Stockyard Sessions: Randall King Talks Hunting, Fishing, Entertaining and Business
For Randall King, Billy Bob’s feels like home.
When he first performed there in 2019, his sister, dad, mom, grandma and a bunch of other family members. It was also the first time he ever broke more than $5,000 in merch sales.
“It was special night, a real special night. The music was good, the band was great,” King said.
Part of the draw of Billy Bob’s for King is perhaps that he insists, he’s just like everyone else. The West Texas native says he has no real off days, but with any downtime he does have, he’d be hunting, fishing or hanging out at the bars in the Stockyards.
“I’m just me. I’m a country boy. I like fishing, I grew up 9 to 5, son of a working man, son of a trucker,” King said. “I’m just one of the American people.”
The Cowboy Channel had a chance to talk to King before his July show at Billy Bob’s and before he flies to Europe for 12 shows in September.
TCC: You said Billy Bob’s is home, what was it like your first time playing here?
RK: My first time here was actually about two weeks ago in 2019. It was cool man, it was surreal. I had my sister here, my dad, my mom, my grandma, a bunch of family. All the tables were sold out I think we put like about 21 or 2,2000 in here and it was the first time we ever broke over 5k in merch, which was big deal for us back then. It was special night, a real special night. The music was good, the band was great, and this is the first time that my original drummer has actually been back on stage with us at Billy Bob’s, his last time here was when he played with us. He took a 3 year little hiatus when 2020 happened, he had to go to work and raise a family, and we ended up getting him back on the road and we’re glad to have him back.
TCC: Being on the road as a musician, there’s a lot of business, a lot of music, do you let your team handle the business side? Or are you a business man as well? Or do you just focus on the music?
RK: Am I business man… my daddy wanted me to get a bachelor’s degree in business, and I failed. I would get like 3 semesters of (Texas) Tech and be like, ‘nope, I’m gonna go learn how to produce music at South Plains College.’ And I got a degree over there, and I was like I’ll never use business I’m gonna play music, I’ll never use that, and low and behold here we are. I’ve learned the hard way coming up how the industry works and what to do how to make the calls. I rely on my team a lot in the sense of their wisdom, their knowledge, them knowing more, but ultimately at the end of the day, I make all the decisions for what we do and I lean on them for those answers and try to delegate as much as I can, but then again, here I am out there cleaning the carpet, you know what I mean so, I’m hands on and I like to do what I can.
TCC: You’re a country boy, are you a natural hunter and fisher?
RK: Not a natural hunter by any means, I like hunting, I’m good with a gun, but I ain’t great with a gun, but I enjoy the art of it. I like going for dove, pheasant, goose, I like doing my hunting that way. I’ve never officially, truly deer hunted, where you get in the stand you lather up and wait it out I haven’t gotten to do that yet, but I’m planning to, it’s coming up. I’ve gotten to do some turkey hunting last April on the anniversary of my sister’s death and I got my first turkey and that was a really, really special moment. Fishing? Hell yeah. Count me in on fishing any day, all day, I will sit there from sun up to sun down and fish with you. Naturally, I am that. I love bass fishing, we’ll do redneck fishing with jug lines, that’s your redneck trout line. Out in the middle of the water, tied to a jug, drop your line, big ole weight, five hooks, bait e’m up, check em every like hour or so. Pull your catfish up and get her done.
TCC: Do you have a favorite spot back home to go fishing?
RK: Actually my favorite spot is Lake Texoma, which is right up north of here (Fort Worth). We do a family reunion there every year, and man its just special, it;s like 250 people over the last 70 years so it’s unique, it’s one-of-a-kind.
TCC: You said you never really get nervous, have you always been an entertainer?
RK: I guess so, I was a wild child growing up, always trying to be the center of attention, I was very much attention needy growing up. My dad would tell me stories about when I was a kid, I just did random backflips and whatnot in the middle of a crowded room just trying to get someone’s attention. He was like, ‘you’ve always wanted to be in the center of it and now you’re on stage doing what you always wanted to do and you belong there.’ When I was 7, my momma and daddy were driving down the road, and I wouldn’t shut up as you can tell right now, and I was just always singing. I was singing George Strait, and my mom and dad were like ‘Randall you know we love you singing but just let George do his thing and just ride along in the car for a while,’ and about 5 minutes later I’m back singing Baby Blue, and they’re like ‘Randall! Come on just let us have like 15 minutes, be quiet for a little while.’ About 5 minutes go by and I’m right back at it and then they’d start to say something again and so I’d get up and go sit in the back of the suburban and just sit back there and sing and my dad goes, ‘if that boy won’t shut up then we just need to get him a guitar.’ And that’s what he did, they put me in guitar lessons when I was 7, stayed on my ass to make sure I was doing my lessons and well…here we are. I knew since I could talk, I was singing since I could talk, I just always wanted to do this, this was it, there was never anything else.
TCC: What does a day in the life look like?
RK: Show day is busy. We’re out here, we load in, setup, sound check. Today I was actually cleaning our rugs because they haven’t been cleaned in four years, they’re disgusting. Had a little carpet cleaner and I was out there getting it done. You know every day is a little different but whatever it takes to get the job done. We just play music and have fun.
What about those days that you’re not on stage? What do those “off days” look like for you and with your band?
RK: I ain’t got no off days! We work man! If I get an off day, I’m up in Nashville, up at home, hanging out with some friends, I go out and see the world. Just being a human for a little while. Otherwise, man, I’m in a writing room somewhere, in a meeting somewhere, in the office preparing for three to six months out on shows. I come out here, maybe go hit the Stockyards and the bars afterwards, see the town. But otherwise we’re working. Everything’s for that 90 minutes up there (points to stage).
TCC: We’re in the Stockyards today, but you’re not in the states very much longer…
RK: Yep just one week. So out of the eight-week run, where 3 weeks we were up North, this week we’re back in Texas for one week, and then we go out for four more weeks on the road, come back for about 2-3 weeks, kind of around the south, and then we go overseas. I think we got one week in Nashville for my festival, King Fest, at the Nashville Palace, and then we go overseas. Then we’re overseas for like three weeks or something like that. The 4-24th (of September), it’s a long time.
TCC: So you really don’t have off days?
RK: I really don’t have off days, And even the off days we will have overseas ya know we gotta do laundry and whatnot you know. But we’re still gonna see the world, I’m excited.
TCC: What can fans look forward to coming up?
RK: We’ve got some new music coming! I actually go to the studio next week, we’re gonna cut somewhere between 9-10 songs and put out a 15 song record in the fall its called Into the Neon.