By Mark Johnson
Keep it simple. That’s how guitarist Casey Harshbarger and drummer/vocalist Ben Williams of the power trio the Warrior Kings describe the inspiration for the title of upcoming third album, “Warrior Kings III.” “We just didn’t want to spend too much time with the title,” Harshbarger said. Williams agreed. “We feel like the songs should speak for themselves,” he said.
Indeed, the new album, due out in November, follows previous releases “Warrior Kings” from 2012 and “Warrior Kings” in 2015. “Warrior Kings Live” was released in 2016. Yet, the Warrior Kings and their music could hardly be deemed simple. It’s a hard-driving blend of blues and classic rock, laced with elements of grunge and rooted in the tradition of 1960s power trios such as Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Robin Trower. “Yeah, there’s a lot of the influence from Cream, Hendrix, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and for me Cream drummer Ginger Baker,” said Williams, a Fortville resident who also is the principal of Mount Vernon Middle School. “There’s also some Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. It’s really like going through the rock and roll family tree.” “Hendrix is definitely an influence,” said Harshbarger, who lives in Fishers and teaches guitar. “It’s in his ability to bring in those elements to create a moment when you’re totally captivated. We wanted to create a band that played the type of music that we would want to listen to.”
It would be that shared love of music that would not only drive the band but forge a musical chemistry that has grown with each album. “The trust level between Casey and myself grew exponentially between the first and second albums,” Williams said. “The third album is truly a collaborative effort.” “You have to have that chemistry between the members, you have to have that level of trust,” Harshbarger said. “We found that next level with our new bass player, Austin Shearer, who is truly a sympathetic bass player. He’s the missing link that we had been looking for.” Shearer is from Frankfort.
Chemistry also is evident in the live performances, which both men prefer over working in the studio. “The studio can be tedious,” Harshbarger said. “But the stage is great. When you’re on stage it’s all about what you can create in that moment. You look for that refuge and you connect in that moment. It’s a rush of adrenaline.” Williams agreed. “Feeling the energy of the crowd fuels that moment. We’re not a jazz band, but it’s the improvisation that you create in that jam, in that moment.”
For more on the Warrior Kings, visit thewarriorkings.com. Songs from the new album and the first two are available as free downloads.