Don King was formed as a result of a phone call from Thurston Moore asking me if I could put something together to play at the Noisefest he was organizing at the White Columns gallery in 1981. I enlisted China Burg from Mars, then known as Lucy Hamilton, and Duncan Lindsay (Arto's brother), and we did the show as a trio, with me alternating trumpet and bass, Lucy guitar and bass clarinet and Duncan on drums. It worked well and we decided to continue under the name Don King which was actually the pseudonym Lucy used for that first show. As a trio we played the club scene in NY for awhile, which then included the lofts and basements of the improv scene, did a short tour of Italy, and released a cassette on Hyrax, the second and last release on my own label after the John Gavanti LP.
Sometime in '84 we decided to expand rhythmically with Arto Lindsay and Toni Noguiera on percussion, and with this formation we recorded the One-Two Punch Lp in '85 for Doublevision, an English, Blast First sub-label sponsored by Cabaret Voltaire.
Don King at Noisefest
Later, for a time in '86, we did shows as a duo, Lucy and I, with the inclusion of electronics. This was when I started using delay and effects pedals with the trumpet, as well as a drum machine and 4 track cassette samples. We toured Switzerland, Italy and France that summer and a live cassette "On The Mediterranean" was released in Barcelona where we finished the tour and I first came into contact with the music scene there, putting off my return ticket for a few weeks to work on the cassette and play.
Back in New York we expanded again, getting together with Toni Maimone, former bass player of Pere Ubu, and a fantastic drummer named Bill Perry, who had been working with Lizzy Mercier. With them we recorded four songs which weren't released until 1997, along with One-Two Punch, on Atavistic.
Don King - "Street Of Dreams"
Due to the increasing difficulty of keeping a band together in New York without funds or management we gave up towards the end of 1987, which also coincided with me going to Europe again for several months to work on Lizzy Mercier's LP Suspense, which I helped write and produce. When we finished work on that I spent some more time in Barcelona, where I was able to play regularly in different collaborations with local musicians, which led to my eventually giving up on New York and moving there for good in 1991.
No live material of Don King has been released yet but I have a box full of cassettes from many of our shows and plan to get to work on that once I finish the Mars Archives in 2017.
Don King at Squat Theater