All The Young Lions
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All The Young Lions

South Boston, Virginia, United States | SELF

South Boston, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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“If you came to hear cover songs, you came to the wrong place,” laughs Jason Kirkhart, vocalist for alternative rock band All The Young Lions. “We strictly do originals. Everything you hear comes from our heads and hearts.”

The band, consisting of Kirkhart, guitarist Dennis Ballance, bassist Kevin Satterfield, and drummer Berkley Priest has earned a loyal following in their relatively short existence, thanks to word of mouth, online networking, and a scorching live show that highlights their originality and sense of humor.

“We don’t take ourselves very seriously,” Ballance said. “We’re not trying to be cool or tough. We’re just having a good time, playing music we like. Hopefully the audience senses that.”

With song titles such as “Baby, It’s a Trap,” “Cherry Dollface,” and “Settlers Get Land, Pioneers Get Arrows,” the band prove themselves a creative force to be reckoned with. Priest, who composes most of the lyrics, says most of the songs almost write themselves.

“There’s no formula. Some of them are pretty, some of them are scary, but they are all honest. A lot of them begin with me scribbling words on napkins and pizza boxes, then the band gets a hold of them and turns them into monsters,” he smiles.

The band started with Priest and Ballance sketching out rough song ideas in an attic. Before long Satterfield joined the fold, and the band began rehearsing regularly in a South Boston basement, crafting music that was at once listenable, yet totally unique.

“Someone said that we sound like Radiohead meets the Misfits,” says Satterfield, a veteran of local and regional punk bands. “We were just tired of hearing the same old songs, and wanted to do something completely different, especially for this area.”

Kirkhart, who moved to the area from northern Virginia, was the last member to join the band. They all come from diverse musical backgrounds, but share one common goal: to be completely unique in a scene glutted by cover bands, and to cultivate a local alternative rock scene. The band is very supportive of other local acts, performing with and promoting other bands and singers as frequently as possible.

One reviewer described the band as “very crunchy, with a super-catchy pop aesthetic.” Another said that “the bassist is pure punk fury, the guitarist eschews normal chords, the singer is Spartan in his approach, and the drummer is a certifiable madman.”

“We don’t even know what that means,” laughs Ballance. “I hope it means we’re good.”

With an arsenal of catchy rock tunes and tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, All The Young Lions stand poised to explode onto the regional, and hopefully national, music scene. If the turnout and crowd response at recent shows is any indication, the boys have a bright future ahead of them. But don’t look for them to be playing cover songs at happy hour anytime soon.

“We’ll live and die by our own pens,” said Priest. “It’s better to fail at originality than succeed at imitation.” - South Boston News & Record


Still working on that hot first release.



Dennis Ballance was sick and tired of jamming with cover bands and playing Molly Hatchet covers.
A transplant to the sleepy hollow of southern Virginia, he felt completely at odds with the musical scene
around him, or lack thereof. He was a Radiohead fan in a town whose idea of alternative rock was the
Allman Brothers. He was actively looking for musicians to start an original band and was running against
walls both creatively and musically.

Fresh out of a stint in rehab and a stay at a mental facility, Berkley Priest was hardly the logical choice
for a bandmate. A prolific writer with vicious personal demons and a long-standing struggle with
depression and bi-polar disorder, Priest was an enigma. He had spent a decade living as a bohemian
in New York and Los Angeles, had graduated with honors from film school and law school, and had a
fascination with tattoos and spirituality. By the time he and Ballance met he had written hundreds of
pages of lyrics, and had a name for the band they would form: All the Young Lions.

"I felt like my friends and I were still living the wild life, kind of the last of the lost boys. I equated us
with lions - young, ravenous, bold. Then my friends started dropping like flies. Suicides, overdoses -
all the young lions were dying. But it doesn't have to be that way. I refuse to be a part of the doom
generation. That's what the name represents. It's a battle cry against the status quo, against spiritual
darkness, against anything that threatens to crush your spirit. All the young lions aren't dying. Some of
us are still alive, and we've come to stake our claim."

Kevin Satterfield was a bassist with a punk rock pedigree and veteran of dozens of regional bands. Priest
located him on MySpace and within a week the three were jamming together in the basement of a
surgeon's office, surrounded by skull models and medical equipment. Satterfield was shocked. It was
a miracle to find two other musicians within a hundred miles who wanted to write and perform original
alternative rock.

And then there were four.

Jason Kirkhart was a friend of Dennis Ballance, and was also a transplant to the musically barren area.
All the Young Lions had auditioned dozens of vocalists and were about to throw in the towel when he
showed signs of interest. Kirkhart wasn't a natural choice, either. He didn't have the rock n' roll past of
the other three; in fact, he had never fronted a band before. In some ways, that made him the perfect
candidate. An open vessel, he was able to sing Priest's lyrics of struggle and salvation without a drop of
irony, and a band was born.

Known for their catchy songs, exciting live show and sense of humor, All the Young Lions became a quick
draw. Humble and easy to work with, the band made allies quickly, and has been a constant rise from
their inception. A mutant love child of the Doors, the Ramones, and the Smiths, look for them to spread
their sonic loverock to a city near you...and