Randolph Native Returns to Vermont Playing with Boston Rock Band


Arts / Jan. 7, 2010 1:59pm EST

By Katie Jickling

The Boston rock band, The Lights Out, plays its first Vermont engagement next Friday in Burlington. The bass player and vocalist is Randolph native Matt King, third from left.The Boston rock band, The Lights Out, plays its first Vermont engagement next Friday in Burlington. The bass player and vocalist is Randolph native Matt King, third from left.

It was in eighth grade that Randolph native Matt King first heard the melody of a bass guitar, and as he said, “it was love at first sight.”

A friend of his got a Pixie record and, after hearing the first few guitar strains, “I was like ‘whoa!’ This is what I want to do. I literally started saving my money the next day and never looked back.”

Now, Matt is the bass guitarist and vocalist for an up-and-coming pop rock band, The Lights Out, out of Boston. The group of four, Rishava Green, Jesse James, Adam Ritchie, and King, got together simply out of coincidence and a love of music.

Next Friday it’s making its first appearance in Vermont.

Matt met Rish in a bar in Boston in 2005, and before they’d even heard each other play a note, a band was formed. Adam and Jesse joined in the next months and they’ve been together ever since.

The foursome has played in bars throughout Boston for the last five years, receiving great reviews. “An awesome rock force,” said the Boston “Phoenix.” They also performed in Blender Theater in Gramercy, New York last month and at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots’ season opener.

It has just released its first album, cut a deal with MTV and can be seen in an Absolut Vodka ad.

Next Friday, Jan. 15, The Lights Out will play at Nectar’s in Burlington alongside several other rock bands. Nectar’s is legendary for being the principal birthplace of the band Phish.

“It has three of Boston’s A-list bands,” Matt commented. “It’s the people who used to play at bars in Burlington (in the ‘90s) coming back. The show will actually be really neat.”

The Lights Out typically compose upbeat songs that have a strong rhythm. Their music is energetic and loud, perfect for dancing and at least enough to get a foot tapping from its more timid listeners.

The group performs all original music. “Song writing’s a pretty democratic process for us,” Matt says. They start with an idea and then rework and reorganize it, in a process which the band calls ‘Cutting up the baby’. “It takes a little while, but everyone’s invested.”

Matt is the son of Candy and John King and grew up in Randolph until the family moved to Pennsylvania when he was 11. They moved back several years later and Matt immediately started looking for a band to play with. What he found was a group of RUHS teachers, Duffy Miller, Alan Stewart, Todd Keenhold, and Joel Tillberg. Matt King’s first bar gig was at Ashley’s, though he wasn’t old enough to drink.

Matt graduated from Randolph Union High School in 1993 and went on to UVM. He played bass for several bands in Burlington before moving to Boston and organizing his current group.

For a group trying to make it big, Matt says that finding success in the musical world just takes perseverance.

“There aren’t really any good record deals anymore. Now you have to go market to market, city to city, and just do your thing. Right now, we really want people to hear our music; they don’t even have to buy our CD. Just hear it.”

The upcoming concert will be the first time that The Lights Out will have ever played in Vermont, and the band seems excited.

When asked for a teaser for the show, Matt replied, “We’re not some dweeb indie rock band. We play aggressive rock music. People can dance or they can just stand there and bang their heads. Or whatever they want.

“It should be a great show.”

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