Backed by turbocharged guitar riffs, fierce vocals and candid lyrics, Kevin B. Klein reignites a fiery passion into classic rock.
The Capac singer-songwriter and guitarist blazes a scorching 13-track, rock-fueled pathway through life lessons, personal growth and future dreams on his latest explosive album, They Call It Rock -N- Roll.
“I’ve been listening to a ton of music, and I see a ton of artists, and everybody says, ‘Oh, that’s rock and roll, or this is rock and roll.’ People are saying punk rock is rock and roll, and I’m thinking, ‘You guys are the farthest thing from rock and roll.’ To me, rock and roll is good, old-fashioned classic rock,” Klein said.
“For me, life got in the way for a long time, and it was a good thing because it gave me a lot of life experiences. All the songs that I write have a great energy and great storylines because I lived them, and they’re relatable to a lot of people.”
Klein earnestly reflects on those eye-opening experiences on the album’s dynamic, hopeful Led Zeppelin-esque opener, “The Wrong from Right,” as roaring electric guitars, bold acoustic strums, clicking cymbals, throbbing bass and pounding drums charge into your soul.
He proudly sings, “Speak up and don’t you back down/You gotta make the rules, you gotta stand your ground/Be careful what you say, be careful what you do/You gotta have some hope if you’re gonna make your dreams come true/Save your soul, you gotta know the wrong from right/If you lose control, then you’re gonna lose the fight.”
“It was this dark song at first, and I changed it up and wanted it to be really positive. ‘The Wrong from Right’ is about making great life choices despite all the chaos in the world. It’s got a darkish vibe, and it’s very rhythmic, and that’s why it ended up being the first song on the album. I’m coming out full power, and it just gets in your blood instantly,” said Klein, aka KBK.
Klein’s melodic, timeless classic rock continues to seep into our veins on “On the Road” as thoughtful acoustic strums, calm drums, vivid electric guitars, soft bass, tingling cymbals and lucid keys magically push us toward another unknown adventure.
He reflects, “What can I say/When the crowd is gone/They make me feel so high/They make me feel so strong/When I’m all alone, I start to feel the pain/It’s a price I gotta pay.”
“I wrote it about missing home when you’re out playing and you want to be in your own bed. It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician, you’re a truck driver or you’re in the military, when you’re on the road, you’re on the road. That song is relatable to everybody,” Klein said.
Klein carries his heartfelt journey forward on the spirited title track, “They Call It Rock-N-Roll,” which fuses whimsical acoustic strums, shimmery cymbals, thumping drums, radiant electric guitars and pulsating bass into arena-size classic rock anthem.
He soulfully sings, “The music lives inside my heart/I feel it in my soul/It can pick you up or bring you down, don’t you know/I couldn’t wait until Friday night so I could hang with my friends/We were the concert crowd and the good times seemed to never end.”
“Through my writing, I try to hit specific topics, and I try to write material that’s going to interest people. It’s not like I’m writing for myself, but I’m writing for the fans,” said Klein, who’s inspired by Jackson Browne, Bon Jovi, Europe and Kee Marcello.
“When it comes to songwriting a lot of people ask me, ‘What are the tricks or the keys? What’s your secret?’ I always tell people every line in the song should be the best line in the song, not just your chorus. A song should take you some place.”
Klein later takes listeners to the everyday, workplace grind on “Punch the Clock,” which serves as the ideal companion piece to Rush’s 1974 classic “Working Man.” Bouncy drums, crunchy electric guitars, delicate bass and vintage organ instantly transport listeners to a peaceful reverie.
In Geddy Lee-flavored vocals, Klein sings, “Take me away from here/Take me far away/Take me to a promised land/It’s where I wanna stay/Why does life have to be so hard/I can’t get no relief/I think it’s time for a change.”
“I wrote that song about the working class man or woman who works from nine to five who’s always punching the clock. It’s also about the American autoworker because I have friends who work for Ford, and I hear all their stories,” he said.
Klein started assembling stories for They Call It Rock-N-Roll with Almont guitarist Mic Bez after the 2013 release of his combustible, introspective debut, Good Day to Be Alive. He ventured to GDA Productions in Annapolis, Maryland to work with engineer Garrett Atkinson, drummer David Jacober, keyboardist Glenn Workman and bassist Zack Hendrix.
“This whole album was like fate because of the length of time that it took me to actually write the songs. I didn’t have any money, and I’m glad I didn’t have the money to pull everything together,” said Klein, who produced his own project.
“I had to find a drummer, a keyboard player and a studio, and I got on Facebook and started Googling studios out in Maryland and the DC area. I found Garrett, and I watched a video that he had. He was talking about music and what it meant to him. I felt something when he was talking, so I called him up.”
After making two trips to Annapolis and recording some parts in his Capac home studio, Klein officially released They Call It Rock-N-Rollin March 2020. He contacted radio stations in Michigan and Canada to gain airplay traction and has been featured on Sirius XM’s Goldie’s Garage hosted by Geyna Ravan.
“Geyna does a couple of different shows. One of them is the best unsigned artists. I was one of the only unsigned artists recently on that show, and that was a great honor. She spun my song, ‘Punch the Clock,’” Klein said.
Before he starting punching his own clock, Klein discovered his love of music while growing up in metro Detroit. His older siblings played albums by Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, The Beatles and Bad Company. He became enamored with classic rock and Motown and started playing guitar at age 15.
In high school, Klein formed his first band and added vocals to his musical repertoire after his bandmates encouraged him to sing. After that initial discovery, he honed his vocals along with his guitar skills.
“My whole life I was a bathroom singer. I always sang and experimented to see what I could really do. I didn’t even know I was doing it; I just loved it so much. When I joined my first band, the guys were like, ‘Oh my God, you can sing,’” Klein said.
“It kept getting better, and I tried to emulate a lot bands while I was growing up. It taught me proper phonetics, tongue placement, breathing and how to sing through my diaphragm. By listening to music, it fired me up that much to figure it out on my own.”
Klein started playing local bars and clubs, including The Ritz (now known as the Hot Rock Sports Bar & Music Café) in Warren. He continued to pursue music intermittently while working as a contractor and moved to Capac in 2000.
After building a new life in St. Clair County, Klein’s wife Nicole encouraged him to start writing and recording music. That initial push inspired him to create a demo album and later collaborate with Nashville co-producers Dave Baker and Leland Grant on his 2013 debut release, Good Day to Be Alive.
“I had a really great group of people on that album, including my buddy on the drums, Jay Tooke. I worked that album so hard, and every single song made it on AM, FM and Sirius XM radio,” Klein said.
Klein also built a loyal live music following through touring inside and outside of Michigan with Bez. He has opened for Tesla, Night Ranger and other classic and hard rock acts.
With the slow return of live music, Klein will perform one of his first shows in several months this Friday at the Sturges-Young Center for the Arts in Sturgis. He’s also working on new material for his next project.
“I’m going to drop a single next, and I’m working on a ballad that’s really beautiful. I don’t want to put it on the next album because it’s going to be called ‘the heavy album.’ I want it have more power, and it’s going to be fast, groovin’ songs. I want to change it up a little bit,” Klein said.