"Giving credit to the true King," is how Darren Elder, drummer of The KingPin Wrecking Crew describes the band's motivation behind their music. This five piece hailing from the Portland area in Maine have been burning up the airwaves since their debut independent album From the Roots Up. With the success of that album, record label, Chosen, quickly signed them up and Abolition Strategy was born.
Having been able to seamlessly bridge the gap between Christian and mainstream alternative music, Christianity is still the focal point of this group.
Elder explains the band name, "its loosely based on Acts17:6-7, a time in the bible where brothers and sisters in Christ were being put to death if they didn't declare Caesar to be God. There are a lot of people out there who make themselves out to be more important than they are. A lot of Kings with a small "k" but they're not my King. Christ is my King. We play a lot of secular venues and Christian venues as well but we're the same band in both. We don't give alter calls but we are clear about who sent us. Our songs are about our joy. From all of that is how we came up with our name," explains Elder.
These sincerely driven group of musicians have been together now for just over four and half years. Darren describes how they all came together, musically and spiritually; "my brother(Doug Elder), is the lead singer and guitarist, was in a secular rock band and God really moved on his heart. I was playing in the band too, God moved on both of our hearts, and we endeavored to do that. Joe(McCann), our DJ, was in a Christian rap-core band that finished up and we scooped him up. Karl(Anderson), our keyboard player and bass player, we knew from a friend of a friend and we just jumped in it together and it's been great!"
KingPin's sound is a m»lange of jazz, funk, hip-hop with definite rock undertones, largely inspired by their wide array of musical influences. "Oh boy, that's tough, they're so many influences. (We're) pretty heavily influenced by Mute Math, Miles Davis, Radiohead, U2, Coldplay, Keane, Death Cab for Cutie and that type of music, certainly more than I can even possibly name. Man, there's so much, even heavy stuff like Living Sacrifice, as well as even Billy Joel," laughs Elder. "We (Darren and Doug Elder) always grew up around music. My mom was big into Motown and Soul records, so there was always music in the house. My uncle was a pianist and my aunt was a singer. My brother is very much into blues. We all love Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye and man, just everything."
A unique blend of everything accurately describes KingPin's new album Abolition Strategy, which "basically means how to get free. As we know, the way to get free is in Christ. That's the only true freedom. The only thing that puts an end to things that are detrimental to us, to our souls. The Abolition Strategy is really the Gospel but we're trying to introduce it in a way that isn't right in someone's face," explains Darren.
The single "The Waiting" is already being put to gospel-like use as the theme for the Generate 2006 campaign for The International Justice Mission. "The (IJM) are an amazing organization who is dedicated to ending human slavery world wide, which is basically forced prostitution of children. They are dedicated to rescuing these little children, rehabilitating them and are prosecuting the offenders that force these atrocities on them. The director has been on Oprah twice and we're just honoured to be counted with them."
"How to get free" is a message that The KingPin Wrecking Crew hopes to convey to its audience and that, "they would feel the joy and the passion that we have for Christ. The best vehicle we have to communicate this is through our songs and speaking up. We just love to play. We're passionate about music. It's the shortest distance between two points when it comes to communicating what we feel (which is that) Christ has to become the all-surpassing value of our lives. (We want) people to know that and to play, speak and live that truth. I learn that more and more each day."
The KingPin Wrecking Crew will be performing around Ohio and Philadelphia this summer. They are scheduled to play on opening night of SoulFest in Gilford NH, on August 2. After a brief break at home, the band will be touring heavily in the fall, with aspirations of acquiring a few Canadian gigs.
Please check out their website for upcoming shows: www.thekingpinwreckingcrew.com
For more information about The International Justice Mission and Generate 2006 visit www.generate2006.com.
Writer: Lisa Kerr