Kings & Queens shares its musical wealth
February 26, 2007
It seems fitting that Andrea and Rich Good of the Nevada City-based band Kings & Queens found their initial inspiration in the open spaces of the California desert.
The soulful songs on the pair’s 2006 EP have a hallucinatory power that conjures up mirages and shimmering light. The couple – who are married – say that a trip to Joshua Tree in 2004 planted the seeds for their recent work.
“There was something about the space and openness down there that really inspired me,” explains Rich Good.
“It was so quiet,” adds Andrea Good. “There was almost a void that let other things surface.”
Traveling with an acoustic guitar and an electric piano, the couple spent weeks exploring the desert and listening to its silence, recording on a laptop as they went along.
“Even the guitar sounds different when you’re sitting out in the middle of nowhere playing it,” notes Rich Good.
The Goods returned to their garage studio, affectionately called “Orderly Manor,” and continued layering what they describe as a “sonically rich” sound.
Their resulting EP was recorded in Sacramento in 2005 with producer Dana Gumbiner of Brighton Sound studio, along with local musicians Pete Newsom, Emily Newsom, Neal Morgan and Mark Potampa. The music has a distinctly psychedelic feel that sounds fresh and inviting as it draws the listener to dreamy, faraway places.
Andrea Good plays two different keyboards, a Wurlitzer electric piano for warm notes and a 1967 Vox Jaguar Organ, when a song a requires a fuzzy drone. Her resonant organ riffs combined with Rich Good’s guitar reverb are the foundation of their magical soundscape.
Lyrically, Rich Good says that he writes to “evoke a feel rather than tell a precise story.”
The Goods met in Bournemouth, England, in the early 1990s through mutual friends while they were studying at different art schools in southern England.
After living in London for a number of years, Andrea Good says that a combination of wanting to come home and not wanting to experience another dreary English winter drew the couple to Nevada City, where she grew up. They made their transatlantic move in 2000.
Rich Good hails from Horley, England, 20 miles south of London and down the road from the birthplace the successful ’80s’ band, The Cure. Although he has played guitar since the age of 11 and appeared with a number of bands while he lived in London, Rich Good didn’t play seriously until he joined a San Francisco-based band called The Pleased in 2001.
The Pleased included Nevada City talent Noah Georgeson and Joanna Newsom, both of whom went on to enjoy international success. Last year, Drag City released Newsom’s solo album “Ys” to critical acclaim. Georgeson released an album called “Find Shelter” in November 2006 and also records and tours with folk artist Devendra Banhart.
The Pleased produced one album and three EPs. The group toured across the U.S. and the UK before its members went their separate ways in 2004.
Last summer Marc Snegg of Nevada City’s Grass Roots Records Co. invited Kings & Queens to produce a track, “What’s in Mind,” for Grass Roots’ November 2006 compilation, “The Family Album,” produced by Gumbiner and Snegg.
With their EP completed and a full-length album planned for release sometime in 2007, Kings & Queens is looking forward to taking its show on the road. The group’s next local gig will be playing with other Grass Roots Record Co. artists on April 7 at the Miners Foundry.
The band plays acoustic sets as a duo or fully amped with their rhythm section, bassist Jonathan Hishke and drummer David Torch. A Kings & Queens’ minitour last weekend included shows in Nevada City, San Francisco and Sacramento.
“When we do a live show with a full band, it can be sort of brash, with lots of droning, single-note organ, kind of a wall of sound,” explains Rich Good.
Rich Good says he’s looking forward to playing for a wider audience. After all, the band chose its name for its populist message.
“We’re all kings and queens,” says Rich Good. “We all rule our lives as much as we can.”
To contact Staff Writer Jill Bauerle, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4219.
Kings & Queens top 5 iPod songs
1) “Couldn’t I Just Tell You,” Todd Rundgren
2) “The Pelican,” Menemona
3) “Stereo Freeze,” Jackie Mittoo
4) “I love you my Farfisa,” Electralane
5) “The Back of Love,” Echo and the Bunnymen
1) “Cello Song,” Nick Drake
2 )”Hypnotized,” Spacemen 3
3) “French Disko,” Stereolab
4) “2000 Light Years from Home,” Rolling Stones
5) “It’s All Too Much,” The Beatles