(a brief biography including discography)
The Knights (a.k.a. King Richard and the Knights) had its beginnings in 1961 in Albuquerque, New Mexico (U.S.A.), during a time when instrumental rock ruled the world with The Ventures and The Fireballs leading the way. Thus, the band (or combo as it was called back then) became a Ventures/Fireballs-style band, playing 40 to 50 instrumental guitar songs per gig with no vocals other than a Chuck Berry tune here and there to break the monotony.
By 1964, the band finally developed an identity and released "Precision" on a little label called Red Feather Records. This guitar instrumental with a classical piano accompaniment performed by the studio engineer, Dave Bonham, became a regional hit (chiefly due to the unique combination of these two music genres) and set the record for the most time at number one for a local release on the then ruling Albuquerque, New Mexico rock-and-roll AM radio station, KQEO. But when the Beatles invaded the U.S. in Feb. of 1964, it was a bad omen for The Knights. As many other bands at the time followed the slogan on Ken Fisher's Official Site, "Learn it, Do it, and Profit from it" the Knights just couldn't give up their beloved rock instrumental efforts. After a few notable vocals on John Wagner Studios' Delta Records, the band disbanded in 1967.
King Richard (Dick Stewart), however, jumped on the psychedelic-rock bandwagon, not as a guitarist, but as a fanzine publisher (The Lance Newsletter), a record label owner (Lance Records), and a record distributor and promoter for other local labels. Although Stewart had a successful two-year-run with those companies that included a number of psychedelic and R&B 45- rpm releases by Albuque rque artists, who became well known in the Southwest U.S. during the mid-'60s, he, nevertheless, turned his back temporarily on rock and roll and directed his attention to another music genre: Mexican-American rancheras and traditional Latin music of Central and South America. Thus, Dick replaced Lance Records with another label (Casanova Rec ords), releasing an impressive number of vinyl albums and singles from 1968 to 1972. Many were hits in the Latin market throughout the U.S. and Mexico, including so me guitar instrumental efforts by Stewart himself, who was also a Casanova artist.
After two decades of performing with his two sons (Jason and Richard) in groups Dick named, Knee Deep, The Mountain Riff-Raff, and The Jyck Monkey Band (pronounced "jick"), the boys burned out on their dad's genre of music and moved to Austin, Texas in 1994 to further their own music careers. Shortly thereafter, Dick Stewart contacted one of the original bass players of the early Knights (Gary Snow) and asked him if he would be into taking a trip back to their '60s guitar instrumental roots. Gary jumped at the chance and beginning in late 1997, they both dedicated a year of intense on e-on-one practices relearning early '60s Ventures' and Fireballs' covers.
From 1998 to the present, Dick Stewart has written more than 40 instrumentals and created a number of guitar instrumental arrangements with covers of standout melodious songs of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, many of which were originally released as vocals. At the close of 1998, Stewart and Snow scored big with a very talented Albuquerque drummer (Steve Hudgins) who owns a garage sound studio (literally). Although he was only two years old when The Knights originally formed, he picked up on the early '60s guitar instrumental style with ease and great interest.
(1961 to 1964) GUITAR ROCK INSTRO PERIOD: (During a time when the band specialized in guitar-rock instrumentals, a genre now referred to as surf rock) Dick Stewart - lead guitar; Larry Longmire - rhythm and second lead guitarist; Gary Butler - bass (1961 - 1962); Gary Snow – bass (1963 - 1964); William "Corky" Anderson - percussions
(1965 to 1967) FRAT ROCK VOCAL PERIOD: (During a time when the band was known as King Richard and The Knights) Dick Stewart - lead guitar and vocalist; Jack Paden and Les Bigby - percussions; John Milligan followed later by Dick Miller - rhythm and second lead guitars; Jerry "Toad" Hutchins - bass; Larry Reid - sax and lead vocalist; Mike Celenze - keyboards
(1984 to 1994) CLASSIC ROCK AND METAL PERIOD: (During a time when the band was known by such names as Knee Deep, The Mountain Riff-Raff, and The Jyck Monkey Band) Dick Stewart - rhythm/second lead guitar, vocal; Martin Howard - lead and rhythm guitar (1984 to 1987); Jason Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar (1987 to 1994); Ritch Stewart - bass and rhythm guitar; Gary (Greenie) Werner - sax; Danny Jojola - drums (1984); William "Corky" Anderson - drums (1985 - 1986); Jeff Sorrache - drums (1987 to 1994)
(1998 to 2001) BACK TO THE ROOTS PERIOD: (During a time when The Knights retained their name and returned to early '60s guitar instrumentals) Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar; Gary Snow - Bass; Steve Hudgins – drums
(2001 to Present) PROGRESSIVE SURF-ROCK PERIOD: (During a time when The Knights combined early ‘60s guitar rock with that of modern guitar) Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar; Jason Stewart – Modern Guitar; Ritch Stewart - Bass; Steve Hudgins - drums
45 RELEASES FROM 1964 THROUGH 1966
1. 1964 - "Precision" b/w "Cut Out" (Red Feather 18401) guitar rock instrumentals
2. 1965 - "Lonely by The Sea" b/w "Moonbeam" (Red Feather) - guitar rock instrumentals
3. 1965 - "Those Things You Do" b/w "I Want to Love You" (Delta R-2048) - frat rock vocals
4. 1965 - "Why" b/w "That's the Way it Goes" (Delta R-2115) - frat rock vocals
5. 1966 - "I Don't Need You" b/w "How About Now" (Delta R-2143) - frat rock vocals
6. 1966 - "Work Out Sally" b/w "The Weatherman's Song" (Lomas R-2133) frat rock vocal and children's novelty song
CD AND VINYL RELEASES SINCE 1996
1. 1996 - "Precision" (Collectables 0684) A nineteen-track CD reissue compilation of early to mid-'60's 45 releases by New Mexico artists out of which twelve are Knights' efforts. (View releases page)
2. 1999 - "I Don't Need You" (Lance 2000) A fourteen-track 12" vinyl reissue compilation of The Knights '60's 45s plus two ‘80s tracks. (View vinyl reissue page)
3. 1999 - "Surfin' the Web" (Lance 2001) A ten-track CD album of newly recorded surf guitar instrumentals in the early '60s traditional style. (No longer available)
4. 1999 - "We're the Mountain Riff-Raff" (Lance 2008) A thirteen-track reissue compilation of The Knights early '80's vocal efforts when the band was known as The Mtn Riff-Raff. (No longer available)
5. 2000 - "Lobo Power” (Lance 2005) A nineteen-track reissue compilation of The Knights' early '90s vocal efforts when the band was known as Jyck Monkey. (Out of stock; no longer available)
6. 2000 - "Surfin' the Southwest, Santa Fe Style" (Lance 2003) An eleven-track CD album of newly recorded rockabilly/surf guitar instrumentals in the early '60s traditional style. (View releases page)
7. 2000 - "El Papalote" (Lance 2006) - A thirteen-track compilation of new and vintage songs (both vocal and instro) including four hit Mexican-American style ranchera instrumentals that were recorded and released on 45-rpm in the late ‘60s. (Out of stock; no longer available)
8. 2000 - "Then and Now" (Lance 2009) - A fourteen-track compilation of five Knights’ ‘60s tracks followed by their modern versions, plus four new compositions. (To order, view home page)
9. 2003 – "In Progression" (Lance 2010) ten tracks of progressive, surf-rock guitar instrumentals (To order, view home page)
9. 2007 – "King Richard’s Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew-Art" (Lance 2011) 17 tracks of a mix of early ‘60s, progressive, and ranchera instrumentals (To order, view home page)
10. 2009 - "Jyck Monkey Time" (Lance 2004) A 16-track CD reissue compilation of The Knights mid -'80's vocal efforts when the band was known as The Jyck Monkey. (Updated remastered Release. To order, see top of homepage of www.lancerecords.com
11. 2009 – “Tiempos Malos” (Lance 2014) ten tracks of early ‘60s style, surf-rock guitar instrumentals. (To order, view home page)
Since the reformation of the Knights in 1998, there have been numerous articles and reviews in such newspapers and magazines as: The Albuquerque Journal, The Observer(Rio Rancho, NM), Goldmine, Ugly Things, Pipeline(Great Britain), New Gandy Dancer(Great Britain), Surf Music U.S.A., Shindig(London, England - An in-depth interview with Dick Stewart, The Knights, and Lance Records), and a number of high profile Internet sites.
RECENT TRACK LICENSINGS
Barnstormer Productions – a number of tracks for two episodes with the "Weekend Explorer" series on PBS
Lancit Media Entertainment – a number of tracks for the series "Outward Bound" on the Discovery Channel
Highland Productions – a number of tracks for the series "Z-Games" on the Discovery Channel
Lakefront Productions – a number of tracks for a surfin’/water skiing video news magazine
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE KNIGHTS, PLEASE
DIRECT ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO:
(A Division of RvStewartProductions)
Artist Management Division
P.O. Box 613
Sandia Park, New Mexico 87047
(505) 286-0623; FAX (505) 286-2550