The Casual Kings
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The Casual Kings

Columbia, South Carolina, United States | SELF

Columbia, South Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Rock




"Its Rock, But It Gets You Grooving"

‘It’s rock, but it gets you grooving
Hear The Casual Kings’ first release tonight at The House

Otis R. Taylor Jr.

You can get the listings anywhere, but you’ll get the story here.
CASUAL CORONATION: I can’t quite put my finger on the sound busting through my speakers. Is it rock? Hip-hop? Groove-hop?

The Casual Kings
/provided photo

Otis Taylor Jr.
On The Scene
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If you go

The Casual Kings

When: 9 tonight

Where: The House, 2020 Devine St.

Tickets: $5 and $7

Information: (803) 253-7888

“We’re rock. I don’t want to use groove because that sounds too ‘Soul Train’-ish,” Rhett Sanders, who sings and plays guitar in The Casual Kings, said. “It’s rock, but it gets you grooving.”
OK, that’s cool. We’re digging it.
And we’re not alone.
The Casual Kings, which formed sometime in 2009, will put out their first release, “Bustin’ Thru,” tonight at The House.
“This is the beginning of the start of Casual Kings,” bassist Mike Mills said.
Mills is — excuse me, was — this scene’s ultimate hired gun. In the last year, he’s played with 12 bands, from Danielle Howle to Treadmill Trackstar to John Wesley Satterfield. He said he’s sticking with TCK, though I’m not sure if I quite believe him.
“I knew this was the band immediately,” he said.
Apparently the band, which also includes guitarist Mike Atwater and drummer Collin Danker, is serious about making a push.
While playing a show at the Windjammer in Isle of Palms, Vance McNabb, a band manager and music-industry conduit, called producer Rick Beatto, holding up his phone during TCK’s set. Beatto told McNabb to bring the band to his Atlanta studio the next day. There was a problem, though, because the band members had to work the next day. They did it anyway, but it cost them $200, the amount Danker’s replacement requested.
“We played for him, and he decided to work with us,” Sanders said of Beatto who has worked with Columbia musicians before, including Villanova.
TCK thrives on the in-the-moment vibe, as the band packs its live sets with energy, something that’s difficult to capture on record. But with Beatto’s touch, they did just that.
“It was a different process,” Sanders said. “Typically live you have that adrenaline.”
McNabb, who is working with singer-songwriters Jay Clifford, Steven Fiore, Haley Dreis and Satterfield, said deep down he was a rocker. And TCK music (so is it rock?) made the band attractive to him.
“I came of age in the ’80s and my favorite bands were Motley Crue, Def Leppard,” he said. “So when I saw TCK for the first time, it made me want to take a leap and make a rock record.”
The title track has a cranky and swirling guitar lead in before Sanders starts, well, spitting his flow. The song should have a home on WARQ-FM Rock 93.5, which will be broadcasting remotely from The House.
But TCK’s music isn’t anything like the limp rap-rock that used to be on the radio. I can put my finger on that.

Read more: - The State Newspaper

"The Casual Kings Release Debut EP"

Issue #24.07 :: 02/16/2011 - 02/22/2011
The Casual Kings

The House: Friday, Feb. 18


Too many bands want to regale you with reasons they’re going to be the next big thing to hit the music industry, or how they’re different from all the thousands of other bands out there with the same high opinion of themselves. So when The Casual Kings’ manager Vance McNabb (who’s worked with John Mayer, Howie Day, Jump, Little Children and more) says he likes them because they “just want to be a rock band,” the relative understatement is refreshing.

“We’ve got everything from 311 to Rage Against the Machine going on in what we’re doing, but it wasn’t by design,” says Casual Kings singer and guitarist Rhett Sanders. “We just kind of fell into it this way.”

The Casual Kings took shape after Sanders had been playing acoustic solo shows at the Five Points Pub, where future Kings lead guitarist Michael Atwater worked. The two had known each other since grade school and kept crossing paths, making it inevitable they’d play music together at some point.

“When I started seeing Rhett around the Pub, we rekindled our friendship,” Atwater says.

“Mike was the one who said I needed a band,” Sanders says, “so I got him to play bass at first, even though he didn’t play it at that point.”

The Casual Kings
A couple of membership changes later, Atwater ended up on lead guitar and bassist-about-town Mike Mills (Harmony Grove, Treadmill Trackstar) came on board along with drummer Colin Danker, all of them supporting the unschooled yet soulful vocals of Sanders.

“We all took guitar lessons from Robert Newton,” Atwater says. “He’s the one that made Rhett start singing. When I first heard him, he was all blues, all the time, but just playing guitar.”

The release this week of The Casual Kings’ debut EP Bustin’ Thru showcases a well-rounded ensemble sound, the culmination of a year’s worth of work that began almost the moment McNabb offered to manage them.

“He came to one of our shows to scope us out,” Sanders says. “While he was there, he called Rick Beato [an Atlanta producer who’s worked with Shinedown and others], who said, ‘Bring them down tomorrow.’”

Beato ended up producing the tracks that form the new EP in a two-week session that resulted in a polished, professional recording.

“The reason we wanted somebody big like Rick is that in this industry, whether it’s a record label or a club, we want our first impression to be as good as possible,” Sanders says.
The songs on the new EP range from the party-anthem title track to a more nuanced yet no less powerful tune, “Soldier’s Prayer.”

“I had a full ride to USC through the ROTC before I quit to do music full-time,” Sanders says. “If I wasn’t on stage, I’d probably be jumping out of planes. I wanted to write a song dealing with the military, the internal struggle of a soldier who’s not just overseas but separated from his family.”

The story line follows the soldier as he loses his family to crime at home and then wraps up with a twist.

“When he loses his life at the very end of the song, it’s almost happy because he’s going back home to be with his family,” Sanders says.

Moments like this in The Casual Kings’ music elevate them above being just a rock band, but they’re fully capable of filling that role, as the EP’s title cut reveals.

“That song’s about our love of being on stage,” Sanders says. “We’re a force; it’s our whole M.O. We don’t want to be just a local band, we want to do something that’s going to get national recognition.”

The House is at 2020 Devine St. in Five Points. Doors open at 8 p.m.; admission is $5, $7 under 21. With Leslie, The Kicks. This show is sponsored by Crown Royal — can you say drink specials? — and WARQ-FM; WARQ presents a remote broadcast of the show from 8 to 10 p.m. Call 253-7888 or visit for more information. - The Free Times


Bustin Thru EP / released Feb 2011



The Casual Kings formed when Rhett and MIke A teamed up with the rhythm section of Mike M and Collin D in 2010. Drawing from a collective love of bands like Rage Against The Machine, 311, and recent Universal signee The Weaving (formerly Villanova), the band writes songs that practically force your feet to move and your hands to raise in the air. Playing live througout the southeast gave the band a chance to form a strong bond and a tight and explosive live show. Recently signing with a management company, the band self-financed their debut EP "Bustin Thru" which was recorded with producer Rick Beato (Shinedown, NeedtoBreathe) at his Black Dog Studios in Stone Mountain, GA over a two week period in October of 2010. The band is releasing "Bustin Thru" on Feb 18th, 2011 in their hometown of Columbia, SC and is going on a non-stop tour to promote the record and spread the word on what promises to be one of the breakthrough acts in the southeast this year.