Detroit’s independent music scene has been thriving lately. Although there hasn’t been many nationally recognized acts from Detroit in the past few years, there are a select few bands on the cusp of something great. The classic rock and neo-soul-influenced King Eddie would be one of them.
The two main songwriters, multi-instrumentalists Joshua Thorington and Justin Maike, met in middle school while growing up in Wyandotte, MI. Thorington slaps the bass and is the “pseudo-director” of King Eddie, while Maike assumes the role of lead guitarist.
“We were playing there (in Wyandotte) in a couple other incarnations but in the same group. We used to be in a band called The Mystics until last fall when I left to go back-packing in California. I stopped at Aurora’s roommates house, and they hosted me for a couple nights. And Aurora and I ended up making music,” said Maike.
Aurora Adams is the lead singer, a wonderful compliment to Thorington and Maike’s songwriting savvy. She rounds out the classic Motown and soul vibe that the band is going for.
“I was living in Atlanta and my best friend hosted him (Maike) as a couch-surfer. That’s how we met. We backpacked out to California together. And we were there for three weeks, and then came back here because Justin said ‘we have a band, maybe you should try singing.’ So I came back and met Joshua,” said Adams.
“The name came from when Aurora and I were out in Los Angeles and we met up with two Australian guys who looked like Jesus with long hair and beards. And they talked like this (in an Australian accent) ‘We’re having a great time over here.’ And we met up with them in L.A. and we shared this shitty hotel in the Compton area, and we were on the bus one night coming home from skid row (with the Australian guys) and just came from a bar called King Eddie’s. And a guy wanted to take our picture, he thought we were in a band, and he was like ‘what’s the name of your band?’ So we said ‘it’s King Eddie,’” Maike explained.
The rest seemed to naturally fall into place. Since then they’ve added drummer Miles Hubbell (also of The Vonneguts), percussionist Marty Roy (also of Characteristics), and a horn section with Alex Peters on trombone.
“Without a doubt, we are onto a sound that nobody has dug up in years. It’s 2014 and the music we are inspired by is… everything, everything American. We write in styles that other bands are completely afraid of,” Thorington said. “Definitely all things Marvin Gaye, neo-soul, things like that. That’s personally my take on it. Intelligent word-play. We started out obsessed with Pink Floyd and a little bit of Zeppelin.
They say they use the “Detroit mentality” to book shows, which is without a booking agent. This is normal for independent acts, though. Despite their love for Motown, Thorington showed frustration with the bigger venues in Detroit.
“A huge part of it is booking. With bands like us, that’s kind of our responsibility that we naturally have from being a band. With show promoters, that’s not their main idea,” said Thorington. “People who book bigger shows in the bigger venues should give more local bands a chance to play these shows. Because I feel very separated from people who do that, people who book those shows,” Thorington said.
Other stories in the series:
- Baker’s Keyboard Lounge retains remarkable jazz tradition in Detroit.
- Cadieux Cafe, a former speakeasy, serves up great live shows, Belgian beers
- Punk rock is not dead in Detroit. Trumbullplex, others keep genre alive
- Jack White’s Homecoming at Fox Theatre Was Final Piece of Puzzle
- ‘Whatever’ Festival transforms Detroit house into music festival
- Local bands impress at Dally in the Alley in Cass Corridor
- Blue Mountain Belle brings unique sound to PJs Lager House
- Hamtramck’s premier music venue, Smalls, pays homage to 90s’s alternative scene
- Psychedelic indie-rock band Foxygen brings high energy to Crofoot
- Rodrigo Y Gabriela one of best live acts of past decade
Eric Kiska graduated from Northern Michigan with a BS in English and writing and minor in art and design. He’s also a former video editor at Detroit Public TV.