Knights of the Fire Kingdom: Houston's Hottest Band

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Yes, another article about the same band. See a different take on Knights of the Fire Kingdom in Jef With One F's "bus-stop" interview.

Houston has known Jeoaf Johnson as the burly beardo playing drums in Roky Moon & BOLT for the past three years. Yes, him. Now that the band has folded and called it a day, Johnson is striking out on his own with Knights of the Fire Kingdom, a new band with friends Dave Noske, Marcos Echegaray and Chris Wertz.

For Johnson, the vibe in Knights is quite different from his previous roles in BOLT! and O Pioneers. They may be louder and faster, but the focus for Johnson this time is fun. The Knights make their Houston debut tonight at Fitzgerald's with Poor Pilate, We Were Wolves and Co-Pilot.

"It seemed like in the past few bands I'd played in, things tended to get really serious and would lean pretty heavily toward the business side of things," he says. "But along the way, we would kind of lose focus and forget why we started playing in bands in the first place."

For the members of Knights, they wanted to keep things fresh and exciting. For Johnson, that meant coming from behind the kit and being a front man with a guitar.

"I think I really needed to shake things up, do something totally new and kind of shock my system out of taking things so seriously," he adds.

Knights are a tight four-piece that brings to mind groups like Drive Like Jehu, the Foo Fighters and Sunny Day Real Estate. I also detected a hint of the work of the Ginger Elvis, Josh Homme, though Johnson says that his bands only inform a bit of their sound.

The band recently gigged out in Beaumont with We Were Wolves, and have nothing but great things to say about the scene out east. Bands like indie trio Purple are making a name for themselves over there, and are slowly making inroads toward Houston. Venues like Texas Rose and Tequila Rok are hosting shows most every night.

Smaller cities like Beaumont don't come with a big-city attitude.

"There aren't the pretensions there that you'll commonly find in bigger cities, so it's a good excuse to just cut loose and have a really good time," Johnson says. "That's one of the biggest reasons we wanted to do our first show in Beaumont."

The group's varied tastes are helping make the Knights' writing and performing process a joy for everyone involved. Coming from the BOLT! schedule and ethos, it's a welcome change for Johnson.

"One of the coolest things for me about being in this band is how often the other guys say, 'Y'know, this is pretty much the band that I've always wanted to play in.'"

8 p.m. tonight at Fitzgerald's.

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