DIY rockers Kingsborough holds court at Crystal Bay

Kingsborough
What started as a blues band, Kingsborough has developed into a straight-ahead rock band.

As the name might imply, the band Kingsborough is indeed rooted in the blues Kings: Albert, Freddie and B.B. However, the moniker is a reference to the lead singer, Billy Kingsborough.

“Our guitar player really connected with blues; B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan,” Kingsborough said. “That’s how it all started. We were a blues band for a long time and then we made the transition to rock and roll.”

The Santa Rosa, California, band’s first album, “The Night, The Grind, and The Woes,” and two recent singles clearly put Kingsborough in the rock ‘n’ roll realm. Think Creedence Clearwater Revival meets White Denim.

Formed five years ago, Kingsborough makes its long overdue Lake Tahoe debut on Friday, Oct. 7, in the Crystal Bay Casino Red Room.

“We are real excited to play at a great venue like Crystal Bay because usually when we head to a new city we are playing in the darkest, dingiest dive bar known to man just to get our foot in the door,” Kingsborough said.

Considering that the esteemed Damien Page Lewis produced the two singles, and the high quality of website and publicity photos, it would appear that Kingsborough has a label or at least significant financial backing. But that’s not the case.

“Everything is us,” Kingsborough said. “We all do the booking. We all write the tunes. I design the website. It’s all independent. We play so many shows that we haven’t needed yet to crowd fund. We do it the old-fashioned way, just work and work and work and put it all toward the new album.

“We feel bad asking fans for more money who are buying tickets and buying beer at our shows. We’re really are broke and most of our fans are broke, too. Everybody’s broke nowadays. It’s a double-edged sword. We have full control and everything we put out is ours, and if it sucks we have nothing to blame it on.”

Kings Bourough

Kingsborough, who had played in bands but never fronted one, wanted to continue with music after he finished college and moved back to his native Santa Rosa. He met guitarist Alex Leach and three days later the two had their first gig. Less than a year later, Kingsborough and Leach had added bassist Chris Mangione and drummer John Whitney.

“Chris had just moved back from Musicians Institute in Hollywood,” Kingsborough said. “He wasn’t looking for a band but we needed a bass player because I was playing bass and I suck at bass. It took five minutes of him playing with us for us to just beg and plead him to join our band.

“John had been in a successful rock band before and came to Santa Rosa to quote-unquote retire. He saw us play and shot me an email. So within a year’s time by extremely random circumstances, I was surrounded by some of the best and most intuitive musicians I have ever worked with.”

While Kingsborough was the primary songwriter on most of the songs on the first album, it was more of a collaborative effort on the two new singles, and that method is expected to be continued with future songs which will be on the second full-length album planned to be released in 2017.

“Now it’s a group effort, which I really enjoy because there’s only so much I can do on the guitar that’s where Alex comes in,” Kingsborough said. “And only so many things I can do rhythmically, and that’s were John comes in. We play it live, not telling people it’s a new song and gage their reaction, and then go back and change the song and go try it again.”

Moreover, Kingsborough prides itself in its live show.

“We’ve always strived to be a live band because nowadays nobody gets paid on their record sales anymore so we have to be damned good live,” Kingsborough said.

“We really just love having fun on stage. We try to have our live show more interesting and more dynamic. We want to give people an experience. We want people to be engaged. We want to give people who are there something to remember.”

  • Kingsborough
    When: 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7
    Where: Crystal Bay Casino Red Room
    Cover: free

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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