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Interview by Cynthia McFarland
The pulsing, hard-driving rhythm that is Kings of Awesome draws fans both old and new whenever this Ocala-based band performs.
Formed in 2007, the group started as an original band doing cover songs, but for the last several years, they’ve focused on their own music. Kings of Awesome recently recorded their debut album, Coronation, featuring 13 all-original songs. Produced by Ramsees [Mechan] of Pharaoh Music, at press time the project was in the “mix and master” phase for a spring release and will be available through CD Baby and, hopefully, iTunes.
Kings of Awesome plays southern metal, a “southern fried version of heavy metal,” explains KC Stark, 26, co-founder of the band and lead guitar player. “We’re light enough to be on the radio, but heavy enough to still make a lot of noise.” The group counts among its main influences Pantera, the heavy metal band that dominated the early to mid-1990s, and Clutch, the American rock band formed in 1990.
KC is joined on stage by lead singer and co-founder Matt Robarge, 40, Joseph Harp, Jr., 21, on bass, and Chad Williams, 31, on drums. KC and Matt played together in a cover band in the mid-2000s before forming Kings of Awesome.
“It’s like making a marriage work, but you have two extra people,” says KC of the four-member band. “Sometimes, everyone doesn’t agree, but when it works, it’s amazing. It takes a long time for a band to find its groove. We’ve been through five bass players and three drummers. Right now the chemistry is awesome and everybody’s on the same page.”The band plays the club scene in Orlando, Gainesville, Tampa and other Central Florida locations. Close to home, the Backstage Lounge in Gainesville is a regular haunt.For the time being, both KC and Matt have day jobs, KC at Sound Exchange Music, while Matt is a graphic designer. Joseph and Chad are both college students.
“We’re not gunning to be rock stars. We just want to bring the music we enjoy out to other people,” says KC, a self-taught musician who has been honing his craft since he started playing in the eighth grade. “There wasn’t YouTube when I was learning; I just heard songs and taught myself to play them. Even though I’m a metal-head at heart, I love all music, and if I heard it and liked it, I’d try to play it, whether it was Lionel Ritchie or Jim Croce. Everything for me has revolved around music. I even met my wife, Christina, through music.” (She was a fan he invited to one of their gigs back in 2008.) The release of Coronation is a professional milestone, one the group hopes will open doors to more opportunities.
“We’d love to make a living recording and touring,” KC says. “We don’t really want to be rich and famous, but we’d just like to make a comfortable living at it. I’d love to be able to say I get up and play guitar every day for work!”
Despite their name, the KINGS OF AWESOME wouldn't waste your time with overblown, self-aggrandizing adjectives to describe their sound. Aspiring to live up to their name, the KINGS combine elements of the past four decades of Metal into a smart, Meat-and-Potatoes Rock sound. Be a part of the KINGDOM. See for yourself... hear for yourself. HAIL TO THE KINGS!!!