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Artist: Step Kings
Album: 3 The Hard Way
Label: We Put Out Records
Reviewer: Derek

The Step Kings are:
Bob McLynn - Bass and Vocals
Fern - Guitar and Vocals
Mike Watt - Drums

New York City is notorious for pumping out nasty hardcore. That is where the Step Kings come into play. After having a go around with Roadrunner Record, the Step Kings return a whole lot wiser and maybe a little more nasty. When last we heard from Bob, Fern, and Mike they were a happy threesome pumping out tunes that were considered “Party Rock” for lack of a better label. “Let’s Get It On” did not get the support it deserved, and the next thing the Kings new they were without a label. Fast forward to today! With “3 The Hard Way” the band has turned their backs on the happy go lucky sound in favor of a more straight forward, raw, rockin sound. Look at the covers of the two records. They traded in cartoons for 3 fish heads through a hook. Like I said…a little nastier!

In my opinion “California” is the best song the Kings have ever unleashed! Hooky licks and Fern singing like a true, bonafide rock star. The chorus is the where the band gets the stamp of approval! They go high and rock it hard with a “Yoooooouuuurrr sooo Califoooorrrniaaaaaahhh!” But check out these lyrics: “Using everyone around you. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to realize that I would be the next one in your life. With my ass in the air, face first to the ground. Your so California, what’s going on in your head?” Some one from California sucks huh? Nastier?

If “California” is the best Kings song, the “Zeroes And Ones” is the second best. Some sick harmonics accompany Fern unleashing a series of gut wrenching harmonies. Watt is a maniac on the skins, while Bob supplies a backbone to rock out to. Is this Slayer? Fuck no, but when you combine heartfelt lyrics, emotion from the perfomers, killer musicianship, and masterful production the result is a bad ass track. “Zeroes And Ones” qualifies, and did I mention that it is nastier?

“Helicopters” is one of the most musically advanced tunes the Kings have ever attempted. The vocals are all over the octave range, and the chorus consists of some high pitched bellows! Watt again has a tantrum on the drums, while McLynn busts out his spit in the back ground. Nasty!

The last time I saw the Step Kings that played on a Saturday afternoon at a small venue in Boston. It was the middle of the day and the crowd was sparse. But what I remember most vividly was not the lack of crowd, but the energy they unleashed on stage. They played their hearts out for the people who PAID to get in to see the show. I have seen it numerous times, bands show up to a show and go through the motions with a small crowd. Not so with the Step Kings, and for that they have my respect. A lot of bands would have folded after the knock out punch they received from the industry, but to their credit they have persevered and returned a whole lot nastier.

On the Derek Scale: 8 of 10....3 the hard way made for one kick ass record!

Recommended tracks: “California” and “Zeroes And Ones”

Track Listing:
1) Nucleus
2) 3 The Hard Way
3) California
4) Zeroes And Ones
5) Helicopters
6) Palisades
7) The Dove
8) Younglife Crisis
9) Goodbye
10) 12/23/01

Visit Step Kings at:

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