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The King Blues: Gigging not begging

Kerrang cover stars The King Blues, who release new single Save The World, Get The Girl on Feb 16th, are out on tour this week and entry is free with a copy of the Big Issue.

At 18 years old Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox found himself homeless in London and like lots of other people in that situation he turned to selling The Big Issue. Now a few years later, his band The King Blues find themselves signed to Field Recordings/Island Records, with their songs being played on Radio 1 and many other places.

Coming from this background of homelessness and activism The King Blues are one of the few modern bands who have a political edge to both their songs and their lives, and it was after doing an interview with The Big Issue that conversation led to the idea of The King Blues and the magazine teaming up for the band’s next tour in February 2009.

Itch says: “The beginning of the year's a pretty shitty time to be homeless. It's cold, it's wet and everyone's skint. After the Christmas love inevitably comes the new year come down. I was homeless as a teenager and I was thrown a real lifeline by The Big Issue. It made it possible for me to no longer have to beg and also cut down massively on police harassment – I couldn't be moved on from my designated area for no reason. When times were at their toughest, The Big Issue really helped me out.”

In their typically positive way of dealing with things, the band knew that the best way to help the magazine would be by directly helping the homeless people who sell The Big Issue, and so it was decided that entry to the gigs on this tour would be free, but would only be granted to people carrying a current copy of The Big Issue, on a first-come-first-served basis. This way the homeless sellers of the magazine are helped in a very immediate way by achieving extra sales and a bigger income, and the magazine is assisted by getting a wider circulation. There will be a Big Issue vendor outside each venue.

2008 has seen The King Blues triumph at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, play their biggest headline gig to date at London’s Islington Academy and see their album Save The World, Get The Girl featured in the ‘best albums of 2008’ lists in Kerrang!, Rocksound and Big Cheese. 2009 will also see The King Blues release their next single “Save The World, Get The Girl” on 16th February.

THE KING BLUES / The ‘Big Issue’ Tour

Feb 5 – London, Fire (in Vauxhall – early show – King Blues onstage 8.30pm)
Feb 8 – Birmingham, Barfly
Feb 9 – Cardiff, Barfly
Feb 10 – Bristol, The Croft
Feb 11 – Liverpool, Barfly
Feb 14 – Glasgow, Barfly

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