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Roots/Rock: Catching up with Sam King

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There was a time (much of the 90s, into the early 2000s) when the band Push Down & Turn ruled the Indianapolis club music scene. You wanted to go out for a big Saturday of live music? They were the go-to pick for a night of drinks and a band that could get your ass up on the dance floor with big, fat radio rock (and their own stuff added for legitimacy and depth). Bandmembers Sam King, Jason Brown, Jason Barth, Tay Bourquein and Matt DeVore (all DePauw University grads) were part of the band that was perennially named NUVO's Best Local Rock Band winners.

We caught up with King, a busy man - playing solo shows and raising a family. He spills some insight on recording, reunions and energy drinks.

NUVO: I see you out playing a lot of solo shows. You look like you stay pretty busy. What do you like about the solo gigs?
SAM KING: I stay relatively busy, but it's a little slower now than it was before the economy took the downturn in 2008-09. I have a nice niche, in that if someone wants live music, but doesn't want to pay $800 a night for a band, I fit their bill. The places seem to rotate a lot, but some constants for me are Cheeseburger in Paradise in Southport, The Rathskeller, and the Quarry in Kokomo.

NUVO: Any new songs and new original music in your future?
SK: I'm always writing, but probably not recording as much as I should be. It's fun for me to try out new things playing them in front of people, rather than just hearing a recorded version of it. There's more emotion live. And I'm not one of those guys who use a looper pedal or sampler, that's just not me. If I can't pull it off with just me and a guitar and win the crowd over, then I need to work harder.

NUVO: When you record, how do you do it? Are you at home? Studio? What do you like best?
SK: I use a Mac mini and Garage Band at home to record. Very simple, and I'm not doing much besides just my voice and acoustic, so that fits the bill.

NUVO: Playing with others for bigger shows?
SK: At this point, I'm not really playing with others, except for an occasional sitting in with friends, like the Twin Cats. I don't really have the time to do the whole band/rehearsal thing, but you never know.

NUVO: How's the Indianapolis music scene these days for a guy like you? You had the nice success with bands in the past; what is it like for a working musician in 2011?
SK: I think the social media thing has made getting your name out there a lot easier than it was in the past. I remember us sitting around, putting stamps on 1500 post cards to send out to our fans back in the band days. Now you can do that in 4 minutes online. That also has the effect of having some people tune you out because there are so many options out there these days that are a click away. The money was still way better for local musicians in the early to mid 90's, but you can still do alright if you find your audience.

NUVO: Any reunions/shows with PD&T planned? Stay in contact with any of those guys?
SK: We stay in touch, as everyone is still in the Indy area, and the occasional banter back and forth about a reunion show has been mentioned. Nothing solid yet, but trust me, if it's going to happen, you'll hear about it everywhere. It'll be go big, or don't do it for us.

NUVO: How's the big family? How does being a busy dad juggle the kids, family and music?
SK: I don't sleep much, and I try to stay somewhat organized. I realize that the kids and my wife don't care if daddy is a musician, or a plumber, or whatever, they just want me do be a good dad for them. Oh, and I found the FRS energy stuff. Works wonders.

website (Facebook)
Sam King plays Friday night (April 8) at DC's Pub in Zionsville at 9:30pm, and Saturday (April 9) at Mudsocks Grill in Noblesville at 8pm.

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