It’s Been 40 Years Since The Kings Closed the Show at Heatwave & To Celebrate,
They’ve Got Unseen, Exclusive, Remastered Footage!
The Kings: Live at Heatwave is Set to Add to The Kings’ Already 7.3+ Million Streams Across Spotify & YouTube
August 2020 marks not one, not two, but three crown-worthy milestones in the land of Canada’s long-iconic band, The Kings:
1. 40 years ago this month, they released their Bob Ezrin produced debut album, The Kings Are Here on US major label Elektra Records.
2. That same month, their smash hit single “This Beat Goes On / Switchin’ to Glide” first entered the Billboard Hot 100.
3. And on August 23rd, 1980, The Kings closed the now-legendary Heatwave Festival, holding court alongside fellow rock royalty Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Nick Lowe and Rockpile, Teenage Head, the B-52’s, and more.
It’s that third one — their midnight appearance at the now-storied Toronto-area festival — produced by John Brower--that’s inspired the exclusive release of The Kings: Live at Heatwave, a 30-minute concert movie available on YouTube.
“The Kings and Teenage Head were the only bands that gave permission to be filmed,” recalls founding member Dave Diamond. “As Teenage Head’s audio has disappeared, this is the only surviving, authentic, and original sync footage from that day.”
“It was digitally restored frame by frame from its 16mm color negative, and combined with authentic, remastered sound,” adds fellow founder Mister Zero. Sonny Keyes also chimes in: “The sound was recorded onsite by Comfort Sound’s Doug McClement on 8 track half inch analog tape and sounds amazing!”
worked hard and were ready for a gig like this," says drummer Max Styles.
The Heatwave Festival at Mosport Park turned heads from the onset between its high profile roster, ultimate crowd size, and that it sat at a cultural turning point in the evolution of new wave music. (It was also marred with some scandal, but… Aren’t they all?)
“For some reason, they didn’t film our whole 55 minute set,” Diamond muses. “But there’s almost half an hour here, and we’re very proud of it.”
Speaking of restored and remastered footage, The Kings’ video for “This Beat Goes On / Switchin’ to Glide” holds more than 4.1+ Million views on YouTube for good reason; it’s a digital masterpiece featuring more than 40 sources of live recordings that took upwards of 140 hours to edit together.
The single continues to hold four decades of knockout radio success, has stacked around ~ 2 Million streams on Spotify and counting, was named by the Toronto Star as the “#1 almost official song of Toronto,” and one of the “Top 100 U.S. Radio Programmers Picks of the Decade” by Album Network Magazine.
Also on the required syllabus in study of The Kings is their documentary, The Kings: Anatomy Of A One-Hit Wonder. “This is the film we made about our biggest hit,” the band says. “We felt it was something people who like ‘behind the scenes’ music films would like, and there is a lot of never heard before stories told in it about the writing, recording and performing of our best-known work.”
The documentary delves into the history of the band, the amount of diligent effort put in before getting their big break, and features the original lineup of Max Styles, Sonny Keyes, David Diamond and Mister Zero sharing personal memories with their trademark humor and honesty. “This documentary was over three years in the making. This is our story, told by us.”
That story is of a hard-working band hailing from Vancouver, BC and Oakville, ON that appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, was nominated for a JUNO Award, named ‘Most Promising Group’ by Cashbox Magazine, hit Platinum-selling status, and has released five studio albums, two live albums, a live DVD, an anthology, a documentary, and numerous hit singles — including “another rocking two-fer,” “Circle of Friends / Man That I Am.” The 2018 single was somewhat like arriving full circle; it was mixed in Nashville by industry legend Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, KISS), who also helmed the same role on their 1980’s debut, The Kings Are Here, and sophomore follow-up, Amazon Beach.
“We were originally known as WhistleKing,” Zero recalls. “We rehearsed, did club gigs, and wrote lots of songs for more than three years before we went into Nimbus 9 Studio in Toronto to record our first album.
“While we were there recording, Bob dropped by to visit and liked what he heard,” Diamond continues. “He agreed to mix the tracks we had done, but soon discovered that the whole thing needed to be re-done. He approached Elektra Records in Los Angeles with our tapes, and we were then signed to a worldwide deal.”
The Kings have continued to rock fans around the world through the release of archived footage and current releases and vlogs; their YouTube channel has a total stream stack of more than 4.5+ million.
This year, February 2020 saw the unveiling of The Lost Tapes of a Seventies Bar Band, a 17-track audio LP featuring live recordings from the Flamingo Lounge and an instalment of what has become The Kings’ Live Trilogy — including audio release Party Live in ’85 and DVD release No Covers: Live at O’Tooles Roadhouse.
And now August 2020 both celebrates and continues to cement the band’s 40 years of Canadian music legacy status with the release of The Kings: Live at Heatwave on their YouTube channel.