Guitarist and songwriter Billy Kingsborough was back home from college and looking to jam in 2010, when a friend introduced him to guitarist Alec Leach. “The first conversation we had was a lot about old blues stuff,” says Leach.
“The next thing you know,” says Kingsborough, “we played our first open mic, and it was just easy, it just worked.”
That easy musical camaraderie steadily morphed into a full band, Kingsborough, that’s now a rock and roll outfit with roots in the blues, anchored by fuzzy guitars and hook-heavy grooves. Backed by a thumping rhythm section comprised of bassist Chris Mangione and drummer John Whitney, the band matches its classic riffs and searing solos with an infectious live energy that makes them a popular party band.
This summer, the band takes over Marin with three concerts: This weekend, the group rocks Novato’s “Concerts on the Green” series. On Aug 31, they play Peri’s Bar in Fairfax, and the next day, they take the stage at the Sausalito Art Festival.
“We feel that we have this mission to convince people that having a damn good time is what this is all about,” says Kingsborough. “That’s how we view rock and roll, and that’s what we want to instill in the people that come to our shows.”
That musical exuberance is paired with a working-class-band mentality and discipline aided by the fact that the bandmates are also all roommates.
The band’s latest album, 1544, is a reference to the house number of the ranch property where the four members have lived for the past several years. The band turned a barn on the compound into their practice space and collaboratively composed the entirety of 1544 since forming the band.
Yet, Kingsborough says the album really came to life once they stepped into the Laughing Tiger Studio in San Rafael to record the album.
The group took advantage of the studio’s isolated and expansive tracking room to give the album a massive atmospheric presence. Kingsborough notes the band was given time to explore sonic textures in a way they hadn’t done before, leading to layered guitar tones and dynamic distortion and reverb effects that help the album stay fresh and compelling throughout. “The album is a way to let loose,” Kingsborough says. “That’s what music is to us.”