The local band KingsXecutioner has a shot at winning a spot as the opening act this fall at the Hollywood Bowl as part of Audacy’s biggest concert of the year.
Canyon Country resident Tim Gobi, founder, song writer and lead vocalist of KingsXecutioner, spoke recently with The Signal about his band’s progress in “Opening Act,” a non-televised competition from Audacy — the broadcast and internet radio platform.
The competition is open to a range of musical artists, from pop singers and songwriters, to jazz ensembles and rock bands, each with a chance to win $10,000 and the opportunity to open for acclaimed yet-to-be-announced acts. Gobi expressed his excitement for his band’s performance in the contest up to this point.
“We passed the audition,” Gobi said. “I sent in our video called ‘The Sorcerer,’ and we were hand-selected to go right to the voting process. It’s like ‘America’s Got Talent.’ You pass the audition and then it’s up to the voters — up to the fans. So, that’s the stage we’re at. We’re going into the top five now.”
That top five, according to the “Opening Act” website, is the top five entrants in each of the various groups (Gobi said there are five total groups) in the competition. An initial judging panel selected entrants from a pool of musical acts that entered the contest online, and that panel divided those acts into the groups. Public voting gradually narrowed down the entrants in each group from the top 20 to the top 15 and on down to the top five entrants in each group.
In the upcoming “group finals” round, public voting will reduce the remaining entrants to one preliminary winner of each group. A “wildcard” round, the quarterfinals and the semifinals will follow, and then the finals will begin Sept. 9 and end Sept. 15, with the public voting to determine the top four entrants of the entire competition.
The grand prize winner, according to the competition’s website, will receive $10,000 and the opportunity to perform as the opening act for Audacy Live on Oct. 22 at the Hollywood Bowl. Last year’s “Opening Act” contest winner, the Nashville-based pop rock duo Young in a Million, opened at the Bowl for the Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Doja Cat, Maroon 5, Saweetie, Shawn Mendes and Kid Laroi.
Gobi likes his chances of being on that stage in October, as KingsXecutioner began as one of 60 acts in their group, he said. It’s the band’s theatrical flair coupled with the musical talent involved, however, that has Gobi feeling confident. That and the fact that music producer Greg Hampton, perhaps best-known for his work with American rock icon Alice Cooper, discovered them, Gobi added, and is pushing to build them up.
“We’re in the midst of re-recording our ‘Reaper Cometh’ album with him,” Gobi said. “So, I’ve been in the studio the last couple of days. (Hampton) thinks this music is off the chain.”
Gobi founded KingsXecutioner about 10 years ago and has seen different band members come and go over the years. The current iteration of the group includes lead guitarist and rhythm guitarist Seth Worsham (known in the band as Synister). He’s a music teacher at Guitar Center in Stevenson Ranch. Then there’s drummer Chris Pirone, aka Skull, of Canyon Country. And Ethan Cady, aka Rexor, is the bass player from Valencia. He’s a 19-year-old in the company of men in their 40s and 50s, Gobi said, but he’s a phenomenal talent.
“One day,” Gobi continued, “he was in his room, and his dad said, ‘What’s wrong?’ And he goes, ‘I want to form a band, but everybody that I try to play with only knows three chords and have been playing for six months.’”
Cady talked his father into taking him to Guitar Center in Stevenson Ranch. Because, according to Gobi, “Cady was bummed, and music stores cheer up musicians.” As luck would have it, Cady bumped into Worsham at the music store, and after talking, Worsham had mentioned that KingsXecutioner was looking for a bass player. The band auditioned Cady, Gobi said, and it was clear he’d fit right in.
Gobi goes by the name of Dagger in the band. The band member names and accompanying medieval theme, he said, come from his love of musical theater, which he grew up doing regularly.
Those who check out KingsXecutioner.com can see and hear the medieval theatrics — a giant castle awaits your entrance. Lightning strikes, music swells and a swinging portcullis gate opens, taking you through a series of giant doorways inside the stronghold to meet the band — all dressed up, made up and in character, with accompanying photos and videos to flesh out the experience.
As for musical influences, Gobi said the Beatles was the first band that inspired him. But his love of theater and rock ’n’ roll came together when he first saw Alice Cooper.
“I was like, ‘Whoa,’” Gobi said. “This is the kind of theater that I love most, meets music.”
Gobi added that he also had an affinity for the medieval times early on in life. So, add rock ’n’ roll, theater and medieval times into a boiling cauldron, mix thoroughly, and you’ve got KingsXecutioner.
Over the past 20 years, Gobi has made a living as a truck driver based in Santa Clarita, all while learning all he could about the music business. It’s being a part of a big rock band, he said, that’s been his dream for most of his life. The “Opening Act” competition is helping to make that dream come true.
“It goes from thinking you’re a rock star as a kid — singing into your hair brush — to it actually happening,” Gobi said. “It’s kind of surreal.”