Playing funk, soul, and R&B in the classic style of the 1960s and '70s, the Third Coast Kings are a Michigan-based octet who have won an international following for their groove-intensive sound.
Formed in 2008, the Third Coast Kings feature Andy Filisko on guitar, Nate Ayers on bass, James "Gemstone" Keovongsak on drums, Ryan Dolan on trumpet, Terry Kimura on trombone, Alec Cooper on tenor sax, and Brian Einstein Lassiter on alto and baritone sax. Initially, the group also included lead vocalist Michelle "The Belle" Camilleri, and after extensive live work throughout Michigan and the Midwest, the Kings developed a reputation as one of the state's leading exponents of classic soul and funk. In 2009, the band recorded an album, Heavyweight Funk!, which they released themselves. Word of the Third Coast Kings' live prowess and their debut album traveled to Italy and the offices of Record Kicks, a label specializing in new bands playing old-school R&B. The label was sufficiently impressed to offer the band a record deal, and their single "Give Me Your Love" b/w "Tonic Stride" was released by Record Kicks in April 2010. While Camilleri appeared on the single, later in 2010 Sean Ike, a former member of Michigan soul revivalists the Elevations, took over as the group's lead singer. More live gigs followed, and a seven-song EP from the band, simply called Third Coast Kings, was released in April 2011. Later the same year, Record Kicks put out an album, also called Third Coast Kings, that included the dancefloor favorite "Spicy Brown." As the group's following grew, they continued to perform frequently throughout the Midwest, and won fans in Japan when they were invited to play Naeba's Fuji Rock Festival in 2012. With Steve Barker taking over on bass for Nate Ayers, the Third Coast Kings went into the studio in 2013 to begin work on their third full-length album, and Record Kicks released West Grand Boulevard in May 2013. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi