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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Crash Kings “Crash Kings”

Brothers Tony (lead vocalist and keyboardist) and Mike Beliveau (bass) are the driving force behind the rising rock band called Crash Kings. The Crash Kings burst into your ears with a hard-hitting sound that is both modern and retro, with guitar tones that will shake you…wait, what’s this? There is no guitar? No way! How can they get this sound without guitar?

Remarkably, this trio (the brothers are joined by drummer Jason Morris) can pull off a big rock record with only keys, bass, and drums. How do they do this? “With tube overdrive and multiple amps Mike’s bass brings heaviness to the band’s sound. On top of that Tony plays a clavinet (a keyboard with guitar strings), which has been customized with a large whammy bar allowing him to bend notes like a guitar producing an entirely new sound”. I understand your skepticism – but just listen to Tony Beliveau’s soaring vocals and the powerful, driving rhythm section and you won’t even realize you are rocking out to a band that doesn’t use guitar!

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Artists and Bands

Crash Kings on fear of guitars, touring with Stone Temple Pilots and, most importantly, eating your vegetables!

Brothers Tony (vocals and keyboard) and Mike Beliveau (bass), along with drummer Jason Morris, are the trio behind Los Angeles’ Crash Kings. Although they’ve just released their self-titled debut, Crash Kings have already scored tours with the likes of Chris Cornell, Stone Temple Pilots, The Bravery, and Rooney and next on the bill is a tour with Australian rockers, Jet. Mike took some time out of their action-packed schedule to answer some of our questions.

Q: I’m loving the blend of big, classic rock sounds with modern rock sensibility on the new album – what sort of musical influences led you to create this sound?

A: We are pretty rooted in classic rock, as well as some jazz and grunge. The Beatles, Zeppelin, Queen, Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Brad Meldau, Buddy Rich, Soundgarden, STP, Supergrass …

Q: Even more amazing to me is that there’s no guitar on this record. You’ve somehow made an arena rock record with just keyboards, bass, and drums – how did you do it?

A: The piano is a huge instrument with an enormous sound, if you play it a certain way.  The goal was to have the piano sound as big as two guitars, but with more clarity. Add in some bi-amped bass with fuzz and you can cover a wide frequency spectrum. Then sprinkle some massive hard-hitting drums in the mix and you get a lot of sound. Then it’s all about trying to write some good songs and rocking out on stage.