THE STORY SO FAR

2005: After the dissolution of THE POISON HEARTS and the premature collapse of the nascent CASANOVA FRANKENSTEIN, Ratbag (veteran of the Leeds rock scene and ex-drummer of such acts as STICKY FINGERS, ASSASSINATION BUREAU and APOCALYPSO) was on the verge of giving up rock 'n' roll altogether. Half-heartedly, he started looking for members for a new act, aware that this was the final throw of the dice. Fate intervened on November 15th, specifically in the queue for the lavatories at an Alice Cooper/Twisted Sister concert in Sheffield, when he bumped into his old mate Lee J. The pair hadn't seen each other in seven years, and as they were catching up it transpired that they were both between bands and looking for something new. Lee had previously been singer/rhythm guitarist of DEAD BARD'S GHOST, a poetic blues-rock band who had gigged sporadically in the '90s, and Ratbag, having known Lee since primary school days, had stood in for the latter part of DBG's career when their original drummer opted for Accountancy instead.

Soon afterwards, Lee and Ratbag met to jam and discuss ideas for the new project. Lee had several songs originally written for DBG, and Ratbag had a stack of songs ready to go which he'd put together for the Poison Hearts, so material wasn't a problem. The plan formed to put together a band of a kind that few people were doing on a local level - noisy, punkish, chaotic, visual and most importantly FUN. Unconstrained by the demands of the industry, unconcerned by the idea of getting signed or "making it", the new outfit would not bow to the whims of fashion but do what the hell they wanted to do - which essentially came down to making a racket, having a laugh and scaring the viewing public.

Assembling the band proved to be no easy task. Lee decided not to take lead vocals in the new act, opting to concentrate on guitar duties. Finding musicians who wanted to play raw, uncommercial, unfashionable rock 'n' roll is never an easy task, but after a tortuous period of interviewing potential members (and weeding out those who weren't committed, who didn't have the right influences, who just couldn't play or wouldn't make the effort for the visual side of the act, and on one memorable occasion a potential bassist/vocalist whose first utterance in the meeting was "I'll only sing my own lyrics, so you'll have to throw out all your songs"...), a working lineup was completed with former Poison Hearts frontman Rusty on vocals and bass and a young lead guitarist called Alex, for whom this was his first band. After a protracted period of uncertainty, the band eventually settled upon the name THE KINGCROWS after Ratbag, while driving up the road one day and spotting a group of particularly large corvids, said to his wife "Hey, look at those f'king crows!". Unfortunately, Rusty was also in the throes of planning his own band BLAGGARD and was forced to jump ship after a couple of months. However, replacements were soon found in the shape of BOB (bass) and TONY (vocals). The newly expanded quintet quickly set about making the act stageworthy.

The Kingcrows' first gig took place in the rock 'n' roll metropolis that is Selby on 22nd December 2006, opening for local glam-punk heroes PHLUID at their annual Christmas bash. While the performance was rough and ragged, the potential of the new band stood out a mile. This was quickly followed up with a succession of local gigs, after which Alex took his guitar away to start his own band CHERRY HOOKER. His replacement came in the form of 18-year-old fret wizard Zebs, and plans were laid to start recording.

 

True to form though, the recordings did not run smoothly. On the morning of the first session, bassist Bob abruptly left the band - his wife had become seriously ill and he had to quit in order to look after her. Adverts to recruit a new bassist were duly put on, and in the meantime Rusty was hastily drafted back in to cover four-string duties. Due to a combination of factors, the sessions had to spread out over a long period of time, and the change of bassist was not the last lineup modification to happen over the course of its creation. No sooner had the bass slot been filled by Rocco, a Cumbrian exile now living in Halifax and former bassmaster of Penrith punk maniacs NO THRILLS (too late to play bass on the CD, but in time to record backing vocals), the band was forced to part company with frontman Tony. As well as being a member of the Kingcrows, Tony was also singing in a covers act who were getting lots of work and this was making it increasingly difficult for the Kingcrows to book gigs that didn't clash, and in the end it became impossible for him to do both.

On Tony's departure, Ratbag got in touch with his old Assassination Bureau bandmate Phil E Stine. Aside from a stint with punk cover act GUTTERSLUTS (not to be confused with the US glam act of the same name), Phil had not done any band work since the end of the Bureau and was keen to be in a working original act again. After a break to get the new arrival up to speed, gigging resumed and work continued on the CD.

 The resulting CD, titled Carrion Regardless (you can't beat a good pun), featured seven songs which formed the core of the band's live set - "Nothing But The Night", "Magdelene", "Insult & Injury", "In For The Kill", "Writing On The Wall", "Red Mist" and "Poison Hearts & Poison Minds" and was finally released in June 2008, over a year after the recordings had been started. The CD was well received, though in retrospect the band felt that it suffered somewhat from the length of time it took to finish. Live, however, the Kingcrows went from strength to strength, but another misfortune was about to hit them. Lead guitarist Zebs was forced to quit the band when his commitments with his other band (Leeds indie rock crew EMERGENCIES, with whom he plays bass) became too much. Zebs agreed to stick around until a replacement was found, and in due course a six-stringer called Paul was recruited. Unfortunately, Paul's tenure was brief - after playing two gigs, he announced that his family circumstances would not allow him to continue as a member of the band. This announcement came just before a cluster of gigs and left the Kingcrows in a real quandary. Eventually the decision was made that the gigs that were a couple of weeks away would have to be cancelled - a decision the band regretted almost immediately - but as the first of the scheduled shows (a return to the venue of their first ever show, the Riverside in Selby) was only four days away, the band would have to perform as a four-piece with none of the lead guitar that had been such an intrinsic part of their sound...

It was to the band's great relief and not-inconsiderable surprise that the new, stripped-down and solo-free arrangements were a massive success. The band seemed tighter, more focussed and punchier. A major breakthrough came when the Kingcrows opened for Brit-punk legends the UK Subs in Wakefield. The Crows went down a storm in front of the Subs' audience, and with a new confidence and focus, they began to step up their campaign.

After several more months of intensive gigging, and with the underground punk community beginning to take notice of them, the Kingcrows entered IVOLV Studios on the Leeds/Bradford border to record their second EP. The intent this time was to keep the session fast, tight and as live as possible. After four days of intensive graft, the seven tracks which make up the new EP A Murder Most Foul were finished. The original intent was only to record six tracks ("Hanging Around", "Stiletto Groove", "What She Does To You", "Sex, Oui", "Revolution Street" and "One Of The Boys"), but things went so smoothly they they had time to include a bonus track, an acoustic reworking of Carrion Regardless's "Writing On The Wall".

The new EP is slated to be released on 18th July 2009. Advance reaction has been unanimously positive - tracks from the new EP have already been used on podcasts from www.StudsAndPunks.co.uk and the widely-subscribed Humdrumpunk (www.humdrumpunk.co.uk), who made it one of their featured releases, while noted review site Fungalpunk gave it a glowing and indepth review, concluding with the words "a great 'live' show and with a powerful arsenal of songs to meet most punk needs I reckon that the future can only look rosy for these punking buggers. Anyone who deems themselves as an underdog enthusiast should get this, see the band and try and push their cause."

We couldn't agree more.