What's all the buzz about tKoL?

[ 1998 Highlights | One Fine Ride reactions ]

""Double-u, backslash, space, smartbomb," chant Ty Hardaway and RICH Walkling in "I Like Smartbomb," one of 13 distinctively outlandish shuffles on the Kingdom of Leisure's second album, "One Fine Ride"...not exactly a traditional blues refrain, but the D.C. duo does keep one foot planted somewhere near the Delta. The band calls its music "tripgrass" -- and subtitles the album "Tripgrass Trilogy, Part 2" -- but it's actually a languidly weirded-out version of the blues.

The doors to the Kingdom are not wide open. Strangers will encounter private jokes and willful indulgences. Still the band achieves an engaging groove.

Whatever songs like "Princess Bridge" and "ButterPump" are about, they slip-slide along with eccentric aplomb."

-Mark Jenkins, the Washington Post, July 9, 1999

"...it's the final show of iconoclastic country/blues/rock/jam/noise band the Kingdom of Leisure, whose unique take on things will be missed."

-Eric Brace, the Washington Post, July 1999

"The Kingdom of Leisure has been shaking up the DC music scene for several years now with their audacious psychedelic blues hiphop country invention: tripgrass. Uncompromising in their style, tKoL will never be accused of chasing after an audience...

...Hardaway and Walkling show themselves to be masters of contradiction, perhaps even cognitive dissonance."

-Sn*pP*p, July 1999

"I love tKoL even though they don't write catchy pop tunes...they're still intoxicating. (And even though I don't leave a show humming their songs, I do leave WISHING I could!)

-posted @ washington city paper InDC chat board by "Chris" 12/25/98

 Thanks Billboard for our late-August Daily Buzz feature. A pleasant surprise for us [ quick-shot Daily Buzz images ]

"Every rhythm has a story."


-Jamie Perez, September 18, 1998


The meeting was both inspiring and productive. I am more than excited about the important work you are doing.

Furthermore, I have persistent visions of the upcoming creative explosion. A collaboration of various artists working in different mediums.

We will provide the public with the explosion of freedom they so desperately need. Modern day beatniks. We will need a different name, of course.

Keep your eyes open for the others.


- C.Earl, NYC, September 4, 1998

"Jazzy, low-tech, lo-fi wizardry shining bright..."in the Daily Buzz.


- Billboard Magazine Talent Net - Daily Buzz, August 22, 1998

"Glad I caught you at the Grog.. I thought there was a lot of cool stuff going on up on stage.. keep me posted."


- Eric Brace, Washington Post Weekend Section (personal electronic communication), August, 1998

I listened to "[This is the New] America" on the road today between Iowa and Illinois. What an amazing album. And just f***ing perfect for driving cross country. F***ing perfect. Great album.

You have really created something there.

So much better than any crap on the radio. The fact that so many of American radio stations have gone corporate and thus, completely gutless in their play selection must make it hard to be a musician these days.

It's a big difference between writers and musicians in this way because writers have more outlets for their creativity, little publishing houses, whereas musicians seemingly must go through the corporate crap music stations


- Jonathan Clough, "The Cooking Earl," Driving across America, Summer 1998

I am in love with Ty.

I am in love with my tape of the four of us playing together.

I am in love with the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Do you have a recording of what you guys played?

Would you send us a copy?

Hopefully there is more to come.


- RJ, The Beggars Trail, San Francisco

"You did wonderful things for The Beggars Trail Saturday. You could hear how much you were pushing them as well as helping them to elevate their music to a place it probably hadn't been before, a fuller, rounder sound...You could tell it opened something up for them...Pretty...amazing, especially knowing that you all only played together for a day. And of course, you and Rich were, as always, amazing and still different from every other time I've heard you play. So that's the critique from one o' your audience members. All and all, pretty fucking amazing evening. Just so's you know."

- Christine, July 1998

"tKoL" is jazz-punk-folk."

- Billboard, May 1998

"It was VERY COOL [the website]. I was quite impressed. I took particular pleasure in seeing the picture of you and Ty at his wedding. How l loved you in your very Southern genteel attire. It was breathtaking.

- LeNaye, July 1998

"Your CD is excellent and it sounds like a live performance, in the best sense of the phrase. You really get a sense of the stories you tell. Maybe I'll come to DC and open for you guys."

- Richard Pinney, international recording superstar [(Columbia Records, Mountain Railroad Records) who recorded one of the best albums of all time (Devil Take My Shiny Coins) with Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" band...and he's Rich's idol. No joke.]

"You are not even the king (or prince or whatever) of leisure. You are just the plain old king of lifestyle. You are the new American Dream. I, on the other hand, am the queen of Freak. Don't you forget it. Slow day at the clinic."

- Elizabeth Frances Shea, Seattle Poet

"I certainly get the feeling that I'm listening to you two PERFORM the tunes [on This is the New America], rather than just enjoying to result of hours of tracking and overdubs (i don't know if my records lend the same feel...). BUT it does not come at the expense of actual arrangements. Good work. Highlights for me so far: "talkin' bout oysters" (dig the shit out of the exit tag section - - how wonderfully Sgt. Pepper! I'd very much like an insight into the tracking of that part...) and "Dharmabub"..."

- Sean Michael Dargan, guitars & vocals, smd., April 24, 1998

"[tKoL is] Totally different. Truly original."

-Villa Rosie, web page

"Ty seems like he is playing melody as much as anything else."

- Frank Letkiewicz, EVILTWIN frank & jason, March 30, 1998

"Static is an instrument and chaos is a force which you use effectively, to do your musical bidding. Ty's drumming has grown tighter and tighter and I love the new crazy stuff your doing with your guitar (the distortion, the wah, and the way you play it like lap steel)!

Everyone's talking about you guys."

- Chuck Andrada, Smartbomb, March 30, 1998

"Yo, you guys bite, and you can quote me, bitch!!!"

- Loose Duke, San Francisco, March 26, 1998

"Hey, if I'm not mistaken, you guys are starting to sound a bit...PHISHy...okay!"

- Harry Brown, New York, March 26, 1998

"The Kingdom of Leisure is very much a unique American Phenomenon. They are living their philosophy - they rule and they make great music."

- Cindy Beam, The Corridor

"I just wanted to let you know that a couple of my friends in DC told me that your live show kicked ass."

- Eric Burch, St. Louis, MO

"Hey, that was a great set. You made my head feel funny."

- audience participant, Shepherdstown, WV

"Two guys with the sound of billions."

- David Nuttycombe, Washington City Paper

"After a six month hiatus, what could you expect from the Kingdom of Leisure but an incredible show. And believe me, they delivered...These guys have no respect for convention...I have never seen a two piece sound as good as the Kingdom of Leisure. Tripgrass, indeed. These two are gods."

- Mark Greebon, tourdates.com (review of 1.17.98 show, first '98 show)

"The Kingdom of Leisure has discovered a new sound that won't disappoint...a definite countrified-folksy feel, a soul-grabbing rhythm, a raw sound that grabs your attention, that is real. Like America."

- Grant Moser, DC Music Pages

"I don't know if I ever got a chance to say the CD is excellent, it is. I especially like Mountain Cry and Corinna thinks it's sweet that you thought of your mother. I also think that in this day and age where people are so self absorbed not enough people have the presence of mind to save seats for good friends.."

- Josh Volk, Arizona

"Mind-bending acoustic music...America's freshest roots-rock duo."

- NerdWorld

"I love the train song best...it's so serious for a silly little song. Oh yeah, it's phat."

- Phish Phan, Ashley Sullivan, Chevy Chase, MD

"...musically I've really come to love the part in Mountain Cry, at 7:06 when you are playing rhythm and you stutter, da-- -dah.......da-da da-dah,that's so cool. Remember one time I was saying it was the blank spaces that make the music in one of the songs on Billy Breathes, that's what I meant."

- The Loose Duke, SF

"Just wanted to let you know that after many (at least 10 anyway) listens, I think the album is quite solid, well written, and well put together. Kind of like a big German barmaid or something. Really though, you guys sound great, and I have to say that I honestly like every song on the disc. They all flow together well too... I think the only one I hadn't heard during the famous "basement sessions" was "I'm coming home" - and that's my favorite (maybe because of all the time I spent in parking lots in Boulder this past summer). Anyway, I'm not just saying this because I want to be your roadie. You both have a lot of talent and you obviously put a lot of work into what you do and how you do it, and it sounds great.

Plus you're a couple of bad motherfuckers."

- Al Currano, Arizona

"Self described as 'trip-grass', The Kingdom of Leisure has discovered a new sound that won't disappoint...a definite countrified-folksy feel, a soul-grabbing rhythm, a raw sound that grabs your attention, that is real. Like America.

This is the first of a promised trilogy of CDs redefining American music. I can't wait to hear the next two!."

- Grant Moser, DC Music WWWeb

"The current darlings of roots rock."

- Musicsearch

"An immense amount of talent (I don't usually stroke egos, so I mean it). I think the lyrics are brilliant....Forget business, I'm a fan. I keep playing the tape over and over again in my car and for friends and family, pestering the hell out of them."

- Edward Hooban, CEO, supersonicboom.com

"The show put me in a coma, so visual. If you get this music out, people are going to really love it...you'll be famous too.

Whenever I listen to your album I think that making "videos" for these songs would be wrong. This music is perfect for a movie soundtrack. Or more like a movie based on the music. You know, a movie about a travelin' bad mutha fucker"

- Big Dave "Wave" Blair, film maker, Delray, Florida

"I really dig it. I can't get 'It's fun to be gay and Mexican...' out of my head. The songs are hook-laden gems. I really believe what they do is exciting. I'm a huge TKoL fan...it seems like they could get a pretty big following. Ty's drumming is very cool - really creative and original - really is integral to the song, rather than just a beat. They rock something fierce."

- Rich Hayes, drummer for Coach Johnson

"Tuneful, a little weird, a little goofy. I think about it sometimes. Usually when I'm bathing."

- Elizabeth Frances Shea, Seattle Poet

"These guys are fucked-up....Ween without all the electronics."

- Marcos Marquez, Alexandria, VA

"Rich's singing is great...a real stylist...very sexy. They really should market their look more."

- Pam Felix, California Tortilla

"We listened to The Kingdom of Leisure while on tour. Gay and Mexican is the hit: especially rhyming 'ass felt' with 'gas smelt.'"

- Rich Hoak, drummer for Brutal Truth [used to be Anthrax]

"DC's favorite new band. They were awesome. I have heard nothing but great things about their performance - - I could, of course, be lying just to make them feel good, but the audience response was too good to be lying....They jammed it up for the occasion so that people could dance. Quite a few people asked where they would be playing next, including the tall brunette woman named _?_ who was dancing prominently (that is, flashing herself) during most of the first set (who I would rank somewhere between Damn Cute and She Rules!)"

- Johnny Blomquist, Bethesda, MD

"[Ty] has now gone far beyond 'the coolest guy I ever met' to 'rock icon.'"

- Bernard Bedon, NYC

"Ty on banjo, he's a bad motherfucker. I'm hearing about you guys everywhere."

- Jamie Perez, guitarist & vocalist for Lenny Hoffman

"TKoL never ceases to amaze me"

- Julie MacKinnon, supersonicboom.com

"Very witty and professional."

- Kathleen Bell, Ph.D.

"Oh, Jesus. Oh my god. Oh, Jesus. Yes."

- Pierce Lockjaw

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