There haven’t been a lot of cool soul bands to come out of Wisconsin lately, so when one does, you notice. When that scorching 10-piece group goes missing, you notice that, too.
So whatever happened to Kings Go Forth?
2007: Founded in Milwaukee by Andy Noble, who ran the old Lotus Land Records store in the city’s eclectic Riverwest neighborhood, and then and now is a DJ at a monthly soul/funk dance night in Riverwest.
2009: Signed to Luaka Bop Records.
April 2010: The first and only Kings Go Forth LP, “The Outsiders Are Back,” is released.
April 20, 2010: Riding the crest of acclaim, Kings Go Forth plays a live, one-hour show on NPR Music.
April 30, 2010: Kings Go Forth plays a record release show at Turner Hall in Milwaukee.
May 2010: The band says on its website that it’s “touring internationally in support of the record, and writing and recording new material for a yet-unnamed sophomore release.”
June 25, 2010: I saw Kings Go Forth live at a summer festival in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. It was tremendous.
April 2011: Detroit guitar legend Dennis Coffey releases his self-titled comeback record. He’s backed by Kings Go Forth on one cut, “Miss Millie.” Eagerly waiting for “Miss Millie,” I wrote about it.
July 2011: The band says on its website that it’s “playing select festivals this summer while spending most of their time writing and recording the next record.”‘
Sept. 24, 2011: Kings Go Forth performs live for KEXP radio in Seattle.
Nov. 19, 2011: The last gig listed on its website, at the Firebird in St. Louis. It came a week after the band had finished a two-week European tour.
Sept. 10, 2012: The last update on its Facebook page, saying that the band’s rhythm section was backing Milwaukee soul legend Harvey Scales and some of the original Seven Sounds at a local gig.
Since then: Nothing. The evidence suggests that Kings Go Forth is no more.
DJ Prestige caught up with Andy Noble over at the fine Flea Market Funk blog a year ago. They talked mostly about collecting records, but Noble also said “I have a new group with an amazing singer from Racine, Little Gregory.” But on Noble’s Soundcloud page, there’s a track titled “Last day before Little Gregory quit.”
On that Soundcloud post from seven months ago, Noble writes:
“so i had this band with this dude little gregory for like 6 months, he was cool but he was old, i guess i shouldn’t have put much faith in it, but i did, because — well i guess that’s what i do … anyways, he dipped outta nowhere one day and left me with not much else besides a lot of little phone recordings of stuff, anyways, i like them — maybe you will too?”
Considering all that, this one seems appropriate.
Noteworthy: Also from last year, from roughly the same time as the Flea Market Funk interview, here’s a podcast with Noble again talking mostly about record collecting. (The host is Mark Metcalf, who for several years lived in the Milwaukee area, ran a restaurant, worked in the media and did some acting. You may remember him as Doug Neidermeyer in “Animal House,” and from those Twisted Sister videos of the ’80s.)
Also noteworthy: Eilon Paz stopped to visit Noble in Milwaukee last fall on another of the road trips for his Dust and Grooves photography and interview project. Noble has a neon “We Buy Records” sign at his house.
Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.