Drummer extraordinaire

Published 4:22 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

Duncan King, a local teen drummer, has been selected as one of 15 finalists in Camp Jam’s “Battle of the Online Rock Solos” contest.

An interactive online music contest for kids ages 7-17, it allows contestants showcase their talent by uploading their rock solo video to YouTube and vie for prizes including a one-on-one jam session with a rock legend from their hometown and brand new instruments and gear.

To record his video for Camp Jam, King headed to Lost in Sound, the Helena studio of Andrew Henderson, who was one of the judges for Helena Idol at LaReunion.

As a top-15 winner, King received feedback from Liberty DiVitto, Billy Joel’s drummer for 30 years, and will present a final performance video, as will fellow finalists in guitar and vocalist categories.

“Duncan started playing on pots and pans before he could walk. He got a toy drum set at 5 and his first real one at 7. He played in the Steel De Boro band in Murfreesboro, Tenn., when he was 7,” said his mother, Jan King.

After the King family moved to Birmingham, he began working with John Scalici, taking lessons with him for the past five years and performing with him at UAB’s International Festival.

As a percussionist, he is proficient on drumset, hand drums and multi-cultural drums; he plays keyboard and recently began writing his own songs. He is expanding his abilities, learning guitar and dulcimer. And he notes inspiration from the style of drummer Zac Farro of the band Paramore.

“For me, it is not about fame. I play because I love it and enjoy the interaction that is generated playing for a crowd. One of my dreams is to tour internationally,” King said.

In February, King began an association with Alexa Rankin that led to their performing together. For their acoustical sets, he plays a cajon, which is essentially a drum set in a box.

He and Rankin co-wrote Victoria’s Song, which is one of five tunes on their promo CD due out in June, called Stacks of Paper.

He plays with the Alabama Blues Project Advanced Band and thus has had opportunity to perform with artists such as Willie King, Bettie Fikes and Eddie Kirkland. He has played with Cody West of Ages Apart and is a member of Freedom or Fire, a Christian rock group from Crossbridge Church.

King will play with The Alexa Rankin Band in venues around Birmingham this summer.

More info at: Sonicbids.com/AlexaRankinBand and Myspace.com/duncankingdrummer.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at labro16@yahoo.com.