BROOKLYN’S IN THE HOUSE WITH THE SLIM KINGS By Sandra Castillo
Chances are if you live, work or play anywhere in the immediate vicinity of the five boroughs of New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, you have more than likely heard of The Slim Kings. The band generates the kind of raw aggression and soulful, bluesy angst one might hear behind closed doors of a Tom Petty-meets-Jeff Beck by-way-of-a-Kings Of Leon recording session. The Slim Kings have also established itself as one of the best, commercially viable groups to have emerged from this area of the country in a very long time. Vocalist/rhythm guitarist Michael Sackler-Berner, who founded The Slim Kings, originally teamed up with lead guitarist Henry Geller to form the band. The men have known each other since they were kids in elementary school; however, it was an initial connection through FaceBook that the two exchanged melodies and musical riffs, recorded on Geller’s i-Phone, which set the wheels-in-motion for everything to take shape. Later on, during the creative process of collaborating, Sackler-Berner contacted the very first drummer he had ever seen in concert, when he was only eleven years old, who just so happened to be Liberty DeVitto, former member of Billy Joel’s band, to play on a session with him and Geller. DeVitto listened to their music on-line and within 15 minutes called Sackler-Berner back, to let him know he was definitely in. The drummer, in turn, reached out to Andy Attanasio, who eventually joined The Slim Kings as their bassist.
Liberty DeVitto is The Slim King’s “elder member by 34 years,” who contributes his immense love for music and playing in keeping this drummer “young and in shape.” He explains-
“I have a passion to play. I love it! It keeps me young…I love to see people move to my beat.” DeVitto also is eager to point out that The Slim Kings are “hungry for success” and that the band “brings a fresh, new sound to the table…we-Michael, Henry, Andy and myself-definitely respect each other’s opinions.”
The factors that determine this group’s level of success are varied. For starters, it is the way in which the guys interact with one another on a professional level, as well as the desire to emotionally support each other, that ensures the stability needed to foster personal growth and longevity. It’s not uncommon for most bands to burn out quickly, given the high demands and pressures of touring, recording or keeping individual egos in check. Each member of The Slim Kings realizes there is something much more relevant to all of this than just being a one-trick pony, musical act. Sackler-Berner explains,
“I work a lot, as a solo artist, so being part of a band, such as The Slim Kings, provides camaraderie and the (creative) collaboration that I do not usually have on my own. I feel like I am part of a street gang (but) in a good way. The Kings definitely have my back!”
Attanasio is quick to add, “Aside from everyone in the band, being super cool dudes, everybody really kicks ass at what they do!” Considering The Slim Kings have only been performing together on stage for nearly three years, it’s really hard to believe that these super-talented musicians, who play with the finesse and expertise of most musical veterans already twenty years in their tenure, have not been around for decades. They produce the kind of musical magic that, quite frankly, any musician worth his Converses wishes he could have created. When you have four members of a musical hierarchy, including DeVitto, who recorded and toured with international superstar Billy Joel for more than 30+ years, or Sackler-Berner, who has composed music for the hit shows, Sons of Anarchy and Law and Order, and Geller, who has opened for the likes of Etta James and Johnny Winter, there is absolutely no denying the realization that The Slim Kings are the epitome of Rock and Roll Royalty.
The Slim Kings have commercially released only one record in the course of their career. Their debut, Fresh Socks, was premiered during their very first ever, live gig, that took place at The Box, a burlesque club, on the lower East side, in New York City, on June 21, 2012. The band’s forthcoming album, Dirty Socks, set to be released at a later date, has spawned the enticing “My Waterloo,” a song which has found its way into radio market playlists, including those in Maine, Maryland and New Mexico, and has also appeared on a Hurricane Sandy benefit-compilation album, Songs After Sandy, Vol. 2. Another single from the highly anticipated Dirty Socks, “Dirty Minds,” a provocative slice of “not everything you hear and see is what it seems” aural nirvana, recently debuted on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” while their “Wandering Eye” was part of the soundtrack for the popular hit television show, “Army Wives.”
In November, 2013, The Slim Kings opened for ZZ Top, at the Paramount Theater, in New York City, and for Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, at the State Theater, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, this past March. The band performs regularly at such local, hot spots as Hill Country, The Bowery Electric, The Trash Bar and the Metropolitan Room, all located in New York City. The Slim Kings also showcased their talents on the Artie Lange Show, where the comedic television host bantered with the band about various topics and DeVitto’s time spent on the road with Billy Joel.
If you like your music raw, no-holds-barred, the kind that’s not afraid to get “down and dirty,” with just the right amount of Rock N’ Soul thrown in for good measure, then look no further than Brooklyn’s finest, The Slim Kings, to give you just what you need…