King Ropes’ frontman Dave Hollier and his bandmates often take inspiration from music’s history to create their own original jams. This time, they’re highlighting some of those inspirations with covers of other artists such as the Beastie Boys, Willie Nelson, Al Green, Talking Heads, Elton John, and more. Today, Earbuddy premieres King Ropes’ cover of “Danger Zone”, which was performed by Ray Charles.
“The Danger Zone” was written by Percy Mayfield and released as the B-side to the August 1961 single “Hit The Road Jack”. The video was made by King Ropes’ own Keith Martinez (bass, synthesizers) at UpFresh Media Services. Check it out below
Bozeman, Montana-based King Ropes’ first three releases—their 2016 debut album Dirt, its followup Gravity and Friction and the EP Green Wolverine—introduced much-traveled frontman Dave Hollier’s richly emotional, sonically expansive musical vision. Hollier and his like-minded bandmates draw upon multiple lifetimes’ worth of musical inspirations to create vibrantly human, hauntingly original music.
The sense of musical history that’s long been a key element in Holler’s creative approach drives King Ropes’ new Go Back Where They Came From, on which the band offers personalized interpretations of a dozen songs originally recorded by other artists, incorporating material drawn from sources ranging from Ray Charlesand Roger Miller to Willie Nelson and the Beastie Boys.
“Most of what I know about songwriting I’ve learned by covering other people’s songs,” Hollier reflects. “But I’ve never been interested in copying the original version of a song. The covers I love to hear are when someone takes a great song, and makes it into something new.
“On this album, we’ve tried to strip the songs down to the bare bones, and then build them back up again and take them pretty far from their original context,” he continues. “I’ve been thinking about cover songs for a long time, and I thought it would be fun to try a covers album with a bunch of songs from all over the map, and take those songs in a bunch of directions.”
That vibrant level of engagement is reflected in King Ropes’ perceptive, personally-charged interpretations of such notable tunes as Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” Steve Earle’s “Transcendental Blues,” the Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg/Wilco collaboration “Eisler on the Go” and Al Green’s “Take Me to the River,” also popularized by Talking Heads, whose own “Drugs” also gets an equally memorable workout here. The album also features a pair of compelling dark horses in the form of songs by iconoclastic indie troubadours Mike Ferrio (Tandy) and Matt Mays.
“I hope this genre bending thing isn’t too heavy-handed, but I think that this record is a pretty upfront statement of us having a lot of different music that we love and are influenced by,” Hollier states. “It was a lot of fun taking a bunch of songs that might seem to have nothing to do with each other and getting them to hold together as a cohesive whole.”