Kings Without
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Kings Without

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
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"Kings Without Keeping Busy With Great Vocals"

Kings Without keeping busy with great vocals
Published: September 25, 2008 6:00 PM

We have been receiving requests from local club goers in Cumberland to book Kings Without for almost a year now. 

After attending a recent show of the band’s last month, I can see why.  This group reflects the high calibre  of live music featured on Vancouver Island and they will showcase their talents Oct. 4 at the Waverley Hotel starting at 10 p.m.

Kings Without formed in 2006 when Todd Dunsmore and Neil Atkinson were introduced through a mutual friend. Neil and his brother Dean had plans to start a band on the West Coast for years.

Together with Todd a unique vocal trio emerged. After a year of trio gigs, the band was eager to step it up and recruited drummer Andrew Rollins from Nanaimo-based Vancouver Island University’s jazz program.

Recently, longtime New York/Toronto music veteran Funky D, formerly of The James Brown Band, joined  the group on bass.

This past year, Kings Without released a debut self-titled CD, which they followed by a two-month tour, consisting of 42 shows, stretching from Vancouver Island to Montreal and back. 

Having played more than 400 shows together, Kings Without are now getting busier than ever with shows across Vancouver Island and abroad.

For a few summers they were the house band at the prestigious Clayoquot Sound Wilderness Resort where they were exposed to the ruggedness and beauty of West Coast living.

Their original sound is a blend of rock, country, reggae, soul, and blues. A focus on strong honest vocals and musicianship uniquely provides a unifying and recognizable element throughout these styles.

Visit www.kingswithout.com or www.cumberlandvillageworks.com.  — Cumberland Village Works
- Cumberland Village Works


"Kings Make Their Mark"

Kings make their mark
Derek Spalding, The Daily News
Published: Thursday, October 02, 2008

I wrote about Kings Without for the first time about five months ago and I've been waiting for these guys to return from their independent tour of Canada in order to see how the musicians have matured from their time on the road.

Judging from my early communications with band member Neil Atkinson, Kings Without has made some interesting developments.

I tried to attend a jam session with them this week. I wanted to check out the band's new funk element, brought in by the latest addition, veteran bassist Funky D, but a flu bug that hit most members of the band killed any hopes of a practice session.

But you can be sure that I will see them tomorrow night when they play the Old City Station Pub.

If you like their rock-to-reggae sound, then you'll want to be there too.

These guys have a real honest sound and I want to witness their development for myself.

I'm particularly looking to check out the new composition.

Neil and his brother Dean Atkinson met Funky D while visiting their hometown of Hamilton, Ont. and invited him to see them play live.

Funky D joined in for a few songs at a local pub and immediately they had the whole place dancing, according to Neil. The veteran bass player, who regularly plays the Toronto and New York scene, has joined the group and will play the west coast for the next while.

Their cross-country tour, however, brought them more than just a new bassist.

The guys came home with an even larger set list and the knowledge that they caught the attention of some well-known and influential names, which could lead them in new direction.

Kings Without began in 2006 when the Atkinson brothers wanted to form a group.

Neil met Todd Dunsmore that year and the trio played gigs in the area for about a year before recruiting drummer Andrew Rollins.

They cut their teeth touring Vancouver Island and spent a couple of summers as the house band for the Clayoquot Sound Wilderness Resort. It was a great place for them to work, play music and gel as a unit.

These guys have come a long way in a short time. They coupled their 42-show Canadian tour with the release of their self-titled debut album and have plans to produce a second CD soon. Do not miss them at the Old City Station Pub.

The band also has Gilles Lord playing banjo.

Who doesn't love the banjo?

And judging from their produced material, these guys are perfectionists, so prepare for a good show.

Derek Spalding is a reporter and columnist for the Daily News. His column runs regularly in this space. He can be reached by e-mail at DSpalding@nanaimodailynews.com.


© The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2008 - Nanaimo Daily News


"Kings Without at the Wave"

Kings Without at The Wave
Comox Valley Echo
Published: Friday, October 03, 2008

We have been getting requests from club goers to book Kings Without for almost a year now. After attending a show of theirs last month we can see why. This group reflects the high calibre of live music on Vancouver Island and they will showcase their talents at the Waverley, Saturday, October 4 starting at 10 pm. This past year Kings Without has released their debut self titled CD, which they followed by a 2 month long tour, consisting of 42 shows, stretching from Vancouver Island to Montreal and back. Having played over 400 shows together, Kings Without are now getting busier than ever with shows all over Vancouver Island and abroad. Their original sound is a blend of rock, country, reggae, soul, and blues. A focus on strong honest vocals and musicianship uniquely provides a unifying and recognizable element throughout these styles. Check out Kings Without online at kingswithout.com and www.cumberlandvillageworks.com.


© Comox Valley Echo 2008 - Comox Valley Echo


"The 2008 Harbour City Half Marathon , 10K"

The 2008 Harbour City Half Marathon , 10K
& Kids Run was a HUGE SUCCESS!!


Thank you to all of the volunteers, participants & sponsors that made this event possible!


Our water stations were class SF for Super Fun!! Our on-course entertainment rocked the route! The new start/finish venue was GREAT! Our lead & sweep bike riders kept us in the loop of how things were going and the volunteer road marshals were perfect! A BIG THANK YOU to JSK traffic control services that managed our intersections and kept us safe! Another thank to the Nanaimo RCMP department that also helped with some key intersections!

The excitement and animation of the Start/Finish Party was all there with great food from Quality Foods, the 7-10 Club’s Chili, Tim Hortons for our coffee and tim-bits for the volunteers, Columbia Ice for our water and bottles for our volunteers and Accelerade. The Finish line salon from KIYO Salon & Day Spa was one of the best forms of sponsorship activation I have ever seen! WOW, who would have thought you could get a facial, a make-over and a shampoo at the finish line of running race! Flight Center had some very good deals on vacation, so if you are planning a vacation any time soon please check them out so you can save some $$.

NOW our headline Finish Party Entertainment was Kings Without they are a local band that just recently came back from a cross Canada tour. I now have their CD and one of their shirts and look forward to being one of their many groupies J! The stretching mat area sponsored by Fitness Edge was a hit, the TRY EVENTS mist tent helped keep people cool, the Air Dancer from Maximum Impact added that extra touch of energy and Emily from the Arthritis Society really did a great job on the Start/Finish Line announcing station.

Now there are some many other great things that made this event possible and many more things to say about our sponsors like The Howard Johnson that gave me a bed and office to work from and the Living Forest Oceanside Campground that also helped with accommodations during the months of organizing this event, THANK YOU. The Nanaimo Big Bounce that came out to the Kids Run…Did I say the Harbour City Kids Run was so much fun!! And so you know the lead/sweep bike riders came from Oak Bay Bicycles. Thank you to Coastal Community, Budget, The MacIsaac of Law Firms, BC Ferries that helped TRY EVENTS to get to the island, RBK, the Port Theatre and Cavell Briscoe, RMT.



SPECIAL GUEST MLA Ron Cantelon was our official race starter, Thank Ron!

OUR GOLD SPONSORS:
Knappett Industries THANK YOU so much. You support was GREAT!
Running Room you have always been a great supporter of TRY EVENTS, thanks!!

OUR MEDIA TEAM:
Nanaimo NEWS Bulletin was our exclusive newspaper and a huge supporter of Nanaimo ’s Harbour City Half Marathon, Harbour City 10K & the Harbour City Kids Run. Please pick-up Tuesday’s News Bulletin.
A Channel, the Wave & the Wolf also helped us A LOT to spread the word of the 2008 event. THANK YOU.

- Try-Events


"Touring Much Tougher For Small Bands"

Touring much tougher for small bands
With groups' reliance on travel to make money, fuel costs are draining their profits
Derek Spalding, Daily News
Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008

When Casey Laforet lugs his guitar and luggage out of his west-end Toronto character home this fall, he and fellow bandmates will pay much more attention to the gas gauge of their 15-passenger Ford van.

The "blackgrass" sound of Elliott Brood has seen increased popularity in recent years as the banjo- and ukele-playing trio pack bars across the country, but soaring crude oil costs continue to eat away at tour profits. With a three-month, three-continent tour scheduled to begin in August, including a string of stops in every major Canadian city, the boys have to monitor their fuel consumption.

For any independent artist trying to gain exposure and earn a living, live performances are quintessential to financial survival. The ever-changing music industry has seen CD sales become nearly unprofitable, unless they're sold by bands at they're shows. The real money comes in after years of touring roadside taverns and dark city clubs, which often results in significant financial losses for the newbies.

Lower-profile bands rely heavily on cover charges at small venues and often lose money just to gain exposure and hopefully grow in popularity. As gas prices climb to nearly $1.50 per litre in most provinces, bands are taking much larger hits than ever before.

Elliott Brood first toured the country about five years ago, paying about $5,000 at the pumps. The bill for a similar trip will cost the group nearly double that, according to Laforet, who keeps track of the expenses.

"We have to be on the road for a good part of the year in order to pay for rent and food," Laforet said. "Concerts are No. 1 for us. It's where we make most, if not all, our money."

Thriving musicians have to spend time travelling, slowly building a following. The Nanaimo group Kings Without learned that life on the road is anything but a royal lifestyle during their first countrywide tour that started in Sooke and will end in Montreal.

With a sound that encompasses musical genres from country to reggae and everything in between, the band hopes to turn some heads and build a reputation. By Thursday, the band travelled 2,550 kilometres as they wrapped up a four-day stop in Regina. So far the tour has cost $2,000, half of which has been pumped into the tank of their 1994 Chevrolet van. Only 22 more stops to go.

The band's cost would have been much more expensive had they kept the old school bus they used for touring Vancouver Island, according to guitarist Neil Atkinson. He and his bandmates replaced a few of the seats with couches and space for gear on the 44-passenger bus, but quickly realized that soaring gas prices would put the brakes on any profits.

"We probably shouldn't have bought it, but we were lucky to find someone to take it off our hands," he said.

The new van has cost far less on fuel and with a bit of innovation, Kings Without have been able to keep costs as low as they can. Band members park the van when they roll into any town, opting to walk or use public transit. They carry small camping barbecues and cook their own meals. Large stirfries and other healthy eats keep expenses low and the musicians' energy levels high.
Touring takes planning, according to those who do it successfully. Vancouver's Dan Mangan has performed professionally for three years on several continents and his travels across the vast Canadian terrain is likely the most difficult because of the great distances between cities.

The solo artist can keep track of time by the number of stops he makes to fill up the tank of his 1991 Volvo. From Montreal, in the midst of his latest tour, he laughs at his first string of shows he booked several years ago. The young artist didn't really know what he was doing when he went from Penticton to Nelson and then back to Kelowna.

He's gained some experience since then. Mangan now schedules shows much more efficiently, but he still cringes at some of the long stretches of road without performing. Driving from Ottawa to Winnipeg, without a gig in between, he realized how much he was spending, especially when a tank of gas reaches nearly $70.

"Luckily, I've toured enough over the years that I can kind of make ends meet, but if you're out there for the first time, you're going to lose money or break even if you're really lucky," he said.

"More than ever you have to make the most out of every tour. You have to make sure you have as many gigs in as many cities as you can."

Bands should also plan ahead, according to Atkinson, who said the Kings Without tour would be much less successful had members not fundraised before leaving the Harbour City.

"We have a bit of a cushion because we played so much before we left," he said. "I know it's not always easy, but if you plan for it properly, gas prices shouldn't stop you from getting out there."

Touring musicians live out of their vehicles. When they're not lucky enough to have a place to stay for the night, the van or car becomes a motorhome, which has become an increasingly expensive way to survive, according to Cathleen Lundgren of Vancouver's Mission Management group.

She paid $2,300 the last time she rented a car for up-and-coming country-folk musician Ryan McMahon, who went on a 17-day tour in the spring. Gasoline was another $800.

"One of the biggest problems independent bands have is the cost for vehicles and gas prices. That's what makes or breaks them," she said. "It used to be a lot less two years ago, but it has at least doubled the cost of getting guys out there."

Booking bands has become a bit more difficult because of escalating gasoline prices. Josh Gellman has been aggressively head-hunting for bands to fill slots at two Cambie Bar locations on Vancouver Island. He's even trying to convince management to ante up extra money to cover fuel costs.

Bands typically have to rely on the crowds they draw so that cover charges at the door will recoup their expenses, but that may have to change.

"I'm actually trying to increase the band's pay for travel expenses. I think it's necessary," Gellman said.

Bands like Elliott Brood or Dan Mangan have large enough followings to make performances profitable, but for the new artists, financial incentives could ensure that music fans continue to see quality artists. It would be a "shame" to see bands touring less because of gasoline prices, according to Laforet.

"How many bands are people going to miss out on because bands can't get the money together to travel?" he said. "We're lucky that we've done it for four or five years."

But sometimes even an immediate financial disaster can bring huge returns in the long run. Laforet recalled a show in Winnipeg during the August long weekend in 2004 where three people showed up to a club. Though the band was disappointed, they played anyway and walked away with $24.

Success followed, however, because respected community radio man Stu Reid was one of the three audience members. Reid promoted the band on CKUW 95.9 FM, which created a following for the three musicians, who now pack any large venue when they return to one of Canada's most famous music cities.

"It worked out really well, but you got to take that risk. Unfortunately, now the risk is bigger," Laforet said.

DSpalding@nanaimodailynews.com

© The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2008 - The Daily News Nanaimo(2008)


"Opportunity knocking for local band"

Opportunity Knocking for local band
By Melissa Fryer-Nanaimo News Bulletin June 18, 2008

Todd Dunsmore had no idea a job filling tiki
torches would open so many doors.

Dunsmore, the frontman for Nanaimo’s Kings
Without, spent a summer working at the
Outpost in the Clayoquot Wilderness Reserve-
A resort owned by John Caton, the former
Manager of Blue Rodeo and Alanis Morissette.

I got busted playing guitar and he asked me if I
wanted to play for the guests,” Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore returned the following year with
musicians Neil and Dean Atkinson.

During the day they would take guests out
whale watching or chop firewood. once finished
plucking the slivers from their fingers they
would take the stage and entertain the guests.

Besides a great contact in the music industry in
Caton, Dunsmore got the opportunity to meet
and jam with some of the resort’s guests like
Dave Matthews.
The Atkinson brothers and Dunsmore played more than 100 gigs as a trio before drummer Andrew Rollins joined he group. Gilles Lord, soundman and banjo player will join them on the summer tour.

“As a band we’ve played well over 300 shows,” Dunsmore said. “We pride ourselves on performing as a live band.”

Dunsmore trained in the recording arts in Vancouver, which led to a meeting with Navneet Dhillon, a woman considering opening a studio on the North Island.

Dhillon immediately believed in Kings Without and invested $6000 into their first eight-track disc, recorded over seven days at The Factory in Vancouver.

We did it on a real guerilla budget,” Dunsmore said.

They wanted a disk to take with them as they head out on a 40-date cross-country tour.

All the planning and booking is done by the band, which is not represented by a major record label

“No manager, no booking agent,” Rollins said.

The hard work and do-it-yourself attitude is what opens doors for the band.

“If we weren’t active, the backing wouldn’t be there,” Rollins said. “We’re really hard working-that’s why we’re getting the support.”

Learning to record an album and book a tour will lay the groundwork for the record label they want to open.

“By doing all this we’re learning to do it.” Dunsmore said.

Kings Without celebrate their album release with a show at the Queens Wednesday (June 25) at 10pm.

For more information please visit www.myspace.com/kingswithout

arts@nanaimobulletin.com





- Nanaimo News Bulletin


Discography

"Kings Without" 2008, debut album.
"Lonely Monday" and "Slow Down" are featured
across Canada on College radio stations,104.9 The Wolf, and CBC Radio.

Photos

Bio

Here is a band that is able to communicate even without words and move an audience in a way they will not soon forget. They are all mega talented musicians who speak with one voice. Those who have heard them would all agree it is a show not to be missed.
For several seasons Kings Without has been the house band at the prestigious Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. A recent highlight in their music career occurred at the resort when the band backed up Sarah Mclachlan at a charity event. Kings Without has also performed for and been recognized as a great up and coming talent by the one and only Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band. The early stages of the band's development were spent under the watchful eye of the resort's general manager, and former manager of Blue Rodeo, John Caton. Many evenings were spent performing to the guests in an intimate and relaxed setting. These days Kings Without is the house band at The beautiful Bear Mountain Resort where they were chosen to play at the International Telus Skins Golf Tournament. The Kings have been selected by several other corporate outfits such as Miller Genuine Draft/Coors Breweries and Coca-Cola for events such as the Olympic Torch Committee year end party and Harley Davidson Giveaway! With these, and many other significant experiences behind them, the band has proven to be very well prepared for any size audience or setting.
Kings Without is available for events such as conferences, private/corporate parties or dances, charity fundraisers, weddings, festivals, and are always actively playing the bar and club circuit. Whether you want to dance on tables or muse to lyrical melodies and textured sound, Kings Without always delivers. Please e-mail booking@KingsWithout.com for inquiries and bookings.