NAHS student rocks it out in his spare time

Senior Alex Williams onstage at Phoenix Hill Tavern in Louisville with his band, Shamble Kings Photo by Riley Zipper

By: Riley Zipper

PROFILE

One in 2000+

All high schoolers lead busy lives. Between school, work, homework and extracurriculars most high schoolers simply don’t have enough time in the day. Meet senior Alex Williams. Williams does all of the above, while also fronting a successful local rock band, and has been doing so for five years. Despite having his band and the other burdens that high school students face, Williams maintains a rigorous class schedule and is in the top 10 percent of the senior class.

“I’ve had my band for five years and have been playing guitar for 11. I got my first guitar for my seventh birthday and have been addicted ever since,” Williams said with a laugh.

He and three other members from various schools in the area make up Shamble Kings, a name that sounds like it has a cool story behind it, but in truth, is quite anticlimactic.

“People expect there to be some fascinating story behind the unusual name of our band but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Williams said, chuckling, in his timid demeanor. “My father and I were talking and the word “shamble” just seemed like a cool word. So we added “kings” and that’s how our name was born, Shamble Kings.” Until less than a year ago, Williams’ band was named 7 Car Pileup, but they wanted a change, so they made it.

“I’m actually a shy person. But when I get on stage – I don’t know, it’s hard to put into words how I feel. I don’t get stage fright anymore. I just feel comfortable with a guitar in my hands in front of a microphone on a stage,” he said.

No stranger to the stage, Williams also participates in all of NAHS’s theatre productions. Most recently, he was young Jacob Marley in New Albany’s and Floyd Central’s joint production of A Christmas Carol.

“My favorite musician? As if you don’t already know,” Williams laughed, citing our mutual love/obsession with the band Radiohead, “it’s Radiohead, obviously, but I also like Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, (lead singer of Soundgarden) Pearl Jam and really all of the Seattle grunge scene bands of the early 90s. Then folk as well.”

These musicians also inspire Williams’ band.

“They definitely inspire the kind of music our band plays. We play a lot of 90s alternative rock. My favorite covers that we do would have to be “Someday” by The Strokes, from their debut Is This It, “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters, “One Big Holiday” by My Morning Jacket and “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind.” My personal favorite cover that Shamble Kings perform is “Semi-Charmed Life” and have been known to sing every word. I have no shame.

As well as a fantastic performer, Williams is somewhat of a collector and appreciator of music of all genres.

“I have exactly… 6,879 songs on my iPod at the moment,” he said while scrolling his iPod to the bottom to check the exact amount, (later he told me that he has a grand total of 12,534 at home on his computer) “and I’ve bought pretty much all of those. I like having a physical CD in my hands. I like the album art and the liner notes and being able to physically touch them. Music is art, and the artists deserve to be paid for their art. You wouldn’t steal a painting, so why would you steal music?”

Williams is also abject to iTunes. “I don’t buy any music from iTunes either. Apple keeps a very large portion of the money used to buy music, and this money deserves to go to the artist, not a Fortune 500 company.”

Shamble Kings are no strangers to the recording studio, despite being young students.

“We’ve recorded two original songs: ‘She’s Got Rain,’ which was written when our drummer was going through a difficult family situation, and ‘Not Alone,’ he said, “we’ve written a total of six originals, and we’re working to get the other four recorded over the summer, and we’re also writing more.” They’re definitely going to stay busy all the way through the summer.

“I’ve been listening to a lot of The Strokes recently, as well as Blind Melon, Best Coast and Ryan Adams, to prepare for us seeing him in concert on the 30th!” Williams said excitedly, referencing our planned attendance at the Ryan Adams concert at the Louisville Palace on January 30.

“I guess the best advice I can give to anyone wanting to start their own band is to stay committed,” Williams said, “get a regular rehearsal schedule and make sure all members of the band are focused on the sound of a band as a whole, not just how they sound alone. It’s not about wild guitar solos, you have to stay focused on how the band sounds as a whole. A band is a team.”

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