King Leg, Albert and His Dreamboats
901 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
After spending much of the last two years on the road, relentlessly showcasing their critically acclaimed 2015 self-titled debut album, the six bandmates of Banditos regrouped in late 2016 at Plum Creek Sound Studios in Dripping Springs, TX and democratically poured out sonic influences and emotionally charged personal experiences for their new album Visionland.
Produced by Israel Nash and Ted Young, the Birmingham/Nashville-based group’s second full-length has one foot firmly planted in reality as the other tip-toes in and out of mental complexities, self-perception and altered-state illusions. The results are revealing, exhilarating and profound.
The album-titled track reveals these defining, cohesive thematic intricacies. “Visionland” is named after the defunct $60 million theme park that was built in the late ‘90s near some of the band members’ childhood homes in Bessemer, Alabama. The park was shut down after only five years and the schizophrenic glimmer of hope it offered local residents connects to a greater overlying optimism for life present at the album’s core, an eerily relevant theme in contemporary complex times. Jeff Salter’s sweeping guitar strums swell at the song’s intro, lifting through the murky haze into the warm and sunny clarity of a duet between singer Mary Beth Richardson and singer/guitarist Corey Parsons.
“Strange Heart” rides to new 13th Floor Elevators psychedelic heights, with Richardson’s scorching, raw, show-stopping voice echoing Merry Clayton’s chilling performance on The Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” Later in the album, singer/banjo player Steve Pierce channels the ebullient folk of electric Dylan with his free & easy flow on “Fun All Night.” The band also brought in the outside artistic talents of storied keys player Earl Poole Ball, upon a chance interaction they had after seeing him play with Ramsay Midwood at Sam’s Town Point in Austin, TX. Ball has performed and collaborated with The Byrds, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Gram Parsons, Merle Haggard, and many other greats.
There is a shared mindset throughout; a persevering glint of what could be, a distorted possibility, struck by a frigid gust of reality. Like some sort of modern day, Southern-born The Band, some songs were written over years by a single member (the surfy jam “Lonely Boy,” which was written by singer/guitarist Parsons in response to being tour weary), others by a combination of the players (the punk-garage soul Stooges-meets-Velvet Underground churner “Fine Fine Day” was penned when Parsons and Pierce drank massive amounts of vodka one day in Opelika, Alabama) and the dynamics show for it. There’s a phantasm of vintage ‘60s Etta James soul (plus burning-hot background singers) on “Healin’ Slow” and, later, the hopping country blues of “DDT.” Topics and styles range this way on Visionland - the heavy and emotional to the light and simplistic - but the Banditos always sound like themselves and always drive the nail deep into the groove.
The members of Banditos first met playing in various punk and rock ‘n’ roll projects around Birmingham at D.I.Y., all-ages venues. In 2010, Parsons and Pierce began busking around town and were soon asked to perform at their favorite local bar. Without a full band, they invited friends Randy Wade (drums), Salter (guitar), and Richardson to join them. Danny Vines (bass) joined the band later.
The group has been praised by NPR (“Three vocalists, a wicked guitarist...a banjo, an upright bass and a hot-footed drummer guarantee that every song they play is stuffed with crazy rhythms and melodic energy.”), Rolling Stone (“Equal parts alt-country twang and garage rock bang...recalling everything from ZZ Top’s greasy boogie to the Alabama Shakes’ coed soul”), and Garden & Gun (“These six keyed-up twentysomethings mix a hodgepodge of sounds. Sometimes it’s barroom country backed by a rogue kazoo, and other times it’s a chicken-picking version of slow-burning soul behind the Janis Joplin–esque wail of Mary Beth Richardson”). They have performed across the world supporting acts like St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Blackberry Smoke, and Old 97’s, and notably at prominent events like Newport Folk Festival, Hangout Fest, and Rachael Ray’s Feedback.
A high plains rocker born near the west roads of Nebraska, the young Leggin’ kicked up the dust and moonwalked atop the sod. By the tender age of eight, he discovered abilities lingering in his limber legs, swivel hips, and ankles while imitating the King himself; thereon, he’d carry a comb to coif his Elvisian pomp. Soon after, he’d pluck his first chords on the guitar. He was certain he found his calling.
In his middle years, the Boy Leg Wonder frolicked, jiving to the classics, rockin’ a shag-do, and emulating the mop-top mods from Liverpool. Radiohead and The Moody Blues lulled his weary limbs to sleep at night, while New Wave writhed him out of bed in the morning. He got his rock n’ roll toes wet partying hard in an Andrew W.K. cover band. Toward the end of this chapter, the adolescent Leg found an interest in songwriting, and the wind blew him to Nashville.
Stranded, a rock ‘n roll seeker in Nashville, an awakening stirred in Leg when exposed to the vestiges of a musical world he had not yet known. Immersed in a town of songwriting, he studied the greats while haunting the halls of the Ryman. Especially attentive to the rockin’ country stompers, like Webb Pierce and Billy Walker, he dissected the sweet croons of Slim Whitman and warbles of the Big O… Roy Orbison that is. In the ghostly glow of the neon laments and all things country, he curated a respect for the idiom. In his later melodic travels, it would often combine in moments as a unique leavening with his more aggressive rock roots. He never strayed far from the inspiration of those Liverpuddlian lads, as it became crystalline clear that he, with those purveyors of the same said influences, would clash with the scene at large.
Meanwhile, there was a light of love for The Smiths that never went out. Inspired, he started a band named The Backscrubbers with fellow Mozphiles. After adding to the set his originals alongside classic covers, the group made its first public appearance as King Leg at the Grace Manor Home for the Elderly. The rambunctious performance roused the residents from the roosts of their comfy chairs. In this geographic interlude, circumstances left him misunderstood by many and perplexing to most at this far outlying weigh station on a journey to fulfill his destiny of Leg rocking. Although unclear which fork to take on the multitude of paths that lie on the horizon, it appeared his future burned brightest toward the sun setting in the west. It drew him down the highway that led him to becoming the newest in a long line of adopted musical sons of the “Golden State.”
Often King has been approached, “Mr. Leg, is it a band or a man?” His response to the query is “Brother, Sister… it’s a state of mind.” Still others have asked since his arrival in the Golden West, “What is it you call this groovy sound you sonically seduce us with?” Before he could proffer an answer, a fanatical female follower interjected, “Aren’t you hip that we’re in the presence of a modern millennial prophet?” He stood resolute, no apologies necessary, being the Millennial Mod rocker that he is. He dwells now where he has found himself - in the state of mind called King Leg.
Albert and His Dreamboats
Albert and His Dreamboats is a southern California country band comprised of a line-up of experienced LA musicians. I met my Dreamboats while pursuing a music degree at CalArts- each of them, at the time, engaged in projects spanning from hardcore math rock to 1920's New Orleans Jazz. What brought us all together was a shared sense of humor and deep appreciation of great song writing, especially those penned by the hillbilly Shakespeare, Hank Williams.
After two years apart, each of us touring and recording with different groups, we all found ourselves back in Los Angeles. During that time, Roger Miller took full residency in my headphones; I realized great country music has no set form. Pick up trucks and tales of heartbreak delivered with a southern twang isn't a requirement- just commonplace.
This realization took the pressure off, and led to a string of songs that would eventually become "Seven Songs to Whistle While Your Fishin'." Robert Anderson, a drummer I had toured with in the past, was the first to join me on these recordings. With only one microphone and two days time we cranked out seven tracks.
I brought these recordings to Jordan Bush, an incredibly talented multi instrumentalist and close friend, who provided harmonica, saxophone, and pedal steel. After a little over a week we had fifty hand assembled CD's and the beginnings of a country band. I shared the CD's with Dylan Rodrigue (Guitar, Bible Study) and Thomas Berg (Bass, Buckaroo), two musicians I've admired for years, and they both responded with fantastic encouragement and interest in joining the lineup.
With the lineup now set, we released the 2015 holiday album, "Seven Songs to Whistle While You Christmas" and have begun playing around Los Angeles and San Francisco.
All in all, I'm trying to write the kind of songs I'd like to hear and put on the kind of shows I'd like to see. Our story is in it's earliest chapters, but I'm confident in what this will become and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride so far.
Thanks for checking us out- we'd love to have you on board!
Cpt. Albert T. Hickman