King Bee King Bee LP

With most of the records in the DEAD MOON universe (including the WEEDS/LOLLIPOP SHOPPE, ZIPPER, the RATS, and the RANGE RATS) currently in print or easy to track down, it was high time for a KING BEE reissue. This was the band Fred Cole started just as he started to hear rumblings of this “punk rock” thing that was sounding very familiar to what he had done in the ’60s garage days. Enlisting bass player Mark Sten and drummer Pat Conner, KING BEE quickly came together, opened for the RAMONES at their first Portland gig, put out a three-song 7” on Fred’s Whizeagle Records, and then promptly broke up in 1978. Famously, Fred’s frustrations with keeping a band together would eventually lead to him teaching Toody how to play bass and forming the RATS. But KING BEE had much more up their recorded sleeve than just that 7”, and the remaining twenty songs on this LP were culled from scrapped sessions and live gigs. Musically, KING BEE bridges the gaps between the garage of the WEEDS, the hard rock of ZIPPER, and where the RATS would eventually end up. KING BEE is also notable for being the first band Fred played guitar in, after just being lead vocalist or playing bass in his previous groups, and his raw right-hand rhythm and picked open-chord style already sounds in place here. Songs like “Suicide Mission” have a more funky swamp groove, like if CCR ended up as an obscurity on a Pebbles comp. “Carolina” and “When I Was 21” are almost archetypal DEAD MOON songs ten years early, full of Fred’s lyrical world-weariness. “Castaway” is a perfect moody psych slowburner and with some bigger ’70s-type production “Hot Pistol” would’ve been a world-class denim vest hard-rocker like AC/DC or something. Overall, this is an interesting record in how you can kinda hear Fred figuring out what would eventually become DEAD MOON. Now that we’ve got KING BEE taken care of, I beg on bended knee, please someone reissue Toody’s solo 7” with “Coming on Strong”!