Carving a name for themselves across the metal world, KING 810 are certainly a force to be reckoned with. Their debut album Memoirs of a Murderer has split the metal world right down the middle. You should have heard the troubling stories behind the band by now, if you haven’t, then brace yourself. Our Lisa Fox spoke to frontman David Gunn and got a real insight to the life of a man living in hell, on the way to heaven.
So how’s the tour going for you?
It’s going all right I guess. So far nothing’s happened yet, only a few shows so it’s still early yet, right?
How were the first few shows?
Good. We have never been to Dublin, Ireland or Sheffield. So they were definitely good for your first shows, if you know what I mean? Could have been a lot worse. Everyone’s been good. The crowds have been good. The response is good and it appears to be all good, yeah.
You guys are one of the most talked about bands from last year. How does that feel?
I guess it depends on what they were talking about. Good, I guess when you provoke some emotion, whether they love you or hate you, you’re doing your job, but I don’t really care about it… We don’t really notice that we’re being talked about because I don’t really go online or go and look through anything, but if they are talking a lot about us, then that’s better than them ignoring us. The worst thing I feel people could do is just ignore us and be indifferent to what we’re doing. So at least they’re choosing a side, whether it’s with us or against us. That’s how it is with anyone that comes along, that doesn’t just fall into place with what’s been happening, you know what I mean?
I think music as an art, and art should provoke a reaction, otherwise you’re not doing it right.
Yeah, to me it was. To me there’s a bunch of different little facets about art. Like on the surface, if you don’t provoke any emotion, yeah, you’re not really doing anything special, whether it’s something good or something bad, but if you don’t change things, you can be as successful as you can be and at the end of the day, if no one understands that you change something or you didn’t change anything or do something new, then it doesn’t really matter how successful you are. It’s not a measure of how important of an artist you were. So I guess talking is all a part of doing something right, whether it’s wrong or not.
Well people hated Picasso’s blue movement and that is something that everyone now looks back and goes, “Oh my God.”
Yeah, so maybe when we’re all dead and we’re all gone, they’ll buy our records and think that we were on to something. So I guess we don’t care if no one likes it now. We can wait another 100 years and it will be, people will probably be into it.
You’d be like Van Gogh, cutting off your ear while you’re alive and then when you’re dead people will suddenly go, “Oh shit, they were really good!”
Yeah, that’s how it feels sometimes, that’s right, about cutting something off.
It’s all good.
“Lisa suggested that I cut something off and that would make us successful”!
Maybe, I don’t know, but yeah.
You guys are from a town with issues. Flint has a lot of poverty, a lot of violence, a lot of political unrest. How has that affected you as a person?
It just shapes who you are and it creates you… I mean history is full of a bunch of people that came from poor and political unrest and tribulations and trials that people go through. I guess, from what I’ve seen, the more that people go through the better the stuff is… I’ve never sat down and read a biography or heard about a musical act or this author or this director that had a middle-class upbringing and that’s it, and that’s their biography. Anyone who lives in an exceptional way or an unusual way or in unusual circumstances or whether they be unusually good or unusually bad, isn’t usually going to tell the common story, you know what I mean? So I feel like it’s perfect for… Especially for heavy music and aggressive music to come from a place that is heavy and aggressive by nature. So since that’s where we’re from, I feel like that ties into your last question of people having things to say, these are all people who, when they have bad things to say about us, when they’re not really necessarily into what we’re doing, it usually comes from someone that doesn’t have the same background. Whether it’s from Flint or violence or poverty or whatever, just trouble-ridden or going through severe circumstances or adversity in their background. No matter what it is, adversity comes in all different kinds of ways. So these are the people that usually don’t agree with what we’re doing and don’t understand it. The people that are for it, usually, they share common-ground with us. So that’s the pattern and it’s just four old friends playing songs. It’s an unusual place that we come from so I don’t really expect everyone to get it. It makes these characters out of people and King is four characters, that’s what it is, you know? Does that make sense?
It does. What lead you to music?
I don’t really know. I think I met a few friends that played music, that had instruments, that wanted to have instruments and that put me onto it. When I was a kid I was a writer and wrote a lot of songs and stories and things like that, but I always just wanted to be a writer and never necessarily wanted to sing in a band. So that happened for like five or six or seven years, I can’t really remember, but then when I was pre-teenage years, I met a few kids that wanted to play music or had these ideas for all this. So that was where I came in, 15 or so years ago, and I met these guys early on, you know, 15 years ago. We were just kids and they played the music and I was the singer I guess and it just happened that way for a long time. So I just fell in. I just knew people that played instruments. Whether it was a good choice or not, I haven’t figured that out yet.
You can still write stories, there’s nothing to stop you. You’ve got plenty of time to do it on the road.
Yeah, I know, I know. I still just think of myself as a writer, the songs, I write the songs, I write stories, I still write whatever. It just was never really my plan to do it at first but, like I said, I came across those guys that played music. I knew I didn’t want to play no instrument or anything like that, I had ideas and stuff since I was a kid. So I just wanted to talk about my ideas a lot.
But then music is telling stories, isn’t it?
I think people forget that. The stories you tell are a hell of a lot better than some of the contrived nonsense that comes out of some bands.
Yeah, I hope so but if not, it’s okay too. Sometimes I think, when I was first writing, I would write just… I would write everything that I think of. Like most people, what you hear and stuff but then when I realised I had an interesting story, I just started writing about that and that was what I liked writing about, whether that’s narcissistic or not I don’t really know, I just … That was what I liked writing about. Real things, you know, that happened in real life. I’m not really good at making shit up so I wasn’t ever trying to, you know, be Stephen King or anything like that. I just wanted to write real stories that I knew with real people in it. So when I started doing that, I guess people started to like those ones better, which was okay because those are the ones I liked to write, but that’s always how its going to be, King is that. I don’t see a writing style as far as the content and stories and the stuff we talk about. I don’t see it changing. When you ask how does growing up there affect you as a person? It’s in that way I guess, that it’s in you, it’s just who you are. The song is who you are. So it’s not easy to change from record to record, if you know what I mean? It’s going to come from the same thing.
What was the jumping point for you guys? Where you went from playing local venues, presumably to not that many people, to suddenly being on tour with Slipknot.
We were just playing around the Midwest for small groups, a few hundred people, whatever, for a while and a friend of mine, well he’s now my friend, he hit me up one day on an email and he lived in New York and he’s like, “Yo, I like what you guys are doing, I heard about y’all, I live in New York,”, he worked in the industry, in the music industry. He was like, “I can’t do anything for you, I don’t work in a company that can do anything for you, not that my company doesn’t want anything to do with you really, but I just wanted to reach out to you to let you know that I liked, and what you’re doing and I’m going to tell people about you.” He said that and we didn’t really think anything of it because we’re hopeless, so we just kept doing the same thing we were doing. A year went by and like I said, we never got hung up on any details about any of it, but one day he calls like, “I met someone that I think gets you guys, what you guys are doing, he works at Roadrunner and he wants to talk more about it.” So then we started talking to them a little bit, and when it gets known that you’re talking to one of them, then they all come.. So then we were doing an awful lot of talking to everyone and everyone was interested. This is after our friend Cody, for a year, had ran around all of New York City trying to tell everyone about us, and everyone thought, “Fuck no”. They thought this guy was some crazy guy that was trying to talk about this group of idiots from Flint.
So eventually, after we sat down and talked to everyone, I realised that Roadrunner was where we wanted to be, and we made the record that we made and I guess some of the guys in Slipknot heard it and they were really cool because they’re not necessarily a competitive band. A lot of bands that have been around so long, veteran bands, when they would hear something like that, it’s not threatening but worries some or it’s like a check, you know, but Slipknot embraced it. They are really into it and like it, so they wanted to bring us out here which is… That’s cool that they did that. So we don’t necessarily know what we’re doing out here. So yeah, playing clubs and then now they’re like “Come on tour with us” and then of course we say, “Yeah.” Then when we get here, we’re like, “What the fuck did we say we’re going to do? It looks like it’s a whole different thing.” So I don’t think anyone understands what we’re doing, no one knows what’s going on but that was, in a nutshell, how we got here. You know, it’s crazy.
Have you heard of marmite?
Marmite is like this… this toast topping thing that we have in the UK. Their whole marketing campaign is built around the fact that people love it or hate it. It’s quoted quite a bit as a phrase, you know, “they’re like marmite”. People love it or they hate it, but people still know about marmite. You’ve done quite well so far in this interview I’ve compared you to Picasso, Van Gogh and now marmite.
No, it’s okay.
I think it’s got to be good to provoke that response in people.
Yeah… Like I said, I don’t really pay too much attention, I probably should pay more attention, but I just do what we’ve always done. Just… It’s like if you have a TV at your house and it gets turned on at any point in time, that’s just stories and shows or news or whatever’s on the thing. It’s just getting put into your head. I don’t really do any of that stuff. I just stay focused on what we’re doing. I don’t care what anyone else is doing. Don’t listen to their record. Don’t care who’s Instagram has what on it or anything. I don’t know how to use any of that stuff, I just stay away from all of it and just do the things that we do. I don’t get in anyone’s business and I don’t pay attention to anyone that tries to get into our business either. So just keep doing what we’re doing and no one really has any effect on it, you know, nothing’s going to affect us. So we don’t really lean on anyone around or you don’t really count on anyone, then no one can really fuck you, you know what I mean? So that’s what I think about the whole thing.
But then you’re going to walk away knowing you’ve been true to yourself. No matter what.
Yeah. I really don’t know how to be any other way. I’m not really comfortable on other matters so I just don’t try to impress anyone, I don’t try to please anyone. So that’s what happens I guess.
Did you ever think you’d leave the States?
No, I never thought… I positively never thought I would leave the States because of my criminal record. I didn’t think that that was going to happen and I knew I couldn’t travel and I wouldn’t be let into these places. And I always wanted to come here to Scotland because both sides of my family are from Scotland, not Glasgow, but I always wanted to go to certain places. I don’t really know a lot about geography because I dropped out of school but I probably should but and I wanted to go to places but I never thought at all, I never even thought. I thought travelling the US was a crazy, ambitious idea. So no, I never planned on coming to these places to do anything. That’s why we’re all, we’re confused. I mean I’m confused. I don’t know what to do, you know what I mean? And then when they said, “You’re going to Australia to play. You’re going to the UK to play or England to play.” I don’t even know anything about any of the stuff. So I was just surprised that they let us come.
I would never really imagine, as a kid we were just playing in Flint to play for our friends, and we made the record, we were like, “Oh cool. Roadrunner. Yeah, we’ll make the record.” But we still thought we were making a pretty narrow record, one that only the people in the songs would like. Like this is for people at home that are a part of these songs, that know what we’re talking about because everyone else is just going to think we’re lying or they don’t know what the fuck we’re talking about. So this is for our friends and for us and for the people that are a part of this, that are very obviously in the songs, the stories involve them.
We never thought it was going to go anywhere else, and then when it started to it was like, maybe this does work for other people too. Maybe it’s not just as one-sided as we thought. Maybe other people in other cities and states and countries can understand what’s going on too. And now, you know, I get it. I just… I didn’t have high expectations or I didn’t expect anything from anyone. So it’s strange … it takes a lot of time and money to get to other countries, even when you have a record, but it still can work I guess and that’s crazy.
How did you end up being allowed to leave America? Did you have to pay some sort of a bond type of thing?
You just have to try a lot and it’s not my area of expertise, I’m not an immigration attorney or anything, but you’ve got to find a good one and you’ve got to do a bunch of shit. It doesn’t work still. Some places, you know, we still can’t get to some places. Maybe it will work someday but as of now, it doesn’t work in every country but we can come to the UK and Europe and Australia so far. So that’s a good start, better than nothing, right?
For a boy from Flint.
Right. Yeah, just some guy. I don’t know what’s going on, like I said.
Just don’t commit any more crime or try not to.
Easier said than done, right? I’m just messing around.
Because of the people that you grew up with and the people that you hang round with, is it easy to fall back into those ways? I suppose the fact that you’re lifted out the Flint is positive.
Yeah, it is. It just… We didn’t really like get out of it. We’re only out of it because we’re physically taken out of the country. You know, when we go back home, last tour six of our homeboys went to jail during the last tour we were on. You get the call every week, someone new, and you just think, you know, when you get home you have some people who have died, some people who are in jail that aren’t going to get out for a long time. Everything’s still the same but it just keeps going and it sucks if you don’t want it to keep going. You want to be there for whatever’s happening now. When we went on the US leg of this tour, when we come back, six people that were free are now incarcerated. So I understand that that’s what happens when you do wrong things, but it just changes your perspective. It’s not something…it gets misinterpreted that we endorse or embrace the thing, but we don’t do either of those things. We’re just telling you what the fuck happened, you know what I mean? If you don’t like it, then don’t subscribe to it I guess.
It’s just… Yeah, when we go back home, we’re still in the same position. Like we didn’t sign some record deal and get some big cheque and move to Hollywood. We still live in Flint. I still live in Flint, it’s not a secret, everyone knows where I live, I put my bond paper on the internet, you know. That’s just the shit that we do because everyone’s like, “They’re retarded, they put their address on the internet.” But it’s like nah, I just put it on there because I’d like to see any one of you online try to do what you say what you’re going to do. I’m not scared of my address being online. No one’s showed up, no one’s done anything… Everyone has a lot to say on the internet but everyone knows where we live, it’s there.
Please don’t get shot. I’d feel really bad.
It’s interesting talking to you because you’re obviously really intelligent.
That is weird!
You are obviously an intelligent person from a hard, and shocking background. Yet you talk about it like its normal. Does that make sense?
I guess it make sense.
I just want to wrap you up and keep you safe.
No, no! Please don’t do it. I … I don’t know, I never thought you had to be stupid to…I know that’s not what you’re saying, but I know a lot of stupid people and that’s fine, I just… I know a lot of smart people but, to me, certain things aren’t necessarily smart that some people think are. Like school, I dropped out of school, I don’t like school, I don’t like going to school, I don’t like going to class, I don’t like listening, you know, whatever they teach, I don’t think it’s important. Dropping out of school’s looked at like something that you do, that losers drop out of school or whatever, but I never thought losers dropped out of school. I thought the loser was the person that went to school for ten years and then made $50,000 a year. I thought that was the loser because I know of them, I know a bunch of kids that make way more than $50,000 a year that never spent any time in school. So at the end of the day who’s the idiot? I mean it’s a different career path, a different choice that they make. I just… And like I said, we grew up in Flint so you’re around drugs and you’re around shootings and you’re around the police and the police whip your ass and all this sort of stuff happens but it doesn’t mean you have to be an idiot, you know what I mean? You don’t have to be some stupid kid.
I never wanted to be stupid. I didn’t want to… I wanted to know what’s going on, but also if something goes down, I’m not scared of things, of altercations and things like that. So being smart has nothing to do with getting into shit. Smart doesn’t have anything to do with trouble or staying out of trouble or getting into trouble, you know what I mean? We’re still from Flint, still dropped out when I was a kid and none of the teachers liked us and that’s just how it goes. You don’t have… You can just rely on yourself I guess, you know, your family’s not taking care of you and things like that. It’s easy to say that this person’s making bad decisions or this person’s not making good calls, but when you don’t have nothing going on, you have to make a quick call. You can’t make a call to go to college for four or six or eight or ten years, that’s not going to… You don’t look for six or eight or ten years ahead, you look at just today because that’s what’s going on and that’s what you’ve got to worry about and that’s what you’ve got to get through.
All that started when I was a kid and that was before I even remembered thinking about music or thinking about reading a book or anything. The shootouts and the drugs and all the arrests and the jail and all that stuff, that was all… That’s all part of the life of anyone that is around Flint, you know what I mean? That’s not uncommon. That’s already like ingrained in your character. The other stuff, the extra stuff is what you do. Some people just leave, some people go to college and do this and people don’t do anything. Some people just get killed or go to prison or things like that, but I don’t want to do any of that stuff. But like I said, you know, I’m still this person from Flint, you know? Guns aren’t scary and people don’t scare me. I’m not afraid of going to prison for the rest of my life or things like that. That doesn’t… None of that stuff bothers me that would bother a normal person I guess that chose different things, you know? Scary to me is going to college for ten years or something like that, that shit scares me. Working at McDonald’s until you’re 45, that scares me, you know what I mean? That’s the stuff that I couldn’t do. So those two different things, you just choose one or the other I guess. But I always thought that being smart was important, I just get into shit sometimes.
Trouble finds you.
What’s next for King 810?
I think we go home after this week, we go to Sound Wave in Australia and then we go home and then we have a Tech N9ne tour in the States. So yeah… I imagine someone’s going to say something about that tour I imagine.
Yeah, that’s just another thing that… I mean not a lot of people really fuck with King. Like everyone seems to know who we are, everyone seems to have an opinion about us, but regardless of what you might think, it’s not like we don’t have all these friends. I don’t feel like a lot of people are on our side on the music shit, you know, so we choose carefully who we work with, you know? When Slipknot asked us to come and Korn, that was obvious and that was something we would do, but we felt like Slipknot wasn’t Slipknot. What they are, you know, and who they were just because there was a big tour, we wouldn’t have went just because it was a big tour. It’s the same thing with Tech N9ne, I don’t see any crazy differences between what we’re doing and what he’s doing. It’s like… First up, I don’t see much difference between the music, both styles, as far as the origin, where they come from, what they’re about and things they talk about and things like that. So, to me, I see just like the core of what it actually is, not sonically how it sounds. So when he says, “You want to go on this tour with me?” We don’t think about what most people think about would be what does this look like? Who’s going to consider what does this mean to people? What look is this for the band? What this or that, like I said before when we were talking, where we don’t really consider anyone else’s. This is the same thing with making those decisions is that we don’t really necessarily care. If it’s what we want to do, then we just do it, you know what I mean? So that’s what we did and that will put us through until June. So that’s the next few months.
Then who knows what will happen?
Please try not to get killed. That’s my last request. Please don’t get killed. You’re too nice.
Interview by Lisa Fox.
David and the rest of King 810 continue the Prepare For Hell tour with Slipknot and KoRn across the rest of the UK for the next week. The following shows remain:
Slipknot w/ KoRn & King 810 Prepare For Hell UK Tour Remaining Dates
Thursday 22nd – Liverpool – Echo Arena
Friday 23rd – London – Wembley SSE Arena
Saturday 24th – Cardiff – Motorpoint Arena
Monday 26th – Nottingham – Capital FM Arena
Tuesday 27th – Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena
Remaining tickets (including recently released production tickets) can be acquired at Live Nation via the following link – https://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/slipknot-tickets. You can read the review of King 810’s performance, along with Slipknot and KoRn on the review of the show at the Glasgow SSE Hydro Arena right here!
In addition to our interview with David from King 810, Rock Sins was also very privileged to be able to talk to the one and only Chris Fehn (aka #3) from Slipknot themselves backstage in Glasgow about a huge variety of topics. Anyone who’d like to read our interview with Chris Fehn can do so right here. Further coverage from more dates of Slipknot’s Prepare For Hell tour will also be forthcoming over the next week so please keep visiting Rocksins.com regularly!