An indie rock band whose music incorporates elements of pop, hard rock, and progressive rock with breathy harmonies, King Washington hail from Los Angeles, California.
The group was formed in 2005 by Tyson Kelly, whose father, Tom Kelly, is a celebrated songwriter who has penned hits for Cyndi Lauper
, and Whitney Houston
. Kelly, who handles guitar, keyboards, and vocals, originally teamed up with vocalist and songwriter Aaron Weisbuch, and they chose their name while discussing the widely held (but inaccurate) belief that George Washington was given a choice of being king or president following the American revolutionary war. Weisbuch would soon drop out of the band, while lead guitarist and singer George Krikes would become Kelly's most loyal musical ally. After working with bassist Dylan Cronin and drummers Kyle Turek and Jacob Shearer, King Washington finally settled on the rhythm section of Billy Lee on bass and vocals and David Contreras on drums. In 2009, King Washington released their debut EP, Grenadine, and supported it with extensive touring. In addition to playing numerous gigs in their native Los Angeles, King Washington adopted a strategy of "regional residencies," in which the group would set up shop in a major market (for example, New York City) and then over the next few weeks regularly play there and in the surrounding areas (such as Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia). As word spread about King Washington, they were on the verge of landing a major record deal, but when that fell through, they opted to record and release their first full-length album, 2012's The Gears, independently. As the album earned positive reviews in the independent music press, King Washington soon returned to the studio and in 2013 dropped their second album, The Overload. After more touring and residencies, including dates opening for such diverse acts as Collective Soul
, and the Arctic Monkeys
, the band signed a deal with indie label the End Records
. Their first single for the label, "My Reflection," was released in February 2017. The full-length Potential arrived that May. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi