Redditch band bringing rock 'n' roll back for good

By Connie Osborne Friday 04 January 2013 Updated: 04/01 08:57

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Buy photos » New Killer Shoes frontmen Ricky- Lee Gary Cooper, Ryan Kings, Ben Smith and Jon Kings. Picture supplied by Paul Broome Photography. (s)

A NEW single, an album release and a European tour are all in store this year for a group of Redditch musicians hitting the big time on the music scene.

Reporter Connie Osborne went to find out more about the band who promise to 'bring rock'n'roll back' for good.

FOR A group of friends from Abbeydale and Riverside, brought together through their shared love of music, New Killer Shoes have come a long way from their humble beginnings.

With an album out next month and a European tour on the horizon, 2013 promises big things for vocalist and guitarist, Jon Kings, lead guitarist Ben Smith, bassist and backing singer Ryan Kings and drummer Ricky-Lee Cooper.

"Me and Jon are brothers and Ricky lived by us, so we've known each other since school days. Ben used to always ask to join in with our jamming sessions but he was too young at the time. But one day we thought why not let him and its just worked since," Ryan said.

The band, whose name was inspired by a mates girlfriend's new shoes, pride themselves on their unique mix of Ska, Rock and Roll and Metal.

They have been compared to everything from 1970s sensation Squeeze to Arctic Monkeys, The Enemy and even Oasis. Although everyone might not agree on who they sound like, one thing's for sure - they are Brit rock'n'roll through and through.

Ryan said: "When making music we had to have a style that was high energy and all our influences come into that."

Ricky added: "On the EP we wanted to choose three songs that were very different from each other so we could show what we can do. There's not one track that sounds like the other, but you can tell it's us. The album definitely mirrors that."

The group added their lyrics reflect the typical every day thoughts of a normal lad, something which they think people can relate to.

"The songs are about going out with the guys, meeting women and having fun," Jon added.

"One of the tracks on the EP called 'Let's Go Disco' is about falling out with your girlfriend and going out. Everyone's been there."

And their debut album out in February is aptly entitled 'I ain't even lying', something which they say is one of their favourite phrases.

They added they take their music seriously but not themselves, with an alter ego called 'The Flying Bananas', for these guys it is always about 'having fun'.

But they say they are not afraid of hard graft, working a solid nine months on the album.

Ben said: "We'd be working eight till ten every day, seven days a week. This is our lives and our careers now and we really want this. We are so grateful for everything but it can be hard."

Ryan added: "At first the management said we weren't ready for it. We had to have singing lessons and just worked, worked, worked. We had the fundamentals but they just weren't what they could have been."

They said they owed their success so far to the team supporting them, their girlfriends and Dan Sprigg, who has worked with the likes of UB40 and Bring Me The Horizon.

Ryan said: "He has brought us up, done a lot for us and he's really inspiring. Because he worked with UB40 he can bring that ska sound out. And the same with his knowledge of metal."

And now the band are in good stead to take on their ultimate challenge yet - a European tour supporting Seattle legends Brad, which includes Pearl Jam's own Stone Gossard.

The tour, which starts in Manchester on February 8, will see the guys travel for three and half weeks, rocking venues in Paris, Berlin and Milan.

The London venue has nearly sold out, hitting close to 1,000 people, while the band have already played to a crowd of 3,000 in Birmingham's Centenary Square.

"We are bringing rock'n'roll back. It's been missing for too long," Ryan said.

Ricky added: "Playing live is like Christmas for us. We are so excited to get out there and do what we love. There are going to be a few nerves but we are living the dream. We have played a lot of pubs, sometimes rubbish and sometimes great, but nothing will beat this."

Despite their success the band still recognise their Redditch roots, hoping one day they can help other home-grown talents like themselves.

Ricky said: "One day we would like to repay the favours we've been given and help out other bands. It's been nearly four years in the making and we are not planning on stopping any time soon."

To win two free tickets to the New Killer Shoes show in Berlin on February 19, plus two free flights and £100 spending money each, visit www.newkillershoes.com/competition and enter your name and e-mail address.

Visit www.newkillershoes.com to see their new video for the single Snake Charmer and buy merchandise.

Or to follow the band visit www.twitter.com/NKSTHEBAND or www.facebook.com/newkillershoes to add them as a friend on Facebook.

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