The Philosopher Kings reign again

Peterborough Musicfest welcomes rock quintet on August 12 as band's rebirth gains serious traction

The Philosopher Kings, who have reunited and are releasing a new album this year, perform at Peterborough Musicfest at Del Crary Park on Saturday, August 12. (Publicity photo)
The Philosopher Kings, who have reunited and are releasing a new album this year, perform at Peterborough Musicfest at Del Crary Park on Saturday, August 12. (Publicity photo)

For longtime fans of The Philosopher Kings, loyalty is paying a huge dividend.

Ten years after taking a hiatus, the alt-rock/pop/R&B quintet that took the Canadian music landscape by storm in the mid to late 1990s is back together, not only performing live but back in the studio with a new album pending.

“Persistent fans … we’re thankful that they still care after all these years,” says singer Gerald Eaton, in an interview with fyimusicnews.ca when asked what gave birth to the band’s second coming.

On Saturday, August 12th at Del Crary Park, Peterborough Musicfest will see The Philosopher Kings reward that loyalty as the free summer concert series continues.

VIDEO: “Charms” – The Philosopher Kings

From the moment they burst on the scene with their self-titled debut album in 1994, The Philosopher Kings’ infectious melodies and over-the-top energy garnered attention, with the single “Charms” charting high on both sides of the border and earning the band two 1996 Juno Award nominations and a coveted trophy as Best New Group.

But it was the follow-up album, 1997’s Famous, Rich and Beautiful, which rocketed The Philosopher Kings into the stratosphere. Aided by the high-charting singles “I Am The Man”, “Hurts To Love You”, and “Cry”, the album was certified platinum and the band found itself in high demand on the live performance circuit.

There things stood into the new millennium as The Philosopher Kings — on the strength of live album One Night Stand and 2006’s Castles — continued to hold court.

VIDEO: “Cry” – The Philosopher Kings

And then, the band called it a day.

“It was a very overwhelming time in my life,” recalls Eaton, in a media release for their brand new single “Still The One” released this summer. “I needed to step away to find the real Gerald Eaton. Everyone was burnt out.”

For Eaton, stepping away from The Philosopher Kings took the form of his alter ego — performing as Jarvis Church — while former band mates guitarist James Bryan and keyboardist Jason Levine formed the duo Prozzak.

Band members also lent their producing and songwriting skills to the benefit of Drake, Nelly Furtado, Maroon 5, Shawn Mendes, Selena Gomez and James Blunt, to name but a few.

But the clamour for The Philosopher Kings’ music never subsided. In response, The Philosopher Kings reformed.

VIDEO: “Still The One” – The Philosopher Kings

“The timing felt right to do it full-time again after we came back together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Famous, Rich and Beautiful,” Eaton says. “The vibes just felt really good.”

The Philosopher Kings arrive in Peterborough on the cusp of releasing a new album of original material Return Of The Kings, featuring the new single “Still The One”.

“It’s a song about loyalty, commitment, sticking it out in a relationship and celebrating that,” says guitarist Bryan.

“When we came up with the concept and lyrics, I was definitely writing it for my wife, but it also speaks to our fans who have stuck by us, and to the band itself for coming back together and really appreciating what that means.”

“Our collective sound felt really natural on this record,” adds guitarist Brian West.

“Because everyone has stayed active in the pop arena between albums, we all came into making this album with an unspoken focus to serve the song. Everyone has grown so much as collaborators, writers and producers, and the arrangements developed really effortlessly and quickly. That being said, we’ve always had an amazing chemistry that is a result of all of our unique tastes and influences, which created the core of our sound that will always be there.”

VIDEO: “Hurts to Love You” – The Philosopher Kings

Meanwhile, the accolades keep coming. The Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) just awarded the band a Classic Music Award for “Hurts To Love You”, two decades after it was recorded and released.

“It’s these types of milestones and important nods from the industry that are a reminder of what we have achieved, and that our music still resonates with friends, fans and peers in the industry,” says drummer Denton Whited.

“When you take a look at each band member’s respective projects as producers, songwriters and collaborators, it really speaks to the talent this group of guys has. The sales numbers and stats speak for themselves. We’re all proud of our accomplishments and contributions to music in general, but especially being Canadian, and having worked on projects both outside and within our band that have reached the masses around the world, is a great feeling.”

The Philosopher Kings’ appearance is sponsored by The Medical Centre, State Farm, Webmarketing.pro and The Wire Megazine.

VIDEO: “I Am The Man” – The Philosopher Kings

Peterborough Musicfest is presenting 17 free-admission concerts featuring a total of 22 acts during its 31st season — each staged every Wednesday and Saturday night until August 26th.

Overseen by general manager Tracey Randall and staff, a board of directors, and numerous volunteers, Peterborough Musicfest’s stated mission is to “provide diverse, affordable live music to enrich cultural and economic prosperity in our community.”

For more information on this concert and/or the 2017 season, visit www.ptbomusicfest.ca or phone the Peterborough Musicfest office at 705-755-1111.

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Paul Rellinger

Paul Rellinger a.k.a Relly is an award-winning journalist and longtime former newspaper editor still searching for the perfect lead.

When he’s not putting pen to paper, Paul is on a sincere but woefully futile quest to own every postage stamp ever issued. A rabid reader of history, Paul claims to know who killed JFK but can’t say out of fear for the safety of his oh so supportive wife Mary, his three wonderful kids and his three spirited grandchildren. Paul counts among his passions Peterborough’s rich live music scene, the Toronto Maple Leafs, slopitch and retrieving golf balls from the woods.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @rellywrites.

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