SARATOGA SPRINGS – Stephen King wakes up every morning to the notes of song arrangements captured on a dry-erase board.
The ubiquitous tool of the white collar man is a touchstone to the plans laid out for himself and his band, A Little Overboard. The band’s pragmatic approach to 2023 is illustrated in white and blue. From it, King has drilled down on the logistics behind dropping a song a month, and shipping the raw sound to a renown producer.
The five-piece band celebrated the release of its first single, “Goodbye For Now”, with a show at Putnam Place last January. The track has a nostalgic vibe reminiscent of the post-grunge ballads of the early aughts. Before the month waned into February, the band had formulated a plan: produce an album and purchase a touring van by the following year.
They have since followed a meticulous plan to churn out material, dropping a handful of singles across streaming channels, and preparing to mix it all for an album. “It can be a challenge but, when mediated properly, it’s easy to get everybody in the room every now and then,” he said.
The album “Lies of Lovers” drops on Saturday, Jan. 6, with a return performance at Putnam Place. A Little Overboard will be supported by four other acts, The Hard Luck Souls, Seize Atlantis, ShortWave RadioBand, and Contratone.
The plan for this album release contrasts with the near serendipity that sparked A Little Overboard into life. The American rock band was founded by childhood friends reconnecting over music. All but one attended high school together in Saratoga more than a decade ago; vocalist Christopher Jamison, bassist Mark Kelly, drummer Dan Scleicher, and King at guitar.
Jamieson described lead guitarist, Scott Moore, as the band’s Mick Mars to Andy Scullin on his Unsigned518 podcast, a reference to the guitarist who served as the final piece before Motley Crue’s success.They had met through a musicians-wanted forum. “He gave us heart. He gave us soul. And we said, ‘Listen, can you hang out with a bunch of guys 20 years younger than you?’” he recalled asking Moore. “And he’s like, ‘I don’t know, can you hang out with me?’”
Moore was the final piece to their puzzle.
“It was all the long-lost-friends in the room again,” King said, regarding their first reunion. “It was almost as if everyone had waited a long time to finally get to speak, which everyone did in the form of their instruments.”
As King tells the story, it conjures the iconic Maxell advertisement depicting Jac Collelo, facing a full-on audio assault from the speaker in front of him as he’s slumped in a low-profile chair, his hair and neighboring lampshade falling back from the force. The ad ran in scores of magazines in the 80s, pitching cassette tapes before Napster and Apple Music pushed digitized music the following century. Steve Steigman’s grainy black-and-white photograph quickly became a totem for music lovers, hanging as a poster on dorm room walls.
Jamieson, the band’s frontman, has a gravelly voice that sounds older than he is. When he speaks, it carries the weight of advice learned first-hand. When he sings, it rattles the rafters. During one of the early nights together, he opened up and belted out a song with no microphone, no amplification. The sound battered against the steel infrastructure, King recalled, resonating like a struck tuning fork.
“After, I said, ‘Bro, your voice is a little overboard.’ We looked at each other and designed a logo later that day.”
The nautical-themed logo captures a boatman’s helm as the backdrop for the alt-rock band’s name. The typeface screams in all caps with an edgy, windswept look, playing a subtle nod to the watery playground of Saratoga Lake, near to where they all call home.
“Met a lot of talented people,” King said. “Very rare to be loud enough to vibrate steel. Try it.”
Each band member cites influences from across the board, from Staind and Aerosmith, to Guns n Roses and Alice in Chains. For King, who picked the guitar up at 14, he lists Led Zeppelin among them. He remembers how his two older brothers discarded the group’s titular debut album. The younger King brother never quit music from there. He studied music theory, took up jazz band and chorus in high school, and taught himself how to play guitar.
Despite their familiarity with each other, the band didn’t come together and produce music until late 2022. From there the trade winds picked up and set events into motion.
Four tracks from the upcoming album are currently available on Spotify. The tracks are produced by Brian Reeves, who has mixed several multi-platinum songs for a litany of Grammy Award-winners. Several more songs are featured under Stephen King Media on YouTube, songs of which were recorded under different projects that include the same players.
“Lies of Lovers” will be offered as a digital package at Saturday night’s show, fulfilling a goal the band set for itself last year. The band still has to purchase a touring band. From there, dates across New York, Pennsylvania, and farther south are tentatively planned. As for the rest of 2024, King said another album is already in the works.
“Yeah. Um, well, there’s a fancy whiteboard…”