There are no rules anymore. Cleveland has become a town where you can do anything you want musically and conceptually, and you are rewarded for it – the stranger, the better. Let us all take in this beautiful time in Cleveland music and remember it fondly, as King Buu is taking full advantage of this lull in conformity.
Named after King Boo of Mario Bros. fame and Majin Buu from Drangonball Z, the nerds in this band met in Kent half a decade ago and moved to Cleveland together after realizing they were “becoming townies.” King Buu released its debut LP Black Jacket Lounge in 2018 and a follow-up concept-driven second album The Ballad of Tin Erik earlier this year, pulling off quite the ankle breaker of a pivot in a year following some fairly different conceptual beginnings.
“The original idea was to be the most off putting, frantic, all over-the-place mess,” he says. “Since then the ideas have gotten more ridiculous, but the music has become more relatable.”
Madger admits he’s not a virtuoso musician. He surrounded himself with a band so talented that he was able to pursue his original goal – fronting a band that fearlessly pushed the boundaries of what is cool or rock and roll.
“I would see a lot of bands not taking advantage of the fact that someone could be making an ass out of themselves up there, this could be a real spectacle,” Madger says.
The Ballad of Tin Erik listens like an acid trip fueled by Johnny Cash and Nekromantix albums. When King Buu decides to write a hook, it crawls into your brain and builds a house. Likewise, when the group decides to step on the gas toward the cliff and make noise, there is an attractive calculation to it.
The concept of the album is that bassist Erik Marsh is the sheriff of a wild west town in the future. He is then visited by a past version of himself, and hijinks ensue. Why Marsh specifically? “I wasn’t there when they thought of it,” Marsh says, his only explanation for all the special attention.
King Buu has had a busy year writing and recording a full-length album and a two-sided single released on vinyl and digitally this year. The band has been a bit more selective with show choices as of late, feeling that the group played enough empty rooms to consider its dues paid. The members of King Buu plan on getting out for some long weekends regionally in the near future. Future plans also include writing and recording a third full-length release within the year.
“Our next album could be a polka album or a disco album, maybe a combination of the two with thrash elements,” Madger says, getting lost in his own wormhole before finally concluding that “It’s all just an exercise in being ridiculous.”
As off the wall bonkers as these guys would like you to think they are, they are just as much solid pop writers. The songs get stuck in your head and the riffs make you feel a certain way. Most of all, you can tell that whatever King Buu is doing at the exact second they are doing it, the band loves it and are giving it ten thousand percent at that moment.
Ready to check out King Buu for yourself. You can follow the band on Facebook and listen to their debut album on Spotify.