Class of 2007: King City

Pub date August 29, 2007
WriterCheryl Eddy
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

Superlative: Most Likely to Carry a Django Reinhardt Album While Wearing a Master of Puppets T-shirt

Quote: “It’s cartoon music. You can’t really go wrong with it.

Here’s a question: where on earth would a group of metalheads and hard-core punkers come together and start playing toe-tapping swing ditties? Only in King City, baby — a mysterious burg where headbanging and devil horns are replaced by tango dips and jazz hands, and the music is suitable for smoky cafés, exotica bars, and backyard fiestas. Together since 2003, King City is a side project for talented locals known for their participation in other notable bands: percussionist Chewy Marzolo performs with local metal heroes Hammers of Misfortune; Marzolo and guitarist Rich Morin played together in metal-punk combo Osgood Slaughter; and bassist Joe Raposo (currently on tour with Celtic punks the Real McKenzies), drummer Boz Rivera, and guitarist Chris Rest (also of punk unit Lagwagon) were in SoCal hardcore outfit RKL. Trumpeter Keith Douglas rounds out King City’s population.

Marzolo says King City’s 2003 founding was "kind of just a big accident. Rich, who’s the main guitar player and writer, basically pieced a bunch of songs together that had nothing do to with metal or punk. It just seemed like a really fun excuse to drink beer and play cartoon music, and it’s continued to be fun."

Though King City’s songs — heard on their 2007 debut, The Last Siesta (Antebellum) — are rooted in ragtime, swing, and Latin jazz, their true origins are a bit more beastly. The sound is "closer to Metallica than it is swing," Marzolo explains. "We don’t come from jazz backgrounds. I mean, we understand it, and we’ve studied it a little bit here and there, but when it comes down to actually playing music, we understand rock and metal and punk. With King City, we’re not trying to beat people over the head with volume, speed, and power. There’s a kind of lightheartedness about it, but I think [the music] makes the same sort of impact, ultimately. It’s just not done through Marshall stacks." (Cheryl Eddy)