This week I’d like to introduce Texas trio Little King. I spoke to their guitarists Ryan Rosoff about the bands creative process, their 25 year back-catalogue of music and their hope of returning on stage soon at the end of this pandemic.
Band Name: Little King
Members: Ryan Rosoff (Guitar & Vocals), Manny Tejeda (Bass & Backing Vox) & Eddy Garcia (Drums)
Genre: Melodic Progressive Rock
Founded: November 1996
Originated From: El Paso, Texas
Discography: Little King has released 4 full-length albums and 2 EP’s: OCCAM’S FOIL (2019), OD1 (2014), Legacy of Fools (2008), Virus Divine (2004), Time Extension (1998), Transmountain (1997).
How would you describe your music?
Maybe like a unicorn running in the desert with a pack of wild gorillas attempting to slay it for its horn which possesses magical powers to grant said gorillas opposable thumbs – Or Melodic Progressive Rock. I guess listen and then you can choose!
What is your musical creative process like?
I write the music first, then I write the words after I have played the song a million times on guitar and have it down to second nature. We are a 3-piece, so I have a lot of duties to fill. Gotta make sure that I can play and sing at the same time. Our songs are hard, too. Not one key and one-time sig, that would be boring, to me, anyway. Might get us more Instagram followers though.
The world is a fertile place for ideas, especially now. Occam’s Foil is the new EP, and it was inspired by my own travails as well as some more general themes of global idiocy. Nice to see things haven’t changed much since the record came out.
How did the band form?
I built the mould, first. It had an extra human, though, and I didn’t want that, so I broke it and rebuild it as a 3-piece. Then I poured some El Paso clay into it, wet, and let it dry. And it was good, but not great. So, I keep breaking that mould and re-pouring the clay every 5 years or so. Works for me.
How did you come up with your band name?
Don’t let the Little King do the thinking for the Big King. Words to live by…and to fail upon. It’s also the translation into Gaelic of my first name, “Ryan.” Clever, right?
Who influenced you within the music industry?
Laundry List, in no particular order: Rush, Tupac, Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Talking Heads, Vivaldi, Midnight Oil, Iron Maiden, Peter Tosh, The Who, Yes, The Cars, Neil Young, and a whole host of locals I grew up watching and jamming with. Those would include the Seattle grunge guys like Alice, Soundgarden, and to a lesser extent PJ and Nirvana. Also, some El Paso bands like Pissing Razors and At The Drive In. They are all in there, somewhere.
Have you performed live much and what was your favourite gig to play at?
Not nearly as much in the last 15 years as I would have liked, but yes, we toured a ton back in the day. This was to be the year that we went out and STAYED out on the road, but the virus had other, more sinister plans. Fucking coronavirus!
We played a gig at the famous Viper Room one time when we were still relatively unknown. We had just signed a deal with an indie label out there on the strength of the album, Virus Divine, but they had never actually heard us live. So, I booked a tour and we made our way from Texas to Hollyweird to play that show.
The band was killing it after 8 days on the road, so we were ready. The venue sounds killer, and we had been playing some shitty clubs, so it was nice to have pro everything (sound, etc.) But the label guys didn’t show up! Fuckers. We were pissed, and that translated into our set, and we absolutely CRUSHED IT. I’ll never ever forget that.
What is the best thing about being in a band?
For me? Honestly, it’s the creative process and the resulting product. I don’t much care about sex and drugs and rock and roll anymore. Never really did, honestly. I just love hearing the things that have been knocking around in my head and in my bed (that’s where I write) come to life. And so much the better after they travel through the hearts and hands of my bandmates and guest musicians. They are all really much better than I deserve.
The thrill of hearing the final mixed product after taking a few weeks away from it is unmatched. Highly recommended!
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far as a musician(s)?
That’s an easy one. Juggling the responsibilities of life – fatherhood, husband (RIP to that…twice), paying bills, running a household – those things aren’t always conducive to living a musician’s life. But when you are passionate about creating a legacy of music and words, you just find a way.
It’s played hell on my life throughout the years, but it has certainly brought me more joy than pain. Especially with the success of Occam’s Foil. It’s been incredibly gratifying to make my (subjectively) best record after 23 years of kicking them out. We kinda sorta DID IT this time.
What plans have you got coming up this year?
Fucking bust out that crystal ball, man! It was supposed to be ton of touring and road work. We have a lot of momentum right now with great press (thanks to folks like you) and a record that is in the Top 150 on college radio. We have some big features coming up in the national press and some commercial radio spots going up…and it’s all been independent. I AM THE LABEL! But that’s all been thrown into a lurch.
I have been writing a lot in lockdown. SIP is a great name for Little King VII, no? I’m inspired, so instead of waiting around for the touring world to come back to life, we may just make another record. Three songs are basically done, at least musically. Pretty excited to share them with the FOLK (that’s “Friends Of Little King.”)
What is your ultimate dream as a band?
I want to be on the cover of Guitar Player Magazine. Is that shallow?
I’ve read every issue of that magazine since I was about 12 years old. I work so hard at writing interesting, challenging, and listenable guitar parts, and I think it would be super-cool to have that recognition among my peers. The latest album features my best work, but I am proud of all of my guitar parts over the last 22 years…It would be neat to have others give it a listen on a level with the most respected names in the industry.
If you’re in a band or a musician and would like to appear on this blog, please contact me and I’ll forward you an interview template.
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