If you are a music fan and you have not heard The Kings’ ‘This Beat Goes On / Switchin’ To Glide‘, shame on you.
It has been forty years this month since that song hit the Billboard Top 100. The Kings were ( for all intensive purposes) a one hit wonder. August 23rd, 1980, The Kings also marked history by closing the now-legendary Heatwave Festival in Toronoto. The Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Nick Lowe and Rockpile, Teenage Head, the B-52’s, and The Kings.
That story is of a hard-working band hailing from Vancouver, BC and Oakville, ON that appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, was nominated for a JUNO Award, named ‘Most Promising Group’ by Cashbox Magazine, hit Platinum-selling status, and has released five studio albums, two live albums, a live DVD, an anthology, a documentary, and numerous hit singles — including “another rocking two-fer,” “Circle of Friends / Man That I Am.” The 2018 single was somewhat like arriving full circle; it was mixed in Nashville by industry legend Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, KISS), who also helmed the same role on their 1980’s debut, The Kings Are Here, and sophomore follow-up, Amazon Beach.
Their midnight appearance at the now-storied Toronto-area festival — produced by John Brower–that’s inspired the exclusive release of The Kings: Live at Heatwave, a 30-minute concert movie
“The Kings and Teenage Head were the only bands that gave permission to be filmed,” recalls founding member Dave Diamond. “As Teenage Head’s audio has disappeared, this is the only surviving, authentic, and original sync footage from that day.”
“It was digitally restored frame by frame from its 16mm colour negative, and combined with authentic, remastered sound,” adds fellow founder Mister Zero. Sonny Keyes also chimes in: “The sound was recorded onsite by Comfort Sound’s Doug McClement on 8 track half inch analog tape and sounds amazing!”
“We’d worked hard and were ready for a gig like this,” says drummer Max Styles.
The Heatwave Festival at Mosport Park turned heads from the onset between its high profile roster, ultimate crowd size, and that it sat at a cultural turning point in the evolution of new wave music. (It was also marred with some scandal, but… Aren’t they all?)
“For some reason, they didn’t film our whole 55 minute set,” Diamond muses. “But there’s almost half an hour here, and we’re very proud of it.”