music in the park san jose

.King Dream’s Jeremy Lyon Talks About Band’s Journey to ‘Glory Daze’

Oakland psychedelic folk-rock band brings it home

music in the park san jose

Jeremy Lyon, the guitarist, bandleader and songwriter of King Dream, got his start singing on the streets of Oakland. “The roots of my first bands go back to the days of busking, with my songwriting friend Zak (Mandel-Romann),” Lyon said. “We were determined to make a living as musicians, so we ditched college and put together a band.”

After several personnel changes, the group evolved into the Tumbleweed Wanderers. The Wanderers began playing acoustically, serenading the crowds leaving concerts at Berkeley’s Greek Theater and The Warfield in San Francisco. They quickly evolved into a folk-rock band, adding elements of country and ’60s soul to the mix.

“We made albums, toured and played festivals,” Lyon said, “but still weren’t able to pay the rent. Some members found work outside music, so we weren’t able to continue touring. Since the band started, we’d all been doing it full time, so it was difficult to scale back. We went from fun to finish in five years.”

Everyone in the Wanderers continued playing in other bands, collaborating with each other on occasion. After Lyon made a King Dream record on his own, he reached out to his old friends and they joined in.

“We added a little psychedelic rock to the mix, with more improvising,” Lyon said. “We made an album and toured the U.S. and Europe, then Covid happened. We’d started work on a second record and were looking for a label when everything stopped.”

Lyon kept writing songs, using the downtime to learn how to record, produce and mix music. 

“My buddy Scott McDowell, who mixed my solo King Dream album, approached me about recording remotely,” Lyon said. “The band engineered themselves from their home studios, recording a song they’d never played before. I was blown away.”

He added, “Learning how to engineer, mix and run Pro Tools, with the help of Jonathan Kirchner, were skills I hadn’t had time to develop, living gig to gig. It was the silver lining of life during quarantine.”

The result is Glory Daze, an ambitious, 24-song collection the band will release incrementally, as three interconnected projects: Glory Daze IV, Glory Daze V and Glory Daze VI. Glory Daze IV was released last April. The band will play songs from Glory Daze V at their upcoming date at The Cornerstone in Berkeley, on Jan. 12, the album’s release date.

The songs on Glory Daze V examine the social, political and ecological issues the world is facing. “The Wild Card” opens with a mid-tempo Stax/Volt groove, overlaid with psychedelic improvisations from a wailing electric guitar. Lyon’s lead vocal is understated, with a hint of rap in its delivery. He imagines someone in a locked-down room, fretting about the events unfolding outside his window.

“The song starts with personal anxiety,” Lyon said. “‘How am I gonna make a living or support a family?’ Then it gets into gentrification, the California wildfires and the need to confront our social and personal problems.”

A taste of slide guitar, with a George Harrison influence, opens “Many Moons Ago,” a blissed-out ballad celebrating the power of love and music to lift us out of the doldrums and into the light.

The slow funk backbeat of “Golden Shore” introduces Lyon’s falsetto vocal, with a smooth blend of gospel and R&B in its multi-tracked vocals. A solemn organ takes us to church, as Lyon envisions the healing power of love.

“I like to think people are born caring for each other, before we’re taught these constructs that make us devalue one another,” Lyon said. “Love helps us unlearn all those constructs.”

The three albums each have their own flavor and influences.

Glory Daze IV was an alt-rock record, inspired by the tunes I heard on Live 105 growing up,” Lyon said. “Glory Daze V is more experimental: a blend of alternative R&B, psychedelic and prog rock, with a bit of gospel. Part VI is brighter, more acoustic and Americana. We’ll be releasing that later in 2024.”

He continued, “I envisioned the music as a hero’s journey. It starts out triumphant and slowly gets darker, but there’s salvation and tranquility at the end. The entire project is almost two hours long. It’s asking a lot of a listener to sit through, and since we sell most of our albums at shows, we didn’t want to ask people to shell out 60 bucks for a triple record on vinyl.”

Lyon reflected on his experience as a musician.

“As you get older, you see how music brings people together and creates a community,” he said. “I’ve been playing with the folks in this band for 10 years, so it feels like a family. There’s a humility that comes when you make music over time, as you realize its function and its place in commemorating moments in our lives.”

King Dream will play a record-release party at 8pm on Friday, Jan. 12, at The Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Listen to King Dream’s music at: kingdreamband.com/music.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

music in the park san jose
East Bay Express E-edition East Bay Express E-edition
19,045FansLike
14,654FollowersFollow
61,790FollowersFollow
spot_img