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Kingmaker was a Britishmarker indie rock group, founded in Kingston upon Hullmarker in 1990.


Teenage schoolmates Loz Hardy and Myles Howell formed the group during their year off after school. They placed an advertisement for a drummer, and eventually recruited the significantly older John Andrew. Andrew was an ex-travelling puppeteer.

Early recording career

The band began playing and touring, before making their recording debut with "The Celebrated Working Man" EP. After this they signed up to Chrysalis Records and released a second EP, entitled "Waterproof" in 1991. They were also immediately courted by the music press, who invented a niche category for the band, which they dubbed "New Cool Rock".

With a fan following building up, and lyrical austerity in their melodic music, they were tipped by some as the "next big thing". Their debut album Eat Yourself Whole was well received, and spent three weeks in the UK Albums Chart, reaching a high of number twenty nine in October 1991. In addition, the single release of the album's title track, "Eat Yourself Whole", reached the Top Twenty of the UK Singles Chart.

During 1992 they were supported on tour by a pre-Pablo Honey, Radiohead. On 29 August that year they appeared on the bill alongside Babes in Toyland, Beastie Boys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds etc., at the Pukkelpop festival near Hasseltmarker, Belgiummarker.

They then landed an Americanmarker recording contract with Chrysalis. Kingmaker's second album, Sleepwalking, was released in 1993. Although the album was well received, frontman Hardy felt that it signalled the end of the band's creative independence and consequently was the death knell for Kingmaker.

Animosity with record label

Speaking to Hybrid Magazine in 2000, Hardy explained that when the album's first single "Armchair Anarchist" failed to break into the Top 40, executives at the record label made several changes that Hardy felt were to the detriment of the band. These changes included re-writing Sleepwalking, to include more commercial sounding tunes and moving all the publicity in-house. One more aspect that Hardy felt destroyed the band as a creative unit was the record label's decision to introduce formatting of their singles.

"I dunno if you have that over Stateside but [formatting] basically means there would be different b-sides on the 12 inch(2), cassette(1), CD 1 and CD 2 (3 on each). So if the album has, say, 13 songs on it and with three singles that means you're gonna need 40 songs. 40 fucking songs! So the workload is near impossible and plus the fans get ripped left, right and centre to boot. What was also happening was that you did songs for the album and then b-sides but really fucking excellent songs were ending up tucked away third song on CD 2 and no one heard them."

The band's split

The band rapidly fell out of favour. Paul Heaton of Hull's more well known band The Beautiful South heavily criticised them as being middle class pretenders, and the rot set in thereafter. Their third album To Hell with Humdrum had only a few new songs and mostly featured BBC sessions of tracks from Sleepwalking.

Hardy believed the failure of the fourth and final album In the Best Possible Taste was as much a result of the formatting method as it was the changing tides of musical culture.

"By the time we got to our last album we decided that we wanted to do all 40 songs up front and pick the best for the album, but this meant we needed to take a long timeout to write and record. A year and a half it took us. In that time Britpop really happened and blew us out of the water. By the time we got to releasing In The Best Possible Taste we knew we were well past our sell-by date, and I didn't want to keep playing and playing scaling down to smaller and smaller clubs, I found it a depressing notion."

In the Best Possible Taste emerged in 1995 to silence from the music media. Whilst tracks such as "One False Move" revealed a subtle shift towards urban rockabilly, the band called it quits after touring later the same year.

Band members

UK discography


  • Eat Yourself Whole (1991) - UK Number 29
  • Sleepwalking (1993) - UK Number 15
  • To Hell with Humdrum (1993)
  • In the Best Possible Taste (1995)

Singles & EPs

  • "The Celebrated Working Man" (1991) EP
  • "Waterproof EP" (1991) EP
  • "Two Headed EP" (1991) EP
  • "Idiots at the Wheel" (1992) EP § - UK Number 30
  • "Eat Yourself Whole" (1992) - UK Number 15
  • "Armchair Anarchist" (1992) - UK Number 37
  • "10 Years Asleep" (1993) - UK Number 15
  • "Queen Jane" (1993) - UK Number 29
  • "Saturday's Not What It Used to Be" (1993) - UK Number 63
  • "You and I Will Never See Things Eye to Eye" (1995) - UK Number 33
  • "In the Best Possible Taste (Part 2)" (1995) - UK Number 41
§ - Tracks included "Really Scrape The Sky" / "Reveleation" / "Every Teenage Suicide" / "Strip Away"


  1. Where You Stand: The Unofficial Kingmaker Website: Interview

External links

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