Jan King discusses the band's forthcoming EP and full length album, as well as the genesis of several of the songs, and the rerelease of their 1998 album "Super Karmic Sweepstakes Winner." Shot at Celebrity Salon, March 16, 2010.
Jan King and Medicine Ball play bluesy, heavily-textured rock that rumbles from the top of your skull, into your chest and down through the very best parts of you. Oh, and they'll make you shake your ass, too.
"It's all boots and guitars," King says. "That's how we see ourselves: A lot of wood, a lot of wire, a lot of leather."
Medicine Ball is currently playing Chicago venues in support of their recently completed and self-produced EP "Things to Hide," and is in the process of completing a new full-length album. Recent gigs include Quenchers Saloon, Elbo Room, Fat Tone Guitars in Northbrook and by-invitation performances at Celebrity Salon, in Evanston, IL. Earlier this year they played Silvie's and Cal's 400 Liquors, as well as private events.
Jan King is a combination of Jimi Hendrix, Tallulah Bankhead, Mother Maybelle Carter, Henry Stanley and Amelia Earhart with enough résumé for someone twice her age. Originally from Austin, Minnesota, she wrote and sang "Chains," the featured track on "Big Hits of Mid-America, Volume III," from Twin Tone Records. The song was later covered by Soul Asylum and others. She's also known for her work with The Orchids, Kim Fowley's follow-up to The Runaways, on MCA Records, the song "Fading Away," from the movie "Pet Sematary II," as well as the film-music and scoring she created and published with one-time partner Steve Hunter.
The first incarnation of Medicine Ball, led by King with Tami Peden on drums, recorded the recently rereleased "Super Karmic Sweepstakes Winner," for HTS Recordings out of Little Rock, AR in 1998. In 2000, King and Peden then formed Cane Corso with Chicago native Steve Gerlach and recorded "Loud At Any Volume." That band gave way to Shrieking Violet, also with Peden on drums, in 2005. In 2009, King realized that her heart lay with the bluesy, heavily-textured rock/blues that characterized Medicine Ball, and the current incarnation of that band reformed, featuring Keith Wakefield on bass.
King and Peden have played together for years, dating back to Puss 'n' Boots, the all-female metal band that King formed and led, and which featured Tami Peden on bass. That band morphed into Crying Blue Sky, with Peden on drums.
Peden toured Europe in 2003 with Wanda Chrome and the Leather Pharaohs and has played the Chicago area with Unibrow, Sugar Spin and Lethal Poetry. "My God is Jimi Hendrix and my drummer influences are Phil Rudd, Neil Peart, Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker and Matt Cameron, to name just a few," she says.
Wakefield, originally a sax player with a deep background in jazz, was drawn to rock and funk through the influence of Bootsy Collins, John Paul Jones, Victor Wooten and Stanley Clarke. In addition to having played bass for Chicago based Salamander Red in the late '90s, he short timed with Medicine Ball's original line up.
Jan King and Medicine Ball are back and ready to rock your club, the only question is when?
We are looking forward to speaking with you to book a date.
Best, Jan King

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