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Flint's King 810 at Saint Andrews, 5 Things To Know

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2016

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Anyone who doesn't equate heavy metal with art needs to meet King 810.

Frontman David Gunn's deeply, almost painfully personal lyrics and literary bent give the Flint group's songs a resonant emotional heft some of its headbanging peers lack. That's sustained King 810 over a pair of albums during the past three years, along with two EPs and last year's guest-laden "Midwest Monsters 2" mixtape.

The group also weighed in on its home town's water crisis with the song "We Gotta Help Ourselves" earlier this year and launched an interactive app called Revisiting Our History Of Violence focused on global event, while Gunn weighed in on this year's presidential election via the group's King TV YouTube channel...

Over the course of its two albums King 810's underground appeal has built into a strong national, and international, buzz. But Gunn says he tries to ignore the hype. "I just kind of stay out of the way," he says by phone from Flint. "I stay focused on writing and being a piece of the group, what's going on and what we're doing and the next thing rather than paying attention to what's going on around us. Things we're not involved in are things we can't help. So I haven't really noticed if there is a buzz or something going on. I know that people say a lot of dumb (stuff) fro the outside world and that's about it. I try to stay tunnel vision and focused on what we're doing."

Though the group has done some traditional touring as a support act, for its own shows it's staging what it calls "limited engagement live events," employing special staging and some theatrics to enhance the performances. "Basically we were kind of bored with the whole idea of playing 30 shows a months for 18 months or whether it would be for an album cycle and all of that," Gunn explains. "So we came up wtih an idea to do way less shows and put all the effort that we would put into a year and a half's worth of shows into just a handful off them and made it more entertaining for people."

Gunn acknowledges that he expected the concept, which the group launched last year, "would be a little easier than it has been. I underestimated most people's ignorance." That, he says, includes some around King 810 who don't understand why the band won't work more. And there are situations like a recent show in Chicago that was canceled when promoters learned of the violent imagery King 810 uses in the shows. "This kind of thing is perfectly normal in our world," Gunn says. "We always make this joke that the struggle is our homeostasis. If we're uncomfortable doing something, if there are people on our team who don't think it's a good idea, then we know that it's a good idea and we run towards it and try."

King 810's second album, "La Petite Mort or a Covnersation With God," which came out in September, was designed to be a step forward from 2014's "Memoirs of a Murderer," according to Gunn. "We didn't want to make the first record again," he explains. "We wanted to really concentrate all of the victories we thought we had and kind of refine and get rid of the failures or the shortcomings we thought we had on the first album. We wanted to take all the things we did right and only do those, and then expand on them. We wanted to push beyond the boundaries we had already established and go further on our own little journey, whatever it was."

So what does Gunn feel King 810 did right on "Memoirs of a Murderer?" "That list is pretty short," he says. "I thought we kind of ailed in most everything. It wasn't up to my expectations or standards. I don't think we succeeded in damn near anything we wanted to do, so I didn't even start that list (of what they did right). There were some things we thought we did right as far as projects or little movements, but there wasn't a lot."

During the year King 810 released a song, "We Gotta Help Ourselves," as well as a special T-shirt to help raise money for those impacted by the Flint water crisis. But Gunn says the group has no interest in using its Flint roots as any kind of cache for more notoriety. "Maybe now since this whole thing has blown up people will be more aware of what's going on and what Flint is, which would be cool," he notes. "But to be honest I don't really talk to anyone when I'm out of town, going across the country. I stay to myself and do my own things. I'm not interested in finding friends across the country I'll never see. So I don't come into much contact to know what people know or what they're thinking, really."

King 810

Saturday, Dec. 17. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St. Detroit.

Tickets are $17.50.

Call 313-961-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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