On their first performance in Cleveland, Fit for a King increased their dedicated fanbase to include the Northeast Ohio crowd. After a somewhat indifferent audience response to the opening bands, Ryan Kirby (vocals), Bobby Lynge (guitar), Jared Easterling (drums), and “Tuck” O’Leary (bass/clean vocals) immediately captivated listeners, who jumped, sang, and moshed to select songs from their entire discography.
Fear is a form of slavery. The title track from Slave to Nothing outlines how fear can keep us from making changes. Many times, we remain in situations because variations of the norm take us outside of our comfort zone. Kirby explains the difficulty of moving ahead, “(We think) I have invested so much in this and I can’t just throw it away. You’re scared of what is next, scared to move on to the next chapter of your life”. Being afraid of the unknown can make you a slave to the present, a slave to fear that can prevent you from improving your life and reaching your full potential.
Addiction is a nasty business. The song “Imposter” illustrates a different aspect of addiction. The words, “A liar in Heaven makes an angel in Hell” is the perfect description of those who prey on the addictions of others. Fit for a King has seen too many musicians attempting to “sell hope to the hopeless” as a way to achieve commercial success. By feeding on the fear of youthful listeners, some artists appear to relate on a personal level, but instead use the despair and anxiety of their fans to drive record sales. It is crucial to know and understand the true nature of the people we follow and believe in.
Faith does not mean your head is in the clouds. The members of Fit for a King are intelligent, confident men who live in the real world. They struggle with the same issues that plague all of us. Living a Christian lifestyle, while touring in the metal scene, is a challenge. They strive to keep growing in their faith, even when they are surrounded at times by those who have opposing views. Easterling finds that some artists who travel with them come with a preconceived notion about Christian musicians. He says, “They will assume we are not nice people, because we are Christian. But that (attitude) changes quickly”. Other artists, and fans alike, are drawn to the honest and humble approach that Fit for a King brings to their music, as well as their lives. The lyrics are compelling in the scenarios they depict. The music is cohesive and shows a collective effort to present the best performance each time they play.
The pursuit of happiness is not free. Lyrics from the song, “Hooked” show the expense that comes from an It’s-All-About-Me mindset. The words say, “We are what’s wrong/Numb to the change/we’re dealing to the ones who stand in our way/When will we see the price we pay”. It may be momentarily satisfying to do what you want, but others are still affected by your actions. We do not live an isolated existence, and every decision we make has repercussions for those around us.
Managing expectations is critical. The members of the band have made sacrifices to be musicians, but you will not hear complaints or whining over the things they do not have. At Warped Tour this year, Fit for a King did not travel in an air-conditioned tour bus. Instead, they carefully considered the cost (upwards of $60,000) and elected to use the van and trailer that they own. More than the price tag of luxury, O’Leary stated, “Why (would you) be on your bus all day? Why wouldn’t you be out, talking to kids?” Fit for a King prefers to interact with fans, even if they must forego their own comfort. The artists are steadfast in their decision to live within their means, knowing they will not enjoy a “rockstar” lifestyle on the road. It works for them, in that, they have avoided many of the financial pitfalls that become a breaking point for musicians at all levels of success.
Fit for a King is the voice of reason in an unforgiving world. The prolific songwriters are constantly working on new music, which fans (like me) cannot wait to hear. In the meantime, they will continue to tour internationally, inspiring audiences with their emotional lyrics and down-to-Earth manner. You can stream the entire album here: