues Band of the eighties was the Scottish outfit, Blues n Trouble, whom I saw supporting Robert Cray in Portsmouth and who on the evening impressed me more than Cray did. They always stayed something of an underground Blues tip though. Do you have to move to London even in these days of Internet downloads to get noticed playing Blues in the UK?
I wont say that it doesn’t help being in London, because it does… but, if you have a strong work ethic and if you can deliver what you promote then as they say in Scotland “what’s for you, won’t go by you”!
Is it easier to get noticed internationally if you’re Irish? The likes of Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher and Thin Lizzy opened doors in the seventies and here in Bonn for instance there are regular Irish Music concerts and festivals. There’s very rarely anything Scottish that doesn’t involve bagpipes.
Scotland is not all about bagpipes! Scotland has a massive output of music, events, Theatre and world cinema. T in the park, Rock Lomomd, Frankie Miller, Alex Harvey , any of these ring a bell?
Who would you recommend as upcoming Blues musicians on the scene right now?
What sets a genuine Blues Band apart from a pretender? What to you are really the ingredients of a genuine Blues sound?
One word, “HONESTY”
I was surprised that you weren’t booked to play The Harmonie in Bonn or the Yardclub in Cologne which are the likely venues for a Blues/Rock Band with a good name coming over here to this area of Germany. In comparison, the Troisdorf Blues Club is a comparatively small venue in the area. Tell me how you came to be doing a gig there.
Well we have only ever been to Germany once so we are unaware that our reputation has been growing so fast. However, we are very happy to be coming to Troisdorf to play and hopefully we’ll get to come back and move up to some larger venues as we build a solid fan base.
This will be your first major Tour of Germany. Why has it been so long to set up a tour here, and what are your expectations for the concerts?
Well, like i mentioned earlier, the band is relatively young and we’ve been working on building a reputation in Great Britain and moving around places like Holland and Belgium. It’s only now that we’ve been getting noticed in Germany so now we’re looking forward to touring there and playing for the German people.
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