Story by Dick Hildebrand
Photography by Eric Fefferman
Three years ago, four Windsor musicians in their late teens did what a lot of young people are doing these days. They formed a band.
Little did they know that their desire, combined with their talent and their drive would take the ‘Autumn Kings’ to heights many only dream of.
The four piece rock combo is the brainchild of Jake Diab, a Windsor native who turns 22 on December 6th. He attended Holy Cross elementary school and earned his high school diploma at Villanova. “I had lots and lots of hobbies as a young boy,” he says, “I played chess, video games and I played hockey. However, by the time I turned 12 years old, it all fell by the wayside when I picked up a guitar.” He was in the 7th grade, but he knew which direction his life would take.
He kept busy during his high school years, teaching a bit of guitar and played in a band. He was also a cashier at a supermarket in LaSalle. “I’m very glad I took that part-time job, because that’s where I met Joe Coccimiglio, who would become our lead vocalist in the Autumn Kings.” The first possible hint of a band came when the two were in the break room discussing a possible jam session. After Jake had finished grade 12 and decided that music would be his career, he contacted Joe and they got together for the start of their musical journey. Jake’s best friend and one of his Villanova classmates with whom he played rock in the music room when the two snuck out of jazz class, was also invited to join. As Jake puts it, “we discovered we had great chemistry together so we decided to start a band. A fourth player was added and in 2015, the Autumn Kings were born. Each member is a professional, dedicated to music and the band, and all are involved full-time.
Jake Diab is the lead guitarist and occasional vocalist. He is essentially the “booking agent and the pr guy. Tibor Bognar, the bass player, is the band’s financial accounting guy who also manages the social media. The drummer, Nick Predhomme, holds the important position of getting folks to the shows, while Joe Coccimiglio is the extremely versatile lead singer who manages the merchandise and email list. Despite the awesome responsibilities of running the entire show during 12 to 16 hour days, which also include intense rehearsals, the guys get along, and work together in close harmony.
Diab, who describes the group’s music as “high energy rock with pop sensibility” says the band’s live shows are a sense of great pride, particularly when fans sing along to the songs. He credits Marty Bak, the Windsor producer who works closely with the band, with much of its success. “He is, in my opinion, the best producer on the planet,” says Jake, “he always gives an objective opinion on our songs when we work together and has been instrumental in our sound and how we shape that sound. He champions Autumn Kings like no-one else has.”
The band’s popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. People in 64 countries regularly listen to the Autumn Kings on line as the music and videos are available on every possible website. To find out for yourself, log on to AutumnKings.com and check out the various links. The driving sound is clean, powerful and professional. These guys definitely mean business. Last year, the group released a 10-cut CD titled ‘Silver Screens’ which was followed up a couple of months ago with a single, ‘Aliens’ which is on its way to 100,000 streams. A second 10-track disc is currently in the works and is expected to be released sometime in 2019.
Late last month, Autumn Kings appeared at Rockstar on Central Venue….their first Windsor show in more than a year, after a grueling 120-day tour of 70 Canadian high schools from Ontario to British Columbia. A total of at least 50,000 students, many of them familiar with the band’s music attended. The group’s Facebook page is expanding rapidly, with more than 40,000 fans. More than one-and-a-half million Spotify streams have also been reported. Recently, in Detroit, band members met with one of their greatest fans, Kid Rock and just a short time ago, the Red Wings announced that the Autumn Kings’ ‘Devil in Disguise’ is one of the songs that’ll be piped into the Little Caesar’s Arena, when the home team scores. The music is aired regularly on a number of radio stations including 89X and the River in Windsor, outlets as far west as British Columbia and on a number of stations in the U.S. On-line growth has been so great, that managers and producers in Los Angeles and New York, who refused to take calls less than a year ago, are now reaching out to the band. Diab expects that the ‘Kings’ will be hiring a booking agent and manager by next year and will soon be cracking the lucrative American market.
Fans attending an ‘Autumn Kings’ show will hear a lot of new music, including occasional cover versions of popular songs. Attendees will immediately see that the guys are clean-cut and don’t project the usual perceived rock persona. “Sure, we like to have fun and to party,” says Jake Diab, “but we want to avoid the pitfalls that so many rock musicians fall into. Our main reward is to do a high energy rock and roll show that the audience will remember. It’s not about girls, money or fame...it’s about writing great music and playing for as many people as possible.” And, just before a show, there are no drugs or alcohol…the guys loosen up by doing push-ups!
Producer Marty Bak has probably summed up ‘Autumn Kings’ music the best…as “The new flavour of rock.”