The Chesterfield Kings are a rock band from Rochester, New York, who began as a retro-1960s garage band, and who have heavily mined the underside of 1960s music, including some borrowings from the 1960s Rolling Stones. Core members are former Distorted Level singer, underground music journalist and avid record collector Greg Prevost and Andy Babiuk (16 years old at the time of the band's founding); others have come and gone. The band, named after a defunct brand of unfiltered cigarette, was instrumental in sparking the 1980s garage band revival that lead to such groups as the Unclaimed, Marshmallow Overcoat, The Fuzztones, Mystic Eyes, The Cynics, The Optic Nerve, the Secret Service, the Stomachmouths and many, many, others.
The early Kings were a late-1970s recreation of a mid-1960s garage band sound. Their self-released first single (Living Eye Records, LSD-1) was a cover of The Brogues' 1965 "I Ain't No Miracle Worker" b/w The Heard's 1967 "Exit 9". In a deliberate effort to create their own rare garage-band collectible singles, only 500 copies were pressed.
Their first broader public exposure came when a track on Greg Shaw's 1981 Bomp! Records compilation Battle of the Garage netted them a series of dates at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City. They continued with this 60s garage sound through the mid-1980s, releasing two albums—Here are the Chesterfield Kings (1982) was entirely covers, and Stop! (1985) introduced their first originals—then turned to a harder-edged rock sound for Don't Open Till Doomsday (1987), which Piero Scaruffi describes as "uninspired and confused", and Berlin Wall of Sound (1989), featuring the blues guitar work of new band member Paul Rocco, followed by an acoustic blues record Drunk On Muddy Water (1990).
Their Let's Go Get Stoned (1994) is a mix of slightly post-Aftermath Stones covers and worthy originals in the Stones' style. Surfin' Rampage (1997) showed that they were fully capable of pop harmonies; Where the Action Is (1999) was a return to garage band roots, a mix of covers and 1960s-styled originals.
The Mindbending Sounds of the Chesterfield Kings (2003) pays tribute to the more baroque side of the 1960s underground, evoking at times the sound of the Electric Prunes ("Transparent Life", "Disconnection"), and featuring appearances by Jorma Kaukonen on two tracks.
The Kings' full-length feature film Where is the Chesterfield King? (2000) is described on their web site as "A comedy/drama in the vein of The Bowery Boys, Batman, The Monkees Show, A Hard Day's Night, Hawaiian Eye, and The Munsters, with a little Three Stooges slapstick to boot…
As of 2006, the Chesterfield Kings are engaged in a lawsuit with Armand Schaubroeck, owner of House of Guitars, over nonpayment of royalties records released on Mirror Records from 1984 through 1997. Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost are longtime employees at the House of Guitars. In the suit, they are represented by lawyer Paul Nunes, who has played keyboards on several of their albums.
Studio strategies.(Recording)(works of Groovy 60s British pop Andy Babiuk and Paul Morabito)(The Mindbending Sounds of the Chesterfield Kings)(Brief Article)
Mar 01, 2004; ALBUM The Mindbending Sounds of the Chesterfield Kings [Sundazed] BAND The Chesterfield Kings SONG "Somewhere Nowhere" STYLE...