the Ultra Kings
American Made Rock n Roll
>1/7/23 the Ultra Kings at Hi Jinx Brewery 905 Harrison St Suite 111 Allentown PA Sat Jan 7th 6-9pm
>1/14/23 the Ultra Kings at Two Rivers Brewing
542 Northampton St Easton Pa Sat Jan 14th 7-10pm
>1/21/23 the Ultra Kings at Rising River Brewing 1955 Willow Ln Macungie Pa Sat Jan 21st 6-9pm
>1/28/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Well Crafted Brewing Madison St Lansdale Pa Sat Jan 28th 8-11pm
>2/2/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Steel Club Beam Yard 700 Linden St Hellertown Pa Thursday Feb 2nd 6-9pm
>2/11/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Taylor House Brewing 76 Lehigh St Catasauqua Pa Sat Feb 11 6-9pm
>2/17 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Foundation Tavern Krocks Rd Wescoesville PA Fri Feb 17th 6-9pm
>2/24/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Rising River Brewing 1955 Willow Ln Macungie Pa Fri Feb 24th 6-9pm
>2/26/23 The Ultra Kings at Rockabilly Sunday Sun Feb 26th 6-10pm
>3/16/23 Ultra king duLuxe duo at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Hellertown PA Thurs March 16th 6-9pm
>3/24/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Rising River Brewing 1955 Willow Ln Macungie Pa Fri Mar 24th 6-9pm
>3/25/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Taylor House Brewing 76 Lehigh St Catasauqua Pa Sat. March 25th 6-8pm
>4/15/23 THE Ultra Kings at Hi Jinx Brewing 905 Harrison St Allentown Pa Fri Apr 15th 6-9pm
>4/21/23 The Ultra Kings at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Bethlehem PA Friday April 21
>4/22/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Taylor House Brewing 76 Lehigh St Catasauqua Pa Sat April 22nd 6-8pm
>4/28/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Rising River Brewing 1955 Willow Ln Macungie Pa Fri Apr 28th 6-9pm
>5/18/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Hellertown Pa Thurs May 18th
>5/26/23 the Ultra Kings at Two Rivers Brewing
542 Northampton St Easton Pa Fri May 26th 7-10pm
>6/3/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Taylor House Brewing 76 Lehigh St Catasauqua Pa Sat June 3rd 6-8pm
>6/24/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Bethlehem Pa Sat June 24th
>7/15/23 THE Ultra Kings at Hi Jinx Brewing 905 Harrison St Allentown Pa Sat July 15th 6-9pm
>8/12/23 the Ultra Kings at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Bethlehem Pa (Musikfest) Sat Aug 12th
>9/14/23 Ultra King DuLuxe duo at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Hellertown PA Thurs Sept 14th
>10/14/23 THE Ultra Kings at Hi-Jinx Brewing
905 Harrison St Allentown PA Sat Oct 14th 6pm
>11/10/23 Ultra King DuLuxe Duo at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Hellertown PA Fri Nov 10th 6-9pm
>12/14/23 The Ultra Kings at Lost Tavern Brewing Main St Bethlehem PA Thurs Dec 14th
The Ultra Kings
Church of the Weak
I first caught a glimpse of the Ultra Kings and their retro brand of rockabilly at the Mobtown Greaseball several years ago. Their ultra-hip, neo-billy forced me to invite them to the Rockabilly BBQ 06 for another night of hip-swinging rockabilly. That is where I got a hold of their newest album, Church of the Weak. From the first twag to the last clunk, Let’s Do It and Say We Did is an upbeat, sexed up ditty, where singer Rick Kuebler begs to change the wording of NO means NO. This true 50’s meets the new millennium romp is a future classic.
Church of the Weak is a bass driven masterpiece, with the mad Zoots Szmigiel behind the wheel. It has a steady stream of doghouse crashing beats that rival a hard driving train running slightly ahead of schedule. Kuebler’s clean-cut rockabilly guitar stylings really drives the traditional point home, while drummer Carl Von Ehst drives the last nail into the proverbial backbone. Church of the Weak opens its doors as a mid-tempo drinking tribute to those of us who visit the corner bars across America. “There ain’t no preachers and there ain’t no sins,” Rick proclaims. This bar hopping song let’s you know that it’s ok to visit your local fellowship establishment without feeling down. Two Martinis and Spinning My Wheels are two of my favs where the Ultra Kings strut their stuff with self-depreciating euphemisms about drinking and going nowhere fast. Two things that we all know too well.
This album is a fabulous tribute to the good ol’ times and is a true, traditional rockabilly album that holds lots of frills. It is dark, yet upbeat. It’s lonely, yet energetic. It’s classic, yet new. By the time Afternoon in Paris arrives, I’m two beers and two cigarettes into the album and I’ve grown very fond of the laid back Ultra Kings vibe. Paris keeps the tradition alive as it chases a red lipped, blacked haired, blue-eyed beauty around town.
Trailer Park Lolita, pulls into the church parking lot as a geared-downed love song to the white trash queens of America leaving a desolate, trailer park king without his ride to the bar. The Kings have a way with words, a way with traditional rockabilly and they had their way with me. I feel dirty and violated, but I loved my visit to the Church and will be back every weak chance I get. Pick up your copy of Church of the Weak at the King’s website www.UltraKings.com
The Ultra Kings
The Ultra Kings from Bethlehem, PA, aren’t your usual garage-a-billy band. They don’t pretend that the music that they play can be simply tied to rockabilly by sticking the affix on it. They are seasoned musicians with a 13-song release on Barnburner Music. Their 50’s influenced, honky tonk-rockabilly mix is so true to the era that you can’t decide if they are old or new.
Streamlined Deluxe kicks off with I Like Rockabilly, a mid-tempo salute to the greatest pastime ever. Singer/guitarist, Rick Kuebler, uses this ditty to poke holes in the blues, country and every other genre that thinks they have it going on. From cars to girls, Kuebler points out why rockabilly rules. Streamlined Deluxe rolls into the title track, a slow dragging, and hard-hitting driver about the feeling about being behind the wheel of such a monster.
The Itch is a upbeat swinger powerhouse held together by the backbone of upright bassist Zoot Szmigiel and drummer Carl Von Ehst, with special guest Dave Smith on the flaming sax. Together this band makes The Itch sound like a 50’s Hollywood soundtrack. Ol’ Bobcat is a humorous insight to all the cool cats and how hard it is dealing with being on the bottom. “I’m an ol’ bobcat and I don’t get no tail,” Kuebler confides. The rockabilly goes up and up as Streamlined Deluxe spins on and on. Uh Oh, pulls out all the stops as a duet featuring Uncle Hank Fauerbach and Jessie Lee Miller. Uh Oh is a therapeutic discussion on a challenging relationship while channeling old influences. The duel voices come through as angelic and dysfunctional.
So Many Pretty Women is a hot-boxing, mid-tempo thumper about picking up the girls. Diggy Doggy Daddy is about a dog. A hot dog. A real dog. The rockabilly groove is in full effect and Diggy Doggy Daddy displays the greatness of the Ultra King’s ability to drive it home. Rounding out Streamlined Deluxe is a song about the wrong girl and the right time. Abba on the Stereo provides you a story of classified ad hook-ups and what a hot girl with long blond hair can have that you don’t want. The Ultra Kings were and are such an impressive act that we had to get them to next year’s Rockabilly BBQ. You can pick up a copy of Streamlined Deluxe on Barnburner Records at The Ultra Kings website. - Mark 11/01
The Ultra Kings are a blend of the rockabilly stylings of Ronnie Dawson, Eddie Angel, and Brian Setzer all rolled into one high energy kick ass band! These guys are the whole package, talanted and stylish entertainers. Streamline Deluxe mixes classic rockabilly with straight up rock and roll for the correct balance of happy, fun music. This is the stuff DJ's live for. Music that makes their listeners call and request more.
Melanie Thiel, DJ WNTI 91.9 FM
Development/Programming Director The Beat
By Monica Ortwein, Associate Editor
Ultra Cool Cats
Retro rockabilly sounds will ring in the new year when The Ultra Kings take the stage during First Night Bethlehem.
The Ultra Kings are rockabilly guys at heart, right down to having the upright bass, the swinging guitar sound and the abundance of lyrics about girls, cars and girls ... and even more about cars ... and did we mention girls yet? But girls and cars are fun, and we’ll be the first ones to admit it. And speaking of fun, that’s the perfect word to describe The Ultra Kings’ second CD, a 13-track disc called Streamlined Deluxe. The disc features songs with names like I Like Rockabilly and Diggy Doggy Daddy (samples of both tracks can be heard at www.ultrakings.com, and we highly recommend listening to them if you’re in a bad mood). If Streamlined Deluxe has already been making its rounds in your CD player since it was released last year, don’t worry – The Ultra Kings are working on a new album, another 13-track jaunt (hey, they’re superstitious, OK?) that should be out sometime in 2005. Word is the group won’t be changing up its sound all that much, so diehard fans don’t have to worry about the band losing any of its jump or jive.
In addition to guitarist and lead vocalist Rick Kuebler (who may look familiar to you since he’s also a piercer and tattooist at Imperial Tattoo in Bethlehem), the Kings are bassist Steve “Zoot” Szmigiel, drummer Carl Von Ehst, and vocalist and backup bassist Hank Fauerbach. We caught the Kings’ short set at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards, and seriously, what you’ve heard about them is all true – this is one group not to be missed.
PULSE WEEKLY: Besides the sexy pinup girls, what turned you on to rockabilly in the first place?
RICK KUEBLER: Back in the early 80s, Brian Setzer. Rockabilly’s all I’ve been playing for the past 20 years.
PW: So ... can I ask you how old you are?
RK: [laughs] I can’t tell you that.
PW: Well, it was worth a shot. When did you first start playing guitar?
RK: As a wee little lad. There’s actually been a lot of time in-between when I didn’t play, because I started a tool business, and I just stopped [playing guitar].
PW: Here’s something we always like to ask bands: Why have you decided to stay in this area and play music, as opposed to taking off for somewhere more glitzy and glamorous?
RK: Well, I guess it’s the money. You can make more money around here than playing in Philly, because down there you’re usually put on a four-band roster. But we don’t really play here a lot, we play out of town a lot more than we do here – we do stuff up in the Northeast, a lot of the car shows.
PW: So you’re a car guy too?
RK: Yeah, I have, like, four cars or something. The nicest one I have is a ‘59 Chevy Impala. I restored it myself.
PW: Oh, nice. What would you say is one of the most memorable shows you’ve either played at or been to?
RK: The Hot Rod Hoedowns are good. We just take our motor home down and party all weekend. It’s a good time. [Editor’s Note: You can find out about next year’s hoedown at www.hotrodhoedown.com.]
PW: What’s been making the rounds in your CD player lately?
RK: Lee Rocker; he’s from The Stray Cats. Hash Brown; he’s real jump-blues. Nick Curran plays guitar in [Brown’s] band – he’s a big blues player now, but he came out of the rockabilly scene.
PW: What’s your favorite thing to write about when you’re composing lyrics for The Ultra Kings?
RK: Girls. Well, not always. But that’s a good starting point.
PW: It sure is. So tell me about the new album.
RK: It should sound like the [old record]. It’s going to be called Church Of The Weak. We have a song called that – and I’m sure you can figure out what it’s about.
PW: Some of your albums have actually been distributed in Europe. Are they really that big on rockabilly over there? We thought that style of music was primarily an American thing.
RK: There’s a huge rockabilly scene in Europe. It’s bigger there than here, for as small as Europe is. They love American rock ‘n’ roll music, which is where rockabilly started – rock ‘n’ roll and hillbilly.
PW: Speaking of hillbillies, are you guys big drinkers?
RK: [laughs] I can’t tell you that. We like to drink. On occasion.
PW: If someone at a show were to buy you something from the bar ...
RK: A dirty martini, straight up.
Are you under 21? Or sick of drinking the last minutes of the old year away in some sweaty bar on New Year’s Eve? For more information on all the goings-on at the alcohol-free First Night Bethlehem event, check out firstnightbethlehem.com.
John Terlesky, MORNING CALL
Slicked back cool; while some acts try to reconstruct music from
rootsy sources, the Ultra Kings are about preserving old structures intact.
John Terlesky, MORNING CALL
Robert Hicks TIMES-Express
The Ultra Kings, Blast rockabilly into the present.
Robert Hicks TIMES-Express
Rich Gensiac WMUH, Morning Call
Harry Dobbs, Now Dig This Mag UK
Listening to these (songs) brought back memories of Gene vincent's
1971 backing group, The Houseshakers.
Now Dig This Mag UK
Melanie Thiel WNTI 91.9 FM
I'm listening to your CD as I type this and it's smokin'!!!
Right up my alley and will be played this Wednesday on WNTI.
Thank you again.
WNTI 91.9 FM
Great show last night. You were really ripping those guitar
strings around! You looked like a Man possessed.....
Catch you later,