LANCE KING has been best known as the fantastic lead singer of BALANCE OF POWER. However, a few weeks ago the unexpected happened, Lance went his own way, and so the new BOP album has been postponed and the band has to look for a new singer. That's really a pity, because their last record 'Perfect balance' was one of the best releases of 2001, and we all were really looking forward to this new album. Nevertheless, Lance King has enough on his hands to work with musically, as he runs his own label, NIGHTMARE RECORDS and sings on various records every now and then, such as recently on the fantastic CD of the band DEFYANCE (check reviewspages!). So it was time to do an interview with Lance and talk about the split with BOP and all the other things he's doing...
Please introduce us
yourself to our readers and tell us about your first steps in the
LK- well that would be a long tale about 24 years old now, I was asked back in high school to sing for a friends band, they were called AJA pronounce ASIA. My friend BON'Z the bassist asked me if I would sing for them because he thought I had a nice speaking voice, I being one of those teenagers that wouldn't stop singing with the radio, ever, was like OH YEAH BABY, I'd love to! They played tons of KISS covers, I had never heard of KISS before that, being brought up on Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Rush, Boston and Tom Petty stuff, but I did my best, and it was....well pretty bad, but it got better as I moved on to my next band that actually did about 250 shows a year in the club circuit in the upper Midwest, they were called THE NEWS, soon to be renamed FREELANCE.
I believe one of the first releases you sang on was with a band called GEMINI, am I right?
LK- That is correct, though I demo'ed up about 15 original songs with FREELANCE , GEMINI was the first band that we did a REAL recording and released a formal CD, the SELF TITLED GEMINI album was my first release on NIGHTMARE RECORDS. My label that was at that time a figment of my imagination. That was back in 1990 when we released the first GEMINI album, 2 years later we released our second entitled OUT FOR BLOOD, and a year afterward, due to tons of personal tension in the band, I left to pursue other musical endeavors.
You started your own label called NIGHTMARE RECORDS, can you tell us about the beginning and development of this label?
LK- As I said it started with GEMINI and really didn't start to develop until about 1995 when I released my first solo album THE KINGS MACHINE - "A State of Mind" , at that point in time, I decided to take Nightmare beyond my own music and began working with other groups. 8 years later now things have progressed very nicely.
At one point you were contacted by a band called BALANCE OF POWER who were looking for a new singer, how did you get in touch with them?
LK- this was through their Keyboardist at the time IVAN GUNN, Ivan owned a small record company in England, we had been working together signing bands back and forth and getting them licensed in Japan, he called me one day and asked me if I knew of any singers that would be good for his band BALANCE OF POWER, I had heard the first album, and well... didn't really think all that much of it, but he said they had just gotten a new guitarist PETE SOUTHERN and the direction of the tunes were much heavier and more progressive
and I thought, Hmmmm. I gave him the names of 3 or so really good singers that I knew and he was aware of them....He kind of himmed and hawed, then I said I might be interested and to send me some tunes to demo up.
He did, I recorded my ideas, and sent them back and the band called me back very excited and offered me the position. Because of Nightmare records and the amount of time that is needed for me to be here, It would be hard
for me to drop everything with no money guaranteed, and so I was offered a flat weekly rate plus expenses to record and to tour. It was agreed that I would be a hired gun, but that BOP would be my main project.
You sang on 3 albums of BALANCE OF POWER, I think the last one was the best one, what did you find the best record and how did you find the time with BOP?
LK- I agree with you, my favorite was PERFECT BALANCE as well, I don't think the band will be able to exceed this one! I enjoyed my time with BOP, the guys were British gentlemen and they treated me very well during the first album BOOK OF SECRETS, but with the beginnings of TEN MORE TALES...the band wanted to renegotiate our deal, they had just fired IVAN GUN and CHRIS DALE, they wanted me to take a big pay cut to tour GERMANY to support the new album. I finally agreed but at the conclusion of the tour, they couldn't pay me.... Most of the tour expenses were paid by our German label Massacre and our publisher Brainstorm, (the bus, the food, with the exception of my plane ticket to Germany which the band did pay for, they didn't give me anything for the month I took off from Nightmare touring with PC-69 & AXXIS. This really put me behind finantially. They asked then to work out a deal where I would take the money from profits of the BOP releases on Nightmare Records to cover the tour money they owed me. I really had to accept because they didn't have any money to pay me. By this time, I was really enjoying the music and enjoying playing with the band, and feeling more a part of things, but I was still never made a part of the "Bands Company" which would have entitled me to being a part of making business decisions. So I was still a hired gun, but one that wasn't getting paid and one that theynow would expect to get paid from when my label would make profit on BOP album sales.
So you left BOP, please tell us, if you can, what happened the past few months, because you were working on a new album with BOP?
LK- that's the thing, the only ones working on this new album for the last few months were Tony and Pete, Lionel had other projects he was producing and I had a few other albums I was working on that are now just being released DEFYANCE - TRANSITIONAL FORMS and MATTSSON - POWER GAMES. That along with the Holiday's rush at NIGHTMARE afforded me no time to help with the writing.
Now about my leaving the band.....thereare still other personal factors that I won't go into right now but to boil it down in a nutshell, the band hadn't paid me in 3 years since the German tour issues, I had promoted the last three of the bands albums Heavily to NORTH AMERICA (my territory) and many other Countries because only a select few were being addressed my Massacre and Pony Canyon and our new Japanese label Avalon Marquee due to their territory.
Obviously the band liked the fact that I spent tons of my money on this as BOP were really starting to get a name. Our deal was not your typical record deal, it was a partnership, once there was a profit after expenses
of making the albums and promotion then the money would be split up between us and a third party investor that I had secured at specific percentages. Though to date, I haven't made a profit because I was trying to build the band in new markets.
Shortly after I had returned from the last British shows we did BLOODSTOCK being the highlight, I had finally secured a deal for the band that I had been working on for a year, negotiating with several label's in South America to get the band the best deal possible. I Licensed two BOP titles (BOOK OF SECRETS & PERFECT BALANCE.) to a Brazilian label FRONTLINE RECORDS.
The band wanted the advance money, but I'm like... Hey I'm way in debt from promoting these albums, we're no where near recoup, you haven't paid me in 3 years, I'm keeping this small $3000 advance against the large
amount of debt the band was in to me for. They hit the roof, thinking that the advance was larger, and that Nightmare must have sold more CD's and made a profit by now, they or specificly one person in the group did all they could to breed distrust causing major tention on the other side of the pond.
They insisted that I must have made a profit. On December 31th Two days before I had my new born little Girl Abby Marie, they sent me an E-mail ultimatum or what I call and EXTORTION LETTER that said if I didn't pay them $50,000 flat, they would kick me out of the band, come after me with lawsuits, that they would contact every media and performing rights society, and that they would also turn the bands publishers on me! I laughed, I said here are the numbers, I'm $39,000 in the hole and you want me to give you $50,000 your freaking' crazy, what color is the sky in your world? Without hearing any more from them, two weeks later they issued a press release
worldwide that I had left the group. I get woken up early on the 14th of January by the phone ringing off the hook
from a publicist friend asking me what the hell's going on, have you seen the release on BLABBERMOUTH.com?
Do you know what will happen now with BOP, will they record a new album with a different singer?
LK- that's what they say, they say they have a new singer all ready but they haven't released the name yet, which means to me, they don't know yet who's singing on the next album yet. Regardless of that though I would expect them to have a new album done and ready for release by fall, they're all excellent at what they do. Maybe Tony will sing it?
Then you're also doing other projects, please tell us about your fantastic new release of DEFYANCE and MATTSSON where you sang lead vocals on?
LK- These are both very cool new albums, both progressive and powerful and melodic, I brought to them what I brought to BALANCE OF POWER in that I sing very melodically on them striving to develop a catchy chorus.
But other than my singing on them and the fact that they're both complex, the similarities end. DEFYANCE is a bit more melodic yet aggressive with duel lead guitar approach it has complexity to it but the passages flow nicely.
The new MATTSSON album, Lars Eric Mattsson wrote recorded all the tracks himself with a fantastic drummer, the music is like DREAM THEATER on Steroids, very proggy, very complex and very tight.
It was a lot of fun doing both of these album, I've just finished up 5 tracks for the new ULI JOHN ROTH tribute album coming soon on Lion Music. Each track with a different killer guest guitar players, very cool! Uli truly has a unique voice, I needed to modify some things to make it work for me timing wise but these songs really shine.
At the moment I'm recording the new SHINING STAR album featuring FABIO ROCHA on guitar, this is a very interesting album so far, it sounds similar to all three of the last BOP albums blended in to one.
Are you a part-time or a permanent member of DEFYANCEMATTSSON OR SHINING STAR?
I love these bands and their music, I'm really enjoying the variety and being able to do so many things musically,
I'm sure I'll settle down and fall into a groove with oneof the new things I'm working on, but right now it's like dating again, I'm playing the field.
NIGHTMARE RECORDS also released a great new album by a band called VISIONARY, can you tell me more about them?
LK- This is a very cool PROGRESSIVE HARD ROCK band from Salt Lake City, UTAH that I first signed to Nightmare in 1995 releasing their Self Titled debut release in 1996. The band went through some major internal conflicts and came out of it with a new release in 2003 called STRANGE BUT FAMILIAR SHORES.
During their journey of writing this album, their Keyboardist / Producer decided that he would take all the tracks and release them as his solo effort called "eN", (who knows what that stands for) what he was thinking is anyone's guess, but I refused to take the album as such from him and he was forced to do an independent
release with really poor artwork and promotion.
The prog Metal scene in the USA is very much alive these days, do you think this will continue?
LK- all signs point to yes, it's been happening for quite awhile now and building I'm very happy with this trend as it's our main focus at Nightmare Records.
Can we expect more releases on NIGHTMARE RECORDS in the future? If so, which bands?
LK - Absolutely, though our release schedule has been interrupted recently with some albums that I wanted to put out, but just weren't up to our standards when all was finished with them. So I'll have to get back to
you on this one as I have about 30 killer albums on my desk right now and were in the negotiation process.
You're one of the best American lead singers, who influenced you as a singer and what kind of albums are your favorites at the moment?
LK- well I don't know about that, but I thank you for the compliment! I've been influenced by so many excellent vocalists that it's hard to name them all, a few you would expect, many I'm sure you wouldn't, there's the obvious
influences for my progressive band tendencies, like James /DREAM THEATER, Geoff /QUEENSRYCHE, Steve/ KANSAS, Steve /JOURNEY, Mr. G. Lee /RUSH, and of course KINGS X. But influences like HEART, PINK FLOYD, THE POLICE, DOKKEN, WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER, TESLA, TOM PETTY, MOODY BLUES, APRIL WINE and so many more ........you may not hear right away.
What are the plans for the next coming months?
LK - Spend some time with my son and my daughter, kickbox 3-4 days a week, finish the New SHINING STAR album, demo up some new songs for a few other projects that may turn into something in the future, run Nightmare Records & kiss my wife every once in a while. I've been offered a tour with Shining Star in Brazil were working out the details, hopefully that will work out.
Finally, do you have anything to add to our readers?
THANK YOU INFINITELY FOR YOUR PAST SUPPORT! Check out my new music, check out NIGHTMARE RECORDS STORE at www.nightmare-records.com and as always, STAY HEAVY!
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